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What is Service of Process?

Service of process is the procedure by which parties involved in a legal dispute are formally notified of actions or proceedings. In a business context, it often involves serving legal documents like lawsuits or subpoenas to a company's registered agent.

Understanding Service of Process in Business

Whether you’re launching a new business or hiring new personnel, service of process is a critical part of the process. It’s a critical legal process that brings an important document to the attention of an individual, business, or other entity. Service of process offers an essential safeguard to ensure essential documentation is received in a timely manner.

Service of process is closely regulated by state law, such that delivery of legal documents, documents containing orders or decisions from the court, or other vital documents are properly served on the party named in the document. To receive service of process, the party must have been appropriately identified in the document, and have the right to be served by state law.

How Service of Process Works

Service of process works by ensuring legal documents and other documents are delivered to the appropriate party in a timely fashion. In order for a court to have jurisdiction over an individual or entity, documents must be served properly. Legally, service of process is generally obtained via a “registered process server” who is authorized by the court.

The registered process server will deliver the document in person, by mail, or another method as dictated by state law, and will provide a certified, notarized document indicating the service. This document is kept on file, and considered proof that the serving of process was accomplished in a timely fashion.

The Role of a Registered Agent in Service of Process

When a business is created, a company is obligated to appoint an appropriate “registered agent” to receive any service of process. This person, or business entity, serves as a de facto point of contact from which service of process notifications can be obtained and received. The registered agent is obligated to receive service of process notifications for the company, and in turn, notify the company, and provide any required documentation. They must be ready and able to accept documents during normal business hours, or as required by state and federal law.

Frequently Asked Questions

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