Service of Process is the delivery of legal documents to a party in a case in order to obtain jurisdiction and to provide notification of a legal proceeding. [OAC 340:25-3-1.1]
All pleadings and orders are served upon located parties in an action. There are different methods of service depending on the type of legal action and the circumstances of the case. It is the responsibility of all CSS staff to ensure proper service is provided and documented in all legal proceedings.
This article outlines methods of service. There are other CSQuest articles about when to use the particular methods and instructions on how to complete the process. The instructions and best practices in these articles apply to proceedings where CSS is the moving party and has filed pleadings in a case. They may not apply to situations where parties have filed their own actions, either pro se or through private counsel.
The type of service depends on the legal action. CSS must use the most cost effective and efficient method of service of process depending on what is most appropriate under the facts of the case. [OAC 340:25-3-3(a)]
The following methods of service are used by CSS staff in order of preference:
- Address of Record (AOR)
- Acknowledgment of Receipt, Waiver of Service and Entry of Appearance
- Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested, Delivery Restricted to the Addressee
- Personal Service
CSS determines whether a method of service is appropriate based upon the facts of the case. CSS staff is not required to use a method of service that is not appropriate or advisable under the circumstances. For example, if past service efforts show that a party will not accept certified mail or sign an acknowledgment, and service to the AOR is not appropriate, such as in a contempt action, then staff may use personal service without trying other service methods. [OAC 340:25-3-3(c) and (d)]
In cases where CSS has filed pleadings, a party may hire a private process server to serve CSS’s pleadings on the other party. If a customer requests to serve the other party by a private process server, CSS staff provides legal documents with an instructional cover letter, unless there is a family violence indicator on the case.
(This information is from the Service of Process guide that was recently published.)