In a family law firm, you're managing a busy caseload and high client expectations. From consulting with clients to ensure their rights will be protected to readying for court, there are a lot of moving parts every step of the way. You don’t have time to worry about the status of a serve or whether it will stand up in court.
Yet the importance of high-quality service of process can’t be overlooked. Speed and accuracy of your process server can directly affect whether your cases proceed efficiently and without issue. With this in mind, let’s look at some of the things you consider when choosing a process server for serving divorce documents.
Seek a Higher Standard for Serving Divorce Documents
Ideally, service of process for divorce and other family law cases should be as simple as placing an order and then moving on once return of service is received. However, process server quality can vary. In addition to finding someone who is familiar with state and local regulations around service of process, you’ll also want to seek out a partner who excels in the following four areas.
1) Systems and Processes That Ensure Compliant Serves
Quality assurance when serving divorce documents is important. You aren't looking for merely a delivery function—the process server must follow proper steps for notifying the individual in a manner that is compliant with state and local regulations. A misstep at any point can be cause for challenge and create a potential delay in your case. As such, your process server partner should have quality checks and processes to ensure service will be conducted properly and there is proof available that is ironclad, such as:
With ABC Legal, quality is assured every step of the serve. Process servers confirm adherence to the jurisdiction’s rules through appropriate prompts via mobile app. In addition, a live team is on standby during each serve to provide support when facing the unexpected.
Once service of process is complete, you should expect details about steps taken. For example, ABC Legal’s process servers go the extra mile to supply pictures or GPS coordinates and detailed notes, so there is always clear substantiation of the actions taken to complete the serve.
Having processes and systems in place to support serve accuracy is also important. For example, ABC Legal verifies all process server qualifications for local service and confirms eligibility and availability to ensure the best individual will execute service. In addition, ABC Legal has systems to formally verify the quality of the serve. ABC checks and validates each serve against your local court's rules and regulations prior to the return of service.
2) Proactive Communications When Serving Divorce Documents
Another key area to watch when choosing a process server is communication options. You should never have to waste time investigating the status of a serve or struggle with how to reach the process server should anything with the assignment change. The right process server partner should offer:
Easy status check-ins
Ideally, you should have 24/7 access to your account and the ability to view your serve details by the firmor by individual attorney. Also important is visibility into the case timeline and storage of all details during the serve and supporting evidence and proofs of serviceonce the serve is complete.
Real-time progress updates
Communication approach also is important. You should be able to see the status of a serve at all times. With ABC Legal, you can receive email or text alerts in real-time as your documents make their way to the opposing party and after the process server completes the assignment.
Live customer service
Relying on email communications or submitting forms through a website is too slow when the timing of your service of process is at stake. Always seek a process server company that you can call during business hours and easily speak with a person to address any questions you may have or discuss special instructions as they arise.
3) Comprehensive Support and Access to Ancillary Services
Sometimes you need support beyond managing nearby serves. Your firm may need to serve divorce documents in jurisdictions you are less familiar with, or you may face a party who is evading service. Working with a service of process partner that can easily adapt with your changing needs can save valuable time. For greatest efficiency in handling your service of process needs now and going forward, you should look for someone who can provide:
A seamless, national network of process servers
Having one partner you can turn to for dependable local service of process regardless of where your parties reside can make a significant difference in ease and efficiency, particularly when managing high volumes of cases. ABC Legal has a network of more than 2,500 active process servers throughout the United States, so you minimize the number of vendors you need to juggle.
Skip tracing and investigatory services
Ancillary services also can be important. Sometimes your firm may have difficulty locating a party or perhaps the spouse is evading service. Working with someone who offers skip tracing and investigatory support can minimize time lost to these challenges. With ABC Legal’s Locate Services, your firm can access industry-leading search capabilities made possible by proprietary technology. In addition, a team of licensed, full-time private investigators are available to perform in-depth searches and provide your firm with accurate and detailed location information. When attorneys add an investigation to their serve while placing an order, ABC Legal will ensure service starts at the best address to be found.
Serving Documents internationally
Another common source of delay in divorce proceedings is difficulty serving a spouse living abroad. Not every process server will be able to assist in such matters. You need someone with specialized experience serving divorce documents internationally. ABC Legal offers services to support service of process internationally to assist with serving documents outside the United States.
4) The Most Important Factor: Process Server Divorce Experience
Family law cases present unique circumstances. Matters such as divorce can be highly emotional for the parties and will sometimes require process servers to possess extra diligence and sensitivity. For example, the process server may need to follow special instructions to avoid service when children are present. In situations involving domestic abuse, extra care will be needed when serving divorce documents to ensure a safe time when the spouses are not together.
Because service of process in matters of divorce can be some of the most complex serves, you should never trust them to just anyone. ABC Legal serves more than 1 million legal documents to parties each year. Our process servers have the experience to navigate the most challenging serves while possessing the conscientiousness and tenacity to keep your case moving forward exactly as needed.