Process Server Resources

Substitute Service

Providing Documents to the Subject's Co-Resident

This is the act of delivering the documents to a current co-resident of the subject. It is a requirement that the servee and the person you speak with are both currently residing at the service address. Ensure that a conversation takes place to confirm this.

Laws regarding substitute service vary from state to state, but generally it is permissible given the following:

  • You have made diligent attempts to personally serve the named subject. For certain case types and jurisdictions, a single attempt may suffice.
  • The person to whom you deliver documents is a co-resident: they currently resides at the same address as the named subject. This applies specifically to the unit if the address is in an apartment building or duplex.
  • In many states, substitute services also require a follow-up mailing of documents to the named subject by regular or certified mail. A notation will be required on the Proof of Service indicating when the mailing was completed and what type of mailing was executed.
NOTE: If you are told that the subject is incarcerated, substitute service is not allowed even if you are told that the subject lived at the address before and/or will live there afterward. Instead report that they are incarcerated and provide incarceration dates if possible.

See also: Due Diligence; Personal Service; and Other Types of Service