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.
  • Try to obtain the name of the person accepting the documents as frequently as you can, as it greatly increases the chances of our proof of service being accepted by the court.
  • 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 a bad address, stating that they are incarcerated and provide incarceration dates if possible.

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