Personal Service means that someone that isn’t a party to the case personally delivers the court documents to the other side. It is considered the most reliable type of service because the court knows for sure that the person being served got the papers and, if necessary, can question the process server about the service. Due to its reliability, it is valid in most types of cases. Also because it is so reliable, it is generally required when serving the first papers (the petition or complaint) in a case.
Some common requirements of personal service include that:
- The server gives the documents to the party being served (which may be at the party’s home, work, or even anywhere on the street).
- The server has to identify the party being served, hand them the legal documents, and inform them that they are court documents.
- If the party being served doesn’t want to take the documents, they can be left on the ground in front of them (In this situation, even if they tear them up or throw them away, the service is still considered to be valid).
- The server fills out a proof of service, signs the proof of service, and returns it to the serving party to file in court.
Once the documents are served, the personal service is complete.