Filing a small claims case can be a trying time. If you have a dispute with someone you would like a court to settle, you must notify the individual that you have filed a claim. An affidavit of service is a document that certifies the defendant has been notified of a summons, writ or process. This is called service of process. A defendant must be notified in person by someone other than a party of the dispute. A member of the defendant's household who is 18 or older can receive service on behalf of the defendant. The affidavit of service certifies the date and time the party was notified. The plaintiff must provide the defendant with notification. There are several methods for filing an affidavit of service.
- Skill level:
Find out if your county will accept a fee for sending the sheriff to execute service. If the defendant lives in your county, you may contact the sheriff in your district. If not, you will need to contact the sheriff in the county where the defendant resides.
Provide the sheriff with as much information as you can about the defendant. This will include such things as sex, race, height, weight, hair colour, and birth date. Provide the sheriff with the defendant's last known home and work address and information about the defendant's vehicle.
Contact the clerk's office and ask for the "Sheriff's Return of Service." Service of process is only valid if the defendant was notified in person. If the sheriff successfully located the individual, this report will indicate that.
Service by the Sheriff's Office
Contact a private process server to secure their services. You should contact the server as soon as possible to begin the process. If the defendant lives in another county, you may have to hire a process server in the county of residence.
Provide the process server with pertinent information required for locating the defendant.This will include such things as sex, race, height, weight, hair colour, and birth date. Include the defendant's last known home and work address and information about the defendant's vehicle.
Contact the process server to find out if the party was served. The process server may provide you with the affidavit. Make sure you return it to the court immediately.
Service by a Private Party
Contact the clerk of the court and find out if the court offers service by certified mail.
Pay the service fee to the clerk of the court. The service papers will be mailed to the defendant certified mail/return receipt requested.
Contact the clerk of the court after the mailing to find out if the receipt was received. If the signed receipt was received, the process is complete.
Service by Certified Mail
Tips and warnings
- If one method of service does not work, try another method until you are successful.
- Contact your court system for additional detail on service of process. Procedures may vary from county to county.
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