How to Locate a Person to Serve Court Papers

Written by scott pullins Google
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How to Locate a Person to Serve Court Papers
Finding a person that is hiding from service can be difficult. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

It is very difficult to successfully litigate against someone if you cannot find them. The reason for this is that either you or your attorney must serve a copy of the lawsuit or other legal papers on the person before you may proceed with the litigation. In fact, under the civil rules of procedure, if you are unable to locate someone within a set period of time and successfully serve them, your lawsuit risks being dismissed.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Check civil court records for the person's address. If you are suing this person, the chances are that someone else may be suing them too or have sued them recently. Check the court's civil records, and you might find an accurate address for this individual.

  2. 2

    Check criminal court records for the person's address. If they have a criminal record, they might be on probation and are usually required to keep a correct address on file. If they are not on probation, then you still might be able to find a current address from a traffic ticket case or other criminal case.

  3. 3

    Mail an envelope to the person's last known address. Make sure that the envelope has the words "forwarding order requested" typed somewhere on the front. In many cases, the individual filled out a change of address with the post office which will be provided to you with the returned envelope.

  4. 4

    Check driving and motor vehicle records for a current address. Driving and motor vehicle records are public records and individuals usually update them when they move, which may allow you to obtain a current address.

  5. 5

    Check hunting and/or fishing license records for a current address. Hunting and fishing licenses are also public records, and individuals usually renew them on an annual basis.

  6. 6

    Check voter registration records for a current address. Voter registration records are public records and individuals sometimes, but not always, update them with a new address when they move.

  7. 7

    Check utility and/or mobile phone records for a current address. These records are usually not public records, but they are easily obtainable on the Internet by utilising a reputable investigatory site. Utility and cell phone records are usually up to date and, unless the individual is living totally off the grid, may help you obtain an address when other, more basic methods have not been successful. A link to a reputable online site for investigations is provided in the resources section at the end of this article.

  8. 8

    Check the individual's credit report for a current address. Credit reports are not public records, and they may be utilised for specific purposes only. However, an attorney or a private investigator may be able to run a report for you for these purposes. Additionally, the link to the company found in the resources section of this article utilises credit bureau information in the reports that you may purchase.

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