What Exactly Can a Process Server Do to Serve Papers?

What Exactly Can a Process Server Do to Serve Papers?

If you want to get divorced in South Carolina, you must file a petition with the court. A divorce petition is a lawsuit. Therefore, you must serve it on the defendant/respondent, which is your spouse. Initial divorce papers include the summons and complaint.

The South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure dictate how a summons and complaint must be served and who can serve the papers. According to the rules, a summons may be served by the sheriff or a deputy. They can also be served by any person who is at least 18 years old and not an attorney or a party in the action.

Typically, divorce papers are served by process servers. It is important to understand what a process server is and what they can do to serve documents in South Carolina.

What Is a Process Server in South Carolina?

A process server is someone who serves court documents. Most people hire a process server to serve divorce papers on their spouse. The time to respond to the complaint does not begin until your spouse is personally served with the documents.

South Carolina does not require process servers to be licensed. Anyone over the age of 18 years can serve divorce papers. However, many family lawyers use professionals with substantial experience because process servers must follow certain rules when serving documents, or the service may be invalid.

Examples of things that a process server can and cannot do when serving divorce papers include:

They Cannot Pretend to Be Someone Else

A process server cannot pretend to be an attorney, law enforcement officer, or another person to effect service of divorce papers. In other words, they cannot tell you they are a deputy to get you to open your door. The process server must be honest if you ask them who they are and why they are trying to find you. Generally, they will ask you for your name, hand you the papers, and then tell you that you have been served.

They Can Serve Someone at Your Home

The process server can leave the divorce papers at your home, even if you are not there. However, they must leave the documents with someone who is at least 14 years old and is competent to receive service. They must tell the person with whom they leave the papers that the documents are legal documents being served on the person named in the document.

They Cannot Stalk or Harass Someone

Process servers have creative ways to serve divorce papers. They might wait for you to leave work or exit your vehicle at the shopping center. They might wait outside your home until you park and leave your car. However, process servers are not allowed to stalk someone or harass them in order to serve papers.

They Cannot Trespass or Break the Law

A process server must obey the law when serving divorce papers. They cannot trespass or break into your home or force someone to accept the service.

What Should I Do if I Am Served With Divorce Papers in Rock Hill, SC?

You may or may not expect that your spouse is filing for divorce. In either case, you need experienced legal counsel. Contact a Rock Hill divorce lawyer as soon as possible after receiving a divorce complaint.

You have just 30 days to file an answer or response to the complaint. In some cases, you might have days to respond or appear in court if there is an emergency motion attached to the divorce papers. If you do not respond before the deadline, the judge can grant the relief requested in the divorce papers and attached motions.

A divorce ends your marriage. However, it also decides many other issues. 

Depending on your situation, your divorce may also include matters related to:

A Rock Hill family law attorney can help you resolve these issues through mediation and settlement negotiations. If your spouse refuses to negotiate a reasonable divorce settlement, an experienced lawyer can advocate for you in court.

If you have questions about a South Carolina divorce case, contact an attorney for a confidential consultation. 

To learn more and get the help you deserve, call our divorce & family law firm Minor Law Divorce Lawyers in Rock Hill, SC at (803) 504-0971 or contact us online today.
You can also visit our law firm at 1273 Ebenezer Rd, Suite B, Rock Hill, SC 29732.