a day in the life of a process server

A Day In The Life Of A Process Server

Did you order pizza or a divorce?

If you think you have it rough, try being the person everyone hates. Choosing a career as a process server means forever being the bad guy. But in reality we’re the ones who help to bring justice to right the wrongs. It’s a tough job, but a vital one if you ask anyone who needs a document serving.

Rarely Happy To see The Process Server

The job description of a process server is pretty straightforward but it requires tact, skill and experience: Deliver all manner of legal documents such as warrants, repossession orders, divorce paperwork and correspondence to those involved in court cases. The reason the documents are being served is almost irrelevant to us, as we have an important job to do. One thing is for sure, not many people are happy to see us and we can get a frosty reception.

You may believe delivering papers is as simple as knocking on a door and handing them over. However process servers aren’t postmen, we don’t simply drop off a letter to smiley ‘Mr. Jones’ in the morning while he pleasantly sips his coffee. No, we double as a private investigator or a superhero (with the cape) to ensure successful process serving.

Avoiding A Process Server

Those being served don’t want to be found and therefore they naturally try to avoid us. In order to track down our marks, we have to think laterally to track down our subject. We will leave no stone unturned. Depending on the case, will depend on the course of action we take, but often neighbours in the street can be the golden ticket.

Neighbours usually have no problem pointing us in the right direction if they can, even if it’s inadvertent.

“Yeah, ‘Joe Bloggs’ gets home around 6 o’clock from work everyday. He’s still driving around that off-red rust bucket of his. I told him to replace the bumper, I don’t know how many times, and the brakes still make a dreadful squeal, too. Anyway, he should be home any minute now.” You get the drift of that one and it’s all in a day in the life of a process server…

How A Process Server Will Find You

Now we have done the hard work and traced our target. But even then it can be difficult to get in direct contact with them. We’ve already discovered that individuals being served also go into an instant state of hibernation once we reach their doorstep. Despite our relentless knocking, they continue to hide inside and pretend not to notice us. Seriously, we can hear the blare of your television and the bustling of the pans. We know you’re in there!

Who ordered Pizza?

This is when serving papers becomes a fun game of cat and mouse. Let’s try knocking on the door again, except this time dressed as a pizza delivery man with a big pizza box in hand. Seriously, this has been a tactic used in the past and surprise, the lure of a 12 inch thick crust Hawaiian is enough to get most people to answer their door!

It’s not always the target individual we’re after that answers the door, but as long as the target is identified, we can, in some cases leave the documents with the family member. This is the easiest scenario most of the time. If the person being served answers the door and is identified, we must act carefully to avoid a verbal confrontation and any risk of a physical confrontation.

It’s not us, it’s you…

The target can think we are the ones suing them or that we’re the lawyers. They’re so upset there’s no time to reason with them, so it’s often best to let them shout and vent and make sure the job gets done. Many divorce cases involve tears and another side to the story being presented to us. In such a case it does pay to listen for a minute or two while remembering to serve the papers to the target individual.

Service by refusal

Then there’s ‘service by refusal,’ this is common because so many targets go into hibernation, remember? As long as we can identify that the target is, in fact, inside the home (thanks to the helpful neighbours and investigation), we can loudly declare the serving of papers and leave the documents at the door. By raising our voice and risking the rest of the neighbours hearing, this can prompt the subject to react by opening the door.

“’Joe Bloggs,’ you’ve been identified and are being served by refusal. You are being sued for avoiding child support payments! The documents are sitting by your door.”

Alright, on to the next case… it’s time to locate Mrs. ‘I-Didn’t- Pay-My- Car-Finance-But-Want- To-Keep- My-Shiny-Red-Mercedes.’ All in a day’s work being the ‘bad guy,’ a day in the life of a process server.

Bio: Lewis Murawski is the marketing and business development manager at Diem Legal and Managing Director of Kahootz Media. Need professional help with digital marketing? You can connect with Lewis directly on LinkedIn

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