By Alana Gibson, DGR, Chief Operating Officer, AAML NJ Silver Sponsor
There are a number of things lawyers can do to ensure the fastest and most efficient turn-around time possible when working with a process server.
Efficient service that holds up in court is always important, but it is particularly critical in family law matters where efficiency and sensitivity to the nature of the service are key. Family law cases more frequently involve evasive individuals, and because matters like child support, custody arrangements, asset division, and alimony are at stake, a speedy resolution is often particularly important to your clients.
Even the most proficient and adept process servers know there are certain pieces of information that can help speed up effectuating service.
1. If you are attempting service at home or work, see if your client knows when the subject will be at that location.
It’s easier to effectuate service if you know where somebody is. If we know the subject works from 9am to 6pm and usually goes to the gym afterward for an hour, we might attempt service after 7:30pm. This minimizes the number of attempts that will need to be made, but more importantly, it will also produce a higher chance of the individual being served, moving the case forward.
In addition to knowing when would be a good time to serve, it’s also beneficial for the process server to know when not to serve. Letting your process server know as much as possible about an individual’s schedule might make it possible for your server to avoid effectuating service around children involved in the matter. In the above case, for example, we might intentionally attempt to effectuate service on the individual’s way into or out of the gym, minimizing the effects on children and increasing the likelihood of a smooth and efficient service.
2. Provide as many details about the subject as possible.
The goal for all parties in a family law matter, including the process server, should be to reach an amicable conclusion. AS process servers, we try to do our part to be as discrete as possible and not agitate an already sensitive matter. These cases tend to be close to home, and with that, your client has more information than they may know. Important details that can contribute to timely service are vehicle information and photos of the subject.
Knowing which car in the gym parking lot belongs to the subject lets the process server situate themselves accordingly. Similarly, having photos of the subject allows the process server to easily identify the subject while entering/exiting the facility or while walking through the parking lot.
3. Include all possible service locations in your initial request.
If no secondary address is given and the individual isn’t at the first address, this is what happens: The server attempts service at a residential address and then comes back to the office and notifies you that the individual is not at the location. You then provide an alternate address, and if possible, the server attempts service later in the day. If not, the service must wait until the following day.
If you provide both addresses upfront, however, the server can simply go from the original location to the next available address, cutting down on the amount of time it takes to complete the service.
All of the above are tips meant to help you speed up the time in which your process service or due diligence is completed (and to move your case along as quickly as possible!).
4. Process service and family law matters.
Family law matters are personal. There’s no way around it. Whether it’s child custody, divorce, guardianship, or something else, family relationships and financial futures hang in the balance.
It’s important to keep your case moving in order to minimize the negative impacts on all parties—and to help your clients move on towards a healthy future.
For a process server you can count on to handle your family law matters, we’re here to help!