What is Substituted Service?
Service of process is the act of having a legal document officially delivered to a person requesting that person to appear in court. The ways to serve a person with these documents are numerous, and that includes substituted service.
Substituted service is a situation whereby a process server serves you indirectly by placing the document under the care of a court-approved friend or family member to pass it to you through snail mail. The process server could also have the document sent to your office. The process is usually displayed openly to the public.
The given number or totality of the methods mentioned above which are permitted and how they are controlled differs based on the jurisdiction of the court system at the federal, state, and local level. Notwithstanding the governing body in Houston, this process is performed under stringent requirements with full assurance of success of the service. A number of these standards are briefly highlighted below
First, this service method is not always welcomed like direct service, as such, courts in Houston most often demand for proof of unavailability of the party. They would request for concrete evidence that all effort to get in touch with the person directly did not yield any fruit. When it becomes obvious that substituted service is the only option, the court in question would approve the use of substituted service.
Normally, when effort to reach you fails, the closest option is to have the document served to a court-approved person in your neighborhood. It is the court that determines the person to be served; and the courts do that under their discretions. However, such a person must be an adult. The option of serving your next door neighbor is always considered by courts in Houston because there is an assurance that the third person being under legal bound will serve you.
Some courts in Houston permit process servers to have the document dropped off at your workplace. That option is as effective as being dropped in your residence. The document would still be kept with someone in your office, either the management or one of your colleagues.
Lastly, if you lack a place to receive the document or you don’t have whom to receive the document on your behalf; the document could be mailed to you via certified mail. Most courts in Houston will add another service of process method along with the main document when mailing it to you.