Skip to main content

How Can I be Served papers as a Pro Se Litigant?

New York, NY |

As a Pro Se Litigant what is the appropriate way for me to be served. My ex-wife's lawyer has been sending things to my apartment via Fed-Ex. Some I have not received for days.. non-delivery signed by the landlord and held for days.

Cam I insist that she use a process server and I be properly served with all documents?


I received reply papers on Sunday the 11th and am in front of the Judge the 14th, is that fair?

Attorney Answers 7


  1. Best answer

    In a divorce case, personal service of the summons is required (FedEx or certified mail service is thus not acceptable). That said, it also depends on what the attorney is trying to serve you with - papers served after the summons has already been served on you may be served via either regular mail or overnight delivery. For a full assessment, schedule a consultation with a NYC Divorce attorney.

    * If you found my answer to be "HELPFUL," or the "BEST ANSWER," please feel free to mark it accordingly.


  2. Personal service is always ideal, but certified mail is also acceptable. If you are served via certified mail you will have more time to answer. You really should consider getting an attorney though sir.


  3. No, you cannot insist on personal service. Consider your options for solving the delivery problem. Can you provide a fax number or provide an alternative address where you will not have the fed-ex delivery problem? You need to figure out a reliable way to be reached by mail/delivery. You will need to keep both the opposing counsel and the court fully informed of how to reach you at all times.

    It is impossible to give specific answers to questions without meeting and fully discussing all of the potential issues that may not be addressed by your question. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information and are not legal advice. Only after a thorough personal consultation could specific legal advice be given. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. To enter such a relationship you and I would need to consult in person and form a mutually agreeable written contract of engagement. The answer(s) provided in this forum is intended to educate you and point to issues for you to raise in a consultation with a lawyer of your choosing who is appropriately competent in the field of law that your question concerns and who is duly licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where you live and/or where the events giving rise to your question occurred. You should not take any action that might affect your claim(s) without first seeking the professional opinion of a licensed attorney. There are often strict deadlines for filing suit, responding to a suit or making an appeal and you need to personally consult with an attorney to make sure that you understand and meet those deadlines.


  4. Service of process is generally required for the initiatory papers and little else. After you appeared, pro se or otherwise, you will get papers as provided in the CPLR, which can include electronically, if the case is e-filed, or by overnight delivery or regular mail. This is just the way it works. As for the reply papers, yes, that is fair, because you do not get to respond to reply papers, just to read them.


  5. You may be served in any manner allowed under the CPLR which governs methods of service, and it need not be "in hand." You cannot insist on a method of service, but can challenge service as being defective if that is the case. Your reply papers as served sound OK, since a reply is typically due for service one day before the appearance.

    If you found this "helpful" or "best answer," please click it with my appreciation. My response is for educational purposes and does not constitute legal advice nor creates an attorney client relationship which requires all the details and a personal conference.


  6. This is an issue for you to resolve, no one else. Give an address where you can get service reliably and promptly. If this is not viable - say, if you don't want to receive legal papers at work or you are out of the office most of the time - then you may consider giving a phone and fax number. You do not need a phone line and fax machine for this; you can get a fax number with an email service, so that when a fax is sent to you, you immediately get it by email to your ipad or electronic device.

    If you do not have a signed retainer fee agreement with Chittur & >Associates, P.C., ("the Firm"), then until such retainer agreement is >entered into, neither the Firm nor any of its attorneys will represent you >nor will they be your attorney in any matter and you remain responsible for >any and all deadlines and for any statutes of limitations that may pertain >to potential claims. No attorney-client relationship exists until such >agreement is entered into; however, communications with the Firm by a >prospective client remain confidential and are considered privileged. >This email may contain confidential and/or privileged material for the sole >use of the intended recipient(s). Any review, use, distribution or >disclosure by others is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended >recipient (or authorized to receive for the recipient), please contact the >sender by reply email and delete all copies of this message.


  7. There are many ways to get served with papers. Each jurisdiction has specific rules. Judges don't like to decide cases based on technicalities such as that. They get elected or appointed to "do justice" and they like to think they are doing that. If you received suit papers then it normally is a good idea to come up with a better defense than the fact that you weren't "properly served." Please consult with competent counsel if you require a more specific answer.

Civil motions topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics