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What happens if you cannot serve the other party court papers within 5 days before court?

Tacoma, WA |

I feel like it's been impossible to serve the other party these court papers and we have court on Friday the 15th. I've been trying for 2 weeks and I only know one place where he's at and it's his job but I don't know his work schedule I just been attempting going there day & night and I even had other people try as well but it seems like he leaves early or he's off . I don't know what to do .

Attorney Answers 4


  1. You should do what everyone else does.........

    Before Friday, draft, file and present a motion to appoint a special process server. Hire a special process server

    Then, if the judge grants the motion, go about using a professional process server


  2. File a petition for alternate service. Check the rules of the Court where the case is located. Retaining counsel would help.

    The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. I am only licensed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and I am not providing you with specific legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Being general in nature, the information provided may not apply to any specific factual and/or legal set of circumstances and/or the jurisdiction where you reside. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. The information provided is of a general nature is not intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Your question, although you may believe is simple, it is not simple. You require legal advice, please consult with a competent attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.


  3. If you have not served the other party with papers for the hearing on the 15th, you will need to tell the judge that fact. The hearing will probably get moved to a later date, and you will have to complete service. Those are just the rules of playing fair -- also known as Due Process.

    If you are already in a civil lawsuit (and original service of process has been completed), you usually don't have to serve subsequent papers in person. Check out Washington's Civil Rules (link below) for details on acceptable service (see CR 5 especially). You can also spend a few dollars to hire a process server or messenger service, who takes care of that for you. If this is original service of process, you can't do it yourself anyhow, and a process server is probably the best way to go (look at CR 4). All of this is made much easier with a lawyer, of course, so consider hiring one if you can.

    Good luck.

    Benjamin Nivison is an attorney licensed to practice law in Washington State. This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Mr. Nivison, nor does it constitute specific advice for your particular legal matter. The information provided in this communication is for general reference and informational purposes only, and therefore should not be relied on as legal advice. Legal issues are by their nature complex, and any person with a legal question should fully consult with a qualified attorney.


  4. Are you using a professional process server in the first place? They are often worth their professional fees.

    If you are unable to timely file documents, you should ask for a continuance. The court will not hear your motion and make an award against another party without that party being served.

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