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Is it considered improper service if the process server served papers meant for me to my minor child(15)?

Renton, WA |

My child answered the door and a process server served court papers to her. She is 15. This legal matter is regarding a long drawn out legal fight between myself and my former spouse. The papers weren't in an envelope and so she was able to read all of the bad things that were said about me in the papers. She is now very upset about it. It has been my rule to keep the children out of this adult matter. Is there a way to complain about this server?

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Attorney answers 3


Service may be made on a person who resides with the party named, provided that the person served is of suitable age and discretion. There is no bright line rule as to what age constitutes this, instead the court will look to see if the circumstances are sufficient to assure that your child would have been competent enough to give you the papers. There is no legal obligation on the process restricting this behavior, although not professionally courteous, it is legal.


I agree with Mr. Russ and the process servers have a tough job, but putting this in an envelope wouldn't be too much to ask. The age rule is fuzzy and we always follwed the rule if they are home alone that is old enough. Now I always start with the sheriff's civil department and don't use private servers unless there is a problem the sheriff can't handle.

Good Luck


In order for service to be proper, it has to be on someone that is 18 or older and residing with you. This will not be proper service but in my opnion also very careless of the process server. You would have to find out what company they are from and contact them to lodge a complaint.



Ms. Clark appears to be confusing CR4(c), which requires that the person serving the court papers is at least 18 years old, with RCW 4.28.080(15) which is cited by the other 2 lawyers, leaving the court papers (summons and complaint, etc.) with "the defendant personally, or by leaving a copy of the summons at the house of his or her usual abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then resident therein." One must be at least 18 to serve, but only "of suitable age and discretion" to receive.

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