In Missouri, the court must obtain jurisdiction over the defendant/respondent to enter judgment.
Although a defendant/respondent can consent to the jurisdiction of the court, the more common method is to have the petition/complaint served with a notice to appear in court on a certain date or to answer the allegations of the complaint within a certain number of days.
Types of Service of Summons
Service of summons may be either:
1A. Upon or in close proximity to the body of the person,
1B. By lawful proxy (including a designated agent for service, such as for a Corporation) or
1C. By signing for the Complaint (typically signing for a certified US Postal Service letter.
2. Non-personal, including
A. Residential service on a person of at least 15 years of age residing in the home of the defendant,
B. Publication, in the "pulp medium" (a newspaper)
C. Posting (as on the door of rented apartment)
Effects of Type of Service on Available Judgments
Judgments for money can be obtained against a defendant in 1A, 1B, 1C & 2A;
Judgments for money are not available for 2B & 2C.
If the summons (which has an expiration date) is returned "non est", no jmt can be entered.
Additional resources provided by the author
Wikipedia (2011_0910 edition) provides a good description.
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