In addition to helping the public collect on money judgments, the Civil Division also assists in the service of Summons and Warrants of Eviction.
A summons informs a person being served (defendant) that another party (plaintiff) is bringing them to court. Some summons will inform the defendant of the court date while others will not. It is up to the defendant to verify the court date. A defendant may determine the type of court using the paperwork as their guide, and then contact the court for the specific court date. Family Court matters, information subpoenas, citations, divorce papers, and order to show causes are all types of summonses that are served. A service of summons is best when using the assistance of an attorney.
A summons can be accompanied by an attachment called a complaint or verified complaint. The complaint will contain pertinent information explaining the reason they are being taken to court.
The preferable service method of a summons is personal service. However, in the event that a civil law enforcement officer is unable to personally serve a defendant, the officer may perform a sub-service. Whereby, the officer will serve someone of legal age at the address supplied to the Civil Division by the plaintiff. The officer upon using a sub-service will mail a copy of the paperwork to the defendant.
If personal or sub-service is not made, the officer may do a “Nail and Mail” service. The officer must use due diligence (make 4 documented attempts) before doing a “Nail and Mail.” Only after the 4th attempt, the officer may post the summons to the front door and then mail a copy of the same to the defendant.
After a successful service, the officer draws up a completed affidavit of service. The affidavit is then notarized and returned back to the plaintiff.
On occasion, the officer may find that he is unable to serve the defendant. If service cannot be performed, a notarized letter is written informing the plaintiff as to why. This letter along with the original paperwork is sent back for the plaintiff to review.
Fees for summons service vary depending on the type of service performed. Fees may change without notice. Contact the Sheriff's Office, Civil Division at (518) 266-2900 to verify all fees.