Can I Serve Papers Myself?
We’re going to get into the specifics of why, but let’s not even beat around the bush…
No, you cannot serve the court documents (i.e. process) for a legal matter in which you are a named party in the state of Florida.
Who is Allowed to Serve Process in Florida?
You must use the local sheriff’s office or a private process server to serve legal documents such as summonses and complaints in Florida. Here in Lee County, private process servers must be certified by Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit, which governs Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Glades, and Hendry counties.
The 20th judicial circuit’s certification process for private process servers involves:
- Submitting an application
- Paying an application fee
- Successfully completing an approved process server training course
- Posting a $5,000 surety bond
- Passing a background check
Once all these requirements are met, assuming that the applicant meets Florida’s minimum requirements for a process server, then a judge may approve the applicant as a private process server…but only in the counties governed by the 20th judicial circuit. To serve process in a county outside the 20th circuit, or outside the state of Florida, the process server must apply and meet all the requirements to serve process in those areas.
What Will Happen if I Serve the Process Anyway?
If you attempt to serve process on a defendant for a case that you yourself filed or are a named party, plan on running into some problems. Most likely the defendant, or their attorney, will immediately request to have the case dismissed due to invalid service. A judge may decide to allow you to have the process properly served and reschedule your case, or they may grant the defendant’s request to dismiss. Either scenario delays your case’s resolution and may end up costing you more attorney and court fees.
Let Accurate Serve® of Ft. Myers Handle Your Legal Process
Don’t risk derailing your entire case by trying to serve the process yourself. Instead, trust the experts at Accurate Serve of Ft. Myers to get your case’s process where it needs to be on time, so your case can proceed as scheduled. To get started, call us at 239-822-7299 or send us a work request online.