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What You Should Know About Being Served Papers

Being served process in Florida can be a daunting experience, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the legal procedures involved. Understanding the reasons for being served, who can serve you, and what steps you need to take afterward is crucial. In this post, we’ll provide you with important information to help demystify the process and guide you through what to do if you find yourself being served in Florida.

Reasons You May Be Served Process in Florida

The serving process is an essential part of the legal system, ensuring that individuals are informed of legal actions taken against them. There are various reasons you may be served process in Florida, including:


If someone initiates a legal action against you, such as a personal injury claim, contract dispute, eviction, or divorce proceeding, you may be served process to notify you of the lawsuit and provide you with an opportunity to respond.

Summons for Jury Duty

Serving on a jury is a civic duty, and if you are selected to participate, you will likely receive a summons to appear in court. It’s important to take this seriously and comply with the instructions provided.


If you have relevant information or evidence in a legal case, you may be served with a subpoena requiring you to testify as a witness or produce requested documents.

These are not all the reasons you may be served process in Florida. When in doubt, always consult with a qualified attorney licensed to practice law in the state.

Who is Allowed to Serve You Process in Florida

In Florida, the local sheriff’s office or a special process server must serve all legal processes to be valid. These professionals are responsible for ensuring that legal documents are delivered to the intended recipients in a lawful and timely manner. Many people opt to use a special process server to not occupy valuable law enforcement resources, because they have a large caseload and need frequent service, or because they require more frequent communication and updates than the local sheriff can offer.

Special process servers in Florida can be authorized to serve process in three ways:

  1. Becoming certified by the Florida Judicial Circuit, which governs the counties where they intend to work. Once certified by the judicial circuit, the special process server can serve process in any of the counties governed by the circuit. Ft. Myers and Lee County are governed by Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit, which also covers Charlotte, Collier, Glades, and Hendry counties.
  2. Receiving authorization from the county’s Sheriff (only authorizes the special process server to work in that one county)
  3. Being appointed by a judge (usually on a case-by-case basis)

A special process server in Florida must meet the requirements for process servers set forth by Florida law, which include:

  1. Be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Have no mental or legal disability.
  3. Be a permanent resident of the state.
  4. Submit to a background investigation that includes the right to obtain and review the criminal record of the applicant.
  5. Obtain and file with the application a certificate of good conduct that specifies there is no pending criminal case against the applicant and that there is no record of any felony conviction, nor a record of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or dishonesty, with respect to the applicant within the past 5 years.
  6. Submit to an examination testing the applicant’s knowledge of the laws and rules regarding the service of process. The content of the examination and the passing grade thereon, and the frequency and the location at which the examination is offered, must be prescribed by the sheriff. The examination must be offered at least once annually.
  7. Take an oath that the applicant will honestly, diligently, and faithfully exercise the duties of a special process server.

In addition, local sheriffs may create and enforce additional rules for certified process servers in the counties they serve.

What You Must Do After Being Served Process in Florida

After being served process in Florida, it is crucial to take immediate action. Ignoring the situation or failing to respond can have serious legal consequences. Here are the steps you should follow:

Read the Documents

Carefully review the documents you have been served, including any complaints, summonses, or subpoenas. Understand the nature of the legal action being taken against you and the deadlines for your response.

Seek Legal Advice

Consult an experienced attorney who specializes in the relevant area of law. An attorney can help you understand your rights, evaluate your options, and guide you through the legal process.

Respond within the Specified Timeframe

Florida’s law requires you to respond to legal actions within a specific timeframe. Failing to respond may result in a default judgment being entered against you, which can have serious consequences. Your attorney will assist you in preparing an appropriate response.

What Happens if You Ignore Process You’ve Been Served

Ignoring the process that has been served upon you is a risky approach with severe consequences. Here’s what can happen if you choose to ignore the documents:

Default Judgment

If you fail to respond within the required timeframe, the court may enter a default judgment against you. This means that the party initiating the legal action will likely receive a favorable judgment without your input or defense.

Warrants and Enforcement Actions

Ignoring the process can lead to warrants being issued for your arrest or other enforcement actions, such as wage garnishment or property liensuring. These actions can have a significant impact on your personal and financial well-being.

Loss of Rights and Remedies

Ignoring the process may result in losing the opportunity to present your side of the case, defend yourself, or assert any applicable legal remedies. By actively engaging in the legal process, you have a better chance of protecting your rights and achieving a favorable outcome.

Trust Accurate Serve® of Ft. Myers for Your Service of Process Needs

Navigating the complexities of the being served process in Florida requires professional expertise and reliable support. At Accurate Serve® of Ft. Myers, we understand the importance of efficient and accurate service of process. We offer our services in Ft. Myers, LaBelle, Naples, Port Charlotte, and the surrounding areas.

Our experienced process servers are well-versed in Florida’s legal requirements and will ensure that your documents are delivered promptly and in compliance with the law. By partnering with us, you can benefit from our expertise, timeliness, and professionalism. To get started with Accurate Serve® of Ft. Myers, contact us today at (239) 822-7299 or submit a work request online. Let us handle your service of process needs efficiently, allowing you to focus on addressing the legal matters at hand.