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How to Serve Documents in Delaware: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Serve Documents in Delaware: A Comprehensive Guide

Properly serving legal documents is essential for the success of any legal proceeding. In Delaware, the process of serving documents is governed by specific rules and procedures that must be followed. This guide provides a step-by-step overview of how to serve documents in Delaware according to the state's regulations.


Step 1: Identify the Documents that Require Service

The first step is to identify the legal documents that need to be served. Common documents requiring service in Delaware include:

  1. Summons and complaints

  2. Subpoenas

  3. Petitions for dissolution of marriage (divorce)

  4. Child custody and support documents

  5. Eviction notices

  6. Small claims documents

Step 2: Determine the Appropriate Method of Service

In Delaware, there are several methods available for serving documents:

  1. Personal service: The most common method, personal service involves delivering the documents directly to the individual being served. This method is typically required for initiating lawsuits, such as serving a summons and complaint.

  2. Substitute service: If personal service cannot be completed after diligent attempts, substitute service may be allowed. This involves leaving the documents with a person of suitable age and discretion (usually at least 18 years old) at the recipient's residence or place of business, and mailing a copy to the recipient's last known address.

  3. Service by mail: Some documents, such as subpoenas, can be served via certified mail with return receipt requested. The recipient must sign for the mail, confirming receipt of the documents.

  4. Service by publication: In cases where the recipient cannot be located after diligent efforts, the court may allow service by publication. This involves publishing a legal notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the area where the recipient is believed to reside for a specified period.

Step 3: Choose a Qualified Process Server

In Delaware, the following individuals are authorized to serve legal documents:

  1. Sheriffs and their deputies

  2. Licensed private process servers

  3. Any individual who is at least 18 years old and not a party to the case

  4. It is recommended to use a licensed private process server or a sheriff to ensure that service is completed correctly and efficiently.

Step 4: Provide the Process Server with Necessary Information and Documents

Provide the process server with all necessary documents and information, including:

  1. Copies of the documents to be served

  2. The full name and physical address of the individual or entity being served

  3. A description or photograph of the recipient, if available

  4. Any specific instructions or deadlines related to the service

Step 5: Complete a Return of Service

Once the documents have been served, the process server must complete a Return of Service. This document certifies the date, time, and location of service, as well as the identity of the person served. The Return of Service must be signed and filed with the court as evidence of service.


Step 6: Monitor the Progress of Your Case

After the documents have been served, monitor the progress of your case and be prepared to take any necessary actions, such as responding to motions or attending hearings.


By following these steps and adhering to Delaware's rules and regulations, you can ensure that your legal documents are served correctly and efficiently. If you have any questions or concerns about serving documents in Delaware, it's always a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney or professional process server.


Served 123 LLC possesses comprehensive experience in handling service of process throughout all 50 states. We strictly adhere to local rules and are committed to your satisfaction. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns and let us demonstrate how we can be of assistance to you today.



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