I was recently discussing serving papers with a client and they asked, "What happens if you don't serve them the first time?" I was happy to say that we usually get our serves on the first attempt :) but when someone is evading there are other means of Alternate Service of Process.

When there are problems serving, such as being unable to locate the party or when the party is evading service, the court can allow other methods for alternate service. The process server, when there is an unsuccessful attempt, should complete a Certificate or Affidavit of Non-Service and that can be taken to the court. 

Usually here in Arizona, it has been my experience that the court wants three unsuccessful attempts at the one location and they they will order a method of alternate service.

For instance, when there has been an inability to locate someone and we have researched the databases, done our field investigation, and had negative attempts at the parties "legal" address (this is usually considered the address on the driver's license as per state law you have to keep this current) then the court may allow service by publication.

This entails placing an ad in certain approved publications. In the ad, certain items related to the case must be mentioned, and it may be required to be published more than one time. Once this is done, the process server will take this publication information and file the Certificate or Affidavit with the court and it is considered served.

The other method for alternate service is sometimes used when people are evading service. I have had several cases, and one recently, where you know the folks are home and they just won't come to the door. They are not visible enough for a drop serve or to be identified. If you can substantiate the attempts and the facts to show the court they appear to be evading, the court may order service by posting.

 When allowed this method of service, I usually take the documents and place them in a big "flat" envelope and mark them "important legal documents" and then tape this envelope to the front door or the garage door. I recommend that the server attempt to determine which may be the entry point into the home - garage versus front door - as some of my friends don't use the front door and it may be placed where it is not in view of the garage and vice versa. Once this is taped to the door, I then take photos and ensure that the house number and all identifying information is in the picture. These photos are then placed in the Certificate that is filed with the court.

There are also other means and times for alternate service and we will save that for another post!

If you have questions about service of process or need a process server, please visit our process service page or call us at 480-588-0511.