Florida Service of Process Rules

Ryan Duffy
Author : Ryan Duffy
8 min read

Just like every other state, Florida has service of process rules specific to that state. Almost every state has similar rules, but each state may have details within their service of process of rules that are different from other states.

This is why if you have filed a lawsuit in a particular state, you have to know the nuances of the service of process in that state. If you are a lawyer or paralegal or legal professional that is responsible to make sure a summons and complaint is served properly, the best course of action is to use a professional service of process agency to make sure the legal papers are delivered to the defendant correctly and on time.

A professional service of process agency in Florida will know the intricate details of the service of process rules. This means that, as a lawyer or paralegal, you will know that the lawsuit just filed will be served properly and on time. If it’s not served properly and on time, the case could be dismissed. This could cause a significant delay in the case and potentially significant cost to your client.

Where to Find Florida’s Service of Process Rules

Just like every state, the Florida service of process rules are found in the state’s statutes. However, the rules outlined in the statute are contained in Florida’s Rules of Civil Procedure. The Florida Rules of Civil Procedure can be found online and in most law libraries, but can also be purchased in book form.

Specifically, Rule of Civil Procedure 1.070 dictates how lawsuits should be served upon defendants. Even though the rules may appear to be straight forward at first, be advised that there are some complications that may cause problems. This is why it is important to use a professional service agency for Florida service of process to make sure that your legal papers are served correctly and on time.

Who Can Serve Legal Papers

Unlike some states who allow anyone who is 18 years of age or older to serve legal papers, Florida requires that a law enforcement officer serve the summons and complaint. Usually, this is a county sheriff’s deputy. Once the summons and complaint is filed with the county court, it will then be transferred to the county sheriff’s office to then be served upon the defendant.

In some counties in Florida, the sheriff’s office maintains a list of professional process servers that can serve summons and complaints and other legal papers even though they are not sheriff deputies.

In some circumstances, the court can appoint a third party who is not associated with the case or any parties to the case to serve the legal papers,

Methods of Florida Service of Process

Just like in many other states, the preferred and most common method of service of process is the process server handing the legal papers directly to the named defendant. This is the most common way of accomplishing service of process in Florida and in most states. In Florida, this is accomplished most of the time by the county sheriff’s office where sheriff deputies will take the legal papers and track down the defendant and physically put the papers in the defendant’s hand.

Most of the time, the deputies will visit the defendant’s home or, if necessary, visit the defendant’s place of business. With personal, direct service of process, the professional process server can attest to handing off the legal papers to the defendant, whether the process server is a deputy or a professional service of process agency authorized by the county sheriff’s office.

Substitute Service of Process in Florida

If a process server cannot locate the defendant and serve them personally, there are other forms of service of process that are available. One method is to leave the legal papers with a person at the known address of the defendant. However, this person, under Florida law, has to be at least 15 years of age. Another option for substitute service is to serve the summons and complaint or other legal document at the defendant’s known place of business. However, there are strict guidelines if this method of service of process is to be used.

If this method is to be used, the professional service of process agent has to first inform the employer that an attempt to make service of process will be done at the employer’s address. An interesting aspect of Florida service of process law is that if an employer refuses to allow a professional service of process agent to serve legal papers on its property, then the employer could be fined $1,000.

As in most states, with Florida service of process laws, the individual defendant is the owner of the business where they are to be served, after two attempts to directly serve the defendant have failed, then the professional service of process agent and serve someone with managerial authority at the place of business.

Not on Sunday

Lawyers and paralegals should know that Florida is one of the few states that does not allow service of process on Sundays. This rule encompasses any type of contact with a defendant or any other person where legal papers are being served.

If a court learns that service of process is done on a Sunday, then the court will immediately invalidate that service and require the plaintiff to start at the beginning. If there is a time limit with the lawsuit such as a pending statute of limitation, this could jeopardize the lawsuit and get it dismissed entirely.

Rely on the Professionals

Service of process rules are detailed and nuanced. If a lawyer or paralegal does not know theserules and what is allowed and what is supposed to be done, the lawsuit they are responsible for might be dismissed.

But that worry and concern isn’t necessary if you engage the services of a professional Florida service of process agencies. From the moment we receive the assignment, we will make sure that the summons and complaint and the legal papers you need served on the defendant are served correctly and on time.

Previous article
Next article
Ryan Duffy
Ryan Duffy

Associate Attorney

Serve smarter with Proof

  • Vetted Servers
  • Nationwide Delivery
  • Verified Live Updates
  • See pricing for your state