Small Claims Deadlines
Unfortunately opening up a small claims case is not always a simple process, court employees are not always the most informative or helpful when doing so.
As a process server, the most common misconception received from the plaintiff is the deadline for service.
More often than not, individuals seem to believe the defendant needs to be served within five days of the hearing. This is a common misconception, because of misunderstood information from the court.
The defendants do not in fact need to be served five days before the hearing, but rather the proof of service needs to file within five days before the hearing. This means that the defendant needs to be served far sooner than five days prior to the hearing.
The actual deadline for service may vary due to certain circumstances. If you are serving in the same county in which you filed in, the defendant must be served by personal service fifteen days prior to the hearing, not including the date of said hearing, and served twenty-five days prior to the hearing for substitution service. If you are serving outside the county witch you filed in, you must have the defendant served by personal service twenty days before the hearing and thirty days for substitution service.
These are all crucial deadlines to know because if the defendant is not served properly by those deadlines, your case can be dismissed. Hiring a licensed process server and properly communicating the case information can ensure that these deadlines are effectively met.