Service of Process in Florida | 561.699.0399

Service of Process in Florida
Service of Process in Florida

A lawsuit has been filed against you in Florida. What is the next step? In all lawsuits, the Defendant(s) must be properly notified of the pending lawsuit in order to file an Answer or other responsive pleading.

Florida Statutes Chapter 48 states, in great detail, the process for serving Defendants, including the process, who may serve, who may be served, substituted service and many others. Service of Process is very important because a lawsuit can be fundamentally attacked if service is improper.

The Plaintiff has the option of contacting the local Sheriff to serve the Complaint or the Plaintiff can contact a private process server. Personal service is defined as service on the individual Defendant. The Sheriff or process server must submit a Return of Service affidavit stating the name and physical characteristics of the individual served. Substituted service of process is when the named Defendant is not able to be served (i.e. away from the house, at work) but another individual who is 15 years of age or older and lives at the premises can be served in lieu of the Defendant.

If you are unable to personally serve the Defendant or by substituted service, you must constructively serve the Defendant by publishing the Notice of Action/Notice of Publication in a local newspaper of common circulation for a specified period of weeks. This process allows the general population at large to be on notice of a pending lawsuit.

If you are trying to serve a corporation in Florida, it is very important to look on is the State of Florida’s Division of Corporation’s official website.

The clock does not begin to run for the Defendant until he/she is served. Therefore, although a complaint happens to be filed, it is useless unless served.


With rules, there are sometimes exceptions. When it comes to Florida Residential Evictions, Florida Commercial Evictions, Mobile Home Evictions, Recreational Vehicle Parks, and Unlawful Detainer Proceedings, Service of Process by Posting is sometimes an option.

48.183Service of process in action for possession of premises

(1) In an action for possession of any residential premises, including those under chapters 83, 723, and 513, or nonresidential premises, if the tenant cannot be found in the county or there is no person 15 years of age or older residing at the tenant’s usual place of abode in the county after at least two attempts to obtain service as provided above in this subsection, summons may be served by attaching a copy to a conspicuous place on the property described in the complaint or summons. The minimum time delay between the two attempts to obtain service shall be 6 hours. Nothing herein shall be construed as prohibiting service of process on a tenant as is otherwise provided on defendants in civil cases.

Have you been served with a Florida lawsuit?  Are you looking to serve a lawsuit in Florida?  The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC, represents both Plaintiffs and Defendants in civil actions throughout the State of Florida.  Call us today @ 561.699.0399 or stop by our Lantana office @ 814 W. Lantana Rd. Suite 1, Lantana, Florida 33462. We are located in Lantana, we represents clients Palm Beach County and throughout the great State of Florida.