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What does “service” or “service of process” mean?

“Service” or “service of process” means the formal delivery of a legal document, such as a complaint or petition, to ensure that the opposing party is aware of the action and is given an opportunity to respond.

  • “Personal service” means the actual delivery of the notice to the person to whom it is directed and is usually required to start of most law suits. Personal service is typically performed by a sheriff or process server.
  • “Service by publication” is allowed under certain circumstances, usually when a defendant cannot be located.

Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure 1.302 and 1.305-.315 set forth various means of service. Using the correct form of service is very important and can be difficult to determine. You should talk to an attorney if you have questions about the proper means of service of your court papers.

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