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Legal Information

Court System Basics

Does the court have personal jurisdiction if the other party was served court papers in the state?

After you file a court case, the other party has to be served with a copy of the papers that you filed and be notified of the upcoming court date. If you can have the defendant personally served with the court papers in the state where you filed the case, this will generally give the court personal jurisdiction to hear your court case. “Personal service” means someone other than you or another party in the court case hands the notice and the petition/complaint or other necessary documents directly to the person you are trying to sue. For example, if you know that the other party is coming to your state to visit family, attend a concert, or go to a business meeting, you can arrange to have him/her personally served with the court papers while s/he is in the state.

Note: In some states, service must be done by a sheriff or another certified person known as a process server. You may want to speak with a lawyer in your state to see if there are any special service rules that might apply in your situation.