Service of process is an integral part of the legal process that legal assistants, paralegals, and attorneys must take very seriously. It involves giving legal documents to someone who is involved in a court case, and this is a crucial step that must be done correctly. Typically, the process server will locate the defendant and provide them with the necessary documents in person. Unfortunately, finding the defendant can be a challenging feat, especially if they’re avoiding service.
This is where skip tracing comes in – a unique approach used in the law industry to track the defendants who are avoiding them. Skip tracing is an intense investigative process that involves tracking someone hard to find by combing through databases, conducting interviews, and other forms of investigation. In this guide, we’ll highlight the best skip-tracking tools that will enable you to locate someone to have them served a service process without any delays.
Search Engines: Conducting searches on major search engines is an excellent place to start. Unlike years back, the internet today holds a wealth of information on individuals. As such, you can start by checking social media platforms and even the defendant’s professional networks like LinkedIn. These sites, coupled with search engine results, can give you a head start in locating someone. You may also dig deeper to find news articles, company affiliations, or online posts or discussions where the defendant has recently shared their situation.
Online People Search Sites: Online people search websites like Spokeo and Whitepages are reliable alternatives where you can trace people’s current location. These sites conduct extensive research on individuals’ data in a variety of locations, including public records, among other sources, which makes finding them much easier. To get accurate results, these sites often require some pertinent information about the person you’re searching for.
Public Records: Skip tracing is a time-consuming process that can be made more comfortable and faster by taking advantage of public records. Public records databases are a treasure trove of information about individuals that you can use to trace them. Using resources like voter information, land records, and utility bills with recent addresses can aid in a speedy skip trace. Similarly, criminal records, like arrest records and court records, can give you vital information about the defendant and possibly their whereabouts.
To obtain the necessary information for service execution, interviewing family members, former employers, neighbors, and post offices can be incredibly effective.
Professional Process Servers: Sometimes, even after applying all the above methods, finding the defendant is still a tough proposition. When all other options have been exhausted, seeking expert services from a professional process server familiar with skip-tracing approaches is an excellent move. Professional process servers have specialized training and tools to find individuals and may have access to databases and search engines that you don’t have.
Skip tracing can be a daunting task, yet it remains one of the most critical stages of any legal proceeding that requires service of process. That aside, locating the defendant is critical in winning a case, and ensuring that the litigation process runs smoothly. Thus, as a legal assistant, attorney, or paralegal, learning and applying the art of skip tracing can go a long way in ensuring the legal process runs seamlessly. By applying the above tips, you will be on your way to locating the defendant in no time!
At Lafayette Process Servers LLC, we encourage all to understand that we do not provide legal advice. This reference guide is NOT intended as a substitute for expert counsel which can be provided by an experienced lawyer who understands the local laws concerning your situation; if you require definitive guidance, get in touch with a qualified attorney right away! As process server regulations differ from state-to-state, make sure to have all accurate information before moving forward with anything.