Sarasota (941) 586-7897
Bradenton (941) 677-7208

How Long Does a Process Server Have to Serve Papers?

Now that you’ve filed your civil case with the appropriate Florida court, it’s time to serve the summons, complaint, and any other case documents on the case defendant(s). If you are calling witnesses in the case, you’ll also need to serve them with subpoenas. While defendants and witnesses are easy to find most of the time, it isn’t unheard of to need to serve someone who actively avoids being found. Those cases could drag on indefinitely if there were no deadlines for serving the process. However, here in Florida, the process must be served within a certain time limit.

In the state of Florida, the process in all cases must be served within 120 days of the initial filing.

What happens if the process is not served in time?

If the process for your case is not served within 120 days of the initial filing, a motion to dismiss without prejudice can be filed. The case may be refiled as long as the statute of limitations has not run out. If the statute of limitation has expired, there will likely be legal consequences for whoever didn’t ensure the process was promptly served.

Can I request more time to serve the process?

Yes. If you can convince a judge that you have a good reason why you weren’t able to get the defendants served within the 120 day deadline, then they may approve an extension on the time.

Why is there a deadline for the serving process?

There was a time in history when there was no deadline for the serving process in a case. This resulted in severely backlogged court schedules because months or even years would go by without defendants or witnesses being properly served. Since there was no deadline, no one had any urgency in getting the process where it needed to go. To remedy this, in the 1980s, Florida’s legislature passed laws requiring that cases be handled expeditiously. After several changes over the years, the state is currently settled at the 120 day deadline to serve process after a case is initially filed.

Prompt, Efficient Service of Process in Sarasota

At Accurate Serve® of Sarasota and Bradenton, we prioritize serving process for our clients in the quickest and most efficient way possible. If you’ve just filed your case and the clock is ticking, give us a call (941) 586-7897 or send us a work request online.