Service of Process in Texas
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If you have been sued for a debt in Texas you have to be properly served with the lawsuit. The purpose of this of course is for the Plaintiff to give you notice that you have been sued. Service is accomplished when you receive the citation and petition by hand delivery or another authorized means.
There is no requirement that you sign for the papers but process servers may ask you to do this. Usually the process server will simply ask if you are (insert name of Defendant) and if you answer yes, they will usually hand you the documents. They should tell you that it is a lawsuit and that you are being served. The server will then complete a “return of citation” and swear that he or she handed you the documents. The return of citation will be filed with the court.
Service by Certified Mail and by Fax is also permitted if done by an authorized person. The typical means for service of credit card lawsuit in Texas is by hand delivery. Some creditors will send you a “courtesy copy” of the lawsuit by regular mail and ask that you call them. This does not constitute proper service.
Service of process is usually done by a sheriff, constable, or other person authorized by law to serve process in Texas. Private process servers are usually licensed by the Supreme Court and authorized to serve legal documents.
If the process server is unable to locate you, the creditor can obtain an order for substituted service under TRCP 106. The server will need to convince the court that multiple attempts were made to serve you and they were not successful. If granted, the judge will allow the server to leave the documents with anyone over the age of 16 years of age at your residence or, more often, simply leave it affixed to your front door or on your door step.
Unfortunately, many people are considered “served” when they never received the lawsuit. This happens usually when the process server serves the wrong person or leaves the lawsuit at a previous address of the Defendant. The creditor often receives a default judgment and if this happens to you, you will need to take action to try and undo the judgment.
If you are served with the lawsuit, you will need to file a written answer prior to the due date. For more information on this please see my article on How to Answer a Summons in Texas.
If you have been sued by a credit card company or a debt purchaser in please call WestonLegal for a FREE consultation. We have defended thousands of debt collection lawsuits.