Can someone be ‘served’ to appear in a court hearing regarding small claims court, child custody hearings/child support hearings, or any such hearing not related to criminal indictments when you don’t know the person’s physical residence or place of employment?



What constitutes valid service of process is governed by the jurisdiction’s rules of civil procedure and case law interpreting those rules. Typically, it’s Rule 4 of the Civil Rules of Procedure. In most jurisdictions, there are procedures in place to serve by publication (usually through a newspaper notice) or other alternative means, with court approval. However, before the court will grant a motion for service by alternative means, the requesting party usually has to show that attempt(s) have been made to serve the defendant by normal means. Because service of process is an important and sometimes complex area of the law, you may be well served speaking with an attorney.