06 Dec 2019

What is an Agent for Service of Process?

What is an Agent for Service of Process?

Before you form a corporation or limited liability company, you’ll need to choose an agent for service of process.

The term sounds like complicated legal jargon, but the concept is really quite simple. An agent for service of process is a person who receives lawsuits and other documents on behalf of your business. Depending on the state where you live, the agent may also be referred to as a registered agent or statutory agent.

What Does “Service of Process” Mean?

If someone sues your business, he or she must notify the business that a lawsuit has been filed. Every state has laws that describe how that notice must occur. For example, in some states, a copy of the lawsuit must be personally delivered by process servers, while in other states it must be mailed by the court clerk. The person who delivers the lawsuit makes a record of the date of delivery, or “service,” and this determines your deadline for filing a response.

Delivery of the lawsuit is known as service of process. “Service of process” can also refer to delivery of other legal documents, such as subpoenas requiring you to testify in court.

Why Do I Need an Agent for Service of Process?

If someone sues your corporation or LLC, they need to know who to serve the lawsuit, or “process” upon. And as a business owner, you need to know that if your business is ever sued, you will actually receive notice of the lawsuit. You wouldn’t, for example, want a lawsuit delivered to a part-time teenage employee who’s about to quit.

For this reason, every state’s laws require each business entity to designate a person or company that will accept service of process for the business in that state.

You are required by law to have an agent for service of process in the state where your business was formed and in each additional state where your company is registered to do business.

What Does a Registered Agent for Service of Process Do?

The registered agent is responsible for accepting legal documents that are served on your business. The agent must then forward the documents to the appropriate person in your company.

The agent’s name and address will appear on your business entity’s public records. As a result, the agent may also receive notifications from the secretary of state and taxing authorities. The agent must also forward these notifications to you.

If the agent’s address changes, you must make sure the agent’s address information is updated with the state. Your business may be subject to penalties if it fails to maintain a registered agent.

Who Can Provide Registered Agent Services?

A registered agent must have a street address in the state where he or she is acting as agent – not just a P.O. box. Some states call this the “registered office.” The agent must be available at that address during normal business hours.

Most states allow anyone aged 18 or over to act as agent. You can choose an owner or employee of your business as your agent. You can also name an outside person such as a lawyer, or a business entity that provides registered agent services.

Who Should I Choose as My Registered Agent?

The registered agent has an important job, so the person or entity you select should be responsible and trustworthy. Although you can save money by acting as your own agent, there are instances where you might prefer to hire someone else to do the job. Here are some things to consider:

  • The agent must be available during normal business hours. If you are not usually in your office during the day, you should choose someone else as agent.
  • If you or one of your employees act as your agent, you may suffer the embarrassment of having a process server deliver court papers in front of your customers and employees.
  • The registered agent’s name and address appear in your corporation or LLC’s public records. If you have privacy concerns, you may prefer to appoint someone else as agent.
  • If you do business in more than one state, you will need an agent in each state. For consistency, you may find it easier to hire a registered agent company to provide this service in all states.

A registered agent is a necessary part of any business entity’s operating structure. By choosing a reliable agent, you ensure that you are promptly informed about legal actions and official correspondence so you can take the proper steps to respond.

30 Mar 2018

Legal steps to file for separation or divorce by mutual agreement in California

Legal steps to file for separation or divorce by mutual agreement in California

A legal separation or divorce is without any doubts a very stressful and difficult situation for many married couples in California, yet every year thousands of spouses seek the help of a “documents preparer” for assistance with their divorce case because they don’t know the necessary steps to prepare or serve their divorce papers.

Legal steps for filing for divorce in California

Let’s remember that California law allows for a “no fault” divorce, which means that in the state of California the spouse asking for a divorce doesn’t need to prove any wrongdoing by the other spouse. A typical divorce case could last 6 months from start to finish and you can consider yourself completely divorce and legally able to enter into a new marriage only when you receive the final divorce certificate carried out by the judge who proceeded your case.

The first step to carry out when an individual decides to file for divorce is to deliver the “Summons and Complaint” to the spouse. This will inform your spouse that you are asking for a divorce. It’s important to hire a legal courier service or service of process company or a trustworthy third party who can deliver the Summons because the party requesting the divorce is not allowed to serve these papers.

There are two ways to present your divorce case: by mutual agreement or contentious, the latter will be when the spouses don’t reach an agreement regarding some of their assets, child support, custody, etc. However, the divorce by mutual is very common and most people can carry out the entire divorce papers by themselves.

Let’s review some of the steps for filing for a divorce by mutual agreement:

The divorce proceedings start when you file your divorce with the local family court. The law requires the following documents to accompany the petition:

  • Certificate of marriage
  • Birth certificate of children (if any)
  • The proposal for an agreement
  • The final agreement reached between the couple.

It is very important to work with your spouse to find common ground and work together or even with the assistance of an attorney to create and finalize the proposal for agreement.  The proposal will dictate a lot of the responsibilities for each spouse towards each other and their children after the divorce, it will include some of the following terms:

  • Child custody and visitation: who will be the primary guardian of the children, who has rights to visitation as well as a visitation schedule.
  • Visitation and communication with their grandparents.
  • Who will be keeping the assets acquired during marriage such as home, cars, furniture, appliances, etc.
  • Who will be responsible for the debt acquired during the marriage.
  • Child support: usually through the monthly payment for the care, health, food and education of the children.
  • Spousal support: this usually occurs when the husband or wife have to make monthly payments for a certain number of years to the other spouse who has suffered an illness or in the case that this spouse has dedicated to the care of the home and children, without being able to take a paid job during their marriage.

After the agreement is complete and presented to the court in California, a judge will have ten days to notify the parties. If the agreement is not missing important information, the court may render a judgement of divorce and approve the agreement, making it an official order which both parties must abide after the divorce.

 

 

19 Jan 2018

How To Serve Divorce Papers

How To Serve Divorce Papers

If you filed the divorce papers, you must serve (give) copies of your court papers to your spouse but you need to make sure you follow the legal procedure to deliver all divorce paperwork.

There are special guidelines and strict deadlines on how to serve the divorce papers. Not following them may bring as a consequence a delay on your divorce or even a fine.

What kind of documents have to be delivered to your spouse?

The first papers that are to be delivered legally to your spouse are:

  • Summons and Complaint (usually called the “Summons”)
  • Any other paper or document that you will present in court in relation with your divorce

It’s very important that the summons be delivered to your spouse within 90 days or your divorce case will be dismissed.

Can I serve the papers myself?

No. There are several ways to do the service of process legally, but you may not be the person who delivers them. You can ask a family member, a friend or pay a courier service business to act as the server. The person must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Not involved in your divorce case

What does the person doing the service of process do?

The person who serves the divorce papers has to:

  • Give a copy of your court papers to your spouse personally
  • Fill out and sign the Proof of Service on the back of a copy of the citation form and give it to you

Can you send the divorce papers by mail?

Yes. You can send them by registered or certified mail and restrict the delivery to your spouse and delivery confirmation. Keep in mind this type of service will only work if your spouse accepts the delivery of the registered mail. We strongly advise to contact a legal courier service and ask about their service of process before you attempt to send the divorce papers via mail.

How do I make the delivery of the other papers presented in the court?

The only papers that are important to be delivered in person and that you can’t deliver yourself to your spouse are the divorce Summons and the first divorce papers. Once you have completed that part you can deliver any other Court documents in person or any other way you prefer, for example, you could:

  • Send a copy of the documents to the last known address of your spouse
  • Hand deliver the documents to your spouse in person
  • Deliver a copy of the documents to any adult who lives at your spouse’s place of residence
  • Hire a legal courier delivery service to deliver the documents for you

The person who delivers the papers has to fill out and sign a copy of the Proof of Delivery and indicate which documents were delivered.