Acceptance of Service Agreement Law and Legal Definition

An Acceptance of Service Agreement (“Agreement”) is an agreement by a defendant or his/her attorney in a certain action to accept a complaint or other petition like divorce papers without using the service of a sheriff or process server. The summons and other documents are mailed to the party to be served, along with a request to sign and return a form of acceptance of service, or acknowledgment of service. The Agreement must be in writing or there is no proof that it happened. In most jurisdictions there is a form entitled "receipt and acknowledgment of acceptance of service" or similar language which must be signed, dated and sent back to the attorney who sent the complaint or petition. Acceptance of service means that the served party agrees to acknowledge receipt of the complaint or petition without the need to engage a process server. Failure to accept service voluntarily means that the party to be served will be liable for the cost of effecting formal service, even if the plaintiff's action is otherwise unsuccessful. In the U.S. federal court, and in many state courts, voluntary acceptance of service entitles the defendant more time to file an answer.