Substituted Service Law and Legal Definition

Substituted service is service of legal papers on someone other than the named party when the named party is unable to be served personally. A court will generally allow substituted service when it is proven that all reasonable efforts in the circumstances have been made to effect personal service: and an alternate method of substituted service is proposed that will likely result in the matter coming to the attention of the party sought to be served. The order for substituted service may include instructions for service on relative, service by ordinary mail, postage pre-paid and where appropriate, registered mail, addressed to the party to be served at the last known address, or other manners of service.

Laws exist in many states allowing substituted service on the Secretary of State for an individual or for a business entity. However, service may not be made on the Secretary of State for a corporation with a valid and available registered agent.