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60-303. Methods of service of process. (a) In general. Methods of service of process within this state, except service by publication as provided in K.S.A. 60-307, and amendments thereto, are described in this section. Methods of out-of-state service of process are described in K.S.A. 60-308, and amendments thereto.

(b) Who serves process. The sheriff of the county in which the action is filed must serve any process by any method authorized by this section, or as otherwise provided by law, unless a party, either personally or through an attorney, notifies the clerk that the party elects to undertake responsibility for service.

(c) Service by return receipt delivery. (1) Service of process may be made by return receipt delivery, which is effected by certified mail, priority mail, commercial courier service, overnight delivery service or other reliable personal delivery service to the party addressed, in each instance evidenced by a written or electronic receipt showing to whom delivered, the date of delivery, the address where delivered and the person or entity effecting delivery.

(2) The sheriff, party or party's attorney must give to the person or entity effecting delivery a copy of the process and petition or other document in a sealed envelope, with postage or other delivery fees prepaid, addressed to the person to be served in accordance with K.S.A. 60-304, and amendments thereto.

(3) Service of process is obtained under K.S.A. 60-203, and amendments thereto, upon the delivery of the sealed envelope.

(4) After service and return of the return receipt, the sheriff, party or party's attorney must execute and file a return of service. The return of service must state the nature of the process, to whom delivered, the date of delivery, the address where delivered and the person or entity effecting delivery. It must include a copy of the return receipt evidencing delivery.

(5) If the sealed envelope is returned with an endorsement showing refusal to accept delivery, the sheriff, party or the party's attorney may send a copy of the process and petition or other document by first-class mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the party to be served, or may elect other methods of service. If mailed, service is considered to be obtained three days after the mailing. Mailing must be evidenced by a certificate filed with the clerk. If the unopened envelope sent by first-class mail is returned as undelivered for any reason, service is not obtained and the sheriff, party or party's attorney must file an amended certificate with the clerk indicating nondelivery. Mere failure to claim the sealed envelope sent by return receipt delivery is not refusal of service within the meaning of this subsection.

(d) Personal and residence service. (1) A party may file with the clerk a written request for personal service or, in the case of service on an individual, for residence service.

(A) Personal service is effected by delivering or offering to deliver a copy of the process and petition or other document to the person to be served.

(B) Residence service on an individual is effected by leaving a copy of the process and petition or other document at the individual's dwelling or usual place of abode with someone of suitable age and discretion who resides there.

(C) If personal or residence service cannot be made on an individual, other than a minor or a disabled person, service is effected by leaving a copy of the process and petition or other document at the individual's dwelling or usual place of abode and mailing to the individual by first-class mail, postage prepaid, a notice that the copy has been left at the individual's dwelling or usual place of abode.

(2) When process is to be served under this subsection, the clerk must deliver sufficient copies of the process and petition or other document to the sheriff or the county where the process is to be served or, if requested, to a person appointed to serve process or to the requesting party's attorney.

(3) Service, levy and execution of all process under this subsection, including, but not limited to, writs of execution, orders of attachment, replevin orders, orders for delivery, writs of restitution and writs of assistance, must be made by a sheriff within the sheriff's county, by the sheriff's deputy, by an attorney admitted to the practice of law in Kansas, by a person licensed as a private detective pursuant to K.S.A. 75-7b01 et seq., and amendments thereto, or by a person appointed as a process server by a judge or clerk of the district court. A subpoena may also be served by any other person who is not a party and is at least 18 years of age. Process servers should be appointed freely and may be authorized either to serve process in a single case or in cases generally during a fixed period of time. An appointed process server, an authorized attorney or a licensed private detective may make the service anywhere in or outside this state and must be allowed the fees prescribed for the sheriff in K.S.A. 28-110, and amendments thereto. The court may allow other fees and costs. A person authorized under this subsection to serve, levy or execute process is considered an "officer" as that term is used in K.S.A. 60-706 and 60-2401, and amendments thereto.

(4) In all cases when the person to be served, or an agent authorized by the person to accept service of process, refuses to receive the process, the offer of the duly authorized process server to deliver the process, and the refusal, is sufficient service of process.

(e) Acknowledgment or appearance. An acknowledgment of service on the summons is equivalent to service. The voluntary appearance by a party is equivalent to service on the date of appearance.

(f) Other service methods for garnishments. In addition to other methods listed in this section, a person serving a garnishment process may serve the process by any of the following methods:

(1) First-class mail. Process may be sent to a person by first-class mail by placing a copy of the process and petition or other document to be served in an envelope addressed to the person to be served in accordance with K.S.A. 60-304, and amendments thereto, at the person's last known address. The envelope used for service must be addressed to the person in accordance with K.S.A. 60-304, and amendments thereto, and must contain adequate postage. The envelope must be sealed and placed in the United States mail. Service by first-class mail is complete when the envelope is placed in the mail unless it is returned undelivered.

(2) Telefacsimile communication. Process may be sent to a garnishee by telefacsimile communication at a telefacsimile number designated by the garnishee. Service is complete upon receipt of a confirmation generated by the transmitting machine.

(3) Internet electronic mail. Process may be sent to a garnishee by internet electronic mail at an internet electronic mail address designated by the garnishee and as provided by supreme court rules. Service is complete upon receipt of an electronic confirmation of delivery.

History: L. 1963, ch. 303, 60-303; L. 1976, ch. 251, § 14; L. 1982, ch. 244, § 1; L. 1986, ch. 215, § 14; L. 1990, ch. 202, § 4; L. 1992, ch. 290, § 1; L. 1994, ch. 273, § 12; L. 2000, ch. 175, § 3; L. 2009, ch. 43, § 1; L. 2010, ch. 135, § 147; July 1.

Source or prior law:

G.S. 1868, ch. 25, §§ 118, 119; G.S. 1868, ch. 80, §§ 63, 702; L. 1909, ch. 182, §§ 64, 728; R.S. 1923, 60-2506, 60-2510 through 60-2512.

Cross References to Related Sections:

Proof of service, see 60-312.

Service by deputy, see 60-2603.

Service of process on Fort Riley military reservation, see 60-613.

Service of process for limited actions, see 61-3003 et seq.

Law Review and Bar Journal References:

"42 U.S.C. § 659 and the Kansas Order of Garnishment," James R. Russell, 48 J.B.A.K. 37, 38 (1979).

"Service of Process by Certified Mail," Robert C. Casad, 59 J.K.B.A. No. 10, 25 (1990).

"Termination of Parental Rights and Service of Process: Follow the Rules or Suffer the Consequences," Robert M. Pitkin, J.K.T.L.A. Vol. XVI, No. 5, 7 (1993).

"A Practical Guide to Service of Process Abroad," Harold A. Houck, J.K.T.L.A. Vol. XX, No. 4, 14 (1997).

"Y2K: An Active Year for judicial legislation," Paul T. Davis, 69 J.K.B.A. No. 7, 12 (2000).

"Comparison of Federal and State Court Practice," David G. Seely, 75 J.K.B.A. No. 4, 28 (2006).

Attorney General's Opinions:

Service of process; summons; certified mail by sheriff; postage fees. 91-10.

Executions and orders of sale; writ of execution. 91-54.

Domestic violence matters; written policies adopted by law enforcement agencies; protection from abuse act. 92-34.

Service of process by certified mail; costs. 92-83, 92-83a.

Allowable fees for a private process server. 92-88.


Prior law cases, see G.S. 1949, 60-2506, 60-2510 to 60-2512 and the 1961 Supp. thereto.

1. G.S. 1949, 60-2506 considered in holding that sheriff of one county is not authorized to serve a summons which is directed to a sheriff of another county. Finn, Administratrix v. Veatch, 195 K. 410, 412, 407 P.2d 535. Rehearing reversing opinion reported in 195 K. 13, 403 P.2d 189.

2. Special process server must be authorized to make service of summons in state where defendant served. Hall v. Quivira Square Development Co., 9 K.A.2d 243, 247, 675 P.2d 931 (1984).

3. Under (c)(3) process servers may serve any process which only involves delivery of process not writs of execution or orders of attachment. Steele v. City of Wichita, 250 K. 524, 525, 529, 533, 826 P.2d 1380 (1992).

4. Cited in holding personal service requirement of notice of suspension of driver's license (8-1002(c)) mandatory; "substantial compliance" insufficient. Anderson v. Kansas Dept. of Revenue, 18 K.A.2d 347, 350, 853 P.2d 69 (1993).

5. Whether trial court lacked personal jurisdiction because out-of-state service by corporation was invalid examined. In re Marriage of Welliver, 254 K. 801, 803, 869 P.2d 653 (1994).

6. Appellant has duty to designate a record sufficient to establish claimed error. In re Marriage of Ruth, 32 K.A.2d 416, 83 P.3d 1248 (2004).

7. Service under subsection (d)(4) sufficient and applicable where defendant refused service under K.S.A. 8-1002. Gudenkauf v. Kansas Dept. of Revenue, 35 K.A.2d 682, 684, 133 P.3d 838 (2006).

8. Valid service of process where administrator was served summons and petition and executed the "Return on Service of Summons." Vorhees v. Baltazar, 283 K. 389, 411, 153 P.3d 1227 (2007).

9. Writ of assistance was not served in compliance with K.S.A. 60-303. Snider v. MidFirst Bank, 42 K.A.2d 265, 211 P.3d 179 (2009).

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