I’ve Been Served with Divorce Papers. Now What?

So, you just got served with Illinois divorce papers or a child custody action. Now what? Whether you suspected this legal action might happen, once you’ve been served there is no time to waste taking necessary steps to protect yourself.

First of all, do not ignore the fact that you have been served. Be forewarned! If you have been served with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or a Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities you only have so much time to alert the court that you intend to be involved in the legal proceedings. The way you do this by filing your “appearance” in the matter which means filing and Answering the Petition for Dissolution (or Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

It’s important to understand that once you have notice of the legal action, the filing party can usually move forward without your involvement even if you fail to file your appearance in the matter.

How Do Family Law Court Proceedings Begin?

Who Serves an Illinois Summons and Petition in a Family Law Case?

What Information can be found in the Summons?

What if I Do Not Want to Accept the Summons?

In Illinois, “Service of Process” is considered completed when the process server hands the Summons and the filed legal document to the other party. As stated above, service is usually attempted at a party’s place of employment or last known address.

And if you’re not home, that may not be a problem for the process server. if someone you live with IS home. If you live with someone over the age of thirteen (13), you need to be aware that Service of Process can also be completed when the sheriff or process server hands the Summons and filed legal document to anyone who lives in your home as long as the recipient is over the age of 13.

Alternate Methods for Service of Process

What is a Default Order?

Do not ignore the fact that you have been served. The clock is now ticking.

If you do not file your Appearance and Answer by the established deadline, the filing party can seek relief by from the Court by making a motion requesting that the Court enter a Default Judgment. This means that the filing party could be granted the relief requested in the Petition without you even participating in the case. Unless you have no opinion about the relief requested, it is not a good idea to ignore the case as the Court will enter orders whether you agree or not.

Can a Default Order be Vacated in Illinois Divorce or Family Law Case?

In the end, the decision to vacate a default order is really up to the Judge. And understand, they are rarely impressed when they hear that a court proceeding was ignored.

Be Proactive and Participate in Your Case

If you’ve been served with divorce papers or any other type of family law-related documents, do not hesitate to get trusted input from an experienced divorce and family law attorney. The clock is ticking and your future could be negatively impacted if you wait too long to respond appropriately. Contact Anderson & Boback when you’re facing a family law-related matter or have questions or concerns about being served with divorce papers.

THIS ARTICLE WAS PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED AT: https://illinoislawforyou.com/illinois-divorce/served-divorce-papers-now-what/

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