How To Get Your Spouse Served

Posted on May 9th, 2022 by Danielle Giannola

What does it mean to be served with divorce papers?

Recently, Olivia Wilde’s custody case with ex-husband Jason Sudeikis made headlines when she was served live on stage while presenting the trailer for her upcoming movie. All civil cases, including divorce or custody proceedings, require that the other party be properly served with the complaint, even if that party is a celebrity. Each state has its own specific laws as to how service may be properly completed. In Illinois, pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/201, civil actions, such as divorce or custody proceedings, require that the other party be served the summons and the complaint. The “summons” is a document which details to the other party what the case is and when they need to appear in court. Typically, the person who filed the complaint will hire a process server to serve the summons and complaint onto the other party. The process server will try to locate the other party, either at their home, work, or other location (such as a presentation for a movie trailer, in Olivia Wilde’s case) and serve the summons and complaint that have been filed against them in court.

What if my spouse is evading service or I don’t know where he or she lives?

What happens if your spouse is unable to be located? Can you still get divorced or a judgment for custody? If the process server is unable to locate your spouse, or your spouse has left the area and is unable to be found, then service can be completed through publication. Under 735 ILCS 5/2-206, if the person who needs to be served has gone out of Illinois, has concealed themselves within Illinois, or on due inquiry cannot be found, then service may be completed by publication. This is done by publishing a notice in a newspaper in the county where the action is pending. Giannola Legal LLC’s family law attorneys in Will County, Illinois, have extensive experience with spouses evading service and have successfully served those spouses through publication; if this sounds like your case, reach out to Giannola Legal LLC for a free consultation.

What happens after publication?

After the notice has been properly published and the timeframe for which the party was to appear has expired, then the party who failed to appear can be held in default. When a party is held in default it means that they never filed an appearance or pleading with the court, and the judge may now enter a judgment. 735 ILCS 25/2-1301(d). Once the other party is held in default then the judge can enter a Default Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage, divorcing the parties. The judge may also enter a Default Parental Allocation Judgment, detailing parenting time and decision-making responsibilities for the minor children.
If your spouse is telling you that he or she is refusing to get divorced, do not fret, simply call Giannola Legal LLC. Our experienced family law attorneys in Will County, Illinois, will get you divorced whether your spouse participates in the divorce or not.

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