Do I have to serve my spouse divorce papers?

divorce papers

Many people filing or preparing to file for divorce might wonder about how to serve divorce papers to their spouse. The divorce process can be daunting without quality legal assistance. Read on to learn more about this step of the process and how a Morton Divorce Lawyer can help you today.

What are divorce papers?

Divorce papers are also known as divorce petitions or complaints. They are the legal documents that are filed at the very beginning of the divorce process. Divorce papers usually include the date of your marriage, the reason for divorce, settlement requests, and more. Serving your spouse the papers marks the beginning of the legal proceedings.

Who serves the divorce papers?

While some states have strict laws on who is allowed to serve the divorce papers, Illinois courts are pretty lenient on this. Most people end up hiring the sheriff to serve their papers. Some choose to hire a process server, which is just a third party whose job is to deliver legal documents. Either of these options requires a fee. If you hire a divorce attorney to represent you throughout the process, you can depend on your lawyer to figure out who will serve the papers. In most cases, papers must be served in order to start legal proceedings. The only scenario where these papers wouldn’t have to be served is if the spouses filed for divorce jointly. This is called joint simplified dissolution. However, there are certain rules in place for which couples qualify for a joint divorce. For example, couples who have children together are not allowed to file jointly.

What if I can’t find my spouse?

Divorce papers must be served, whether they are handed directly to your spouse or not. Illinois law allows papers to be left at their place of residence if they’re not there but a relative 13 or older is there that can be trusted with giving the papers to your spouse. If you have made multiple diligent attempts to serve your spouse the papers and are unable to locate them, the court will usually allow you to serve the papers by publication. This means you can post the divorce notice in the local newspaper or any other public place where your spouse must see it. Once your spouse receives the papers, they have to sign an acknowledgment of service which confirms that they received the correct documents, hence beginning the legal proceedings. If you’re looking for legal counseling from seasoned divorce attorneys, contact Butler Giruado & Meister, P.C. today for more information.

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