Filing An Appearance In An Illinois Divorce

If you have been sued in an Illinois divorce case, a Sheriff deputy, process server or other authorized person could serve you in person with the Petition and Summons (the “divorce papers”). The Sheriff deputy or process server might serve you at your workplace or in front of neighbors. In fact, the Sheriff or process server might leave the complaint and Summons with a member of your household who is 13 years old or older. This means one of your children could be served the Illinois divorce papers. Being served in person with a lawsuit complaint, especially if there is no advanced notice, can be a stressful, embarrassing and unpleasant experience. But there is another option; a way to avoid this stress and embarrassment.

Illinois law requires that the defendant in a case be served notice of the complaint. There are a several rules regarding how defendants can be served the Summons and who can serve them. For example, the plaintiff cannot just email or mail the Summons to a defendant. Even certified mail is insufficient service of the Summons. Generally, a Sheriff deputy or process server must hand the papers to the defendant.

In most cases, the best option is to waive service and have an attorney file an Appearance on your behalf. This eliminates the need for a Sheriff to personally serve you with the divorce papers. Once an attorney files an Appearance, future notices in the divorce case are served upon the attorney.

Recent Post

Illinois Child Support: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating the complexities of child support in Illinois can be a daunting task for many parents. Whether you are going through a divorce or seeking to understand your obligations or entitlements, having accurate information and good legal counsel crucial. In this...

Order of Protection for Domestic Violence

Unfortunately, some Chicago divorces or Chicago child custody disputes involve domestic violence. When domestic violence, or the threat of domestic violence, occurs a victim may petition the court for an order of protection. An order of protection is a court order...

Key Differences Between Illinois Prenups and Post-nups

Illinois Premarital Agreements Most people have heard of premarital agreements (often referred to as "prenups").  The law defines prenups as contracts drafted and signed by a couple prior to their marriage.  Illinois has a statute, known as the Illinois Uniform...

Divorced Parents Disagree over Covid Vaccines

Now that Covid vaccines are approved for children that are 12 years of age and older, some Chicago divorced parents disagree over Covid vaccines. Specifically, some divorced parents disagree as to whether their children should receive the vaccine.  Some parents...


If you are looking for legal advice and representation with an Illinois divorce, schedule a consultation with experienced Chicago divorce attorney, Tanya Witt, at (312) 500-5400 or

Representing men and women in Chicago divorce and child custody cases.

This blog does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with an attorney regarding your specific case.