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What is Divorce By Publication?

Posted on in Divorce

Schaumburg Divorce Lawyers

Marriage is a union that brings two people together. In order to get married in Illinois, two adults age 18 years or older have to sign a marriage license at the county clerk’s office. After presenting proper identification and paying a fee, you can be legally married. It takes two consenting adults to get married, but when it comes to divorce, if one partner cannot be located, service by publication can be issued to relieve the abandoned partner.

When getting a divorce, the first step is to file a petition to end the marriage with the court. This involves paperwork you file with your local clerk’s office. Your petition will be assigned a case number and a judge, and a summons will be issued. The summons is what the other spouse receives to initiate the divorce process. There are five ways to provide this notice:

  • Sheriff’s service
  • Voluntary acceptance
  • Service by a special process server 
  • Service by special order of the court
  • Service by publication

What is a Publication Divorce?

Only when your spouse cannot be found will a judge agree to serve them by publication. A good faith effort is required by the petitioner to locate their spouse. This will often happen when a partner disappears and leaves no forwarding address and therefore cannot be served papers in person. Any efforts to find your spouse must be documented to show the court, and you will later sign an affidavit stating your intentions. A considerable effort in finding your spouse includes searching directories, contacting friends or family members, checking for a forwarding address at the post office, and reaching out to former employers or landlords. 

If the court believes you have made a fair effort to find your spouse, then a judge will issue an order for publication. This will go in a newspaper of general circulation, and Illinois requires the publication to run once a week for three weeks. A notice will also be mailed to your spouse's last known address within 10 days of the first publication. Your spouse has 30 days to respond to the summons before the relief of divorce will be granted.

An order for publication will run in the legal postings of the classified section in most newspapers. The rate for publication depends on the newspapers that are adjudicated for legal notices in the county required. In most cases, there will either be a line or inch rate per day or a flat fee for divorce notices. You will be asked for the signed order from the judge in order to post your summons. 

Contact a Schaumburg Divorce Attorney

If you are ready to start the divorce process but cannot locate your spouse, discuss your needs with an experienced Arlington Heights divorce attorney who understands the requirements for a summons by publication. Call our office at 847-995-9999 to set up a free consultation.




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