Anyone can file papers on their own, which is often referred to as “pro se.” If you’re not planning on getting a lawyer involved in your legal matters, you can fill out your papers online or in a courthouse and then act on your own behalf. Many landlords or property manager’s choose this route because they have to handle eviction notices with current and previous tenants. Some also choose to go this route when suing another individual or filing for a divorce. No matter what you are filing papers for, be sure to follow proper rules once your papers need to be served.
Here’s a handy list for having papers served in Illinois, and what information you need to have for your process server in order to assist in having your papers served efficiently.
Landlord or Property Manager: 5, 10 and 30 day notices to vacate or quit can technically be handled on your own, but if you’re nervous about an angry tenant, it’s best to have a process server take care of it for you. Give the process server as much information about your tenants that you can as this can aid in serving them or figuring out if they are evading service. Once you have filed a summons and complaint in forcible entry and detainer, you will need to have a process server handle this as it is a court document.
Summons and Petition for Dissolution of Marriage: For some individuals, these papers can be tricky to handle, especially if your spouse is not expecting these papers. As these are also official court documents, a process server is required for proper service. The more information given about your spouse the easier it can be for the server to handle the papers. If you live in the same home and do not want to be present when the papers are served, process servers are also willing to coordinate with you so that you are able to know when we’re about to attempt service.
Summons and Complaint: It’s best to employ the assistance of a lawyer if you’re heading down the route of an accident or large monetary payment. Some individuals will prepare and file a small claims summons and complaint when only wanting to collect a small sum from someone. Just like other papers that are filed with the court, you have to rely on your trusty process server to help get these papers served, and the more information that is given about the business or individual, the better. Be sure to include the name of the business owner or manager as the “care of” agent so that the process server is able to ask for someone who is legally allowed to accept court documents on behalf of the business. Knowing this for your process server will save you the potential issue of having to refile again if the business argues that the proper person was not served.
As you prepare to file papers on your own, be sure to complete all necessary documents and have a spare sheet of paper containing information that you can give your process server to aid in their attempts of service. Don’t forget to double check with your local circuit clerk to ensure that you have all of the necessary documents required to a quick and easy process of service.
By: Sarah Masa-Myers