I've filled out the paperwork to start the child support process. When the mother did not receive it I tried delivering it to her, but she refused to accept the documents.
How can I properly serve her with child custody and child support papers to begin this case?
I am only licensed to practice law in Illinois so I cannot offer legal advice on divorce on the laws in other states. However, I can provide you with a general overview regarding child support laws.
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If you are filing an initial child custody or child support case, the opposing party will need to be personally served with the Petition that you have filed. The Circuit Clerk will need to issue a Summons for service on the opposing party.
If the opposing party lives in the county where the petition is filed, you or the Circuit Clerk will give the Summons to the sheriff to serve. If the opposing party does not reside in the county where you are filing, you will need to contact the sheriff in the county where the party resides about obtaining service.
If attempts at service do not work, you can serve by publication, which means that a notice will be published in the newspaper. Service by publication requires court approval.
Therefore, you will need to attempt to personally serve the opposing party before the court will allow service by publication. The notice must run in a newspaper that is published in the county where the lawsuit was filed, and the newspaper must be at least a weekly paper. The Circuit Clerk in the county where you file will be able to tell you which newspaper to contact for service by publication.
You should contact a qualified mens divorce attorney, such as the divorce lawyers for men at Cordell and Cordell, to discuss the specific facts of your case, ensure that your petition is properly filed, and that the opposing party is properly served.
If you are unable to afford an attorney, most courthouses have self-help desks or centers for pro se litigants.
Additionally, there may be a legal services agency in your area that can provide you with legal representation at little or no cost, depending on your income.