What to do if you have been served with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Invalidity of Marriage, Legal Separation, or Civil Union:
If you have been served by the Sheriff with a Summons and Petition for the above mentioned proceedings, you have 30 days from the time of service to file an Appearance. An Appearance is a legal document that says you are participating in the case and has your contact information. If you have not been served by the Sheriff, but you have received a mailing at your last known address and/or a Legal Notice has been placed in the local newspaper, you have until the date in the Notice to file your Appearance.
There is a fee for filing an Appearance. Please call the Clerk of the Circuit Court to obtain the correct amount of the fee charged, or the see the fee schedule at www.lakecountycircuitclerk.org. If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee, you may complete an Application for Waiver of Court Fees.
Once the Appearance or limited scope Appearance is e-filed, you must mail it to the other party or the party's attorney if that part is represented by counsel. Prepare a Notice of Filing stating how and when you sent the Appearance, then e-file that Notice of Filing with the Circuit Court Clerk's Office.
After you file your Appearance, you must prepare an Answer to the Petition, or otherwise respond to the Petition, in which you answer each and every numbered paragraph of the Petition by admitting or denying the allegations in that specific paragraph. Like the Appearance, you must prepare a Notice of Filing of your Answer, e-file both of these documents with the Circuit Court Clerk's Office, and send copies of both the Answer or responsive pleading and the Notice of Filing to the other party or counsel for the other party.