Service of Process
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Summons, Subpoenas and Other Court Orders F.A.Q.s
CAN THE COOK COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE GIVE ME ADVICE?
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office does not provide legal advice. However, the Sheriff’s Office may provide information about its policies and procedures regarding frequent types of Service of Process. Where applicable, the Sheriff’s Office will include tips to improve efficiency for all users of the system. In the event that you have additional questions, you may wish to contact a licensed attorney or any of the recognized Legal Aid foundations for legal advice.
HOW DO I START MY SERVICE OF PROCESS?
The first step to starting your Service of Process begins at the Clerk of the Circuit Court. At most courthouses, the Clerk’s Office is located in one single office location. However, at the Richard J. Daley Center, there are a number of Clerk’s Offices depending on the nature of the case and the Division in which it needs to be filed. The Clerk of the Circuit Court can guide you to the correct location to begin the process.
Tip: Before visiting the Richard J. Daley Center, you may wish to visit the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County website at: http://www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org/. This website will help you to determine the correct location to start your Cook County filing, depending on the type of case you are filing. When you arrive at the Richard J. Daley Center, each of the elevator banks go to specific floors. You will save time if you know the exact floor and office location you need to visit in order to file your documents.
WHAT PAPERWORK WILL I NEED FOR THE COOK COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE TO PERFORM A SERVICE OF PROCESS?
This depends on the type of case you are filing. The Document Requirements page provides information about the paperwork needed, depending on the type of filing. You will need to provide paperwork for each named defendant. If you are serving more than one person, you need to multiply all of your paperwork (except the original) by that number. Example: If you want to serve John Doe, you will need to provide the original paperwork from the Clerk’s Office plus an additional copy of that paperwork. If you want to serve John Doe and Jane Doe, you will need to provide the original paperwork from the Clerk’s Office plus two copies of the paperwork.
Tip: At the time of filing, it is better to have more copies of the paperwork than not enough, as the lines may be long and obtaining photocopies, difficult and inconvenient. Click here to see the document requirements for the Sheriff’s Office, Civil Division.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST FOR SERVICE OF PROCESS?
The Fee for Service of Process is $60.00 per Service, per defendant.
Counter Service is Service within the Sheriff’s Civil Process Unit Office at the time of filing with the Sheriff’s Office. Counter Service is $50.00 per Service, per defendant.
The cost of Re-Filing an Order for Possession is $60.00. The Eviction Post Card Fee is $0.50, if needed. The total cost would then be $60.50.
Payment may be made by Check, Money Order, Credit Card, Debit Card or Pre-Paid Debit Card. Checks/Money Orders should be made payable to The Cook County Sheriff’s Office. Checks or Money Orders must be written for the exact amount. Cash payments are not accepted.
Temporary checks are not accepted.
Note: Credit Card, Debit Card and Pre-Paid Debit Card transactions will incur a standard processing fee.
WHAT IF MY CASE REQUIRES THE APPEARANCE OF THE DEFENDANT?
All summonses, subpoenas and court orders that require the Appearance of the defendant must include the Date, Time and Court. Also, keep in mind that each original summons, subpoena, court order etc. requires a Certification Seal from the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
Tip: Before leaving the Clerk’s Office, ensure that the original document bears a Certification Seal. You should also review the information pertaining to the Appearance, and ensure that the date, time and court are correct.
WHAT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT MY SERVICE OF PROCESS?
While the Sheriff’s Office cannot give legal advice, you can be informed as to its procedures and policies concerning the Service and execution of Civil Process. In order to obtain information specific to your case, you will need to provide the Case Number and the Sheriff’s Reference Number, which are printed on your receipt. You may wish to contact the Sheriff’s Office at any of the following:
- Richard J. Daley Center - (312) 603-3365 (9 am - 5 pm)
- Skokie Courthouse - (847) 470-7558 (9 am - 6 pm)
- Rolling Meadows Courthouse - (847) 818-2097 (9 am - 6 pm)
- Maywood Courthouse - (708) 865-6034 (9 am - 6 pm)
- Bridgeview Courthouse - (708) 974-6789 (9 am - 6 pm)
- Markham Courthouse -(708) 232-4429 (9 am - 6 pm)
Tip: Do not throw away your receipt as it contains information relevant to check the status of your Service and/or refunds. Be sure to have the Case Number and the Sheriff’s Reference Number on hand if you contact the Sheriff’s Office for information about your case.
WHAT CAN I DO TO FACILITATE THE PROCESS?
At the time of filing, you may be asked basic questions about the address and type of property in which the Defendant is to be served. You are not required to answer these questions, but they are being asked in order to increase the success rate of the Service of Process. You may wish to include as much information as possible for Service upon the defendant when you are filing with the Sheriff’s Office.
- The best time to serve Jane Doe is in the morning. She works every day from 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.
- The Sheriff’s Office can call the Residential Office/doorman/handy man etc. at 555-555-555 and they will let the Deputy into the building.
- The defendant has a history of evading Service of Process.
Tip 1: Be specific. Include the Apartment Number, Unit Number or Suite Number so that the Sheriff’s Office knows exactly where to go. Example: 110 E. Washington Ave., Unit 305.
Tip 2: Please be sure to indicate the correct Zip Code, street direction (for city addresses) and address for Service of Process. Providing the incorrect Zip Code, street direction or address can delay Service or result in the Sheriff’s Office being unable to complete Service.
Tip 3: The more information provided about the defendant or the type of property can increase the chance of successful Service of Process. Please include any information that may affect Officer Safety, such as known dangerous animals on the premises or suspected criminal behavior.
Tip 4: When possible, if you are serving someone in a gated community, please ensure that appropriate arrangements are made so as to facilitate entry to complete the Service of Process.
WHAT ARE THE SHERIFF’S HOURS FOR SERVICE OF PROCESS?
The Sheriff’s Office attempts Service of Process seven (7) days a week, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. For most Loop locations, Service will be attempted between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. For the rest of Cook County, the Sheriff’s Office will generally attempt Service between Noon and 10:00 p.m.
WHAT IF I WANT TO CANCEL MY SERVICE OF PROCESS?
For purposes of verification, attorneys must submit their request to cancel Service of Process on their office letterhead either in person or via Fax-Transmission to: (312) 603-5769.
A plaintiff must cancel their Service of Process in person and must bring a written letter requesting the cancellation of their Service of Process, present valid photo identification, present valid identification and a copy of your receipt from the Sheriff’s Office (not the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s receipt). If the person requesting the cancellation is not the attorney of record or the plaintiff, the Sheriff’s Office will NOT accept the cancellation.
HOW CAN I REQUEST A REFUND?
Any request for refund must be made in writing and sent to the Richard J. Daley Center, Civil Process Unit, 50 West Washington, Chicago IL, 60602. You must include a copy of your Driver’s License/State Identification and a copy of your receipt from the Sheriff’s Office (not the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s receipt). All refund requests will be made on a case-by-case basis. For more information regarding the Refund Policy, please contact the Sheriff’s Office at any of the phone numbers listed above.
Tip: Do not throw away your receipt as it contains information relevant to check the status of your Service and/or Refunds.
HOW CAN I CHECK THE STATUS OF MY SERVICE OF PROCESS?
On your receipt from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office there is a line: “Check on Service after: **/**/****;” telling you when you should check on your Service of Process. The top of the receipt also has the address and phone number of the Office in which you filed your Service of Process.
Tip: You should have the Sheriff’s Reference Number on hand before calling the Sheriff’s Office when checking on your Service of Process. Please refer to any of the phone numbers listed above.
WHAT ARE THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE CIVIL DIVISION GENERAL
TAX DEED FILING PROCEDURES?
Tax Deed Filing Procedures
- Each case MUST be clipped separately with the appropriate amount of Take Notices included.
- Postcards MUST be clipped with the matching Case Number, preferably in the order of the Sheriff Rider. Bulk postcards will NOT be accepted.
- Certified Mail labels MUST be clipped with the matching Case Number. The label must include all defendant address information as well as the Case Number.
- Tax Deed Petitions MUST be clipped with the matching Case Number. Please indicate on the Sheriff Rider which Services require a Tax Deed Petition.
- Secretary of State (“SOS”) checks MUST be clipped with the matching Case Number. SOS Affidavit of Compliance Forms must be filled out in duplicate and clipped with the matching Case Number. Please indicate which Services require the SOS check and the check amount on the Sheriff Rider.
Following these procedures will allow for a faster turnaround on your work. The Sheriff’s Office appreciates your attention to this matter. If you should have any questions or concerns, please contact the Tax Deed Department at 312-603-5356.
WHAT IS THE MAILING ADDRESS FOR THE SHERIFF’S CIVIL DIVISION?
Cook County Sheriff's Office
Civil Process Unit
Richard J. Daley Center
50 W. Washingtion
Chicago, IL 60602-3002