Asked in Family Law for Illinois

Q: Court is trying summons for paternity. Live in Caribbean. No address here. Kid in US. Send money monthly. Not going back

Court is trying summons for paternity. Live in Caribbean. No address here. Kid in US. Send money monthly. Not going back anytime soon. Haven’t returned called to process server yet (sheriff). Truthfully, I moved on with my life. Mother of child was toxic. Was costing me my mental health. So I left. So If I do not return the call of the process server and just continue to send money monthly? Will that hurt me? If I call process server and tell them I live out of country, what will they do next?

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer

A: I recommend calling the process server and giving him your current whereabouts. If you don’t have a physical address, you should provide sufficient information as to where exactly you can be found in order to be served.

Why? Because if they don’t know where you are, you are going to be served by substitute service of process or maybe even publication. In that event, you may not receive actual notice, a judgment may be entered against you without your input or knowledge, and then months or even years from now your life might be adversely impacted by that judgment.

If they know exactly where you are because you call the process server and provide accurate information, they have to make a reasonable effort to serve you there. Many family law practitioners are not as knowledgeable about international service of process as other attorney who deal with that issue all the time.

This gives you bargaining power, for example to get credit for all the money you have been voluntarily sending each month toward any retroactive child support obligation that may be imposed upon you.

The political dynamic between the US and Caribbean nations is constantly changing. Years ago, when I began practicing law, it was extremely difficult to get financial information out of Caribbean banks and businesses. That is no longer the case. Don’t assume privacy protections will be the same 5 or 10 years from now. And don’t risk your future financial stability by ignoring the paternity suit now.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.