The Law Firm of Franks & Rechenberg, P.C.

Email Service of Legal Documents in Divorce Cases


The Law of Email Service

Effective on July 1st 2017, email service is required and the death bell has rung for service by fax. Faxing documents is no longer the proper method for serving them. In addition, attorneys must now include an email address when they themselves can be served with documents on all their pleadings and court appearances.

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 11 has been revise to mandate email service of documents that are filed with the Court. Facsimile service is now completely eliminated.

According to new Rule 11(c), documents must be served via email unless exceptions apply. They may be attached to the email, or a link in the body of the email can be included that allows the recipient to download the documents from a service provider.  If however, the email is rejected or returned as undeliverable, then the party sending the documents must ensure that the documents are actually delivered by other means.

One major question raised concerning the new revised rule is about how specific discovery issues should be handled.  Most document production is voluminous, while others involve information that may only be viewable with proprietary software, such as MRI’s or surveillance video. While the revised rule does allow for other types of service under “extraordinary circumstances” it does not define them. This could simply mean that if a document is found to be impossible to email, it triggers these other methods of service.  Alternatively, because the rule specifically applies to those documents filed with the court, it may not even apply to discovery whatsoever.

Certificates of Service should be revised to ensure they indicate email service. Make certain to archive your emails, they can be a valuable resource as to proof of service.