Using email service can save thousands in a divorce.

Well, things just got a bit easier in Illinois.  Effective January 1, 2013, Illinois Supreme Court Rule 11 now provides for email service of documents, where previously most lawyers (and spouses representing themselves) were stuck with snail-mail, faxes, or personal delivery.  What does this mean?

It will save spouses a ton of money in administration and mailing expenses to use regular mail or fax.  While I don’t charge for the faxing of documents, many attorneys do and this new rule may eliminate those expenses to clients that are already strapped with high attorney’s fees.  While this new rule is certainly taking us in the right direction, it doesn’t come without some problems.

First, unlike the Federal Court system, where everything is served electronically (you don’t have a choice), Illinois still requires that you seek the opponent’s permission to use email for the service of documents.  This is not dissimilar from the fax rule.  Divorce is so paper intensive with enough motions and discovery to choke a shredder, the difference between refusing your adversary to email things to you, as opposed to allowing it, should earn you and your client a motion to help pay for the other side’s attorney’s fees that go with the refusal.

So, currently in draft, is my form motion for my opponent to cover my client’s additional costs of litigation, which I place at about 10% of their total attorney’s fees for not permitting service by email.  If I send you an email asking for permission to use email service, the rejection of the idea will earn you a motion for fees, and for sanctions (for the attorney to pay), if the attorney didn’t first ask your client to consider the invitation – and the pros and cons that go with it.


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