How do I Complete a Citation to Discover Assets?

How do I Complete a Citation to Discover Assets?

Last updated: August 2005

A Citation to Discover Assets is used to find out where the defendant's assets are located. To complete a Citation to Discover Assets, follow these steps:

Complete the Forms

Complete the Citation to Discover Assets and the Citation Notice. Click on the title below to go to an interview that will help you prepare the Citation to Discover Assets and Citation Notice.

Judgment Collection Program for Cook County

Choose a return date when you and the defendant will return to court for the Citation Hearing. You must choose a date between 21 and 40 days from the time you file the Citation with the Clerk of the Court. You cannot choose a date that is on a weekend or a court holiday.

Go to the Court Clerk’s Office

Bring the completed, signed and notarized Citation and the completed Citation Notice, along with 3 extra copies of each form, to the Clerk of the Circuit Court in Room 602 of the Daley Center. Give the Clerk the original and copies of the forms.

Pay the Clerk the required fee. You may be able to get the filing fee waived by filing an Affidavit to Sue or Defend as an Indigent Person. Click on the title below for a guide to how to waive your filing fees and other court costs:

How to Waive Your Court Costs

The Clerk will then stamp the original and all copies of the Citation and Citation Notice and give the copies back to you.

Serve the Citation to Discover Assets

Trying to collect a judgment happens during “Supplementary Proceedings.” Supplementary proceedings have different rules for serving the defendant.

In supplementary proceedings, you need to serve the defendant with the Citation to Discover Assets and Citation Notice using one of the methods below. The Clerk encourages plaintiffs to use the sheriff to serve the defendant. However, you may use a special process server if you do not trust the sheriff to serve the defendant or the sheriff cannot locate the defendant.

Make sure you have 3 stamped copies of the Citation to Discover Assets and Citation Notice, no matter which method you choose:

Use the Sheriff: Go to the Sheriff’s Civil Process Office in room 701 of the Daley Center to have the sheriff serve the defendant. You must pay a fee to do this. You may get the fee waived if you file an Affidavit to Sue or Defend as an Indigent Person. Give the sheriff 2 stamped copies of the Citation and Citation Notice. The sheriff will serve the defendant and return proof of service to the court.

Use a Special Process Server: In supplementary proceedings, you do not have to get a judge to appoint a special process server. You can have anyone over the age of 18 who is not a party to the lawsuit become a special process server.

Have the special process server serve copies of the Citation and the Citation Notice on the defendant. The special process server must then fill out the proof of service section on page 2 of the Citation, called an “Affidavit of Service,” and sign it in the presence of a notary. You will need to bring the copy of the Citation and the Citation Notice, with the Affidavit of Service section signed and completed, to the court on the return date.

The sheriff and the special process server may serve the citation on the defendant personally at their home or at another location, or give the citation to someone who lives with the defendant who is at least 13 years old. If the person serving the citation must leave the citation with someone other than the defendant, you may want to also mail the defendant service using the method below.

Send by Certified Mail: If your judgment is for less than $5,000, you may serve the defendant by mailing stamped copies of the Citation and the Citation Notice to the defendant using pre-paid registered mail, with return receipt requested and delivery to limited addressee only (this is also called “restricted delivery). If you send service by mail, you must fill out and sign the “Certificate of Mailing by Judgment Creditor” section at the bottom of page 2 of the Citation Notice.

The defendant should sign the return receipt and mail it back to you. If you do not get a signed return receipt back from the defendant, the court will not consider the defendant as having been served.

If you get a signed return receipt, bring it with you to court on the return date as proof of service. 

Go to Court on the Return Date

Go to courtroom 1401 in the Daley Center on the return date listed on the Citation to Discover Assets for the Citation Hearing. Check in with the courtroom clerk who sits to the judge’s left. Ask the courtroom clerk if you need to get a standing order.

Bring into court with you the blank form called Answer to Citation Proceeding (Form) and any and all documents concerning your case, including any Affidavits of Service or return receipts.

Pay Attention to What is Happening in the Courtroom

While you are in court, several things may occur that you should be prepared for. Read the following to be ready in case one of these situations happen during your court proceeding.

If the court or the Clerk tells you that there is no proof that the defendant was served, and you have proof, such as an Affidavit of Service or return receipt, give it to the clerk.

If the court or the Clerk tells you that the defendant could not be found by the sheriff, you must start the process all over. Do the following:

  • Fill out new Citation to Discover Assets and Citation Notice forms using the program link above.
  • Write the word "alias" in front of the words "Citation to Discover Assets”
  • Have the Clerk of the Circuit Court issue the form in Room 602 of the Daley Center (the fee will be a lesser fee than you originally paid
  • Have defendant served again, using the same methods as described above

If the clerk says "Rule" or "Rule to Show Cause," that means that the defendant was served but did not come to court. If that happens, the judge will issue a Rule to Show Cause form to you to fill out and serve on the defendant. At that time, the Judge will also assign a date on which you must return to court.

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