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In re DAR. C. and DAS. C., Minors (The People of the State of Illinois, Appellee, v. Daryl Crockett, Appellant).
Supreme Court of Illinois.
Filed October 27, 2011.
In re Detention of Hardin, 238 Ill. 2d 33, 39 (2010). As this court has recognized, “[i]f a court lacks either subject matter jurisdiction over the matter or personal jurisdiction over the parties, any order entered in the matter is void ab initio and, thus, may be attacked at any time.” In re M.W., 232 Ill. 2d 408, 414 (2009); see also Johnston v. City of Bloomington, 77 Ill. 2d 108, 112 (1979) (when subject matter jurisdiction or personal jurisdiction is lacking “the proceedings are a nullity and no rights are created by them and they may be declared void when collaterally attacked”). When a trial court fails to obtain personal jurisdiction over a litigant, it is deprived of the authority or power to impose judgment against the litigant. In re M.W., 232 Ill. 2d at 428.
Relevant to this appeal, personal jurisdiction may be imposed on a litigant by effective service of summons. In re M.W., 232 Ill. 2d at 426. Providing effective service is a means of protecting an individual’s right to due process by allowing for proper notification of interested individuals and an opportunity to be heard. Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank & Trust Co., 339 U.S. 306 (1950). Because the termination of parental rights implicates a fundamental liberty interest, the procedures employed must comply with due process. In re M.H., 196 Ill. 2d 356, 363 (2001) (citing Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 753 (1982)). Ultimately, inadequate service of summons or process divests the trial court of personal jurisdiction. In re Antwan L., 368 Ill. App. 3d 1119, 1128 (2006).