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The Cook County Domestic Relations Division will not be conducting in-person court appearances until further notice, except as specifically ordered by the judge hearing your case. Most court business will be conducted electronically and/or telephonically.
As always, you must use e-filing during this period. You may visit the Clerk's Office for assistance with e-filing or to obtain a waiver of the e-filing requirement.
Below are some answers to common questions that may arise during this time based on the Cook County Domestic Relations Division administrative orders issued as a result of the pandemic. This Q&A is only meant for general guidance and is not a full explanation of all administrative orders entered in Districts 1-6. For complete copies of all COVID-19 related orders, please see the Court’s website: https://www.cookcountycourt.org
We hope that this information helps to answer some of your questions. Please feel free to contact our office at 312-588-3345 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation.
For parenting time orders entered in Cook County, the following guidelines apply:
I need to file an emergency motion. Can I?
I would like to file a non-emergency motion and set a court date to present the motion. How to I do that?
All motions must be e-filed, unless you receive an e-filing waiver at the courthouse. You can e-file at the courthouse if you need assistance. After e-filing your motion, the rest of the process depends on the "calendar" to which your case is assigned.
Each judge is responsible for a "calendar" of cases. You can find which calendar your case is assigned to by looking your case up on the Clerk's Office's online docket, which is here: https://www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org/courtcasesearch/DocketSearch.aspx
You can find your judge's name and contact information on the court's Zoom list if you know your case's assigned calendar. The court's Zoom contact list is here:
Once you know which calendar your case is assigned to, review the following order and follow the required steps for your calendar: https://www.cookcountycourt.org/Portals/0/Domestic%20Relations%20Division/General%20Administrative%20Orders/21/2021_10%20AO%202020%20D%2013%20Amended.pdf?ver=lakq_WOyYkHF3H_lnhRdUw%3d%3d
Most judges require a court date to be set by the Clerk's Office as part of the e-filing process. If your calendar follows this requirement, then you need to e-file your motion, request a court date as the last step of the e-filing process, e-file a Notice of Motion stating the court date, time, and Zoom login information, and then send the filed motion and notice of motion to the other party (or to the party's attorney if there is one) and to the child's representative or GAL (if one has been appointed in your case).
If your case is on a calendar that does not require the Clerk's Office to set a court date, then you will need to email the filed motion to the other party (or the other party's attorney if there is one) and to the child's representative or GAL (if one has been appointed in your case) along with a copy of the administrative order (above). The other party will automatically get 21 days to respond, and you will have 7 days to reply if you want. After the 28 days for response and reply passes, you must email your motion, the other party's response, and your reply to the judge's clerk (see the Zoom contact list, above) and the other party (or the other party's attorney if there is one) and to the child's representative or GAL (if applicable)). You should receive an email from the judge's staff in a few days either providing a court order with the judge's decision or setting a date and time for you to appear on Zoom or in person for hearing on your motion.
If you choose to proceed without an attorney, please review the administrative order carefully at each stage of the process to make sure you are completing the steps as required.
Can I enter an Agreed Order or have a prove-up (final court date for divorce) in my case?
Yes. You can submit temporary agreed orders (e.g. temporary parenting time schedules), final agreed orders (e.g. Allocation Agreement), and conduct an oral prove up to finalize your divorce during this time, however, it is recommend that you contact a lawyer to assist you, as the process is different from when court is operating normally. Additionally, it is important to consult with an attorney because temporary orders can set a tone or pattern for your case that can be difficult to change and final orders will permanently determine your legal rights and obligations in most areas and can be difficult to change even in areas where modification is allowed (e.g. child support and parenting time).
The process for entering temporary and permanent agreed orders is set out in this court order:
The process for finalizing divorces by agreement or by default, including conducting the prove up, is set out in this court order:
I need to file an Appearance in my case, but I can’t afford it and was told to get a fee waiver from a judge. What do I do?
Most Cook County Domestic Relations court appearances are being conducted using Zoom. Unless a judge has specifically ordered otherwise in your case, or you see a notice to the contrary on the Cook County Court website, your should expect to appear for your court date on Zoom. The Cook County Court Zoom instructions are here: https://www.cookcountycourt.org/Portals/0/SRL-Zoom_Instructions.pdf
The list of the judges' Zoom contact information is here: https://www.cookcountycourt.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=Fu49Z1_boW0%3d&portalid=0
When participating in court on Zoom, you should:
The Domestic Relations Division administrative order related to the conduct of Zoom court is here:
Unless the judge instructs otherwise, either you or your opposing party will need to draft a proposed order stating the judge's decision for that court date. If there is an attorney involved in the case, the judge will usually ask the attorney to draft the proposed order. Whoever drafts the proposed order should send it to the other party (and the child's representative or GAL if there is one) for the other party's review and approval. The review process is to ensure that the proposed order accurately states what the judge decided. Once both parties agree that the order is accurate or a day or two has passed without a response from the reviewing party, the person who drafted the proposed order should email it to the judge's clerk at the email address included in the Zoom contact list (above) and copy the other party and the child's representative or GAL (if applicable) on the email. The court staff will process the proposed order, and you should receive a signed and stamped copy of the court order by email within a few days.
If you are currently representing yourself, it is important that you check your email (including your spam or junk folder) regularly during this time. Here are some examples of things that could happen based on the new procedures put in place in response to the COVID-19 crisis:
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Last updated 11/24/21
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