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Cook County Domestic Relations Division Courts will not be conducting in-person court appearances from March 17, 2020 until July 6, 2020, except in very limited circumstances. Most court business will be conducted electronically and/or telephonically.
The Clerk’s office will still be accepting e-filings while court is closed. As always, you must use e-filing during this period. The Clerk's Office is allowing in-person contact with their office by appointment only. Click on the link below to learn about scheduling in-person appointments with the Clerk's Office: http://www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org/NewWebsite/getattachment/MaintenanceMessages/Attention!/GeneralAppointmentOnly.pdf.aspx?lang=en-US
Here is some advice on what you can expect, and some answers to common questions that may arise during this time based on General Orders 2020 D 1 Through 2020 D 23. This Q&A is only meant for general guidance and is not a full explanation of General Orders 2020 D 1 through 23 or all administrative orders entered in Districts 2-6. For complete copies of all COVID-19 related orders, please see the Court’s website: http://www.cookcountycourt.org.
These are unprecedented times for all of us. It’s normal to have questions about what is happening and how court closures and orders will affect your family. 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.
I have a family law case in Cook County, and I have a court date coming up. What will happen?
-30 days from your current court date OR "the date as noticed by the clerk in accordance with
this order" OR a date not more than 30 days after July 6, 2020 whichever is later.
-What does "the date as noticed by the clerk in accordance with this order" mean? Judge
Evans's order also requires all judges to "review pending cases to determine a new date that
cases can be scheduled" so as judges perform this review the Clerk's Office will email notices
with the assigned court dates.
-By way of example only, we have received notices of court dates for our clients that range
from July 21st to November 4th.
For parenting time orders entered in Cook County, the following guidelines apply:
I need to file an emergency motion before 7/6/20. Can I?
I would like to file a non-emergency motion before 7/6/20. Can I?
Yes. You need to e-file your motion and then email a copy of your motion to all attorneys and self-represented parties involved in your case along with a copy of the court order in the link below. http://www.cookcountycourt.org/Portals/0/Domestic%20Relations%20Division/General%20Administrative%20Orders/GO%202020%20D13r.pdf?ver=2020-04-15-151227-803
If you e-file and email your motion properly, then the other party or parties in your case will automatically have 21 days to respond to your motion.
You will have 7 days to reply to the response(s) filed. Then you will be responsible for emailing your motion, all responses filed, and your reply to the Court Coordinator responsible for your case. The Court Coordinators' emails are listed in the court order.
The judge's staff will then either send you an order from the judge deciding your motion, send you an order setting your motion for a remote hearing, or send you an order setting a date for in-person hearing after the court resumes full operations. Judges may also request more information before deciding how to handle your motion.
Because the judge might make a decision based only on the documents provided, it may be more important than usual to consult with an attorney before proceeding. If you proceed without an attorney, please review the order carefully at each stage of the process to make sure you are completing each step as required.
I have an Emergency (or Interim) Order of Protection that is set to expire before 7/6/20, what do I do?
Can I enter an Agreed Order or have a prove-up (final court date for divorce) in my case before 7/6/20?
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 agreed orders is set out in this court order:
The process for entering final agreed orders is set out in this court order (this order does not include divorce judgments):
The process for finalizing divorces by agreement, including conducting the prove up, is set out in this court order:
The process for finalizing divorces by default (i.e. where the respondent has not filed an Appearance and Response in the time required), including conducting the prove up, is set out in this court order:
I have a Plenary Order of Protection that is set to expire before 7/6/20, and I need it to be extended, what do I do?
If your Plenary Order of Protection was entered at 555 W. Harrison:
If your Plenary Order of Protection was entered as part of a Domestic Relations case:
If my Plenary Order of Protection was entered as part of a Domestic Relations case, how do I know to which Court Coordinator I should email my motion?
I need to file an Appearance in my case while before 7/6/20, but I can’t afford it and was told to get a fee waiver from a judge. What do I do?
How do I know to which Court Coordinator I should email my fee waiver petition?
I am scheduled to attend mediation with Family Mediation Services (FMS) in person before 7/6/20. Should I still go?
I am scheduled to meet with a custody evaluator in person before 7/6/20. Should I still go?
I am scheduled to take my in-person parenting class (Focus). Should I still go?
I have a Temporary Restraining Order or Preliminary Injunction (not an Order of Protection) that is set to expire before 7/6/20. What will happen?
Appearances, responses, replies, discovery responses, and all other family law case-related deadlines have not changed as a result of the precautionary measures in place related to the novel coronavirus.
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 5/31/20
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