13.3 Filing, Service and Assignment


(a) Filing, Required Documents

(i) Pre-Judgment Cases - All pre-judgment Domestic Relations cases shall be commenced by filing with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County a praecipe, petition or other pleading conforming to Illinois statutes and court rules, accompanied by the following:

  1. A Domestic Relations Cover Sheet;
  2. A Certificate of Dissolution or Invalidity of Marriage as required by 750 ILCS 5/707 in cases involving dissolution or invalidity of marriage; and
  3. The applicable filing fee as published by the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

(ii) Post-Judgment Cases - All post-judgment Domestic Relations cases shall be commenced by filing with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County a petition, motion or other pleading conforming to Illinois statutes and court rules and accompanied by the applicable filing fee, if any, as published by the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

(iii) Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage - The following forms, as approved by the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division, shall be filed to obtain a Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage:

  1. Joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage;
  2. Affidavit in Support of Joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage;
  3. Agreement for Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage; and
  4. Judgment for Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage.

Pursuant to 750 ILCS 5/457, the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County may provide to interested persons, upon request, the above forms and a brochure approved by the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division setting forth the procedures and requirements for obtaining a Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage.

(b) Service - Service of praecipes, petitions, motions and other pleadings shall be in accordance with the law governing same.

(c) Assignment - Original petitions shall be randomly assigned to either a team of judges or to an individual calendar judge. Each team shall be identified by letter, and the calendar of the preliminary judge shall bear the letter of the team. Each individual calendar shall be identified by number. Judicial teams and individual calendar judges shall each be responsible for all aspects of the cases assigned to them.

(i) Post-Judgment Cases - Post-judgment matters shall initially be assigned as follows:

a. Any post-judgment motion or petition arising from a judgment entered in a case assigned to a team of judges shall be assigned to the judge presently designated as that team’s post-judgment judge.

b. Any post-judgment motion or petition arising from a judgment entered in a case assigned to an individual calendar judge shall be assigned to that same individual calendar.

c. Any post-judgment motion or petition that cannot be assigned to a post-judgment judge pursuant to paragraphs (a) and (b) above shall be randomly assigned by Order of the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division.

(ii) Dismissed Cases - Any domestic relations case between the same parties that is re-filed after a dismissal shall be assigned to the same judicial calendar to which the prior case was assigned immediately before its dismissal. The parties and/or their attorneys shall inform the Office of the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division that the cause is a re-filed matter.

(d) Individual Calendars - Judges assigned to suburban Domestic Relations Division calendars are designated Individual Calendar Judges and shall hear all aspects of cases assigned to them, including pre-judgment, trial, and post-judgment matters.

(e) Commencement in and Transfer to Suburban Locations - Domestic Relations Division actions may be filed in and transferred to suburban municipal district court locations as follows:

(i) Original Filing - Original Domestic Relations cases may be filed at the designated suburban municipal district court locations if at least one of the parties resides within the geographical boundaries of the respective suburban district. These cases filed shall receive a suburban “D” case number designating the courthouse location by the municipal district number.

(ii) Default Prove-Ups - Default prove-ups pending on calendars in the Richard J. Daley Center, in which at least one of the parties resides within the geographical boundaries of the suburban district, may be transferred to such suburban municipal district court location for hearing upon motion by the petitioner.

(iii) Uncontested Causes - Uncontested causes pending on calendars in the Richard J. Daley Center, in which at least one of the parties resides within the geographical boundaries of the suburban district, may be transferred to such suburban municipal district court location for hearing upon agreement of the parties.

(iv) Contested Pre-Judgment Matters - Contested pre-judgment matters pending on calendars in the Richard J. Daley Center, where a party resides within the geographical boundaries of the suburban municipal district, may be transferred to such municipal district court location upon agreement of both parties and a finding of good cause by the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division.

(v) Post-Judgment - Where judgment in a case is entered in the Richard J. Daley Center, post-judgment matters may be transferred to the suburban municipal district court location in which a party resides upon agreement by the parties and a finding of good cause by the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division.

(vi) In the event a party moves to another court district during the pendency of any proceeding, the cause may be transferred to that district upon agreement of both parties and a finding of good cause by the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division.

(f) Removal to Daley Center - Domestic Relations Division actions may be transferred from suburban municipal district court locations to the Richard J. Daley Center as follows:

(i) Pre-Judgment Cases - Removal of a pre-judgment case filed within a suburban municipal district shall occur by the sole action of the Respondent when the Respondent files an appearance, together with the District Transfer form. The appearance fee in the suburban district shall be waived if Respondent provides proof that Respondent has filed a case in the Richard J. Daley Center. Upon a motion to consolidate where there is a case pending in the Richard J. Daley Center, the pre-judgment case shall be transferred from the suburban district to the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division to be consolidated with the prior pending matter in the Daley Center. Cases removed from the suburban municipal district pursuant to this paragraph shall be transferred to the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division in the Richard J. Daley Center for random assignment to a team or individual judicial calendar within the Richard J. Daley Center. Such a transfer shall not be deemed an exercise of statutory rights for Substitution of Judge.

(ii) Post-Judgment Cases - Post-judgment matters will remain in the suburban municipal district court to which the case is assigned unless objected to by one of the parties and a finding of good cause for removal is made by the judge presiding over the matter in the suburban municipal district in which the case was last pending. If neither party resides in the suburban municipal district when the post-judgment matter is filed, either party may have the matter removed, without a showing of good cause, to the Richard J. Daley Center or to such other district or jurisdiction as is appropriate under 750 ILCS 5/511. Cases removed from suburban calendars pursuant to this paragraph shall be transferred to the Presiding Judge for reassignment within the Domestic Relations Division in the Richard J. Daley Center. Such a transfer shall not be deemed an exercise of statutory rights for Substitution of Judge.

(g) Orders of Protection

(i) When a petition for an order of protection is filed in the Richard J. Daley Center or the Domestic Violence Division at 555 West Harrison Street and there is a domestic relations matter pending in a suburban municipal district, the order of protection shall be consolidated with the pending domestic relations matter after the hearing on an emergency order of protection.

(ii) When a petition for an order of protection is filed in a suburban district and there is a domestic relations matter pending in the Richard J. Daley Center, the order of protection shall be consolidated with the pending domestic relations matter after the hearing on an emergency order of protection.

(iii) Notwithstanding any contrary provisions in these Rules, if a petition for an order of protection is filed in a district or in the Domestic Violence Division at 555 West Harrison Street at any time, the judge presiding over the petition in the district or 555 West Harrison Street shall have the discretion to retain the petition for the order of protection in the district or at 555 West Harrison Street until the petition is adjudicated by entry of an interim or plenary order of protection or order of dismissal, regardless of the subsequent filing of a domestic relations matter in another district.

(iv) Nothing in this section shall prevent any petitioner from filing a petition for an emergency order of protection in accordance with the provisions of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act.

(h) Filing - Initial and subsequent pleadings for cases pending in the Richard J. Daley Center may be filed in the Office of the Clerk of the Court in any of the suburban municipal districts and will be transmitted by the Clerk to the Richard J. Daley Center or at any other office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Initial and subsequent pleadings for cases pending on a suburban district calendar shall be filed in the Office of the Clerk of the Court in the suburban municipal district where the case is pending or in the Richard J. Daley Center and the Clerk will transmit such pleading to the appropriate suburban municipal district location.

(i) Substitution of Judge - Nothing within this rule shall limit any party’s rights to substitution of judge pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/2-1001. However, any request granted for substitution of judge from a suburban municipal district calendar judge shall result in a transfer of the case to the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division for reassignment.

(j) Depositions Arising from Out of State Cases [Deleted by amendment, eff. Nov. 26, 2014.]

(k) Random Assignment - When an action is transferred to the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division pursuant to General Order 1.3 of the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Presiding Judge, or his/her designate, shall order the Clerk to randomly assign the case to an appropriate calendar unless the court finds that the matter should be assigned to a calendar where there is an existing related matter.

(l) Reassignment

(i) All cases that are transferred for reassignment, except for reassignment due to a substitution of judge, shall be first transferred directly to the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division, who shall then either order the Clerk to randomly assign the case or transfer the case to a different calendar.

(ii) Transfers within a team calendar shall be determined by the preliminary judge of the team calendar for further assignment.

(m) Out of County Transfer - When a party petitions the court to transfer a pending case to a different county, the judge to whom the case is assigned shall rule on the motion to transfer. If the motion is granted, the case shall be assigned to the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division or his/her designate for transfer to the appropriate jurisdiction. Before the case may be transferred, all applicable fees, including the fee to transfer the case, shall be paid or waived through the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court. The moving party shall pay all transfer fees unless otherwise determined by the court.

(n) Consolidation of Cases

(i) A motion to consolidate cases pending on separate calendars within the Domestic Relations Division shall be heard by the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division.

a. Cases consolidated pursuant to subparagraph (i) above shall be assigned to the calendar to which the case with the lowest docket number was assigned, unless determined otherwise by the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division. In the event a petition for an emergency order of protection is filed and a domestic relations matter is pending, the emergency order of protection shall be heard by the domestic relations judge before whom the domestic relations case is pending, unless impracticable. In that event, the emergency order of protection shall be heard by another domestic relations division judge or domestic violence judge or any other judge qualified to hear the matter, but shall be made returnable to the judge before whom the domestic relations case is currently pending.

b. Pending orders of protection shall be consolidated with the domestic relations case pending between the same parties, and the case shall be heard by the domestic relations calendar. In the event a petition for an order of protection is filed in a suburban municipal district or the Domestic Violence Division at 555 West Harrison Street before the filing of another Domestic Relations proceeding, the judge presiding over the petition in the suburban municipal district or the Domestic Violence Division shall have the discretion to retain the petition for an order of protection in the suburban district or Domestic Violence Division until the petition is adjudicated by entry of an interim or plenary order of protection or order of dismissal, regardless of the subsequent filing of another Domestic Relations proceeding in the Richard J. Daley Center or the removal to the Richard J. Daley Center by the respondent.

(ii) A motion to consolidate a case pending in the Domestic Relations Division with a case pending in any other division of the Circuit Court of Cook County shall be heard pursuant to General Order 12 of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

(o) Substitution of Judge

(i) Motions for Substitution of Judge, if granted from an individual calendar, preliminary calendar judge, or post-judgment calendar judge, or the recusal of an individual, preliminary or post-judgment calendar judge, shall result in the return of the case to the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division for random reassignment.

(ii) Motions for Substitution of Judge, if granted from a team calendar judge other than the preliminary judge, or the recusal of a team calendar judge other than the preliminary judge, shall result in the return of the case to the preliminary judge of the team calendar for further assignment within the team, unless there are no judges available, and in that case, to the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division for assignment.

(iii) If a substitution of judge is taken from a judge sitting in an individual calendar judge or preliminary calendar judge’s stead, the matter will be temporarily reassigned by the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division. If a substitution of judge is taken from a judge sitting in a team calendar judge’s stead, the matter will be temporarily reassigned by the preliminary judge. The temporary reassignment shall cease pending the return of the absent judge and returned to the regular call.

(iv) Matter of Right - A Motion for Substitution of Judge as of Right may only be presented before the judge to whom the case is currently assigned and pending.

a. If the judge regularly assigned to the case is absent, then the Motion shall be continued and heard when the judge returns.

b. In cases of emergency and only for good cause shown, the Motion for Substitution of Judge as of Right may be brought before the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division.

(v) For Cause - A Motion for Substitution of Judge for Cause, which properly alleges a basis for cause, shall be presented before the judge to whom the case is currently assigned. The judge to whom the case is currently assigned will transfer the case to the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division who will then assign the case to another judge in the Domestic Relations Division for hearing.

(p) Application to Sue as an Indigent Person

(i) Procedure

a. Petitions to proceed as an indigent person shall be presented and heard by the preliminary judge or the individual calendar judge to whom the case is assigned prior to assignment of trial.

b. Petitions to proceed as an indigent person shall be presented and heard by the trial judge if presented after assignment to trial.

c. Petitions to proceed as an indigent person shall be presented and heard by the post-judgment judge if presented after judgment is entered.

(ii) A person who is represented by a legal service provider as defined by 735 ILCS 5/5-105.5 shall be exempt from this rule.

(iii) Whenever any litigant files a Petition to Sue or Defend as an Indigent Person pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 298, that individual must personally appear before the court to present his or her petition. This requirement does not apply to legal service organizations providing legal services pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/5-105.5. This requirement does not apply to out of state litigants and incarcerated individuals filing their petitions pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 298 by mail.

(iv) Duration of Orders under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 298

a. Any order entered by a Domestic Relations Court upon an application to sue or defend as a poor person pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 298 shall only be effective for ninety (90) days prior to the filing of any Petition in the Domestic Relations Division.

b. In the event that any person does not file a Petition within ninety (90) days subsequent to the entry of an order pursuant to an application to sue or defend as a poor person under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 298, that person shall be required to fill out a new application to sue or defend as a poor person in the event ninety (90) days have expired since a prior application to sue or defend as a poor person was submitted to the Court.

(v) Procedure for giving Notice by Publication - A person applying to sue or defend as an indigent person may also apply to have the fee waived for giving Notice by Publication. Such fee waiver shall be presented to the judge before whom the case is assigned.

a. In the event the fee waiver is granted, the person shall fill out the appropriate fee waiver form and present it to any newspaper of general circulation.

b. If the case is in the suburban municipal district, the fee waiver form may be transmitted by facsimile to the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division at the Richard J. Daley Center.

(vi) Before entry of any judgment for dissolution, legal separation, declaration of invalidity of marriage, determination of custody, parentage or any other matter within the jurisdiction of a judge in this division, the court shall inquire as to whether the Petitioner or Respondent has been allowed to proceed as a poor person. Where the court determines that either party is able to bear the costs previously deferred, it shall assess such costs against the appropriate party and direct payment forthwith to the Clerk of Court, Sheriff, or other officer to whom fees or charges are due.