About Domestic Relations Cases

The Domestic Relations Division hears dissolution of marriage (divorce), dissolution of civil union, legal separation, parentage, child support, parenting time and decision-making (formerly custody), division of financial assets and property, maintenance (formerly alimony), and non-parent visitation cases. The information below is designed to help litigants, attorneys, and the public understand the legal process and access tools and resources to help them navigate a lawsuit.

Filing a Case

The Clerk of the Circuit Court is responsible for accepting filings, which must be filed electronically. To learn more about electronic filing and to access a step-by-step guide, click here. For assistance with e-filing, you may contact the Clerk’s Office either by emailing eFilehelp@cookcountycourt.com or calling 312-603-5030.

Please note that certain groups and filings have been exempted from the electronic filing requirement. For more information and to learn whether you are exempted, click here.

For more information about the procedure for or costs associated with filing, please visit the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s website.

Assignment of Cases 

Upon filing a new action in the Domestic Relations Division, your case will be randomly assigned to an individual calendar judge or a judicial team as prescribed in the Local Court Rules.

Judicial teams are comprised of multiple judges operating as one judicial unit. If your case is assigned to a judicial team, it shall be administered by that team from commencement through post decree.

The presiding judge has designated one member of each judicial team as a preliminary judge. All other judges on the team are trial judges. Preliminary judges hear pre-trial matters and are responsible for monitoring case progress. Trial judges hear contested trials, default or stipulated prove ups, post-decree matters, and any other matter assigned to them. When the preliminary judge certifies that a case is ready for trial or prove up, or determines that a pre-trial matter requires a hearing, the case may be assigned to one of the available team trial judges. Post decree matters are assigned to trial judges in accordance with Local Court Rules 13.2 and 13.3 and DR General Administrative Order 2017-D1: Consolidation of the Cook County Domestic Relations Division

Individual calendar judges, conversely, operate independently to administer each aspect of your case from commencement through post decree. Individual calendar judges independently undertake each function of the case that the team calendars administer as a unit.

For more information about the general organization of the Division and assignment of cases, review Cook County Local Court Rules 13.2 and 13.3.