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Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
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Frequently Asked Questions

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Question Answer
What is a Notice of Appeal? A Notice of Appeal is a document filed with the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court. It serves as notice to all litigants in a civil case that one of the parties is asking for a review of the lower courts decision. If the appeal is successful, the matter may be remanded to the trial court for additional proceedings including a new trial. The required information for a Notice of Appeal is detailed in Illinois Supreme Court Rule 303. Forms are available at the Customer Service Counter located in Room 801 of the Daley Center.
Where can I find a copy of the Illinois Supreme Court Rules? These rules may be found in the Law Library on the 29th floor of the Daley Center, 50 West Washington. Each suburban district office has a Law Library as well.
What kinds of appeals are not covered by these rules?
Where do I file a Notice of Appeal? Civil Notices of Appeal are filed with the Civil Appeals Division in Room 801 of the Daley Center, 50 West Washington, Chicago, IL. Notices of Appeal filed in the districts are forwarded to the Civil Appeals Division. The party who filed the Notice of Appeal is responsible for obtaining a file stamp on the face of the document.
How much does it cost to file a Notice of Appeal?
How do I request that a record on appeal be prepared? When filing a Notice of Appeal, an applicant is given a “Request to Prepare a Record on Appeal” form. A deposit of $110.00, to be applied against the final fee due, is required. The request form is filed in Room 801 of the Daley Center. The form is also available on the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s website.
How can I get the Circuit Court fees waived? The fees can be waived if a judge approves your application to sue as a poor person also known as a 298 Petition.  (Form CCG N689)
How do I file my reports of proceedings with the Clerk’s Office?
Who is responsible for filing the record on appeal? The party who filed Notice of Appeal is responsible for filing the record on appeal either with the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Supreme Court Building, Springfield, IL or to the Clerk of the Appellate Court, 160 N. LaSalle Street, 14th floor, Chicago, IL.
How can I stop an eviction from taking place? Once you have filed a Notice of Appeal, you must motion before the judge a Motion to Stay Execution of Judgment. If the judge allows a stay of judgment you must present that order to the sheriff. (Stay of Execution of Judgment SCR 305)
How does a person join the child support program? You may request an application for the child support enforcement program service called the IV-D (4-D) program by calling the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) at 1-800-447-4278. If you have an existing child support pay order you may call the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Child Support Division at 312-345-4188 Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm.
If I wanted to increase my child support payments, what should I do? As an IV-D program participant, the Illinois Department of Public Aid re-evaluates cases for possible increases and decreases every 36 months.
What happens if I move to a new address? Will the U.S. Post Office forward my child support checks? Even if you have already notified Illinois Department of Public Aid's Division of Child Enforcement you must notify the Clerk's Office so that we can send a change of address affidavit. To request an affidavit call (312) 345-4071 or (312) 345-4072.
Who is responsible for the Tax Intercept letter that I receive every October? If you have questions regarding this matter, please contact the Illinois Department of Public Aid Division of Child Support Enforcement at 1-800-447-4278.
Why do I receive a bill for $36.00 every January? The State of Illinois requires all Clerks of the Circuit Courts to collect a fee of $36 ($3 each month) for processing services associated with child support.
How much do I owe on my child support case? If you have questions regarding this matter, please contact the Illinois Department of Public Aid at 1-800-447-4278.
My child has reached the age of majority (18) and has graduated from High School. How do I stop the child support payments? Since 1994 termination dates are listed on the order. However, when it is not, a motion for a court date must be filed whereby a judge can determine if the child support obligation may be discontinued. A motion can be filed at 28 North Clark Street, in room 200.
What Judge is my case assigned to? Cases are assigned according to the geographical area of residency of the parent(s).
When is the next court date in my case? Cases are usually scheduled once a month.
How do I obtain a copy of my child's case file? A parent must present a valid picture or state I.D. to the Office of the Clerk. The Office will verify from the information provided on the I.D. whether the person requesting the file is the parent. Once verification is made, the parent will be given a copy of the case file after paying the required copying fee.
My child has been adopted without my consent. What forms do I need to regain custody? A parent should seek the advice of an attorney regarding this matter.
How do I appeal my case? A Notice of Appeal must be filed within 30 days of the court's decision. An attorney should be consulted regarding the procedures in filing an appeal.
I am the attorney for a parent. How do I obtain a certified copy of the file? If you have filed an attorney appearance on behalf of the parent, you will be able to receive a copy of the file. If no appearance has been filed, you must present a written statement from the parent requesting that you be given a copy of the file. The statement must either include a photocopy of a picture driver's license or comparable state issued I.D., or a notarized signature.
I am unemployed. Can the copying costs of my child's case file be waived for me? The copying fees can only be waived if a court order is entered declaring the parent to be indigent.
How can I be brought to the next court hearing and get information on my child's case? You or your attorney must contact the Office of the State's Attorney to petition a "Writ of Habeas Corpus". The petition will bring you into court.
I am a grandparent of a child who has a case at your court. Can I review the file because I would like guardianship of my grandchild? No. According to the Juvenile Court Act of Illinois, grandparents are not listed as parties who may review the case file of a minor, unless otherwise ordered by the court
My judge is treating me unfairly. How can I have my case transferred before another judge? You or your attorney must file a written petition for a "Substitution of Judge". You should consult an attorney regarding the procedures in filing the petition.
How can I find out if a mortgage foreclosure is filed on my property? When a foreclosure is filed, the mortgage holder is served with a summons. The mortgage holder can also call the Chancery Division at (312) 603-5133 and find out through a name search.
Once a foreclosure is filed, can I sell my property? Yes. The property can be sold until the end of the redemption period, which is stated in the Judgment of Foreclosure. However, sometimes it can still be sold after the redemption period with the court's permission.
If my property is sold as a result of a mortgage foreclosure for more than the amount owed to the bank, what happens to the extra money? This is called surplus funds. The bank is only entitled to what is owed them and their fees. The surplus, minus any liens due, belongs to you. If there are surplus funds, you should be notified by the foreclosing attorneys for the bank. The court will determine if the Clerk's Office, Chancery Division or Sheriff's Office will hold the funds.
How do I claim a surplus? To claim a surplus, the case must be motioned up before the Presiding Judge of the Chancery Division to obtain a court order to disburse funds. The order must then be submitted to the office holding the surplus funds. This office will then process the order, which takes approximately ten business days and the surplus funds will be released.
As a tenant, how can I find out if the property I live in is in foreclosure? Tenants can call the Chancery Division at (312) 603-5133 to have a name search done of the owner. If you do not know the owner's name, it can be obtained from the Recorder of Deed's Office.
As a tenant living in a property in foreclosure, is there any remedy available to me? Unfortunately, no, however, tenants can file for an extension of time to allow for relocation. The tenants must motion up the case before the assigned judge and request the extension.
What is the procedure for a name change?

Name changes are heard before a judge the day they are filed. The judge will grant, deny or continue the name change.

  • For adult name changes – the name change must be published in a legal publication for five weeks and filed in court on the date the publication expires
  • For child name changes – if both parents are present in court, no publication is needed. If only one parent is present, then this parent must prove to the court that the other parent is aware of the child’s name being changed. If one parent cannot be located, then the name change must be published for five weeks and the name changed filed in court on the date the publication expires.
  • For family name changes – publish the family name change in a legal publication for five weeks and file the family name change (all names on one petition) in court on the date the publication expires.
Why does a name change have to be published? Publishing a name change is intended to combat petitioners looking to avoid creditors or acting under other fraudulent motives.
How much does a name change cost? The filing fee for a name change is $294.00. The publication fee varies depending on the publication used.
Does a legal name change have to be filed when taking a spouse's name or resuming use of a maiden name following a dissolution of marriage/civil union?
  • In the case of marriage, no. A copy of your marriage license will suffice.
  • In the case of a dissolution, usually the use of the maiden name is granted in the decree. If so, a certified copy of the decree is the only documentation needed. If not, the party in question has two years to amend the decree. After two years, the party in question must go through the name change procedure.
Can I access Cook County court records or the electronic docket online?

At this time, we provide access to the Civil and Law Division Court Calls via the Internet. We have also added  a searchable database of summary or "Case Snapshot" information for Civil Division, Law Division and Domestic Relations cases that are either pending or have had some activity in the past six months. In the near future, we hope to expand this searchable database to include other major divisions.

In addition, Public Access Terminals are available in the Clerk’s office of every division and court location to look up information about court cases at no charge. Finally, copies of all current, non-impounded court records may be obtained at any Clerk’s office location, for the statutory fee. See: How do I get copies of case records?

The Clerk’s office continually strives to make our services as accessible and convenient as possible to the citizens we serve, and in a cost-efficient manner. We intend to continue exploring ways to deliver these services and to enhance access to the court, through technology-related projects.  Long range plans include making the entire Clerk’s Information System ("CIS") available via the Internet.

How do I request access to adoption records? Adoption records are impounded by statute and are not available for public inspection without a court order. You can take a look at our access to Cook County Adoption Records page for information on how to request access.
Where do I get a birth/death/marriage certificate? Birth, death and marriage certificates are maintained by the County Clerk's Office.
What is the status of my child support payment? You can find out the status of your Child Support Payment through our Automated Hotline Telephone Number. Information about this service and about assistance in collecting child support is located on our Child Support Information page.
How can I find out if a case was filed? You can contact the division that would have jurisdiction over the case and request a check of the electronic docket or you can visit any one of our locations to search our electronic docket on your own. Contact information for each division is located here.
How far back do your records go? This depends on what type of case you are looking for. Our oldest records date back to the Chicago fire, but many types of records are only held for a certain number of years. Our Archives Department can help you locate older records.
Can you help me with genealogical research? Our Archives Department can help you locate older court records and certain older naturalization records.
I have a legal situation and I need to know what I should do, can you assist me? Our office is not allowed to provide legal advice. You can check our Finding an Attorney section for information on a variety of resources for obtaining qualified legal assistance.
Where can I find local court rules on-line?

The following http://www.cookcountycourt.org/rules/index.html includes access to the following:

  • The Rules and General Orders of the Circuit Court of Cook County, which govern the structure and processes of the Circuit Court.
  • Selected General Administrative Rules and Orders of the court.
  • General Administrative Rules and Orders, which typically address routine administrative issues of the court.
Where can I get records regarding real property in Cook County?

You should direct you inquiry to the Cook County Recorder of Deeds' office. This office located at 118 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60602 with satellite offices in the suburban courthouses. The telephone number is 312-603-5050. The Recorder's Office maintains all records regarding real property transfers and liens, etc. Further information on this office may be found on-line at http://www.ccrd.info/CCRD/il031/index.jsp.

Who can I contact for juror information? The Clerk’s office does not handle jurors or juror assignment. Please contact the
Office of Jury Commissioners which is located in Room 1000 of the Daley
Center.  The contact information is as follows:

Richard J. Daley Center
50 W. Washington Street
Room 1000
Chicago, Illinois 60602

Telephone Number: (312) 603-JURY [5879]
Fax Number: (312) 603-5460
TDD/TTY: (312) 603-6109
E-Mail: Jadmin@ccm.net

Questions may also be answered by visiting the following the following: http://www.cookcountycourt.org/jury/index.html.

Where can I go for post decree assistance in a Domestic Relations case? A Domestic Relations judge may refer a pro se litigant (person representing himself or herself in court) to the Post Decree Assistance Desk if a legal problem occurs after his or her divorce judgment is entered. The Post Decree Assistance Desk is open only one day a week. Volunteer attorneys provide pro se litigants with a free one-time only legal consultation and self-help packets on legal issues. The Post Decree Assistance Desk volunteer attorneys do not represent desk clients in court. The Post Decree Assistance Desk is sponsored by the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Chicago Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Foundation.


Post Decree Assistance Desk


Circuit Court of Cook County
Domestic Relations Division
Richard J. Daley Center, 30th Floor
50 West Washington Street
Chicago, Illinois 60602
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Thursday only

I want to file a lawsuit, what forms do I need and where can I get them?

To file a lawsuit, you must complete Complaint and Summons forms. These forms are available from the Civil Division of the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County (Clerk’s Office) in Room 601 in the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60602.

Also, you will have to serve the Defendant either through the Sheriff’s Office or through Certified Mail. If you qualify to serve by Certified Mail (See Special Note below for qualifications), also obtain a Certified Mail form (See “How do I serve the Defendant” below for information on serving the Defendant).

You may download the Complaint and Summons forms from this website but must pick up the Certified Mail form from Room 601 in the Richard J. Daley Center. Complete the forms.

SPECIAL NOTE:  CERTIFIED MAIL

a)       If your claim exceeds $10,000, service may not be made by Certified Mail.

b)       You may not make service through Certified Mail to a Post Office Box -- Certified Mail must be directed to an actual address, not a P.O. Box.

Will I have to pay a filing fee and if so for what amount?

Yes, you will be required to pay a filing fee. The fee will vary depending on the amount of your claim. You may pick up a schedule of filing fees at the Customer Service Counter in the Civil Division in Room 601 in the Richard J. Daley Center, or may download the schedule from this website.

Will I have to pay for service by Certified Mail?

Yes, you will be required to pay the Clerk’s Office a nominal fee to serve by Certified Mail.  NOTE: Certified Mail fee is subject to charge by the U.S. Postal Service. You may only choose to serve by Certified Mail if your case is under $10,000.

What must I do after I have completed the Complaint, Summons and Certified Mail forms (if your claim is less than $10,000 and you choose to serve by Certified Mail)?

After you have completed the Complaint, Summons and Certified Mail forms (if you qualify to and serve by Certified Mail), get a Return Date from the blackboard in 601 or 602 of the Richard J. Daley Center. You will need to put a Return Date on both the Complaint and Summons forms. The Return Date is important because this is the date by which the party you are suing (the Defendant) must respond. 

Will I (the Plaintiff) need to come to Court on the Return Date?

No.  The Plaintiff does not need to come to court on the Return Date unless you are filing a Forcible Detainer (Eviction), Replevin, Detinue or Revival of Judgment case. The Return Date is only important for the Defendant – the person or party you are suing -- because the Defendant must respond to the lawsuit on or before the Return Date. Think of the Return Date as a “Response Date” by which the Defendant must respond to your lawsuit.

Note: The return date is an actual court date when filing the following types of lawsuits: Forcible Detainer (eviction), Replevin, Detinue or Revival of Judgment.

What must I do next after I get a Return Date?

Pay filing fee & get a case number.  Take your completed Complaint, Summons and Certified Mail  forms (if serving by Certified Mail) to the cashier at Station 3 in Room 602 of the Richard J. Daley Center to pay the proper filing and Certified Mail fees. You will then be assigned a case number (for example,  “04 M1 123456”).

NOTE:  If serving by Certified Mail leave the Complaint, Summons, and Certified Mail forms with the cashier. (You may only serve by Certified Mail if the case is under $10,000).

What must I do next after I pay the filing and/or Certified Mailing fee and get a case number?

After you have paid your filing fee and/or Certified Mail fee (if serving by Certified Mail) and have been issued a case number, you must serve the Defendant with a Complaint and Summons.  It is important that the Defendant is served with your lawsuit (a copy of the Complaint and Summons) within 30 days of the date you filed the lawsuit. Once the Defendant is served with your lawsuit, by law, he or she must file an answer or Appearance in Room 602 in the Richard J. Daley Center on or before the Return Date or “Response Day.”

How do I serve the Defendant?

You may serve the Defendant through the Sheriff’s Office or by Certified Mail through the Clerk’s Office.

Service by the Sheriff’s Office.  If you want the Sheriff’s Office to serve the Defendant then you must take one copy of the Complaint and Summons to the Sheriff’s Office in Room 701 in the Richard J. Daley Center. You will be required to pay a fee. You may determine the fee by visiting the Sheriff’s Office in Room 701 in the Richard J. Daley Center or by calling 312-603-4922.

Service by Certified Mail.  If you qualify for and wish the Clerk’s Office to serve the Defendant by Certified Mail and you have not completed a Certified Mail form, go to Room 601 in the Richard J. Daley Center for a Certified Mail form.

You qualify to serve by Certified Mail if your claim is under $10,000; however, you may only serve to an actual address NOT a P.O. Box

Complete the form and return it to Room 602 of the Richard J. Daley Center together with your Complaint and Summons; the Clerk’s Office will charge you a nominal fee for service by Certified Mail. 

How can I find out if the Defendant was served within the 30 days of my filing date? If you served through the Sheriff’s Office, you may learn if the Defendant was served by calling 312-603-4922. If you served by Certified Mail through the Clerk’s Office, you may find out if the Defendant was served by calling 312-603-5116.
What happens if the Defendant is not served within 30 days of filing? Note that a summons is valid for only 30 days. Consequently, if the defendant is not served within 30 days of filing, the first summons (or a previous summons) will then have expired. If this is the case, you must then complete, file and issue a second summons known as an Alias Summons. Thus, if the Defendant has not been served within 30 days of filing your lawsuit, you have two options: 1) First, you may complete an Alias Summons form and serve the Defendant through the Sheriff’s Office or; 2) you may complete an Alias Summons form and serve the Defendant by Certified Mail. You may get an Alias Summons form from the Clerk’s Office in Room 601 of the Richard J. Daley Center or you may download the form from this website.
What must I do after the Return Date?

If the Defendant was served within the 30 days of your filing date, you must get a court date two (2) days after the Return Date. To get this court date, call the Return Date counter of the Clerk’s Office at 312-603-5116 or 312-603-5145.

NOTE: The Clerk’s Office cannot help you complete any court forms. If you cannot complete your court forms, take them home and have family or friends help you complete them. Then return to Room 602 in the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois 60602 with the completed forms.

If you cannot complete the forms because of a disability, and there is no family member or friend to help you, then you may ask a manager about assistance in special circumstances for the disabled.

I received a Complaint and Summons. What do I have to do? Whenever anyone files a lawsuit against you, you are “summoned” to answer to the lawsuit on or before the Return Date as indicated on the Complaint and Summons. This means you must file with the court in Room 602 in the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois 60602 in the Civil Division, a document called an “Appearance.” By filing your Appearance, you are letting the court know that you are appearing to defend or respond to the lawsuit.
Do I have to use a special form to file an Appearance? Yes. You must complete and file an “Appearance” form.
How can I get an Appearance form? You may get an Appearance form in Room 602 in the Richard J. Daley Center, or you may download a copy of the Appearance form from this website.
Will I have to pay a court fee? Yes. You must pay an Appearance fee when you file your Appearance.
If I am the one being sued why do I have to pay a fee?

Any person who uses the court system, or who is brought into the court system through a lawsuit, must pay court fees. If you are the person being sued, you are the Defendant and must pay an “Appearance” fee to file your answer (defend your case).

The court system, like other state and federal government offices, sustains its operations through the collection of court fees.

Can the Clerk’s Office help me fill out my Appearance form?

No, regrettably we cannot help you complete your forms. If you cannot complete your court forms, take them home and have family or friends to help you complete these forms. Then return to Room 602 in the Richard J. Daley Center with the completed forms.

If you cannot complete the forms because of a disability, and there is no family member or friend to help you, then you may ask a manager about assistance in special circumstances for the disabled.

If the Complaint and Summons show that today is the Return Date, why don’t I have to be in court today?

The Return Date is NOT a Court Date unless your Appearance is for a Forcible Detainer (Eviction), Replevin, Detinue or Revival of Judgment case.  In all other cases, think of the Return Date as a “Response Date.”  That is, the person being sued – you, the Defendant – is required by law to respond to the lawsuit on or before the Return Date by filing an “Appearance” form.

Note:  If this is a Forcible Detainer (Eviction), Replevin, Detinue or Revival of Judgment case, the return date is your court date. If this is the case, you must file an appearance form and appear in court on the return date.

What if I don’t file an Appearance and pay the court fee by the Return Date? If you fail to respond to the lawsuit by filing an Appearance form on or before the Return Date, you risk being found liable by default (i.e. the Judge may require you to pay the amount in controversy and additional court costs). Once you are before the judge, you can explain the facts of your case.
If I don’t have a court hearing today, then why do I have to come back another time? Once you have responded to the lawsuit by filing your Appearance on or before the Return Date, you will get a court date at which time the judge will hear the case. At that time, both the Plaintiff and Defendant must appear before the Judge.
I don’t know the person who is suing me -- why am I being sued?

The person suing you is known as the Plaintiff. It is possible that the Plaintiff may have sued the wrong person. It is also possible that the case filed against you involves a dispute from your past and about which you have forgotten. For more information about the lawsuit, you should call the Plaintiff or his/her attorney.  NOTE: You must nonetheless file an “Appearance” by the Return Date or you risk being found liable by default (i.e. for not filing your Appearance). If this happens, you may incur additional court costs. Once you are before the judge, you can explain the facts of your case.

If, in fact, the Plaintiff sued you in error, you may ask the Judge (when you are in front of the Judge), for an order for the return of your Appearance fee or for an order requiring the Plaintiff to reimburse you for your Appearance fee.

What do I do once I have filed my Appearance and paid the fee by the Return Date? Whenever you file any type of court document, you must notify the other party. Therefore, since you are the Defendant, you must mail a copy of your Appearance to the Plaintiff (the person who sued you). If you fail to do so, the Plaintiff will not know that you are responding to the lawsuit and can ask a judge to find you in default for failure to respond.
If the suit is about a debt, and I pay or have already paid off the debt in question, do I still have to come to court? That is, do I still have to file an Appearance? This is a decision you must make. Even if you pay the claim sought against you, your credit rating may still be in jeopardy; therefore, the best course of action is to file your Appearance.
I will be out of town on my court date. Can you give me a later date? The Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court does not have authority to change court dates. These dates are set by the judicial system. If you cannot attend court you may send someone in your place on the scheduled date and time; your representative should ask the court for a continuance. The Court may or may not grant you a continuance. Or, you may call the Plaintiff’s attorney for a continuance. If the Plaintiff or his/her attorney agrees to a continuance, get the agreement in writing and send your representative to court with a copy of this agreement.
If the suit is about an insurance claim and the insurance company said it took care of the claim in question, why am I being sued? Contact your insurance company to verify that it filed an Appearance on your behalf. If you are unsure about this, you should file an Appearance on or before the Return Date. If you fail to do so you risk being found liable by default.
If this suit is about a claim that was included in a bankruptcy petition I filed, what should I do? Call the attorney that filed your bankruptcy petition to inform him or her that you are being sued. Then either you or your attorney should file an Appearance on your behalf. You will get a court date when you file your Appearance. Come to court on that date and bring your bankruptcy petition with you.
If this suit is about a bill I owe and I want to make arrangements to pay my bill on a monthly basis, what should I do? Contact the Plaintiff’s attorney to make payment arrangements, however, you must still file an Appearance and pay a fee. Get this payment arrangement in writing, as you will need to present it to the judge when you go to court
How do I obtain information in my adoption records (biological parents, medical history, siblings, etc.)? To obtain a certified copy of a “Judgment Order of Adoption” within 30 days after entry of the judgment, one of the petitioners or the attorney for the petitioner must file a completed “Certificate of Adoption” form with the Clerk. [Certificate of Adoption form is available from the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Room 1202, in the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West. Washington]. After 30 days from the entry of the judgment of adoption, no copies may be obtained without a court order. Write a letter to the Presiding Judge of the County Division and include the parents names, the child’s name, the child’s date of birth and when the adoption occurred. Specify what you need and why. After a review, the judge will reply to your correspondence. The letter should be sent to the Presiding Judge – County Division; C/O County Division, Room 1202; 50 West Washington, Richard J. Daley Center; Chicago, IL 60602
How do I obtain a copy of my final judgment from my adoption or emancipation case to get a new birth certificate, a passport or to get a Social Security card?

If the judge approves, the petitioner receives a certified copy of the judgment or a “Gold Certificate.” A “Gold Certificate” may be used in lieu of a final judgment to get a social security card or a passport.

If it is a foreign adoption the Social Security Administration may require additional documentation for citizenship purposes (passport, naturalization papers, etc.). Contact the Social Security Administration.

Is there a special type of Summons form used for Adoptions? No. The petitioner uses a general summons form.
I just received a “Take Notice” stating that my property has been sold for delinquent taxes but I did not own the property at the time the delinquent taxes were due. Do I have to pay these taxes? The current property owner is responsible for all taxes due. Contact the Real Estate Tax Division of the County Clerk at (312) 443-5500 or in Room 434, at the Cook County Building, 118 North Clarks Street, Chicago, IL, for more information on your property tax status.
I just received a “Take Notice” stating that my property has been sold for delinquent taxes but I paid these taxes already, what do I do? Contact the Real Estate Tax Division of the County Clerk at (312) 443-5500 or in Room 434, at the Cook County Building, 118 North Clarks Street, Chicago, IL, for more information on your property tax status.
I want to look at a Tax Deed case but all I have is a PIN number . Contact the Real Estate Tax Division of the County Clerk at (312) 443-5500 or in Room 434, at the Cook County Building, 118 North Clarks Street, Chicago, IL, for more information on the PIN number. If there is a pending tax case, there will be an associated case number listed. The case number is required to request a copy of a Tax Deed file from the County Division of the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court in Room 1202, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington, Chicago, IL
I am under 18 years of age and I want to be emancipated. How do I do that? File an original and a copy of an Emancipation petition (The petitioner must draw up a document defining what they are seeking as the Clerk’s Office does not provide forms to request Emancipation) and pay the current fees Fee Schedule CCG-0603A & CCG-603B, Effective 12/01/2002 (705 ILCS 105/27.2(a)) Municipality Fees (705 ILCS 105/27.2). The petitioner then goes to Room 1703 in the Richard J. Daley Center to get a court date for a judicial hearing.
How do I file for a Judicial Review of an Election matter? File an original and a copy of a Petition for Judicial Review (The petitioner must draw up a document defining what they are seeking as the Clerk’s Office does not provide forms to request a Judicial Review.), and pay the current fees. Fee Schedule CCG-0603A & CCG-603B, Effective 12/01/2002 (705 ILCS 105/27.2(a)) Municipality Fees (705 ILCS 105/27.2). The petitioner then goes to Room 1703 in the Richard J. Daley Center to get a court date for a judicial hearing.
How can I gain access to Mental Health Records? Mental Health Records are Confidential and Restricted. If the records belong to the requestor (the mental health patient), then they must complete a form in Room 1202, Richard J. Daley, 50 West Washington, and present appropriate picture identification to a Manager in the County Division to obtain copies of the records. If the request comes from other than the patient, then the requestor must file a petition for a judicial hearing wherein the judge will review the request and decide whether the petitioner may be granted a court order allowing him/her access to the requested mental health file.
How long does it take for an order or pleading document to get to the files or be noted in the County Division’s docket book? Orders are docketed within 48 to 72 hours. The turnaround time for other legal documents will vary.
How do I find out my next court date? You may find out your next court date by providing our office with your name(s), alias(s), date of birth, year of arrest(s), and charge(s). The Clerk’s Office will be able to locate the customer’s case(s) with this information.
If I am late or if I miss my court date, how do I reschedule my court date? You may reschedule your court date by filing a motion. If the case is still pending, you may file a motion in the Criminal Branch Court locations on the same day with the Court Clerks. Otherwise, you may file in the Clerk’s Office located in the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington Street, Room 1006 for both inactive and pending cases.
How do I process my bond and how long does it take to get my bond refund check in the mail? If you did not surrender your bond slip in the courtroom, you may bring the bond slip or the bond number(s), to the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington Street, Room 1006. A receipt of the transaction will be provided to you for your records.
Normally, the processing period is 21 business days (excluding weekends and holidays) from the date when the bond is presented to the Clerk’s Office. Refund checks are mailed to the address indicated on the bail bond form.
How do I change the address for my bond refund? A valid piece of identification and a piece of mail indicating the address where you wish to have the bond check sent is required. Our office will complete a Change of Address Affidavit at the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington Street, Room 1006 based upon the information provided.
How can I find out if I have an outstanding warrant? If you provide your name or case number the Clerk’s Office can conduct a search of our system.
Can I get a certified disposition of my case? Yes. The Clerk’s Office needs your name(s), alias name(s), date of birth, date of arrest, and charges to search for the appropriate case(s). The Clerk’s Office provides dispositions for Chicago cases only. If your case occurred in one of the suburban districts in Cook County, you must contact or visit that particular suburban district (Districts 2 through 6) to obtain case dispositions.
How much does a certified disposition cost? Each certified disposition costs $9.00.
How can I do a background check on an individual? The Clerk of the Circuit Court is the keeper of court records. The Clerk’s Office maintains a name index that may be searched for public records. You may utilize our public access computers in order to perform a search of the name index. The Clerk Of The Circuit Court does not provide background check services.
How do I order case files for viewing purposes? Our office can assist you with case files for immediate viewing, if you would like to view a case from 1997 to the present, unless the case file is still pending in court. If you would like to view files from the years 1986 through 1996, you may list the cases in our office on a Warehouse Request Form. Those files will be available for viewing within 3 to 5 business days.
Can I get copies of court documents? Yes, you may obtain copies of court documents that are within the case files. The cost of copies depends on the number of pages. The first page is $2.00; the next 19 pages are $.50 per page; and any pages after the 19th page are $.25 per page.
How do I check to see if a person has been arrested? You may check by contacting your local police department. The Clerk’s Office maintains the records for individuals who have been arrested and where charges have been filed. There are circumstances in which the police may conduct an arrest but not actually file charges. In those cases, the Clerk’s Office would not have a record of the arrest event.
How do I file an expungement? Expungements may be filed if the final disposition on a case is classified as a non-conviction. Information packets complete with forms and instructions are available at the Clerk’s Office located at the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington, Room 1006, Chicago, Illinois 60602 or at 2650 South California Avenue, Room 526A, Chicago, Illinois 60608 or on the Clerk’s Office website www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org.
How much does it cost to file an expungement? The fee (Fee Schedule) is to be paid upon filing for an expungement. This is payable by cash, check or money order to the “CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT.”
If a person has a conviction, can they still file an expungement? A person with a conviction may not qualify for an expungement, but may qualify for a Petition to Seal. The information packets are available in the Clerk’s Office located at the Richard J. Daley Center, Room 1006, Chicago, Illinois or at 2650 South California, Room 526A, Chicago, Illinois or on the Clerk’s Office website www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org.
How long does the expungement or sealing process take? A person’s criminal history may be expunged between 90 to 180 days, which may vary. Each petition is on a case-by-case basis. The Petition to Seal process requires a period of not less than 90 days.
Can I file an appeal? Yes. A person has 30 days from the date of the judge’s final order to file an appeal. If a guilty plea was entered, you have 30 days to file a motion to vacate your guilty plea. If the presiding judge denies your motion, then you have 30 days to file an appeal of the denied motion, including the previously imposed sentencing order.
When I file an appeal, do I still have to complete my sentence that the judge entered on my case? Yes, you are still obligated to complete the sentence that the judge entered, even throughout the appeal process. Completion of a sentence is dependant upon the appeal bond that is set. If an appeal bond is not posted then the sentence imposed must be enforced.
When is my next court date? Criminal Division staff is available to check the case number or perform a name check in the computer to determine court dates.
When will I get my bond refund? There is no set time for bond refunds. Bond refund processing is begun the day following adjudication of the case and ultimately sent to the Clerk of the Circuit Court Accounting Department. Normal processing time is approximately two weeks provided there are no bond forfeiture or judgment issues.
How much is bond for my relative or friend? Criminal Division staff is available to check the case number or perform a name check in the computer to determine the bond amount or reviews the custody book produced daily by the Cook County Department of Corrections.
How do I expunge my record? In order to have a record expunged, the applicant must complete the appropriate form from the State’s Attorney’s Office, obtain copies of each case in question and pay the statutory fee. If the presiding judge enters a favorable ruling, expungement orders are then mailed to the appropriate agencies as required by the statue.
Where do I appear in Court? A check of the case number or a computer name check by Criminal Division staff will yield the appropriate location.
Where do I file (documents)? The counter area in the Criminal Division is divided into two areas that handle different types of inquiries and functions. Ceiling signs denote the services performed at each counter. One section answers inquiries regarding court dates, bond amounts and general case information. The other section responds to inquiries regarding filings, requests for certified copies, name searches, etc. Persons seeking to file documents are directed to the appropriate area.
How much does it cost for? Frequently requested fees for certified copies, names searches, photo copies, expungement filing fees are set by statute CCG-0603A & CCG-603B, Effective 12/01/2002 (705 ILCS 105/27.2(a)) Municipality Fees (705 ILCS 105/27.2) and copies of the relevant section are available to customers on request.
Where do I post bond for my relative or friend? The statutes allow defendants charged with certain types of offenses to post bond in a local police station without a court appearance. Other defendants must appear before a judge for a bond hearing. For defendants incarcerated in the Cook County Jail, bond may be posted in the “Bond Room” located in Division V of the Jail.
What is the law related to Extradition? If a defendant is arrested in Illinois for an offense committed in another state, the State’s Attorney has 90 days to obtain a ‘Governor’s Warrant’ that orders the return of the defendant to the demanding state. The defendant also has the right to ‘waive’ extradition and return to the demanding state. Extradition matters are heard in Branch 98, Room 101 (part of the Criminal Department) at 2600 South California.
How do I use the computer? The general inquiry client’s screen for criminal cases is ALLC. The most common usage requests are for name searches (menu item 1) or disposition information (menu item 2). An explanation regarding the proper format for case number and name inquiries are provided upon request.
What does it mean to have an uncontested versus a contested dissolution of marriage/civil union? In an uncontested dissolution, both sides agree on the dissolution, division of marital property, and child custody and visitation issues, if any. A contested dissolution is where the parties disagree about one or more of these areas, which must then be negotiated or litigated.
What documents are required to file for dissolution of marriage/civil union?

Both contested and uncontested dissolutions require the following:

·  State Certificate

·  Domestic Relations Division Cover Sheet

·  Self-drafted Petition

Additionally, an uncontested divorce requires:

·  The Respondent's Appearance;

·  A Certification and Agreement by Counsel, verifying that there are no contested issues.

A contested dissolution requires a summons.

How do I file for my own dissolution of marriage/civil union? For contested or uncontested dissolutions, the Clerk's Office can give you a prepared packet of forms. Fill out these forms and self-draft a Petition for Dissolution. Once the paperwork is filed, you will receive a case number and judge (Calendar) assignment. You may set up a court date at the Motion Counter. At a later date, if there has been no activity on the case, you will receive a white postcard in the mail notifying you of your first court date.
What if I cannot afford an attorney?

If you cannot afford an attorney, you can:

·  Find a lawyer's group that will represent you for no fee or a reduced fee. The Clerk's Office can provide you with a list of Lawyer Referral Services.  That information is available in Room 802 or online (Finding an Attorney).

or

·  By filling out an Application and Affidavit to Sue or Defend as an Indigent Person, otherwise known as a "298 Petition", you may qualify to proceed Pro Se (Self Representing Litigant) without having to pay any fees.  This form is available in Room 802 or online (CCGN689).

How long will it take to get a dissolution of marriage/civil union? There is no set time period. Key factors in the timetable include the schedules of the judge and the parties involved as well as whether or not the dissolution is contested.
Is there a waiting period to obtain a dissolution of marriage/civil union judgment?

It depends on the grounds being alleged. For example:

·  If the alleged grounds are mental and physical cruelty, there is no required separation period.

·  If the alleged reason is irreconcilable differences, there is a statutory two-year waiting period, but this can be waived and reduced to 6 months if both parties agree. 

How can I get a certified copy of my Cook County judgment for dissolution of marriage/civil union?

You can come to Room 802 of the Daley Center or call (312) 603-6300.  The Clerks there will tell you how much the copy will cost, depending on the number of pages in your divorce decree.  The state legislature has set certain fees that the Clerk's Office must charge: 

Copying Fee:$2.00 for the first page
 $.50 per page for pages 2 – 20
 $.25 per page for page 21 on.

·  If you also want it certified, it's an additional $9.00.

·  If you live in a state that requires exemplified copies, you are charged $18.00 plus the cost of copying. 

·  There is also a mailing fee of $15.00 plus the cost of weight based postage.

What is an Independent Order of Protection?

An Independent Order of Protection is a court order signed by a judge.  It is designed to protect a Petitioner (the person who is seeking the relief) from the Respondent (the person the case is against).  

·   spouses, former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren and other persons related by blood or by present or prior marriage, persons who share or formerly shared a common dwelling, persons who have or allegedly have a child in common, persons who share or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child, persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship, persons with disabilities and their personal assistants, caregivers and high-risk adult with disabilities. 50 ILCS 60/201 and 750 ILCS 60/103(6)(8). 

·   There are 18 different remedies that may be awarded by an Order of Protection (these remedies are listed on the Order of Protection forms you will fill out).  For example, the Order could make the Respondent stay out of the shared home for a period of time, stop harassing or abusing the Petitioner, or pay costs if the Petitioner had to run away to a safe place.

·   A minor child can be a protected person under an Order of Protection but an adult will need to make this request on the child's behalf.

·  & “Independent” means that you are not filing for the Order of Protection within another case, such as a divorce case.  If you have a pending domestic relations case and you file for a Civil Order of Protection, it will be assigned the same case number and judge as your existing case.

·   You can file for a Criminal Order of Protection if you sign a criminal complaint against the Respondent (the person the case is against).  If you file for a Criminal Order of Protection, the State's Attorney's Office will represent you in court.  Keep in mind that you may only keep the resulting Criminal Order of Protection if you follow through with the criminal case.  

Where can I file for an Independent Order of Protection? Independent Civil Order of Protection cases may be filed at The Domestic Violence Court Facility which is located at 555 West Harrison Street, Chicago, IL 60607. This is also the location where clerks are available to assist you in filling out the necessary forms.  If the person who has been hurt signs a criminal complaint against the person who hurt him/her, a Criminal Order of Protection case can be filed at the New Domestic Violence Court Facility, 555 West Harrison Street, Chicago, Illinois 60607, (312) 325-9500.
How do I file for Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage/Civil Union?

The legal requirements, which are also listed on the Joint Simplified Dissolution form, are as follows:

  • The duration of the relationship must not exceed 8 years;
  • There are irreconcilable differences, the parties have been separated 6 months or more, and efforts at reconciliation have failed or future attempts would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family;
  • There are no children and neither party is pregnant by the other party;
  • Neither party is dependent on the other for support;
  • Each party waives the right to spousal support;
  • Neither party has an interest in real estate;
  • The total fair market value of all marital/civil union property, after deducting all debts owed, is less than $10,000.00;
  • The total annual income of both parties is less than $35,000.00 and neither party has a gross annual income from all sources in excess of $20,000.00;
  • Both parties have disclosed to each other all assets and tax returns for all years of the marriage/civil union; and
  • The parties have executed a written agreement dividing all assets in excess of $100.00 in value and allocating responsibility for debts and liabilities between themselves (you must file a copy of this written agreement with the Petition).

Both parties to the marriage/civil union must both be present to file the paperwork in Room 802 of the Daley Center.  You must file the paperwork by 12 noon in order for a judge to hear your case on the same day.  

What should I do with the Summons?

If the Respondent (the person the case is against) resides in Cook County, take the completed Summons and a copy of the Petition to the Sheriff's Office in Room 701 of the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington, so that they can serve it on the opposing party to your case.  There is a fee for this service, unless you have a granted Indigent Person Application or some other fee waiver. 

If the Respondent does not reside in Cook County, you are responsible for ensuring that the Respondent receives a copy of the Summons and Petition.  You must contact the local police agency in the Respondent's county regarding this and request that they bring or mail an affidavit of service to the following two addresses:

Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County

Richard J. Daley Center

50 West Washington Street, Room 802

Chicago, IL 60602

Cook County Sheriff's Office

Richard J. Daley Center

50 West Washington Street, Room 701

Chicago, IL 60602

What are the filings fees for a new case? The regular fee for filing all cases in the Division is $337.00. If you cannot afford this fee, you can fill out an application and affidavit to sue or defend as an indigent person and see a judge to determine if the filing fees will be waived or perhaps, deferred.
Is there someone at the Daley Center who can help me with my Domestic Relations case? Yes. There is a service on the 30th Floor of the Daley Center called C.A.R.P.L.S. that is available to assist you for free. C.A.R.P.L.S. stands for Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services and is staffed by volunteer lawyers. The C.A.R.P.L.S. Self-Help Desk in the hallway on the 30th Floor of the Daley Center is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Services are free if you meet income eligibility requirements. C.A.R.P.L.S. also has a Legal Aid Hotline: (312) 738-9200.
Can I review my file? Yes. Come to Room 802 of the Daley Center and go to the File Request Counter. If your case was filed within the last four years, your file is on-site and can immediately be reviewed by you -- all you will need is a valid photo identification. You should schedule enough time to review the file, as you are not allowed to remove the original file from Room 802. If your file is off-site, we will order it for you and let you know when to return to review it. If you would like to order a file that is older than four years you may order it at Counter 4a in the Daley Center or order it over the telephone by calling (312) 603-6228.
Is it possible to get a copy of a dissolution of marriage/civil union that was filed over 20 years ago?

Yes, for dissolution of marriage. Civil Unions became legal in 2011 so there are currently no records for dissolution of civil unions prior to 2011.

For dissolution of marriage cases:

  • You can phone, mail, e-mail, or deliver your request in person.
  • Tell the Clerk's Office the party names or the case number.
  • The Clerk can look your case up on the computer and get the microfilm or microfiche number.
  • The Clerk can then obtain a copy of your judgment on microfilm (for cases filed from 1986-present) or microfiche (for cases filed from 1970 to 1985).

If the case is older than 1986, you can get it from the Archives Department in Room 1113 of the Daley Center, (312) 603-6601. If you want to see the entire file, the Clerk can order it from the Record Center. 

How much does it cost to file for an Order of Protection? There is no charge to file for an Order of Protection. The Illinois Domestic Violence Act waives the regular fee of $329.00. There is a cost of $198.00 for the Respondent (the person the case is filed against) to file his or her Appearance after the case is filed.
How are the police notified that I have an Order of Protection against someone? The same day that the judge grants your order of protection, the Clerk will deliver a copy to the Sheriff's Office. The Sheriff will enter the information from the order of protection onto a computer system called Law Enforcement Automated Data System (L.E.A.D.S.), to which police officers have access. You will also be given a certified copy of your order of protection. If you want the Clerk's Office to notify the schools of children protected under the Order of Protection, you should request and complete a “Notice to Schools” form. 
Where do I go to apply for Child Support? If the parents of the child were never married, you should go to the Child Support Division at 28 North Clark, Room 200. If the parents were married at any point in time, or are still married, you should go to Room 802 of the Daley Center. 
How can I see the judge to express my concerns? In order to see the judge regarding an issue in your case, you must file a written Motion describing the relief you request. The Clerk's Office has blank Motion forms available for you. Then, you should obtain a Notice of Motion form and go to the Motion Counter to schedule a court date. File the Motion and Notice of Motion with the Cashiers, and then a copy should be mailed to the respondent or his or her attorney.
How long will I have to wait to see the judge? For a Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, you will see the judge on the same day if you file your completed paperwork by noon. Petitions for emergency relief will also be heard right away. For other court dates, every effort is made to give you a court date seven business days away from the date on which you come in to request it.
What time does my judge hear motions? Each judge has a different schedule. The Motion Clerks at the Motion Counter in Room 802 of the Daley Center has a complete list of all the judge's schedules. Domestic Relations Division judges generally hear motions at 9:30 a.m. or 10:00 a.m., but may also hear motions at other times.
If I am acting as my own attorney (pro se), what do I do on the day of my court date? Arrive early to the location of your court date dressed neatly for court. Review the computer printout of the cases to be called, which is posted outside the courtroom. Check-in with the Courtroom Clerk, who is inside the courtroom. Tell the Courtroom Clerk your name and the line number from the computer printout that lists your case. Be sure to turn off any cell phones or pagers, or set them to vibrate mode. Men should remove their hats in the courtroom. Listen attentively until the Courtroom Clerk announces your case and then approach the judge's bench. Introduce yourself and be prepared to answer questions the judge may have for you regarding your case. You should address the judge as “Your Honor.” Always be respectful and courteous. 
What courtroom is my case in? Who is my judge? What year was I divorced? Has my case been dismissed? When is my next court date? The Clerk's Office can research case information on the computer for you in person or by phone. Contact the Domestic Relations Division at (312) 603-6300. There is a $9.00 record search fee set by Illinois statute if a staff member performs the search for you over the telephone. However, there are Public Access Terminals in Room 802 if you want to research case information on your own for free. Or, you may view this information on-line (Electronic Full Case Docket Search). All you need is your case number or the name of one of the parties.
If a Domestic Relations Division case is filed in the Daley Center, can it be transferred to another location? Or, if a case is filed in a Suburban location can it be transferred to the Daley Center?

Yes.  Cases may be transferred to another district or county.  If the parties motion the court to transfer the case to a suburban district and the judge grants this request, the Clerk will transfer the case for no fee to that district.

Cases can also be transferred out of Cook County if the judge orders it, but there is a fee for this $86.48 ($65.00 Transfer fee, plus $15.00 mailing fee, plus $3.30 Certified Mail Rate, plus $2.70 Return-Receipt Rate, plus the cost of weight based postage $.48 minimum).

Cases filed in the suburbs may be transferred to the Daley Center if the judge orders it, or pursuant to Circuit Court Rule 13.3(e). Rule 13.3(e) provides that pre-judgment cases shall be transferred to the Daley Center when the Respondent files his/her appearance together with a District Transfer form (CCDR 0050).

Is it recommended that parties hire an attorney when filing cases in the Domestic Relations Division?

There is no recommended direction in this matter.  Many people file Domestic Relations Division cases pro se, meaning that they act as their own lawyer.  Others prefer representation.  You can do it either way; it's up to you.  If you proceed pro se:

·  The Clerk's Office will provide the forms for you, but you will have to draft the Petition and Judgement yourself.  The forms are also available online by clicking the “FORMS” tab on this web site and identifying Domestic Relations Division forms.    Please note that, the Clerk's Office is not allowed to help you fill out forms and cannot give legal advice.

·  The Clerk's Office can provide sample forms for you to review (excluding the Petition and Judgement).

·  The Clerk's Office can provide a list of attorneys that may be able to represent you for free or for a reduced fee.  This list is also available on the website.  Also, many bar associations, such as the Chicago Bar Association, have a lawyer referral phone line, but these lawyers typically charge fees.

What are your office hours? All locations have office hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Where can I go to file an emergency order of protection? In the event of a bona fide emergency (a life is in immediate danger), a petition for an emergency order of protection may be filed at any suburban courthouse. If it is not an emergency, a regular order of protection may also be filed at the courthouse.
In what courtroom is my traffic ticket heard? Depending on where the ticket was issued, the courtroom is assigned based upon the police agency involved.
How can I change my traffic court date? The defendant or a representative must appear in court on the date of your summons. If a representative appears, that person must explain why the defendant cannot appear and request a continuance. Otherwise, the date must be advanced through the motion court of the specific district court in question requesting that the judge change the date. (A motion to advance cannot be filed in a case involving an accident.)
Where do I go to file an expungement and how much does it cost for the process? The petition to expunge must be filed in the courthouse where the arrest was originally handled. There is a $60.00 filing fee for a petition to expunge. A certified copy for an expungement is $9.00. Expunging the State Rap Sheet with the Illinois State Police is $60.00.
Do I need an attorney to file a $500.00 lawsuit? All locations have procedures designed to allow an individual eighteen years or older to represent themselves in lawsuits to recover claims of $1,500.00 or less. These individuals who are not represented by an attorney are called ‘pro se’ litigants.
What are the fees to file an appearance and jury demand?

Form CCG 603 contains the complete fee schedule.

What is a garnishment? A garnishment is an order issued from a court to withhold wages, credit, or other properties usually held by a third party associated with the debtor involved in a lawsuit.
Where can I file a last Will and testament? A will can be filed in the Civil Department of any of the listed suburban locations, or in the Probate Division, located on the 12th Floor of the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington, Chicago, IL.
How do I appeal the outcome of my Criminal case? An appeal can be filed within the district location in which your case was tried. The fees for an appeal are as follows:

Less than 100 pages$110.00
More than 100 pages, less than 200 pages$185.00

Each page in excess of 200 pages

$.30
What is my court date? Information on court dates is available by calling the Clerk's Office at (312) 433-4941 or from Central Index at (312) 433-6702
Can I get a copy of my court file? Since all juvenile matters are confidential the only parties that can obtain information are the minor who is the subject of record, his/her parent(s), guardian and counsel. The request for records/files may be directed to this office, it is then forwarded to the Presiding Judge's office for approval. Access will be given upon presentation of valid identification establishing identity and relationship or any authorized individual who receives approval from the Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Justice Division.
Is there a fee for filing an appearance? There is no fee for filing an appearance in the Juvenile Justice division.
My child has been arrested, where is he/she being held? Any minor that has been arrested and waiting to appear in court will be held at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Facility located in the Cook County Juvenile Center - 1100 South Hamilton - (312) 433-7102
I cannot make it to court today...can you change/reschedule my court date? The Clerk's Office cannot change your court date. You will need to contact the attorney representing the minor or the State's Attorneys Office for a new court date/continuance.
Where is the Cook County Juvenile Center located? The Center is located at 1100 South Hamilton, bordered by Roosevelt Road (1200 S) on the South, Ogden Avenue on the West and Taylor Street (1000 S) on the North.
I have a warrant issued for me, where do I turn myself in? If a warrant has been issued, it is suggested that you go to the Youth Division of the Chicago Police Department located on the Concourse Level of the Cook County Juvenile Center, 1100 South Hamilton.
Are bonds issued on juvenile cases? No. However, bonds are issued on minors being charged as adults in Criminal Court. If the minor is under the age of 17, they are held at the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center at 1100 South Hamilton. To bond out a minor, the parent or guardian must bring cash or cashier's check to the Clerk's Office in the Juvenile Court Center. The minor is then released after he/she signs their bond slip.
My child is acting out/running away/not attending school what can I do? It is suggested that if your child is experiencing behavioral problems, you should contact the Youth Officer of your local police station to discuss a Minor Requiring Authoritative Intervention (MRAI) petition. If the minor is not attending school, you should contact the school for further direction.
Can I file any pleadings by mail and can I file any pleadings for another division at Juvenile? Yes, you may file any pleading for this division by mail. In addition, we can accept pleadings for another division within the system.
How do I find out what Judge my case is assigned? When a case is filed in the Law Division it is randomly assigned via a computer program to a calendar letter. You may contact the Information Desk in Law Division to obtain the Judge's information associated with the calendar letter.
How do I find out when the next court date is in my case? You may determine your next court date by checking the Case Snapshot or contacting the Information Desk.
Does this person/company have any cases filed against them? The Litigant Index Search as well as the Information Desk can help determine whether or not an individual or company is involved in a Law Division case.
How do I find out if a summons has been served in my case and have any appearances been filed? Determining whether service has been made or an appearance has been filed in a Law Division case is accomplished by checking the electronic docket or contacting the Information Desk.
What is the cost of an appearance/complaint/jury demand? These costs can be obtained from the Fee Schedule on this site.
How do I register a judgment from another state? It requires the filing of the judgment as a new suit in Cook County Circuit Court as well as the payment of fees. For complete details, please see the Procedures section.
How do I serve a subpoena for a deposition in a case pending in another state or county? It requires compliance with Illinois Supreme Court Rule 204{b}, the filing of a Petition to Issue Subpoena and the payment of fees. For complete details, please see the Procedures section.
When is the next available motion date? Motion dates may only be obtained when a motion is filed with the Clerk's Office or when a previously filed motion is reset. For complete details, please see the Procedures section.
How is an attorney code number assigned? An attorney code may be requested in the Law Division, located in Room 801 of the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois 60602. It may also be requested by fax (312-603-3348), email (attorneycode@cookcountycourt.com), by mail (see above address) or in person. To request a new attorney code or to change your address listed on an existing code, complete the “Cook County Attorney Code Request Form” and provide a copy of your current, valid ARDC card and your valid government-issued driver’s license or identification card. For complete procedures, please read the request form.
What is Guardianship? Guardianship involves the appointment by a court of a legally responsible individual or agency on behalf of a person who is not able to independently manage his or her affairs due to a mental disability or minor status (person under the age of 18).
How does guardianship differ from adoptions? With adoption, birth parents give up all rights and responsibilities for the child. With guardianship, parents keep some of these rights and responsibilities. For instance, with a guardianship, parents can visit the child or challenge the guardian's power and they can get custody back by going to court. Also, if able, the parents must contribute money to support the child. The guardian can seek this support in Child Support Court.
How does someone become a guardian? A petition for guardianship must be filed in the Clerk's Office. Once guardianship papers (the petition) are filed with the court, parties appear in court in about three (3) to six (6) weeks. This time is used to let the parents (or interested party) become aware of all the proceedings. The Judge reviews the Petition and a background check is conducted on all potential guardians. Finally, a Judge will make the determination of who will be appointed guardian of a minor.

Contact The Chicago Volunteer Legal Services - Guardianship Assistance Desk for Minors for further information and assistance.
69 W. Washington, Room 1020
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 603-0135
How much does it cost to file a Will? There is no fee for filing a will.
If my father lived and died in McHenry County, may I file his Will in Cook County? No. Under the Probate Act of 1975, a Will must be filed in the county where the decedent resided at the time of death.
Can I file an order of protection in the Probate Division? Yes.
Where can I get probate forms that I need? Besides accessing them on this web site, probate forms are also available in the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County's Probate Division in Room 1202 of the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 West Washington, Chicago, Illinois 60602.
My father's Will was filed with your office in 1999 and I need a certified copy of the Will to make a claim with the State Treasurer's Office. How can I get this and how much will it cost? You may request a certified copy of a will that was filed with the Probate Division by submitting a written request or visiting our offices. To expedite this request, it would be helpful to provide either the Probate case number or the name of the decedent and the date/year of death (if this information is available).

The fees for this service are:
Photocopying - $2.00 for the first page, and $0.50 each additional page.
Certification - $4.00 per document certified.

If making this request by mail, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope, otherwise a fee for postage will be charged.
Why can't you help me fill out the forms? The Clerk's Office is the official keeper of the records and must remain neutral in all court proceedings; therefore we are prohibited from giving legal advice. However, we maintain a listing of organizations that offer free or low cost legal services to individuals Legal Services. This listing is available upon request at our counter in Room 1202. You may also contact your local bar organizations to get referrals for private attorneys who specialize in whatever area of law you require.
What are the fees for a passport and may I use a credit card to pay them? The fees for a passport can be found in form CCP 607. We are not yet equipped to accept credit card payment in the Probate Division. Currently, we accept the following methods of payment: cash, personal check, company check, or money order.
What should I do if I receive a Traffic Ticket? The bottom right corner of your ticket will indicate whether or not a court appearance is required. A ticket marked "YOU MUST MAIL - NO COURT APPEARANCE IS REQUIRED" is issued for a violation that does not require a court appearance and is punishable by a fine only. Follow the instructions on the back of the ticket, choosing one of the three listed options:
* Option A: Plead guilty, pay the fine and receive a conviction on your driving record.
* Option B: Plead guilty, pay the fine, attend Traffic Safety School and avoid a conviction on your driving record.
* Option C: Plead not guilty and request a court date.

If the ticket is marked "YOU MUST APPEAR," note the courtroom, date and time listed. You or your attorney must appear in court at this time. There are no automatic continuances, and court dates and times cannot be changed over the phone.

For additional information on Traffic questions, please visit the following: Circuit Court of Cook County Traffic Court Information or Illinois Vehicle Code – 625 ILCS 5/.
Where can I call to obtain information regarding my ticket? We request that if you know the courthouse location where ticket was issued please call the particular location. If you do not know the ticket number or location, you may call any Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County district(s) and have them search for a ticket number by giving your last name, first name, and date of birth or driver's license number. Please have this information ready when you call. For information on your case if your ticket issued in Chicago please call (312) 603-2000.
Can I post a cash bond for my driver's license? You can post a cash bond pursuant to Supreme Court rules prior to your court date. Please be aware of the following:
* The amount of the bond is set by Supreme Court Rule 526
* Bonds can be posted only in cash. It cannot be replaced with any other sureties.
* Checks and money orders are not accepted.
* Bond must be posted at the Clerk's Office where your ticket is pending.
Exception: You may not post cash bond and receive your driver's license, if you are charged with any of the following offenses:
* Speeding 40 or more miles over the posted speed limit
* Fleeing or attempting to elude police officer
* Leaving the scene of an accident involving death or injury
* Driving under the influence (DUI)
* Drag racing
* Reckless driving
* Suspended driver's license
I sent in a check to pay my fine(s), when should I expect to have my drivers license returned? Your driver's license will be returned once your check is received and processed. This process takes approximately seven to ten working days.
I missed my response date, what do I do? If a person ignores the ticket or fails to appear in court, the Judge may enter an ex parte judgment of conviction and assess a fine against that person in the amount set by Illinois Supreme Court Rules. If a person fails to pay the fine he or she will not be allowed to renew his or her driver's license until the fine is paid. Ex parte judgments can be vacated by filing a motion in person or via attorney with the Clerk's Office and by paying a non-refundable motion to vacate ex parte fee. For motion fee amounts please read 705 ILCS 105/27.2a(W).
How do I request access to adoption records? Adoption records are impounded by statute and are not available for public inspection without a court order.
How do I obtain information in my adoption case file (biological parents, medical history, siblings, etc.)? The Clerk’s Office by law cannot release any adoption information. However, the petitioner can register with the Illinois Adoption Registry. It is possible your birthparent(s) may already be registered and you don’t need to search for them. If your birthparents are not registered, you can petition the Court for the appointment of a Confidential Intermediary.
What is a Confidential Intermediary? A Confidential Intermediary is usually a person from a child welfare agency certified to conduct a search of the information requested. Assistance in completing the petition for appointment of a Confidential Intermediary can be provided by Midwest Adoption Center. Their information can be found on their website or calling at 847-298-9096.
How do I obtain any copies of final judgments or Judgment Order for adoption cases to get a new birth certificate, or passport, or to get a Social Security card?
You may choose any one of the various steps described below to obtain copies of the final Judgments or Judgment Orders for adoption cases.
Step 1
The petitioner must fill out a Request for Certified Copies of Court Records in Adoption Proceedings form which can be obtained on the Clerk’s Office website by visiting www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org and clicking on the County Division. Fill out the form and submit it in person or by mail (or see question below if you can not come in) to the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, County Division, Room 1202, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 W. Washington, Chicago, IL 60602.
The petitioner must present a picture ID with the same name on the identification as the name on the Judgment Order or Adoption file can be used. It would be helpful to have the case number. If the file is on site, the Petitioner will be escorted with the file and request to the Chambers of the Presiding Judge. The Presiding Judge will secure an order allowing the Clerk’s Office to release a certified copy of the Judgment Order of Adoption.
If it is a foreign adoption the Social Security Administration may require additional documentation for citizenship purposes (passport, naturalization papers, etc.). Contact the Social Security Administration. It will reflect the names of the adopting parent(s) and the name of the adopted child. It will also reflect the date of the Judgment Order.
Or, Step 2
Confirm that your adoption attorney requested that the birth certificate be amended to reflect the adoption. The attorney may have your copy of the amended birth certificate. If he/she does not, he/she should confirm for you that an amended birth certificate was issued. If one has not been issued, he/she should proceed with securing an amended birth certificate for you.
Or. Step 3
What if I cannot come into the Office?
The petitioner can write a letter to the Clerk of the Circuit Court detailing all the information regarding the adoption: name of adopting parents, name of adoptee & case number, if known. Make sure you include a copy of your picture identification with the same name on the identification as the name on the Judgment Order or Adoption file.
Mail the letter to Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, County Division, Richard J. Daley Center, 50 W. Washington, Room 1202-County Division c/o Adoption Unit, Chicago, Il 60602.
The Request will be given to the Judge. The Judge will review the request and the file to determine whether to grant or deny it. If the Judge approves, the petitioner receives a certified copy of the judgment or a Gold Certificate. (A “Gold Certificate” [created on parchment paper] may be used in lieu of a final judgment to get a social security card or a passport.) In either case the Clerk’s Office will contact you by mail of the outcome and any fees that need to be collected from you so that we can honor your request.
How can I gain access to Mental Health Records? Mental Health Records are Confidential and Restricted. If the records belong to the mental health patient, an Affidavit must be notarized upon completion. The Affidavit should state that the requestor is indeed the person seeking the records or that the requestor is authorizing someone to view his/her records. The affidavit should be brought to Room 1202, Richard J. Daley, 50 West Washington, with the appropriate picture identification. Present the information to a Manager in the County Division to view or obtain copies of the records. If the request is from someone other than the patient, the requestor must file a petition for a judicial hearing wherein the judge will review the request and decide whether the petitioner may be granted a court order allowing him/her access to the requested mental health file.
I have a family member who is behaving violently and I am afraid. What can I do? If your family member is committing violent acts you should call the police and be secure.
What if the family member is just acting erratic: appearing to have hallucinations; mumbling to him/herself; hitting him/herself or hitting or breaking or tearing my personal belongings, how can they get medical attention? If it appears that the family member may hurt him/herself or others, you should contact the Mental Health Division of the State’s Attorney Office. The number is 312-603-8649. That Office will guide you through the proper steps to take.
If it is suggested that the person should receive medical attention, but the family member will not go voluntarily what do I do? The State’s Attorney will interview you to determine if your family member needs to be evaluated by a mental health professional. If it is determined by the State’s Attorney that the person qualifies for evaluation, a Petition for Involuntary Judicial Admission will be prepared along with an application for an Emergency Writ so that the family member can be picked up by the Police Department & taken to the hospital indicated on the Writ for evaluation. The State’s Attorney will escort you to a County Division judge, who will determine by your testimony whether an Emergency Writ should be issued for your family member. The State’s Attorney will advise you on how to proceed once the Writ has been issued.
What if the ill family member is no longer in the house and has gone to the streets & cannot be found right away? The Writ allows the police 72 hours from the time the Writ is issued and filed to find the ill family member, detain him and transport him to the medical facility.
What happens if they are not found within 72 hours? The family must then apply for another Emergency Writ and start the process over.
If they do find the ill family member and have him or her transported to a mental health facility, how long will they keep him or her? The law does not allow a person to be held for more than 24 hours without having an examination.
If the hospitalized family member wishes to leave the hospital can he or she continue to be detained? The hospital determines whether a family member should remain hospitalized. If after the first 24-hour examination, the hospital certifies that the person is subject to involuntary hospitalization, another examination must be given within 24 hours from the first examination. If the second examination also finds the patient subject to involuntary commitment, then the patient will be treated and the hospital will bring the patient to the Mental Health Court within 5 days of the examination to secure an order for continued involuntary commitment.
Can anyone petition the Court for involuntary commitment of a non-family member? Yes. The process is the same whether it is a family member or not. It can be a co-worker, friend, someone in your building or anyone you are aware of that is exhibiting dangerous behavior towards self or others.
If the patient won’t take his/her medication what options do I have? The hospital or doctor will petition the court, requesting that the patient be forced to take the medication. If the judge issues the order, the patient can then be forcibly administered the required medications.
I just received a “Take Notice” stating that my property has been sold for delinquent taxes and I paid these taxes already, what do I do? Contact the Real Estate Tax Division of the County Clerk at (312) 443-5645 or in Room 434, at the Cook County Building, 118 North Clarks Street, Chicago, IL, for more information on your property tax status.
I just received a “Take Notice” stating that my property has been sold for delinquent taxes and I did not own the property at the time the delinquent taxes were due. Do I have to pay these taxes? The current property owner is responsible for all taxes due & owing on their property. Contact the Real Estate Tax Division of the County Clerk at (312) 443-5645 located in Room 434, of the Cook County Building, 118 North Clarks Street, Chicago, IL, for more information on your property tax status.
I just received a “Take Notice” stating that my property where I live has been sold for delinquent taxes and I do not own the property, I am just an occupant. If I redeem the taxes will I own the Property? The only person allowed to redeem the forfeited taxes is the legal property owner. If you redeem the taxes and are not the property owner, your redemption will be voided.
I want to look at a Tax Deed case but all I have is a PIN number. You may come to Room 1202-County Division and provide the Counter Clerk with the PIN number (which requires a fee) for a research search. Any case number(s) associated with that PIN will appear in the electronic docket.
I am under 18 years of age and I want to be emancipated. How do I do that? The Clerk’s Office does not provide forms for these matters. The petition for Emancipation is self-drafted and is filed in the County Division—an original and a copy—in Room 1202 of the Daley Center. Once filed, you will be assigned to a Judge’s Calendar and can schedule the matter for hearing at the County Division Motion Desk in Room 1202. Should you need assistance in drafting the petition, you should seek the aid of an attorney or a legal service provider.
How do I file for a Judicial Review of an Election matter? The Petition for Judicial Review is a self-drafted document. The petitioner must file the original and a copy of a Petition for Judicial Review in Room 1202-County Division. Once filed, the matter will be assigned to a Calendar. The petitioner then goes to Room 1701 in the Richard J. Daley Center to get a court date for a judicial hearing.
What is the criteria that must be met before applying for a Name Change?
  1. must live in Cook County for at least 6 months; otherwise you must apply in the County you live in;
  2. must have no convictions or any felonies, otherwise you must wait 10 years to change your name.
  3. cannot apply if you have been convicted of any felonies or misdemeanors that you must register with the Sex Offenders Office.
What is the procedure for a name change?
  1. You must complete the Name Change Form with the Affidavit on the 3rd page, the Judgment form, and the Cover Sheet. The Affidavit must be signed by someone who knows you (not a relative) and notarized before submitting all forms. You may obtain the forms on the Clerk’s website by going to www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org. Click on court forms, scroll down to County Div., click, and scroll down to the forms.
  2. Once forms are completed, take them (Name Change, Judgment, and Cover Sheet) — including the notarized Affidavit on the Petition--to any one of the outlying 5 Circuit Court district offices: Rolling Meadows, Skokie, Maywood, Bridgeview, or Markham.
  3. Or, take the forms to the Circuit Court in the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 W. Washington, Room 1202 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. If you need assistance, there is an Advisory Help Desk in Room 1303 to answer any questions.
  4. Once forms are completed, pay the fee--at this time it is $337.00.
  5. You will be given a court day, judge, room number and time to appear in court at least 8 weeks from the date of filing.
  6. According to State Law, you must publish your name in the newspaper for three (3) consecutive weeks for a fee (check with the newspaper as to the fee).
  7. You must bring the publication piece with you to court.
  8. You must bring the old birth certificate with you to court.
  9. You must bring the Judgment form with you to court.
For adult name changes – the name change must be published in a legal publication for three consecutive weeks and filed in court on the date given (8 weeks out)
For child name changes – When both parents are in agreement to the Name change, and all forms are completed and filed, the judge may hear the case the day of filing. The judge will grant, deny or continue the name change.
For the child’s name change – If one parent cannot be located or the one parent is not in agreement with the name change, then the name change must be published for three consecutive weeks and the name change filed in court on the date given.
For family name changes – publish the family name change in a legal publication for three consecutive weeks and file the family name change (all names on one petition) in court on the date given for one fee.
Why does a name change have to be published? Publishing a name change is intended to combat petitioners looking to avoid creditors or acting under other fraudulent motives.
How much does a name change cost? The filing fee for a name change is $337.00 (effective 4/10). The publication fee varies depending on the publication used.
Does a legal name change have to be filed when taking a spouse’s name or resuming use of a maiden name following a dissolution of marriage/civil union? In case of marriage, no. A copy of your marriage license will suffice. In the case of a dissolution, usually the use of the maiden name is granted in the dissolution decree. If so, a certified copy of the decree is the only documentation needed. If not, the party in question has two years to amend the decree. After two years, the party in question must go through the name change procedure.

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