The Chicago Family Law Blog

How to File for Divorce in Cook County

Divorces can be drawn out, messy, and expensive. The whole process of dissolving your marriage can seem pretty overwhelming.

To make your divorce a little less painful, we’ve included a few steps that will help you on your way to dissolving your marriage.

File the Paperwork

Both contested and uncontested divorces require the following forms:

  • State Certificate of Dissolution
  • Domestic Relations Division Cover Sheet
  • Petition for Dissolution of Marriage

The forms can be downloaded at the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s website. Make four copies of each of the filled-out forms. You should then bring them to Room 802 of the Richard J. Daley Center. The cashier there will stamp your originals and assign you a case number and calendar number. You should write those down.

Serve Your Spouse with the Divorce Papers

If your spouse lives in Cook County, you should bring your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and your Summons to the Sheriff’s Office on the 7th floor of the Daley Center. The cashier there should give you a dated receipt. Hold on to it.

If your spouse doesn’t live in Cook County, you’ll need to contact the Sheriff’s Office of the county where your spouse lives. You can find the Sheriff’s contact information on the National Association of Counties site.

Get a Hearing Date

Both you and your spouse must sign the proposed Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage and the Certification and Agreement of Counsel. You will then get a prove-up date. A prove-up date is a brief hearing during which you and your spouse state the facts you listed in your Petition for Dissolution and what you want to be done.

However, if your spouse did not answer your Summons, you’ll have to bring it and three copies of the Certificate and Motion for Default and the Notice of Hearing to the clerk in Room 802 of the Daley Center.

If you have any questions about filing for divorce or divorce law in general, you may want to consult with an attorney.

The post is part of FindLaw’s Legal U series. We are working to help you learn what to do in your city to cope with some of the legal problems, questions, or issues that come up in daily life.

Related Resources: