Getting a Divorce in Illinois

Getting a Divorce in Illinois

Last updated: April 2012

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If you want to end your marriage you can file for divorce. Grounds, or reasons, for divorce include:Mental CrueltyPhysical CrueltyDrug Addiction or DrunkennessYou can also get divorced for irreconcilable differences, or “no reason” if:You are separated from your spouse for at least 2 years. If you both agree to the divorce, then you must only be separated for 6 monthsYou state that both of you have made all efforts to try to work out your problems, and that your marriage cannot be savedClick on words that appear like 'this' to learn what these words mean.What will get decided in a divorce case? A divorce will include ending the marriage, child related issues, dividing marital property, and deciding if either spouse will pay maintenance. Dissolution of Marriage: This is the legal term for divorce. The Court will end your marriage and all the legal benefits that are a part of your marriage. Child Related Issues: If you have children, the court will decide which parent the children will live with, how often the other parent can visit the children, and how much money the parent will pay for child support. Parenting Education: Illinois requires parents to attend a parenting education class before the judge decides a divorce. This class teaches parents ways that they can act to avoid hurting their children during the divorce. Both parents must take this class within 60 days after the first meeting with the judge. The course is at least four hours long. Contact your local Circuit Clerk’s Office for specific information on how to meet this parenting education requirement. In cook County you can complete the Divorce Education Online and find more information about Cook County Parenting Education Programs. Issues related to child custody must be resolved within 18 months of the date of service of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, unless the judge agrees that there is a good reason to delay deciding these issues.Property: The Court will divide the marital property fairly. Any bad behavior has nothing to do with how the property is divided.Maintenance: The Court will also decide if maintenance (or alimony) will be to be paid from one spouse to the other spouse. What are some of the reasons I can use to get a divorce? You can get divorced for a reason (grounds) or with no reason (irreconcilable differences).Irreconcilable Differences:Irreconcilable differences is also know as a "no fault" divorce. To prove this reason, you must be separated from your spouse for at least 2 years. If you both agree to the divorce, then you must only be separated for 6 months.You must state that both of you have made all efforts to try to work out your problems, and that your marriage cannot be saved. You do not need to describe any specific behavior your spouse did to prove irreconcilable differences.Grounds:Mental Cruelty: To prove mental cruelty you must describe repeated behavior by your spouse that made you feel sad, nervous, or upset. You must also show that you did nothing to make your spouse treat you in that way.Physical Cruelty: To prove physical cruelty you must describe repeated physical acts of violence by your spouse towards you. You must also show that your spouse's actions injured you or made you scared, nervous or upset. You must also show that you did nothing to cause your spouse to act that way.Drug Addiction or Drunkenness: The addiction must go on for at least two years.Can I use irreconcilable differences if I've been separated for only 6 months? Yes. If both spouses agree to the divorce for irreconcilable differences and have been separated for at least 6 months. Both spouses must sign a a waiver. If the waiver is signed, you will not have to wait until the 2 year separation period has passed. Just in case your spouse decides they are not in agreement, you may want to plead other grounds for divorce besides irreconcilable diferences. Note: If you are separated and residing in the same house it is wise to sleep in separate beds and no sexual intercourse. How long do I have to live in Illinois before I can get a divorce here? You or your spouse must have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days before filing for divorce. You can only file for divorce in Illinois if you live in Illinois as your primary residence. For example, if you work in Michigan for several months of the year your primary residence must still be in Illinois. For your divorce case to decide custody of your children, the children must have lived in Illinois for at least 6 months before you file for divorce. However, there are exceptions to this and if where you live and can file for divorce is a concern you should talk with a lawyer. How much does it cost to get a divorce in Illinois? There are usually two fees that you have to pay. The first fee is to file your case. You pay a fee to the county Circuit Clerk when you file your case. The second fee is the cost of making sure that your spouse has been notified that you filed for divorce. This usually involves having a sheriff's deputy personally hand a copy of the divorce papers to your spouse or, if you cannot find your spouse, publishing a notice of the divorce in the newspaper. The filing fees vary from county to county. Call your county's Circuit Clerk to find out the cost for filing a divorce case and serving the divorce papers. To find out how to contact your county's Circuit Clerk, visit the Illinois Courts' website. If you cannot pay these fees, you may ask the judge to allow you to go ahead without paying. You will need to prove you have limited income. Visit the "Related Articles" section to learn how to ask the judge to let you file for free. What is the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce? A contested case is when you and your spouse do not agree. You have a contested case if your spouse:Does not want a divorceDisagrees about where the children should liveDisagrees about paying child supportDisagrees about how property should be split upDisagrees about who should pay certain debtsDisagrees about whether maintenance should be paid An uncontested case is when you and your spouse agree on everything in your case. You have an uncontested case if you:Both want a divorceAgree on issues about your childrenAgree on how property should be divided upAgree on who should pay which bills owedAgree if maintenance should or should not be paidNote: Just because a divorce is uncontested does not mean that the settlement terms will be approved by the Court. The terms can't be too unreasonable and children must be properly supported in accordance with the law. What is a Joint Simplified Divorce? A Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, or Joint Simplified Divorce, is a court process that makes it easier to get a divorce. Not every couple will meet the requirements for a Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage. To get a Joint Simplified Divorce: You and your spouse must agree on everything in your divorce caseYou must be married for less than 8 yearsYou must not have any children togetherYou must own no real estateYou must be separated for at least 6 monthsTogether you must make less than $35,000 a yearTo learn more about Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage, go to the "Related Articles" section.What if my spouse will not sign the divorce papers? Your spouse cannot stop you from getting a divorce by refusing to "sign the divorce papers." If you can prove that you have grounds for divorce under Illinois law, you can get a divorce. It is the Judge and not your spouse, who decides to grant you a divorce. Even if your spouse ignores the divorce case completely, you can still ask for a divorce. What if I cannot find my spouse? In all divorce cases you serve your spouse giving your spouse legal notice that you have filed a divorce case. If you cannot find your spouse to serve him or her with the divorce papers, then you can serve "by publication." You do this by publishing a notice in the local newspaper. Each county is different and you will need to contact your county's Circuit Clerk to find out which newspaper to publish your notice in. To find out how to contact your county's Circuit Clerk, visit the Illinois Courts' website. You can only use service by publication if:You could not find your spouse after making good efforts to do so. You will be questioned by the Court as to these efforts. You have asked your spouse's family members, friends or colleagues if they know how to find your spouse. It is also a good idea to conduct a basic internet search for your spouses whereabouts.If you have to serve by publication you will not be able to get:MaintenanceChild SupportVisitationDivision of your property that is not personal property or property located outside of IllinoisThese issues will be "reserved" which means that the Judge will not make any decisions about them when the divorce is granted. If you find your spouse later, then you can go back to court to have those issues decided.Can I get a divorce without my spouse knowing about it? No. One of the most important things you have to remember about your divorce case is that your spouse must have notice that you have filed for divorce so that they can take part in the case if they want to. Once your spouse receives a notice that you have filed for divorce, he or she can choose to ignore the case or get involved in it. If your spouse chooses to ignore the case, then you can go ahead without their involvement. But your spouse must be given notice so that he or she can make that choice. If you do not give your spouse proper notice that you have filed for divorce, the judge cannot give you a divorce.How long does it take to get a divorce? There is no way to know exactly how long it will take you to get a divorce. It depends on many things such as, how long it takes to notify your spouse about the divorce and whether your spouse decides to take part in the case to argue about issues such as custody and maintenance. It is not uncommon for contested divorces to take in more than 18 months. What can make the divorce take longer? Several factors can slow down the divorce process. Difficulty the sheriff has serving your spouse with divorce papers or finding your spouseActions your spouse takes such as getting a lawyer or filing an Appearance and ResponseDecisions about financial support such as child support or maintenanceDetermining who gets cutsody of the children or deciding on joint custodySetting a visitation schedule for the non-custodial parentDivision of marital property and any debts you and your spouse may haveWhat else can the judge do for me in a divorce case? In addition to giving you a divorce, the judge can make the following orders:Grant custody of any minor children you and your spouse haveSet a visitation schedule for the parent that will not have custody of the childrenSet an amount of money to be paid as child support by one parent to the otherDivide property you and your spouse had during marriageDivide who should pay any debts owed from marriageOrder one spouse to pay the other spouse maintenance (also called alimony or spousal support)Once I get a divorce, can I go back to my maiden name? If you took your spouse's name after marriage, the Court can allow you to return to your maiden name or any other former name. The Court cannot allow you to take a new name that you never had before. If you wish to change your name to something new, you have to file a separate legal action.Do I need a lawyer to help me with my divorce? It is always a good idea to talk with a lawyer who will advise you of your rights even if you decide not to hire a lawyer. If you think your spouse will disagree with you about an important issue, you have a contested case and you should get a lawyer to help you.You may also need a lawyer if the issues in your case are complicated. You should talk with a lawyer if you:Own real estateHave pension or retirement accountHave childrenHave special needs due to a disabilityNeed financial support from your spouse What is marital property? Marital property is any property or money gotten during the marriage. For example, if you were to buy a lottery ticket on the way to your wedding and won, this would not be marital property. If you were to buy a lottery ticket after your wedding on the way to your reception, this would be marital property.Most Property is marital property. The following are not marital property:Property gotten as a gift, an inheritance, or left to to you in someone's willProperty received in exchange for property gotten before the marriageProperty received in exchange for property gotten as a gift, an inheritance, or left to you in someone's willProperty owned by a spouse after a Judgment of Legal Separation. Property excluded by a valid agreement of the partiesAny judgment or property obtained by a court judgment awarded to a spouse from the other spouseProperty owned before the marriageThe court equitably divides marital property between the two spouses.Is a divorce from a civil union similar to a divorce from marriage? Yes. Civil union divorces are the same as a marriage divorce. Is a divorce from a same-sex marriage any different? No. Same-sex divorces are the same as any other divorce.Get Your Court Costs Waived File your Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent PersonIf your Application is approved, you will get a stamped Order to Sue or Defend as an Indigent PersonGo to the “Related Articles” section to get more information on how to waive your court costs.Prepare Your Forms Complete the Uncontested Divorce Documents Interview which you can find in the “Forms/Letters” section of this guide. This should prepare all of the forms that you will need.The forms will not print in the order that you will use them, and you will need to make photocopies of many of them. The rest of the instructions below explain which forms you will need for each step and how many copies you should make.File Your Forms Take these forms to room 802 of the Daley Center. You should have:Domestic Relations Cover Sheet;Summons – 4 copies;Petition for Dissolution of Marriage – 4 copies;Affidavit as to Military Service – 2 copies;Certificate of Dissolution – This form will not be in the packet you printed. You can pick it up in Room 802 of the Daley Center. Then fill it out with pen;Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person (if approved) – 4 copies. (You will not need to file this again, just keep a copy with you to prove to the clerk that you don’t have to pay the filing fees.)Take the original and copies of each form to the Cashier in Room 802. The cashier will stamp your originals, file them, and assign you a “case number” and a “calendar number.” Write down this information. You will need to write these numbers on everything else that you file for this case.Ask the Cashier which Judge and Courtroom you have. Write these down, too.Also ask the Cashier for “File-stamped” copies of all your forms. Then make several copies of the file-stamped forms.Serve Your Spouse with the Divorce Papers By Sheriff:Go to the 7th floor of the Daley Center. Take your:Petition for Dissolution of MarriageSummons – Certified copyApplication, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person (if approved)If your spouse lives in Cook County:Take the original forms and several copies to the Sheriff’s Office on the 7th floor of the Daley Center. Give your Summons to the Sheriff and show him or her your Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue or Defend as an Indigent Person. You will get a receipt from the cashier (even if you don’t have to pay) with a reference number and date on it. Make sure to keep this receipt!If your spouse does not live in Cook County:You must contact the Sheriff of the county where your spouse is living. Click on the title below to find the Sheriff’s contact information for your spouse’s county:National Association of CountiesThe Sheriff from that county will send you an affidavit of service once your spouse has been served.Two weeks later: Call the Sheriff to make sure your spouse was served. Mark the date that your spouse was served on your calendar. By Publication:If you cannot find your spouse to serve them with divorce papers after making good efforts to do so, then you can serve "by publication." You do this by publishing a notice in the local newspaper. Each county is different and you will need to contact your county's Circuit Clerk to find out which newspaper to publish your notice in. To find out how to contact your county's Circuit Clerk, visit the Illinois Courts' websiteIf you have an approved Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person, a judge must sign the Order for Publication and Waiver of Publication Fee before you serve by publication. Take your forms to the Courtroom where your case has been assigned and tell the Clerk that you need to have the Order for Publication and Waiver of Publication Fee signed. The Clerk will call your name and the Judge will sign your Order if you qualify.Go to the Chicago Law Bulletin Desk in Room 802. Bring your:Petition for Dissolution of MarriageSummonsAffidavit for Service by PublicationApplication, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person (if approved)Order for Publication and Waiver of Publication Fee (if approved)Give these papers to the Clerk at the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. The Clerk will give you a “default date.” After the default date you can move on to step #6.Wait 30 Days (or until the “default date” if you served by publication) During this time your spouse can file an Answer and Appearance if he or she chooses.Check Your File in Room 802 Ask the File Clerk for your file. You will need to leave a picture ID with the Clerk while you check out the file. Check the file to find out if your spouse filed an Answer. If your spouse hasn’t filed an Answer, then he or she is in default.Get a Hearing Date If your spouse answered:You and your spouse must agree on the proposed Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage. And you both must sign the Certification and Agreement of Counsel. Once this has happened you can get a prove-up date (a prove-up is a short hearing in which you and your spouse state for the court the facts that you have listed in your Petition and what you are asking for). Take your proposed Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage and Certification and Agreement of Counsel to the Courtroom of the Judge assigned to your case;Ask the Judge’s Clerk for a prove-up date;Mark the date on your calendar. If you are using “irreconcilable differences” as a ground for divorce and have been separated less than 2 years, you will need to get your spouse to sign the Affidavit and Waiver of Two-Year Waiting Period sometime before your prove-up hearing.If your spouse answered but you can’t come to an agreement:If you and your spouse cannot agree on any or all of the issues, then you will have to wait for the “postcard status.” This is a post card that you will get in the mail assigning a court date. The court date is usually 2 – 3 months after service. At the court date, you and your spouse can discuss the issues with the judge. If your spouse did NOT answer:Get your file from the File Clerk in Room 802. Take it to the Motions Counter, along with these forms:Certificate and Motion for Default – 3 copiesNotice of Hearing – 3 copiesMotion Slip – Get this form at the Motion’s Counter in Room 802. Write “prove-up” as the type of motion.Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person (if approved)Ask the Motions Clerk for a hearing date for your prove-up.Send the Notice of Motion to Your Spouse if He or She Defaulted Finish filling out the Notice of Motion with the prove-up hearing date, time, Courtroom and Judge;Complete the Certificate and Affidavit of Delivery at the bottom of the Notice of Motion;Take the Notice of Motion and Certificate and Motion for Default to the Cashier. Get them file stamped;Make several copies of the stamped forms;You must mail a copy of these 2 stamped forms to your spouse. If you served by publication, send this notice to the last known address. Get Ready for Your Prove-Up Hearing Make sure you have all of these forms:Order for a Free TranscriptOrder for Judgment and Transcript (also known as “28 Day Order”)Affidavit and Waiver of Two-Year Waiting Period (If applicable. You can only use this form if your spouse filed an Appearance and Answer, and you must get him or her to sign this form. ) - 4 copiesCourt Reporter’s Information SheetJudgment of Dissolution of Marriage - 3 copiesIf you have children and you aren’t serving by publication, you should also have these child support forms:Uniform Order for Support – 2 copiesNotice to Withhold Income for SupportJoint Parenting Agreement – If you have joint custody with your spouseAlso bring all of the other documents that you filed when you started the divorce and any papers or documents that you used to help you fill those out (such as pay stubs, bank account information or tax returns).Go to Your Prove-up Court Date Dress as you would for an important business meeting. Make sure to get to court at least half an hour early. You will have to go through security and use the elevators to get to the right floor. Go to your assigned courtroom.Find your “line number” at your courtroom. The line numbers are printed on a large sheet of paper posted outside of your courtroom.Check in with the judge’s clerk. The clerk will be sitting to the Judge’s left. Give the clerk your:Judgment of DissolutionOrder for Free TranscriptOrder for Judgment and TranscriptThe clerk will give you a form called a Judge’s Information Sheet, which you can fill out by hand.Then sit in the courtroom and wait for your case to be called. When your name is called, say “Here” and approach the bench. Give your Court Reporter Information Sheet to the court reporter. Then greet the Judge and introduce yourself and your case. You will be put under oath and then you will testify.The Judge will then tell you if you have met all the requirements to get a divorce, and whether he or she will sign and enter your judgment that day. If the Judge wants you to make corrections, then you will have to ask the court for time to submit a corrected version. You can often write these changes in by hand and still have the judgment signed that day.If the Judge signs your Judgment:Give the clerk your original and copies of the:Signed Judgment of DissolutionSigned Order for Free TranscriptSigned Order for Judgment and TranscriptIf you have children and the Judge approves of your child support proposal, the Judge should also sign your Uniform Order of Support.The clerk will keep the originals and “file-stamp” the copies and give them back to you. Then give the court reporter a copy of the Order for a Free Transcript.If the Judge does not sign your Judgment:Some Judges will not sign your proposed Judgment on the day of the prove-up. Instead, the Judge will sign the Order for Judgment and Transcript and mark box #2, which says that you must submit the proposed Judgment to the court within 28 days.Give the clerk your copies of the:Order for Free Transcript, andOrder for Judgment and TranscriptThen give the court reporter the Order for Free Transcript.Then follow step 12. After you’ve picked up and checked your transcript, take the original and several copies of the corrected and signed transcript and proposed Judgment to the Judge’s clerk. You must do this within 28 days of your prove-up hearing.Ask the clerk when the Judgment will be signed and come back then to get a stamped copy of the transcript and signed Judgment. The Judge’s clerk will keep the originals. Then go to step 11.Mail the Judgment to Your Spouse If your spouse did not come to court for the prove-up, or if the Judge doesn’t sign your Judgment on the day of the prove-up, then you must mail a copy of the Judgment to him or her.After you mail it, fill out and file the Certificate of Mailing of Judgment with the cashier in Room 802.If you have minor children, then you also must send your spouse a copy of the Uniform Order for Support, by certified mail. When you mail it you will get a green receipt card. Attach this to the Affidavit of Service of Uniform Order for Support. Then file the Affidavit with the court.Get Your Transcript from the Court Reporter’s Office You must do this within 28 days after the prove-up. Read the transcript and sign it if it is correct. Bring the transcript to the Judge assigned to your case. If You Have Minor Children 1. If you have minor children and you know where your spouse is employed, you must:Send the Notice to Withhold Income to your spouse’s employer;Fill out a Certificate of Mailing and file it with the cashier in Room 802 of the Daley Center;Get a file-stamped copy of the Certificate of Mailing;Send a copy of the Notice to Withhold Income to the State Disbursement Unit and to the Child Support Enforcement Unit. Their addresses are:State Disbursement UnitP.O. Box 5400Carol Stream, IL 60197-5400Child Support Enforcement Unit32 W. RandolphChicago, IL 60601-34052. You Must Attend a Parenting Education Class: Illinois requires parents to attend a parenting education class before the judge decides a divorce. This class teaches parents ways that they can act to avoid hurting their children during the divorce. Both parents must take this class within 60 days after the first meeting with the judge. In general, the course is at least four hours long and you may be able to take it online. Contact your local Circuit Clerk’s Office for specific information on how to meet this parenting education requirement. Cook County recently approved an online program, and more information on fulfilling the parenting education requirement can be found on the Circuit Court website. Get Your Court Costs Waived File your Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent PersonIf your Application is approved, you will get a stamped Order to Sue or Defend as an Indigent PersonGo to the “Related Articles” section to get more information on how to waive your court costs.Prepare Your Forms Complete the Uncontested Divorce Documents Interview which you can find in the “Forms/Letters” section of this guide. This should prepare all of the forms that you will need.The forms will not print in the order that you will use them, and you will need to make photocopies of many of them. The rest of the instructions below explain which forms you will need for each step and how many copies you should make.Find Your Courtroom You can file for divorce at any courtroom in your county. If you can, though, you should go to the courthouse in your district. Cook County’s district breakdown and map will help you find which district you are in.The courthouses are located at:1st DistrictRichard J. Daley Center, Chicago50 West Washington StreetChicago, Illinois 606022nd DistrictSkokie Courthouse 5600 Old Orchard RoadSkokie, Illinois 60077 (847) 470-72503rd DistrictRolling Meadows Courthouse2121 Euclid Avenue Rolling Meadows, Illinois 60008 (847) 818-30004th DistrictMaywood Courthouse1500 Maybrook DriveMaywood, Illinois 60153 (708) 865-60405th DistrictBridgeview Courthouse10220 South 76th AvenueBridgeview, Illinois 60455 (708) 974-65006th DistrictMarkham Courthouse16501 South Kedzie ParkwayMarkham, Illinois 60428 (708) 232-4551 File Your Forms Take these forms to the civil division of your courthouse. You should have:Domestic Relations Cover Sheet;Summons – 4 copies;Petition for Dissolution of Marriage – 4 copies;Affidavit as to Military Service – 2 copies;Certificate of Dissolution – This form will not be in the packet you printed. You can pick it up in Room 802 of the Daley Center. Then fill it out with pen;Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person (if approved) – 4 copies. (You will not need to file this again, just keep a copy with you to prove to the clerk that you don’t have to pay the filing fees.)Take the original and copies of each form to the clerk's office in the courthosue. The cashier or the clerk will stamp your originals, file them, and assign you a “case number” and a “calendar number.” Write down this information. You will need to write these numbers on everything else that you file for this case.Ask the Cashier which Judge and Courtroom you have. Write these down, too.Also ask the Cashier for “File-stamped” copies of all your forms. Then make several copies of the file-stamped forms.Serve Your Spouse with the Divorce Papers By Sheriff:You will need:Petition for Dissolution of MarriageSummons – Certified copyApplication, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person (if approved)By Sheriff, if your spouse lives in Cook County:Take the original forms and several copies to the Sheriff’s Office in the courthouse. Give your Summons to the Sheriff and show him your Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue or Defend as an Indigent Person. You will get a receipt from the cashier (even if you don’t have to pay) with a reference number and date on it. Make sure to keep this receipt!By Sheriff, if your spouse does not live in Cook County:You must contact the Sheriff of the county where your spouse is living. Click on the title below to find the Sheriff’s contact information for your spouse’s county:National Association of CountiesThe Sheriff from that county will send you an affidavit of service once your spouse has been served.Two weeks later: Call the Sheriff to make sure your spouse was served. Mark the date that your spouse was served on your calendar. By Publication:If you cannot find your spouse to serve them with divorce papers after making good efforts to do so, then you can serve "by publication." You do this by publishing a notice in the local newspaper. Each county is different and you will need to contact your county's Circuit Clerk to find out which newspaper to publish your notice in. To find out how to contact your county's Circuit Clerk, visit the Illinois Courts' websiteIf you have an approved Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person, a judge must sign the Order for Publication and Waiver of Publication Fee before you serve by publication. Take your forms to the Courtroom where your case has been assigned and tell the Clerk that you need to have the Order for Publication and Waiver of Publication Fee signed. The Clerk will call your name and the Judge will sign your Order if you qualify.You can send your information to the Chicago Law Bulletin for publication. Include the:Petition for Dissolution of MarriageSummonsAffidavit for Service by PublicationApplication, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person (if approved)Order for Publication and Waiver of Publication Fee (if approved)If you are using the Chicago Law Bulletin, mail these to:Chicago Daily Law Bulletin415 N. State St.Chicago, Illinois 60610You can also publish the notice through a newspaper. You should talk to the clerk at your courthouse to see what newspaper to use, what to send them, and what they will give you to prove you published notice. Wait 30 Days (or until the “default date” if you served by publication) During this time your spouse can file an Answer and Appearance if he or she chooses.Check Your File Ask the Clerk for your file. You will need to leave a picture ID with the Clerk while you check out the file. Check the file to find out if your spouse filed an Answer. If your spouse hasn’t filed an Answer, then he or she is in default.Get a Hearing Date If your spouse answered:You and your spouse must agree on the proposed Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage. And you both must sign the Certification and Agreement of Counsel. Once this has happened you can get a prove-up date (a prove-up is a short hearing in which you and your spouse state for the court the facts that you have listed in your Petition and what you are asking for). Take your proposed Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage and Certification and Agreement of Counsel to the Courtroom of the Judge assigned to your case;Ask the Judge’s Clerk for a prove-up date;Mark the date on your calendar. If you are using “irreconcilable differences” as a ground for divorce and have been separated less than 2 years, you will need to get your spouse to sign the Affidavit and Waiver of Two-Year Waiting Period sometime before your prove-up hearing.If your spouse answered but you can’t come to an agreement:If you and your spouse cannot agree on any or all of the issues, then you will have to wait for the “postcard status.” This is a post card that you will get in the mail assigning a court date. The court date is usually 2 – 3 months after service. At the court date, you and your spouse can discuss the issues with the judge. If your spouse did NOT answer:Get your file from the Clerk's office. Ask the clerk where you can file a motion for default. You will need:Certificate and Motion for Default – 3 copiesNotice of Hearing – 3 copiesApplication, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person (if approved)Ask the Motions Clerk for a hearing date for your prove-up. If your spouse did not answer, you will not be able to ask for certain things at your prove-up, like maintenance (which used to be called alimony).Send the Notice of Motion to Your Spouse if He or She Defaulted Finish filling out the Notice of Motion with the prove-up hearing date, time, Courtroom and Judge;Complete the Certificate and Affidavit of Delivery at the bottom of the Notice of Motion;Take the Notice of Motion and Certificate and Motion for Default to the Cashier. Get them file stamped;Make several copies of the stamped forms;You must mail a copy of these 2 stamped forms to your spouse. If you served by publication, send this notice to the last known address. Get Ready for Your Prove-Up Hearing Make sure you have all of these forms, or the forms the clerk tells you to bring:Order for a Free TranscriptOrder for Judgment and Transcript (also known as “28 Day Order”)Affidavit and Waiver of Two-Year Waiting Period (If applicable. You can only use this form if your spouse filed an Appearance and Answer, and you must get him or her to sign this form. ) - 4 copiesCourt Reporter’s Information SheetJudgment of Dissolution of Marriage - 3 copiesIf you have children and you aren’t serving by publication, you should also have these child support forms:Uniform Order for Support – 2 copiesNotice to Withhold Income for SupportJoint Parenting Agreement – If you have joint custody with your spouseAlso bring all of the other documents that you filed when you started the divorce and any papers or documents that you used to help you fill those out (such as pay stubs, bank account information or tax returns).Go to Your Prove-up Court Date Dress as you would for an important business meeting. Make sure to get to court at least half an hour early. You will have to go through security.Find your “line number” at your courtroom. The line numbers are printed on a large sheet of paper posted outside of your courtroom.Check in with the judge’s clerk. Give the clerk your:Judgment of DissolutionOrder for Free TranscriptOrder for Judgment and TranscriptThe clerk will give you a form called a Judge’s Information Sheet, which you can fill out by hand.Then sit in the courtroom and wait for your case to be called. When your name is called, say “Here” and approach the bench. Give your Court Reporter Information Sheet to the court reporter. Then greet the Judge and introduce yourself and your case. You will be put under oath and then you will testify. The Judge will usually ask you a series of questions about your marriage, income, property, and children.The Judge will then tell you if you have met all the requirements to get a divorce, and whether he will sign and enter your judgment that day. If the Judge wants you to make corrections, then you will have to ask the court for time to submit a corrected version. You can often write these changes in by hand and still have the judgment signed that day.If the Judge signs your Judgment:Give the clerk your original and copies of the:Signed Judgment of DissolutionSigned Order for Free TranscriptSigned Order for Judgment and TranscriptIf you have children and the Judge approves of your child support proposal, the Judge should also sign your Uniform Order of Support.The clerk will keep the originals and “file-stamp” the copies and give them back to you. Then give the court reporter a copy of the Order for a Free Transcript.If the Judge does not sign your Judgment:Some Judges will not sign your proposed Judgment on the day of the prove-up. Instead, the Judge will sign the Order for Judgment and Transcript and mark box #2, which says that you must submit the proposed Judgment to the court within 28 days.Give the clerk your copies of the:Order for Free Transcript, andOrder for Judgment and TranscriptThen give the court reporter the Order for Free Transcript.After you’ve picked up and checked your transcript, take the original and several copies of the corrected and signed transcript and proposed Judgment to the Judge’s clerk. You must do this within 28 days of your prove-up hearing.Ask the clerk when the Judgment will be signed and come back then to get a stamped copy of the transcript and signed Judgment. The Judge’s clerk will keep the originals.Get Your Transcript from the Court Reporter’s Office If the judge signed your proposed Judgment on the day of prove-up, skip this step.If the judge did not sign you proposed judgment, you must go to the Court Reporter’s office and look at the transcript. You must do this within 28 days after the prove-up. Read the transcript and sign it if it is correct. Bring the transcript to the Judge assigned to your case. Mail the Judgment to Your Spouse If your spouse did not come to court for the prove-up, or if the Judge doesn’t sign your Judgment on the day of the prove-up, then you must mail a copy of the Judgment to him or her.After you mail it, fill out and file the Certificate of Mailing of Judgment with the cashier at the clerk’s office.If you have minor children, then you also must send your spouse a copy of the Uniform Order for Support, by certified mail. When you mail it you will get a green receipt card. Attach this to the Affidavit of Service of Uniform Order for Support. Then file the Affidavit with the court.If You Have Minor Children If you have minor children and you know where your spouse is employed, you must:Send the Notice to Withhold Income to your spouse’s employer;Fill out a Certificate of Mailing and file it with the cashier in Room 802 of the Daley Center;Get a file-stamped copy of the Certificate of Mailing;Send a copy of the Notice to Withhold Income to the State Disbursement Unit and to the Child Support Enforcement Unit. Their addresses are:State Disbursement UnitP.O. Box 5400Carol Stream, IL 60197-5400Child Support Enforcement Unit32 W. RandolphChicago, IL 60601-3405Get Your Court Costs Waived File your Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent PersonIf your Application is approved, you will get a stamped Order to Sue or Defend as an Indigent PersonGo to the “Related Articles” section to get more information on how to waive your court costs.Prepare Your Forms Complete the Uncontested Divorce Documents Interview which you can find in the “Forms/Letters” section of this guide. This should prepare all of the forms that you will need.The forms will not print in the order that you will use them, and you will need to make photocopies of many of them. The rest of the instructions below explain which forms you will need for each step and how many copies you should make.Find Your Courtroom You can file for divorce at any courtroom in your county. If you can, though, you should go to the courthouse in your district. Cook County’s district breakdown and map will help you find which district you are in.The courthouses are located at:1st DistrictRichard J. Daley Center, Chicago50 West Washington StreetChicago, Illinois 606022nd DistrictSkokie Courthouse 5600 Old Orchard RoadSkokie, Illinois 60077 (847) 470-72503rd DistrictRolling Meadows Courthouse2121 Euclid Avenue Rolling Meadows, Illinois 60008 (847) 818-30004th DistrictMaywood Courthouse1500 Maybrook DriveMaywood, Illinois 60153 (708) 865-60405th DistrictBridgeview Courthouse10220 South 76th AvenueBridgeview, Illinois 60455 (708) 974-65006th DistrictMarkham Courthouse16501 South Kedzie ParkwayMarkham, Illinois 60428 (708) 232-4551 File Your Forms Take these forms to the civil division of your courthouse. You should have:Domestic Relations Cover Sheet;Summons – 4 copies;Petition for Dissolution of Marriage – 4 copies;Affidavit as to Military Service – 2 copies;Certificate of Dissolution – This form will not be in the packet you printed. You can pick it up in Room 802 of the Daley Center. Then fill it out with pen;Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person (if approved) – 4 copies. (You will not need to file this again, just keep a copy with you to prove to the clerk that you don’t have to pay the filing fees.)Take the original and copies of each form to the clerk's office in the courthosue. The cashier or the clerk will stamp your originals, file them, and assign you a “case number” and a “calendar number.” Write down this information. You will need to write these numbers on everything else that you file for this case.Ask the Cashier which Judge and Courtroom you have. Write these down, too.Also ask the Cashier for “File-stamped” copies of all your forms. Then make several copies of the file-stamped forms.Serve Your Spouse with the Divorce Papers By Sheriff:You will need:Petition for Dissolution of MarriageSummons – Certified copyApplication, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person (if approved)By Sheriff, if your spouse lives in Cook County:Take the original forms and several copies to the Sheriff’s Office in the courthouse. Give your Summons to the Sheriff and show him your Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue or Defend as an Indigent Person. You will get a receipt from the cashier (even if you don’t have to pay) with a reference number and date on it. Make sure to keep this receipt!By Sheriff, if your spouse does not live in Cook County:You must contact the Sheriff of the county where your spouse is living. Click on the title below to find the Sheriff’s contact information for your spouse’s county:National Association of CountiesThe Sheriff from that county will send you an affidavit of service once your spouse has been served.Two weeks later: Call the Sheriff to make sure your spouse was served. Mark the date that your spouse was served on your calendar. By Publication:If you cannot find your spouse to serve them with divorce papers after making good efforts to do so, then you can serve "by publication." You do this by publishing a notice in the local newspaper. Each county is different and you will need to contact your county's Circuit Clerk to find out which newspaper to publish your notice in. To find out how to contact your county's Circuit Clerk, visit the Illinois Courts' websiteIf you have an approved Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person, a judge must sign the Order for Publication and Waiver of Publication Fee before you serve by publication. Take your forms to the Courtroom where your case has been assigned and tell the Clerk that you need to have the Order for Publication and Waiver of Publication Fee signed. The Clerk will call your name and the Judge will sign your Order if you qualify.You can send your information to the Chicago Law Bulletin for publication. Include the:Petition for Dissolution of MarriageSummonsAffidavit for Service by PublicationApplication, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person (if approved)Order for Publication and Waiver of Publication Fee (if approved)If you are using the Chicago Law Bulletin, mail these to:Chicago Daily Law Bulletin415 N. State St.Chicago, Illinois 60610You can also publish the notice through a newspaper. You should talk to the clerk at your courthouse to see what newspaper to use, what to send them, and what they will give you to prove you published notice. Wait 30 Days (or until the “default date” if you served by publication) During this time your spouse can file an Answer and Appearance if he or she chooses.Check Your File Ask the Clerk for your file. You will need to leave a picture ID with the Clerk while you check out the file. Check the file to find out if your spouse filed an Answer. If your spouse hasn’t filed an Answer, then he or she is in default.Get a Hearing Date If your spouse answered:You and your spouse must agree on the proposed Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage. And you both must sign the Certification and Agreement of Counsel. Once this has happened you can get a prove-up date (a prove-up is a short hearing in which you and your spouse state for the court the facts that you have listed in your Petition and what you are asking for). Take your proposed Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage and Certification and Agreement of Counsel to the Courtroom of the Judge assigned to your case;Ask the Judge’s Clerk for a prove-up date;Mark the date on your calendar. If you are using “irreconcilable differences” as a ground for divorce and have been separated less than 2 years, you will need to get your spouse to sign the Affidavit and Waiver of Two-Year Waiting Period sometime before your prove-up hearing.If your spouse answered but you can’t come to an agreement:If you and your spouse cannot agree on any or all of the issues, then you will have to wait for the “postcard status.” This is a post card that you will get in the mail assigning a court date. The court date is usually 2 – 3 months after service. At the court date, you and your spouse can discuss the issues with the judge. If your spouse did NOT answer:Get your file from the Clerk's office. Ask the clerk where you can file a motion for default. You will need:Certificate and Motion for Default – 3 copiesNotice of Hearing – 3 copiesApplication, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person (if approved)Ask the Motions Clerk for a hearing date for your prove-up. If your spouse did not answer, you will not be able to ask for certain things at your prove-up, like maintenance (which used to be called alimony).Send the Notice of Motion to Your Spouse if He or She Defaulted Finish filling out the Notice of Motion with the prove-up hearing date, time, Courtroom and Judge;Complete the Certificate and Affidavit of Delivery at the bottom of the Notice of Motion;Take the Notice of Motion and Certificate and Motion for Default to the Cashier. Get them file stamped;Make several copies of the stamped forms;You must mail a copy of these 2 stamped forms to your spouse. If you served by publication, send this notice to the last known address. Get Ready for Your Prove-Up Hearing Make sure you have all of these forms, or the forms the clerk tells you to bring:Order for a Free TranscriptOrder for Judgment and Transcript (also known as “28 Day Order”)Affidavit and Waiver of Two-Year Waiting Period (If applicable. You can only use this form if your spouse filed an Appearance and Answer, and you must get him or her to sign this form. ) - 4 copiesCourt Reporter’s Information SheetJudgment of Dissolution of Marriage - 3 copiesIf you have children and you aren’t serving by publication, you should also have these child support forms:Uniform Order for Support – 2 copiesNotice to Withhold Income for SupportJoint Parenting Agreement – If you have joint custody with your spouseAlso bring all of the other documents that you filed when you started the divorce and any papers or documents that you used to help you fill those out (such as pay stubs, bank account information or tax returns).Go to Your Prove-up Court Date Dress as you would for an important business meeting. Make sure to get to court at least half an hour early. You will have to go through security.Find your “line number” at your courtroom. The line numbers are printed on a large sheet of paper posted outside of your courtroom.Check in with the judge’s clerk. Give the clerk your:Judgment of DissolutionOrder for Free TranscriptOrder for Judgment and TranscriptThe clerk will give you a form called a Judge’s Information Sheet, which you can fill out by hand.Then sit in the courtroom and wait for your case to be called. When your name is called, say “Here” and approach the bench. Give your Court Reporter Information Sheet to the court reporter. Then greet the Judge and introduce yourself and your case. You will be put under oath and then you will testify. The Judge will usually ask you a series of questions about your marriage, income, property, and children.The Judge will then tell you if you have met all the requirements to get a divorce, and whether he will sign and enter your judgment that day. If the Judge wants you to make corrections, then you will have to ask the court for time to submit a corrected version. You can often write these changes in by hand and still have the judgment signed that day.If the Judge signs your Judgment:Give the clerk your original and copies of the:Signed Judgment of DissolutionSigned Order for Free TranscriptSigned Order for Judgment and TranscriptIf you have children and the Judge approves of your child support proposal, the Judge should also sign your Uniform Order of Support.The clerk will keep the originals and “file-stamp” the copies and give them back to you. Then give the court reporter a copy of the Order for a Free Transcript.If the Judge does not sign your Judgment:Some Judges will not sign your proposed Judgment on the day of the prove-up. Instead, the Judge will sign the Order for Judgment and Transcript and mark box #2, which says that you must submit the proposed Judgment to the court within 28 days.Give the clerk your copies of the:Order for Free Transcript, andOrder for Judgment and TranscriptThen give the court reporter the Order for Free Transcript.After you’ve picked up and checked your transcript, take the original and several copies of the corrected and signed transcript and proposed Judgment to the Judge’s clerk. You must do this within 28 days of your prove-up hearing.Ask the clerk when the Judgment will be signed and come back then to get a stamped copy of the transcript and signed Judgment. The Judge’s clerk will keep the originals.Get Your Transcript from the Court Reporter’s Office If the judge signed your proposed Judgment on the day of prove-up, skip this step.If the judge did not sign you proposed judgment, you must go to the Court Reporter’s office and look at the transcript. You must do this within 28 days after the prove-up. Read the transcript and sign it if it is correct. Bring the transcript to the Judge assigned to your case. Mail the Judgment to Your Spouse If your spouse did not come to court for the prove-up, or if the Judge doesn’t sign your Judgment on the day of the prove-up, then you must mail a copy of the Judgment to him or her.After you mail it, fill out and file the Certificate of Mailing of Judgment with the cashier at the clerk’s office.If you have minor children, then you also must send your spouse a copy of the Uniform Order for Support, by certified mail. When you mail it you will get a green receipt card. Attach this to the Affidavit of Service of Uniform Order for Support. Then file the Affidavit with the court.If You Have Minor Children If you have minor children and you know where your spouse is employed, you must:Send the Notice to Withhold Income to your spouse’s employer;Fill out a Certificate of Mailing and file it with the cashier in Room 802 of the Daley Center;Get a file-stamped copy of the Certificate of Mailing;Send a copy of the Notice to Withhold Income to the State Disbursement Unit and to the Child Support Enforcement Unit. Their addresses are:State Disbursement UnitP.O. Box 5400Carol Stream, IL 60197-5400Child Support Enforcement Unit32 W. RandolphChicago, IL 60601-3405Get Your Court Costs Waived File your Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent PersonIf your Application is approved, you will get a stamped Order to Sue or Defend as an Indigent PersonGo to the “Related Articles” section to get more information on how to waive your court costs.Prepare Your Forms Complete the Uncontested Divorce Documents Interview which you can find in the “Forms/Letters” section of this guide. This should prepare all of the forms that you will need.The forms will not print in the order that you will use them, and you will need to make photocopies of many of them. The rest of the instructions below explain which forms you will need for each step and how many copies you should make.Find Your Courtroom You can file for divorce at any courtroom in your county. If you can, though, you should go to the courthouse in your district. Cook County’s district breakdown and map will help you find which district you are in.The courthouses are located at:1st DistrictRichard J. Daley Center, Chicago50 West Washington StreetChicago, Illinois 606022nd DistrictSkokie Courthouse 5600 Old Orchard RoadSkokie, Illinois 60077 (847) 470-72503rd DistrictRolling Meadows Courthouse2121 Euclid Avenue Rolling Meadows, Illinois 60008 (847) 818-30004th DistrictMaywood Courthouse1500 Maybrook DriveMaywood, Illinois 60153 (708) 865-60405th DistrictBridgeview Courthouse10220 South 76th AvenueBridgeview, Illinois 60455 (708) 974-65006th DistrictMarkham Courthouse16501 South Kedzie ParkwayMarkham, Illinois 60428 (708) 232-4551 File Your Forms Take these forms to the civil division of your courthouse. You should have:Domestic Relations Cover Sheet;Summons – 4 copies;Petition for Dissolution of Marriage – 4 copies;Affidavit as to Military Service – 2 copies;Certificate of Dissolution – This form will not be in the packet you printed. You can pick it up in Room 802 of the Daley Center. Then fill it out with pen;Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person (if approved) – 4 copies. (You will not need to file this again, just keep a copy with you to prove to the clerk that you don’t have to pay the filing fees.)Take the original and copies of each form to the clerk's office in the courthosue. The cashier or the clerk will stamp your originals, file them, and assign you a “case number” and a “calendar number.” Write down this information. You will need to write these numbers on everything else that you file for this case.Ask the Cashier which Judge and Courtroom you have. Write these down, too.Also ask the Cashier for “File-stamped” copies of all your forms. Then make several copies of the file-stamped forms.Serve Your Spouse with the Divorce Papers By Sheriff:You will need:Petition for Dissolution of MarriageSummons – Certified copyApplication, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person (if approved)By Sheriff, if your spouse lives in Cook County:Take the original forms and several copies to the Sheriff’s Office in the courthouse. Give your Summons to the Sheriff and show him your Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue or Defend as an Indigent Person. You will get a receipt from the cashier (even if you don’t have to pay) with a reference number and date on it. Make sure to keep this receipt!By Sheriff, if your spouse does not live in Cook County:You must contact the Sheriff of the county where your spouse is living. Click on the title below to find the Sheriff’s contact information for your spouse’s county:National Association of CountiesThe Sheriff from that county will send you an affidavit of service once your spouse has been served.Two weeks later: Call the Sheriff to make sure your spouse was served. Mark the date that your spouse was served on your calendar. By Publication:If you cannot find your spouse to serve them with divorce papers after making good efforts to do so, then you can serve "by publication." You do this by publishing a notice in the local newspaper. Each county is different and you will need to contact your county's Circuit Clerk to find out which newspaper to publish your notice in. To find out how to contact your county's Circuit Clerk, visit the Illinois Courts' websiteIf you have an approved Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person, a judge must sign the Order for Publication and Waiver of Publication Fee before you serve by publication. Take your forms to the Courtroom where your case has been assigned and tell the Clerk that you need to have the Order for Publication and Waiver of Publication Fee signed. The Clerk will call your name and the Judge will sign your Order if you qualify.You can send your information to the Chicago Law Bulletin for publication. Include the:Petition for Dissolution of MarriageSummonsAffidavit for Service by PublicationApplication, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person (if approved)Order for Publication and Waiver of Publication Fee (if approved)If you are using the Chicago Law Bulletin, mail these to:Chicago Daily Law Bulletin415 N. State St.Chicago, Illinois 60610You can also publish the notice through a newspaper. You should talk to the clerk at your courthouse to see what newspaper to use, what to send them, and what they will give you to prove you published notice. Wait 30 Days (or until the “default date” if you served by publication) During this time your spouse can file an Answer and Appearance if he or she chooses.Check Your File Ask the Clerk for your file. You will need to leave a picture ID with the Clerk while you check out the file. Check the file to find out if your spouse filed an Answer. If your spouse hasn’t filed an Answer, then he or she is in default.Get a Hearing Date If your spouse answered:You and your spouse must agree on the proposed Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage. And you both must sign the Certification and Agreement of Counsel. Once this has happened you can get a prove-up date (a prove-up is a short hearing in which you and your spouse state for the court the facts that you have listed in your Petition and what you are asking for). Take your proposed Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage and Certification and Agreement of Counsel to the Courtroom of the Judge assigned to your case;Ask the Judge’s Clerk for a prove-up date;Mark the date on your calendar. If you are using “irreconcilable differences” as a ground for divorce and have been separated less than 2 years, you will need to get your spouse to sign the Affidavit and Waiver of Two-Year Waiting Period sometime before your prove-up hearing.If your spouse answered but you can’t come to an agreement:If you and your spouse cannot agree on any or all of the issues, then you will have to wait for the “postcard status.” This is a post card that you will get in the mail assigning a court date. The court date is usually 2 – 3 months after service. At the court date, you and your spouse can discuss the issues with the judge. If your spouse did NOT answer:Get your file from the Clerk's office. Ask the clerk where you can file a motion for default. You will need:Certificate and Motion for Default – 3 copiesNotice of Hearing – 3 copiesApplication, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person (if approved)Ask the Motions Clerk for a hearing date for your prove-up. If your spouse did not answer, you will not be able to ask for certain things at your prove-up, like maintenance (which used to be called alimony).Send the Notice of Motion to Your Spouse if He or She Defaulted Finish filling out the Notice of Motion with the prove-up hearing date, time, Courtroom and Judge;Complete the Certificate and Affidavit of Delivery at the bottom of the Notice of Motion;Take the Notice of Motion and Certificate and Motion for Default to the Cashier. Get them file stamped;Make several copies of the stamped forms;You must mail a copy of these 2 stamped forms to your spouse. If you served by publication, send this notice to the last known address. Get Ready for Your Prove-Up Hearing Make sure you have all of these forms, or the forms the clerk tells you to bring:Order for a Free TranscriptOrder for Judgment and Transcript (also known as “28 Day Order”)Affidavit and Waiver of Two-Year Waiting Period (If applicable. You can only use this form if your spouse filed an Appearance and Answer, and you must get him or her to sign this form. ) - 4 copiesCourt Reporter’s Information SheetJudgment of Dissolution of Marriage - 3 copiesIf you have children and you aren’t serving by publication, you should also have these child support forms:Uniform Order for Support – 2 copiesNotice to Withhold Income for SupportJoint Parenting Agreement – If you have joint custody with your spouseAlso bring all of the other documents that you filed when you started the divorce and any papers or documents that you used to help you fill those out (such as pay stubs, bank account information or tax returns).Go to Your Prove-up Court Date Dress as you would for an important business meeting. Make sure to get to court at least half an hour early. You will have to go through security.Find your “line number” at your courtroom. The line numbers are printed on a large sheet of paper posted outside of your courtroom.Check in with the judge’s clerk. Give the clerk your:Judgment of DissolutionOrder for Free TranscriptOrder for Judgment and TranscriptThe clerk will give you a form called a Judge’s Information Sheet, which you can fill out by hand.Then sit in the courtroom and wait for your case to be called. When your name is called, say “Here” and approach the bench. Give your Court Reporter Information Sheet to the court reporter. Then greet the Judge and introduce yourself and your case. You will be put under oath and then you will testify. The Judge will usually ask you a series of questions about your marriage, income, property, and children.The Judge will then tell you if you have met all the requirements to get a divorce, and whether he will sign and enter your judgment that day. If the Judge wants you to make corrections, then you will have to ask the court for time to submit a corrected version. You can often write these changes in by hand and still have the judgment signed that day.If the Judge signs your Judgment:Give the clerk your original and copies of the:Signed Judgment of DissolutionSigned Order for Free TranscriptSigned Order for Judgment and TranscriptIf you have children and the Judge approves of your child support proposal, the Judge should also sign your Uniform Order of Support.The clerk will keep the originals and “file-stamp” the copies and give them back to you. Then give the court reporter a copy of the Order for a Free Transcript.If the Judge does not sign your Judgment:Some Judges will not sign your proposed Judgment on the day of the prove-up. Instead, the Judge will sign the Order for Judgment and Transcript and mark box #2, which says that you must submit the proposed Judgment to the court within 28 days.Give the clerk your copies of the:Order for Free Transcript, andOrder for Judgment and TranscriptThen give the court reporter the Order for Free Transcript.After you’ve picked up and checked your transcript, take the original and several copies of the corrected and signed transcript and proposed Judgment to the Judge’s clerk. You must do this within 28 days of your prove-up hearing.Ask the clerk when the Judgment will be signed and come back then to get a stamped copy of the transcript and signed Judgment. The Judge’s clerk will keep the originals.Get Your Transcript from the Court Reporter’s Office If the judge signed your proposed Judgment on the day of prove-up, skip this step.If the judge did not sign you proposed judgment, you must go to the Court Reporter’s office and look at the transcript. You must do this within 28 days after the prove-up. Read the transcript and sign it if it is correct. Bring the transcript to the Judge assigned to your case. Mail the Judgment to Your Spouse If your spouse did not come to court for the prove-up, or if the Judge doesn’t sign your Judgment on the day of the prove-up, then you must mail a copy of the Judgment to him or her.After you mail it, fill out and file the Certificate of Mailing of Judgment with the cashier at the clerk’s office.If you have minor children, then you also must send your spouse a copy of the Uniform Order for Support, by certified mail. When you mail it you will get a green receipt card. Attach this to the Affidavit of Service of Uniform Order for Support. Then file the Affidavit with the court.If You Have Minor Children If you have minor children and you know where your spouse is employed, you must:Send the Notice to Withhold Income to your spouse’s employer;Fill out a Certificate of Mailing and file it with the cashier in Room 802 of the Daley Center;Get a file-stamped copy of the Certificate of Mailing;Send a copy of the Notice to Withhold Income to the State Disbursement Unit and to the Child Support Enforcement Unit. Their addresses are:State Disbursement UnitP.O. Box 5400Carol Stream, IL 60197-5400Child Support Enforcement Unit32 W. RandolphChicago, IL 60601-3405Get Your Court Costs Waived Complete your Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person;Take these forms into any courtroom at the Kane County Judicial Center between 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. or at 1:00 p.m. in order to have a Judge sign them;Go to the clerk next to the Judge and explain what you need from the Judge;He or she will tell you what you need to do next.Go to the “Related Articles” section to get more information on how to waive your court costs.Prepare Your Forms Complete the “Uncontested Divorce Documents” HotDocs interview which you can find in the “Forms/Letters” section of this guide. This should prepare most of the forms that you will need. You will also need to prepare the New Case Information Sheet.The forms will not print in the order that you will use them, and you will need to make photocopies of many of them. The rest of the instructions below explain which forms you will need for each step and how many copies you should make.File Your Forms After you file the Application to Sue as A Poor Person with the Circuit Clerk and it is either approved or denied you should file the following forms: - Petition for Dissolution of Marriage - original and 2 copies - Summons - 4 copies - Affidavit as to Military Service - 2 copies - Order to Sue or Defend as a Poor Person, if approved (You will not need to file this again. You will just need to keep a copy with you to prove to the Clerk that you don't have to pay the filing fees.)Bring your forms to the Clerk's office in the Kane County Judicial Center;The Clerk will file your forms and give you the copies;The Clerk will stamp all of your documents with a case number, a KIDS Program stamp with a date and a case management stamp with a date. You must return to court on these dates or else your case will be dismissed.Serve Your Spouse with the Divorce Papers If your spouse will agree to give up being served and agree to the terms of the divorce as you have asked for in your Petition, you should have him or her sign the Entry of Appearance, Waiver, and Consent form. If your spouse doesn’t sign the consent form then you must serve him or her with the divorce papers.To Serve by Sheriff:Have the Circuit Clerk of Kane County issue or certify your Summons;Attach a copy of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage to the copy of your Summons form;If your spouse lives in Kane County, all you need to do is give both copies of the Summons to the Circuit Clerk and ask the Clerk to forward them to the Sheriff to be served;If your spouse does not live in Kane County, you will need to fill out the form entitled “Sheriff’s Letter.” You can get this letter from your Circuit Clerk. Mail this letter along with both copies of the Summons to the Sheriff of the county where your spouse lives. Click on the title below to find the Sheriff’s contact information for your spouse’s county:National Association of CountiesWait 2 weeks and then call the Sheriff to make sure your spouse was served. Mark the date that your spouse was served on your calendar.To Serve by Publication:If you cannot find your spouse to serve them with divorce papers after making good efforts to do so, then you can serve "by publication." You do this by publishing a notice in the local newspaper. Each county is different and you will need to contact your county's Circuit Clerk to find out which newspaper to publish your notice in. To find out how to contact your county's Circuit Clerk, visit the Illinois Courts' websiteIf you have already filed an Application to Sue as a Poor Person which was approved by the Court, you can file a Motion to Waive Publication Costs with the Court to have the county pay the costs of your notice. If the Court does not approve your motion, then you will have to pay the newspaper the costs of the notice;You will need to wait to see if your Motion to Waive Publication Costs is approved. If it is approved, you can go on without having to pay the cost of printing the Notice in the newspaper;File the Publication Notice (2 copies) and the Affidavit for Service by Publication, which will be two of the forms generated from your HotDocs interview, with the Clerk. Be prepared to tell the Clerk that you plan to use The Republican newspaper to publish your notice and the first date of publication of your notice. Publication is done on a Thursday and the documents must be to The Republican by the Monday of the week of publication.Take a copy of the Certificate of Dissolution, a copy of the Publication Notice, a copy of the Affidavit for Service By Publication and the copy of the Order for Application to Sue or Defend as a Poor Person (if it was approved) to The Republican located at:3755 E. Main StreetSuite 170St. Charles, IL 6017Mail the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage to your spouse's last known address;When publication is complete, the The Republican newspaper will send you a Certificate of Publication. The Certificate is a letter or a form that the newspaper fills out which proves that the Notice of your divorce ran for 3 consecutive weeks and has a copy of the Notice that appeared in the newspaper. There will be a date on the bottom of the Certificate. Your spouse must file an Appearance and Answer to your divorce petition by this date;After you receive the Certificate of Publication from the newspaper, take the following forms to the Clerk's office to file: - Published Notice - original and 2 copies - Notice of Filing (completed) - original and 2 copiesAfter publication is complete, mail a copy of the Published Notice and the Notice of Filing to your spouse's last known address.Wait 30 Days (or until the “Default Date” If You Served by Publication) During this time your spouse can file an Answer and Appearance if he or she wants. If you are trying to serve by publication, your spouse has until the date you listed on the Notice of Publication to file his or her response to the divorce with the Clerk. If he or she does not file a response in that time, he or she will be "in default" and you can keep going with your case without him or her. Keep in mind, however, that your spouse cannot be held in default unless there was 30 days between the date listed in the Notice of Publication and the date the Notice first appeared in the newspaper.During this 30-day period, if you have children under 18 years of age from your marriage, you must call the KIDS Program at 630-232-5856 to make an appointment to attend the class. This is a mandatory program. The divorce cannot be finalized until you attend the class. You will need a copy of the Order for Application to Sue or Defend as a Poor Person to have the fees from the class waived.Get a Hearing Date Once you have served your spouse, you will need to wait 30 days to see if he or she files a response to your Petition. If you served your spouse by publication and the date in the publication notice has passed, call the Kane County Circuit Clerk's Office at 630-232-3413 to see if your spouse filed an Answer and Appearance.If your spouse has failed to file a response with the Clerk after 30 days have passed, you should ask for a hearing date. If the person you are suing has signed an Entry of Appearance, Waiver, and Consent form waiving service, you do not need to wait the 30 days before asking for your hearing.Send the Notice of Motion to Your Spouse if He or She Defaulted If your spouse has not filed a response to your petition, call Family Scheduling at 630-232-5860 to schedule a Default Hearing. Tell the Clerk that you are a "Pro Se Petitioner";Bring with you the two forms "Notice of Motion for a Default Hearing" and "Motion for a Default Order";Mail these forms to your spouse at his or her last known address;Take the original and two copies of each of these forms to the Kane County Circuit Clerk to file.Get Ready for the Hearing You will need to bring with you the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage form.If you have children, you should also bring these child support forms:Joint Parenting Order (if you are asking for joint custody)Uniform Order for SupportNotice to Withhold Income For Child Support (if you or your spouse is asking for child support)Also bring all of the other documents that you filed when you started the divorce and any papers or documents that you used to help you fill those out (such as pay stubs, bank account information or tax returns).If you are going to a Default Hearing because your spouse did not respond to your petition, you will need to bring the following forms with you to your court date:Notice of Motion - 2 copiesMotion for Default Order - 2 copiesOrder of Default - 2 copiesCertificate of Readiness and OrderGo to the Hearing While there is no way to know exactly what will happen at your hearing, here are some things you should do:Bring with you your copies of all the documents you filed with the Circuit Clerk and any other papers relating to your divorce;Write out everything that you need to say and bring this to court with you so you do not forget anything;Arrive at least 30 minutes before your hearing. Whatever you do, don’t be late. Check the court schedule or docket or ask the Clerk exactly what courtroom you will be in. When you arrive at the courtroom, tell the Clerk or the Judge’s secretary in the courtroom that you are ready to proceed then be seated and wait for your case number and name to be called;When the Judge comes into the courtroom, stand until you are told to be seated. When your case is called, go up to the bench. Always refer to the Judge as “your honor";Before you start, the judge may ask you some questions about your case. Be ready to answer whether your spouse was served and, if so, when. If your spouse was served by publication, be prepared to answer why you don’t know where your spouse is and when service was finished;To testify, you will need to call yourself as a witness. At this time, the Judge will put you under oath and you will present your testimony using your written testimony as your guide;After you have testified, present your Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, the Uniform Order for Support (if child support will be ordered), and the Joint Parenting Order (if you are asking for joint custody) to the Judge for his or her signature. If the Judge wants corrections made, don’t panic, you can ask to submit a corrected one by mail.If this is a Default Hearing:The Judge will sign the Default Order and return copies to you;You will need to go to the Family Law scheduling office in the courthouse to get a "prove-up" date;After you get your prove-up date, you will return to the courtroom and the Judge will sign a form called a "Certificate of Readiness."After the Hearing After the judge has signed the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage and the Joint Parenting Order (if you are asking for joint custody) you will need to file your Judgment and the Order (if you are asking for joint custody) with the Clerk and send a file-stamped copy of the Judgment to your spouse.To certify (prove) that you have done this you will need to file a form called a "Certificate of Mailing" with the Clerk. As with all documents you file, be sure to keep file stamped copies of these documents for yourself.If you attended a Default Hearing, you will need to take the following forms to the Kane County Circuit Clerk's office to file:Notice of Entry of Default Order (completed) - original and 2 copiesDefault Order - Original and 2 copiesNotice of Prove-Up Hearing - original and 2 copiesMail the Judgment to Your Spouse If your spouse didn't come to court on the day of the hearing, you will need to mail copies of the following forms to your spouse at his or her last known address:Notice of Entry of Default OrderDefault OrderNotice of Prove-Up Hearing with the date that is specified on your Certificate of ReadinessThe pink copy of the Certificate of ReadinessJudgment for Dissolution of MarriageIf You Have a Prove-Up Hearing Make sure you have a copy of the Certificate of Dissolution from the Clerk. On the day and time specified on the Certificate of Readiness, take the following forms to court:Notice of Prove-Up HearingJudgment for Dissolution of Marriage - original and 2 copiesCertificate of Dissolution (completed)The judge will ask you some simple questions. Then, he or she will sign the Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage, have it entered and return copies to you.After the Prove-Up Hearing you must:Complete the Notice of Entry of Judgment and mail it with a copy of the entered Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage to your spouse at his or her last known address;Take the original and one copy of the Notice of Entry of Judgment and the Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage to the Kane County Circuit Clerk's office to file.If You Have Minor Children If you have minor children and you know where your spouse works, you must:Send the Notice to Withhold Income to your spouse’s employer;Send your spouse a copy of the Uniform Order for Support, by certified mail. When you mail it you will get a green receipt card. Attach this to the Affidavit of Service of Uniform Order for Support, then file the Affidavit with the clerk;File your Certificate of Mailing with the clerk;Get a clerk-stamped copy of the Certificate of Mailing;Send a copy of the Notice to Withhold Income to the State Disbursement Unit and to the Child Support Enforcement Unit. Their addresses are:State Disbursement UnitP.O. Box 5400Carol Stream, IL 60197-5400Division of Child Support EnforcementMail Response UnitP.O. Box 19405 Springfield, IL 62794-9405Get Your Court Costs Waived File your Application, Affidavit and Order to Sue as an Indigent Person;If your Application is approved, you will get a stamped Order to Sue or Defend as an Indigent Person;You will need to show this at each step of the process.Go the “Related Articles” section to get more information on how to waive your court costs.Prepare Your Forms Complete the Uncontested Divorce Documents Interview, which you can find in the “Forms/Letters” section of this guide. This should prepare all of the forms that you will need.The forms will not print in the order that you will use them, and you will need to make photocopies of many of them. The rest of the instructions below explain which forms you will need for each step and how many copies you should make.File Your Forms Pick the county in which you will file your divorce. You will file your divorce in the county in which you live if you live in Illinois. If you do not live in Illinois, file your divorce in the county where your spouse lives. The courthouse for your county usually resides in the county seat.After you file the Application to Sue as A Poor Person to the Circuit Clerk and it is either approved or denied, you should file:Petition for Dissolution of Marriage - original and 2 copies;Summons – 4 copies;Affidavit as to Military Service – 2 copies;Order to Sue or Defend as an Indigent Person, if approved (You will not need to file this again, just keep a copy with you to prove to the clerk that you don’t have to pay the filing fees.)Serve Your Spouse with the Divorce Papers If your spouse will agree to give up being served and agree to the terms of the divorce as you have asked for in your Petition, you should have him/her sign the Entry of Appearance, Waiver, and Consent form. If your spouse doesn’t sign the consent form then you must serve him or her.To Serve by Sheriff:Have the Circuit Clerk of the county where you are filing your divorce issue or certify your Summons;Attach a copy of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage to the copy of your Summons form;If your spouse lives in the county where you filed for divorce, all you need to do is give both copies of the Summons to the Circuit Clerk and ask the Clerk to forward them to the Sheriff to be served;If your spouse does not live in the county where you filed, you will need to fill out the form entitled “Sheriff’s Letter.” You can get this letter from your Circuit Clerk. Mail this letter along with both copies of the Summons to the Sheriff of the county where your spouse lives. Click on the title below to find the Sheriff’s contact information for the your spouse’s county:National Association of Counties2 weeks later - Call the Sheriff to make sure your spouse was served. Mark the date that your spouse was served on your calendar.To Serve by Publication:If you cannot find your spouse to serve them with divorce papers after making good efforts to do so, then you can serve "by publication." You do this by publishing a notice in the local newspaper. Each county is different and you will need to contact your county's Circuit Clerk to find out which newspaper to publish your notice in. To find out how to contact your county's Circuit Clerk, visit the Illinois Courts' websiteIf you have already filed an Application to Sue as a Poor Person which was approved by the Court, you can file a motion with the court to have the county pay the costs of your notice. You can get a Motion to Waive Publication Costs from your Circuit Clerk. If you can’t get this motion, you will have to pay the newspaper the costs of the notice;You will need to wait to see if your Motion to Waive Publication Costs is approved. If it is approved, you can go on without having to pay the cost of printing the Notice in the newspaper;Complete the Publication Notice, which you can get from your Circuit Clerk, and file it and your Affidavit for Service by Publication with the Clerk;Send the Notice of Publication to a newspaper in the county where you filed for divorce. The newspaper must at least be a weekly paper. If there is no weekly paper in this county, you can use a paper in the next county if it comes to your county. If you received an Order (signed by a judge) waiving the publication costs, you should send this Order to the newspaper along with the Letter and the Notice;The Circuit Clerk is supposed to send a copy of the Notice of Publication that you filed to your spouse’s last known address. Most Clerks do not do this and require you to perform this step. If this is the case in the county in which you filed, you will need to mail a file stamped copy of the Notice of Publication to your spouse. You will also need to file a Certificate of Mailing, which you can get from your Circuit Clerk, showing that you mailed a copy of the Notice as required by law;After your Notice of Publication has run in the newspaper for 3 straight weeks, the newspaper should send you (or the Clerk) the Certificate of Publication. The Certificate is a letter or a form that the newspaper fills out which proves that the Notice ran for 3 consecutive weeks and has a copy of the Notice that appeared in their paper. If it is sent to you, you must file it with the clerk.Wait 30 Days (or until the “Default Date” if You Served by Publication) During this time your spouse can file an Answer and Appearance if he or she wants. If you are trying to serve by publication has until the date you listed on the Notice of Publication to file his or her response to the divorce. If he or she does not file a response in that time, he or she can be held in default and you can keep going with your case. Keep in mind, however, that the person you are suing cannot be held in default unless there was 30 days between the date listed in the Notice of Publication and the date the Notice first appeared in the newspaper.Get a Hearing Date Once you have served your spouse, you will need to wait 30 days to see if he/she files a response to your Petition. If your spouse has failed to file a response after 30 days have passed, you should ask for a hearing date. If the person you are suing has signed an Entry of Appearance, Waiver, and Consent form waiving service, you do not need to wait the 30 days before asking for your hearing.Send the Notice of Motion to Your Spouse if He or She Defaulted Depending upon the county in which you filed your divorce, you will need to contact either the Circuit Clerk or the secretary of the judge who usually handles the divorce cases to request a hearing date. You can do this either by phone or by mail. When contacting the clerk or the judge’s secretary, be sure to ask for the default or pro se hearing date. Usually you do not have to tell your spouse of the hearing if he or she has signed an Entry of Appearance, Waiver and Consent or did not file a response within 30 days of the date of service. Some counties, however, make you send a Notice to your spouse of the hearing. If this is the case, you will need to fill out and send the Notice form to your spouse and file the Certificate of Mailing of Notice to certify when you mailed it.Get Ready for the Hearing You will need to prepare the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage form.If you have children, you should also have these child support forms:Joint Parenting Order (if you are asking for joint custody)Uniform Order for SupportNotice to Withhold Income For Child Support (if you or your spouse is asking for child support)Also bring all of the other documents that you filed when you started the divorce and any papers or documents that you used to help you fill those out (such as pay stubs, bank account information or tax returns).Go to the Hearing While there is no way to know exactly what will happen at your hearing, here are some things you should do:Bring with you your copies of all the documents you filed with the Circuit Clerk and any other papers relating to your divorce;Write out everything that you need to say and bring this to court with you so you do not forget anything;Arrive at least 30 minutes before your hearing. Whatever you do, don’t be late. Check the docket or ask the Clerk exactly what room you will be in. Tell the Clerk or the Judge’s secretary that you are ready to proceed when called and wait for your case number and name to be called;When the Judge comes into the courtroom, stand until you are told to be seated. When your case is called, go up to the bench. Always refer to the Judge as “your honor";Before you start, the judge may ask you some questions about your case. Be ready to answer whether your spouse was served, and if so, when. If serving by publication, be prepared to answer why you don’t know where your spouse is and when service was finished;To testify, you will need to call yourself as a witness. At this time, the Judge will put you under oath and you will present your testimony using your written testimony as your guide;After you have testified, present your Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, the Uniform Order for Support (if child support will be ordered), and the Joint Parenting Order (if you are asking for joint custody) to the Judge for his or her signature. If the Judge wants corrections made, don’t panic, you can ask to submit a corrected one by mail.After the Hearing After the judge has signed the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage and the Joint Parenting Order (if you are asking for joint custody) you will need to file your Judgment and the Order (if you are asking for joint custody) with the Clerk and send a file-stamped copy of the Judgment to your spouse.To certify (prove) that you have done this you will need to file a Certificate of Mailing with the Clerk. As with all documents you file, be sure to keep file stamped copies of these documents for yourself.Mail the Judgment to Your Spouse If your spouse didn’t come to court for the hearing, or if the Judge doesn’t sign your Judgment on the day of the hearing, then you must mail a copy of the Judgment to him or her.If You Have Minor Children If you have minor children and you know where your spouse works, you must: * Send the Notice to Withhold Income to your spouse’s employer; * Send your spouse a copy of the Uniform Order for Support, by certified mail. When you mail it you will get a green receipt card. Attach this to the Affidavit of Service of Uniform Order for Support, then file the Affidavit with the court; * File your Certificate of Mailing with the clerk; * Get a file-stamped copy of the Certificate of Mailing; * Send a copy of the Notice to Withhold Income to the State Disbursement Unit and to the Child Support Enforcement Unit. Their addresses are:State Disbursement UnitP.O. Box 5400Carol Stream, IL 60197-5400Division of Child Support EnforcementMail Response UnitP.O. Box 19405 Springfield, IL 62794-9405

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