Divorce is infamous for being a difficult process. On top of the high emotions that are oftentimes involved, the legal side of things can be complex and confusing.Download Cook County Divorce Forms ›
If you are filing for divorce in Chicago, we suggest you enlist the help of a Cook County divorce attorney. A divorce attorney will be able to walk you through the process of filing for divorce, and they can help protect your legal rights throughout the proceedings.
Here, we will walk you through the steps of filing for divorce in Cook County, so you have the information you need before initiating your divorce.
How to File for Divorce in Chicago
Because Chicago is located in Cook County, residents filing for divorce must adhere to the Cook County divorce rules and procedures. Below, we outline what you must do when filing for divorce in Chicago.
Step 1: Gather the Necessary Information
Before you begin filling out the divorce documents, gather all the information necessary to complete them accurately. The information that you will want to gather includes the following:
- The date you were married;
- The city, county, and state where you were married;
- The date you and your spouse separated;
- Your spouse’s current address; and
- Your current address.
In addition to this basic information, you will also need a list of all property that you and your spouse own, together or separately. The list should include the following:
- All personal property,
- All bank accounts,
- All real property,
- All claims for money or damages incurred during the marriage,
- All pension and retirement accounts, and
- All of the debts incurred throughout the marriage.
A divorce attorney can help you collect this information if you do not already have it.
Step 2: Complete the Requested Documents
There are quite a few documents you will need to complete before you can file for divorce. Below, we briefly outline what each document requires.
The Domestic Relations Cover Sheet
The Domestic Relations Cover Sheet is the first document you need to complete. You can find a blank Domestic Relations Cover Sheet on the Cook County Court website to fill out online. On the cover sheet, you must fill in the names of both spouses, list the type of proceeding, and indicate whether any children are involved in the divorce.
The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is one of the most important documents that you will submit. You can find templates for this document on the Illinois Court website. Almost all of the information you gathered in Step 1 will be necessary to complete the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, so you should have that information handy. However, having your attorney complete such an important document is always best, as they will know how to present your goals to the court properly.
A summons will inform your spouse that you are filing for divorce and give them a certain amount of time to respond. If your spouse fails to respond, the court may enter a default judgment in your favor.
Verification or Certification of Truthfulness
Whenever you file a document with the civil court in Illinois, they require that you attest to the truthfulness of the information contained within the document. This is a brief form that an attorney can help you with. It is usually attached to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage form.
Certificate of Dissolution
You can fill out a Certificate of Dissolution form online. They have blank Certificates on the Illinois Court website. This form will ask for some basic information about both spouses and ask you to list the type of decree you seek. (In a divorce proceeding, you will usually request a dissolution.)
Step 3: Filing the Documents
You will file your completed documents with the Clerk of Circuit Court of Cook County. To do this, you can take your completed forms to the eighth floor of the Daley Center or any suburban municipal district courthouse. There is usually a relatively small filing fee, and you can find the amount on Cook County’s Clerk of Court website.
Step 4: Serving the Summons
In Cook County, there are five ways to serve your summons on your spouse:
- Voluntary acceptance,
- Sheriff’s service,
- Service by a special process server,
- Service by publication, and
- Service by special order of the court.
A divorce attorney can direct you as to which method of service is best given the details of your situation.
How Can Vantage Group Legal Services Help You?
At Vantage Group Legal Services, we understand that a divorce can present challenging times for you and your family. Our compassionate attorneys are available to help you through the legal process so that your divorce can go as smoothly as possible and result in the best outcome for you and your family.
Further, we understand that divorce can be an expensive endeavor, and that is one of the reasons that we offer free consultations to all of our prospective clients. To contact our office and schedule your free consultation, you can contact us online or by phone at 773-232-6892.
Download Cook County Divorce Forms Free
We have collated the necessary forms for getting a divorce in Cook County. You can download the fillable PDFs for free below: