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County Division

The County Division hears actions concerning a variety of matters, including, but not limited to: adoptions, election matters, emancipation of minors, mental health, municipal incorporations, name changes, tax deeds, tax objections and other matters formerly cognizable in the Circuit Court that are not heard in another division.  

Important Documents

Summary of Recent Changes to Tax Valuation Objection Procedures
> Updated COVID-19 Pandemic Procedures for County Division
> July Tax Deed Assignment Call

Records Maintained

The records maintained date from 1871 through the present. County Court case file indexes [1871-1964] are impounded by statute because of adoption records listed therein. Docket Books and Clerk's Record Books [1871-present] that exclude impounded case types are available for public inspection. Most Docket Books and Clerk’s Record Books are stored off-site.

Administrative Review
A petition for review of a final administrative decision of the Property Tax Appeal Board. 
The act of petitioning the Court to become the legal parent of a minor child or an adult.  
The act of petitioning the Court for a territory that is not within the corporate limits of a taxing body to be annexed to the taxing body. 
Annual Tax Sale
The tax sale conducted each year by the Cook County Treasurer's Office for unpaid taxes in the just concluded tax year.
Certificate of Error
A document issued by the Assessor's Office that is either certified by the Assessor or approved by the Court to correct an error in the tax bill.
Confidential Intermediary
A petition to appoint a person that is certified by the Department of Children and Family Services to assist with locating a birth relative on behalf of an adoptee or biological relative. 
The act of petitioning the Court for a territory that is within the corporate limits of a taxing body to be disconnected from the taxing body. 
A petition to the Court to review a decision made by the Electoral Board.
Emancipation of a Minor
A petition to the Court for a determination of the maturity of a minor at 16 years of age or older, but less than 18 to handle their own affairs as an adult.
Emergency Writ
A writ to have an individual picked up by the police to be transported to a mental health facility for examination and evaluation due to behavior that seems dangerous. This writ expires within 72 hours.
Estate Tax
A petition to resolve a dispute regarding a tax due to the State with respect to a taxable transfer. 
Habeas Corpus
A writ that is filed for the purpose of bringing an individual before the Court in relation to a mental health case. 
A petition to the Court filed by the former property owner to be found faultless in losing their real estate property and to be awarded a judgment for the market value of the lost property.
Involuntary Commitment/Treatment
A petition to the Court to declare that an individual is subject to involuntary admission to a mental health facility for treatment because the individual poses a threat to themselves and/or others.
Judicial Waiver of Notice
A petition filed by a minor or incompetent individual for waiver of the parental notification requirement to obtain an abortion. 
Minor Marriage
A petition filed with the Court seeking the issuance of a marriage license and a marriage certificate form to a party aged 16 or 17 years old.   
Name Change
A petition to legally change a name from what is listed on a formal birth certificate to a different name.
Putative Father Identification
A written request by an interested party for a notice to be created concerning the declaration of paternity and the disclaimer of paternity. 
Scavenger Tax Sale
The tax sale conducted by the Cook County Treasurer's Office in alternate years that offers properties that have taxes due and owed for more than one tax year.
Special Assessment
Court approval of an assessment for public improvement instituted by a local government that benefits affected property owners (e.g., alley approvements).
Special Education
A petition, pursuant to the School Code, to compel compliance with a subpoena related to an impartial due process hearing or expedited hearing through the Court’s contempt powers.
Tax Deed
A petition to the Court by a tax buyer who has purchased delinquent real estate taxes on a particular piece of real estate to receive an order allowing that purchaser to have a deed issued for that particular property.
Tax Objections
An objection to the assessed value or rate used by the Cook County Assessor on a particular property. 

Q: How do I request access to adoption records?
A: As a result of adoption records being impounded by statute, a court order must be obtained for access to the records.  

Q: Can a non-family member petition the court to have a person involuntarily committed?
A: Yes, the involuntary commitment process is the same whether a family member or non-family member petitions the court after observing a person exhibiting dangerous behavior toward themselves or others.

Q: What options do I have if my child will not take their medication while they are in the hospital?
A: The treating physician will petition the Court requesting that your child be administered the required medication by force. If the Court agrees with the evidence presented in a court hearing by the treating physician that your child is in need of medication, a court order will be issued indicating that your son will receive the necessary medication by force. If the Court does not agree with the treating physician, an order will entered in favor of your son. The Court will weigh all of the evidence presented at the hearing to make a determination.

Q: How do I obtain information in my adoption case file (biological parents, medical history, siblings, etc.)?
A: The Clerk's Office, by law, cannot release adoption information. However, the petitioner in an adoption case can register with the Illinois Adoption Registry. It is possible that your birth parent(s) may already be registered and you don't need to search for them. If your birth parents are not registered, you can petition the Court for the appointment of a Confidential Intermediary.

Q: I just received a “Take Notice” stating that my property has been sold for delinquent taxes and I did not own the property at the time the delinquent taxes were due. Do I have to pay these taxes?
A: The tax purchaser is responsible for notifying all interested parties, including the owner, that the taxes have been sold on a particular property. If you are the owner, you should request an Estimate of Redemption from the Real Estate Taxation Services Division of the County Clerk's Office located at the Cook County Building, 118 North Clark Street, Room 434, Chicago, IL.

If you are an occupant or an otherwise interested party, you are being given notice that the taxes have been sold on the property. You should contact the owner right away to determine if they are aware of the situation. Please note that the current property owner is responsible payment of all taxes due and owed on their property.

View All County Division Frequently Asked Questions

Article: Petition for Change of Name

The Change of Name court forms may be obtained, in person, from the information counter in the County Division, Room 1202, or from the County Division homepage under the Related Forms tab. 

Article: Receiving a Certified Copy of a Judgment Order or Adoption Decree

There are times when it is necessary to provide an institution with proof of an adoption.  

Article: Obtaining an Emergency Mental Health Writ of Detention

In instances where there is an issue of mental stability and a person appears to be a danger to him/herself or others (i.e. not sleeping, loss of weight, talking to self, not eating, combative behavior, etc.), there is a remedy through the Illinois Mental Health Code.  

Article: Reviewing County Division Files

All County Division files can be viewed in Rooms 1201 and 1202 of the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 W. Washington St., Chicago, Ill. 60602.   

Article: Filing a Tax Deed Petition

A Petition for Tax Deed is filed when a person or an entity has purchased real estate taxes that have been sold by Cook County.  

Article: Emancipation of Minor

Minors have been known to need emancipation for signing themselves in school, signing a lease or a legal contract.

Legal Notices Specific for this department | View all Legal Notices