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Domestic Relations Division

The Domestic Relations Division hears actions or proceedings seeking an order or judgment relating to dissolution of marriage or civil union, declaration of invalidity of marriage or civil union or legal separation, child support and maintenance, allocation of parental responsibilities and visitation (non-parent), arising under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, the Hague Convention, the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984, the Illinois Public Aid Code, the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, Non-Support of Spouse and Children Act, Non-Support Punishment Act, Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act, Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, Expedited Child Support Act, Income Withholding for Support Act, Emancipation of Mature Minors Act, Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act, Rights of Married Persons Act, and related Acts. Such proceedings also include all post-judgment matters relating thereto and petitions for civil orders of protection filed in conjunction with domestic relations matters involving the same parties pursuant to the Domestic Violence Act of 1986 except for those matters heard in the Domestic Violence Division.

Records Maintained

Case Types: Dissolution, legal separation and invalidity for both marriages and civil unions, as well as Allocation of Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time or Visitation Non-Parent.
Dates: 1871-Present
Courts: Circuit and Superior Courts, 1871-1963; various suburban municipal courts, ca. 1900-1963; Domestic Relations Division, 1964-present
Available Indexes: Circuit Court and Superior Court, both plaintiff and defendant indexes (microfilm), 1871-1963

Divorce Division index (microfiche), 1964-1985
Chicago Heights, Calumet City, Blue Island indexes (microfilm), approx.1900-1964

Docket books and clerk's record books, 1871-1985 (stored off site)

For all cases from 1987 through the present year, contact the Domestic Relations Division, Room 802 Daley Center, (312) 603-6300.

Civil Order of Protection
A Civil Order of Protection is a court order entered to protect a petitioner (the person who is seeking the relief) from a respondent (the person who allegedly caused harm to the petitioner).
Joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution
A Joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution is filed by parties who meet specific criteria and are seeking to have a joint written agreement dividing all assets and liabilities entered as their dissolution order
Legal Separation
Legal Separation is an action filed by a petitioner who is seeking to obtain a court order on matters of support, custody and use of property while the couple is separated. 

Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities
A Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities is generally filed by a petitioner seeking to determine the care, control and maintenance of a child or children.
Petition for Declaration of Invalidity
A Petition for Declaration of Invalidity is filed by a petitioner seeking to declare a marriage or civil union invalid. 
Petition for Dissolution
Parties who are seeking a divorce or dissolution of a civil union may file a Petition for Dissolution.
Petition for Visitation (non-parent)
A Petition for Visitation (non-parent) is filed by a party seeking to obtain a court order establishing a visitation schedule for a child or children.

Q: How do I file for my own dissolution of marriage/civil union?
A: A packet of dissolution forms is available at the Domestic Relations Division front counter upon request. A petitioner seeking to file their own dissolution without the help of an attorney can fill out these forms and self-draft a Petition for Dissolution. 

Once the forms and attachments are completed, the petitioner will receive a case number and judge (Calendar) assignment. Court dates can be set up at the motion counter in the Domestic Relations Division. At a later date, if there has been no activity on the case, you will receive a white postcard in the mail notifying you of a status court date. Should you fail to appear, you could risk your case being dismissed.

Q: What if I cannot afford an attorney?
A: If you cannot afford an attorney, you can find a lawyer's group that will represent you for no fee or a reduced fee. The Clerk's Office can provide you with a list of Lawyer Referral Services. That information is available in Room 802 of the Richard J. Daley Center or online (Finding an Attorney).

You can also submit an application and affidavit to sue or defend as an indigent person, also known as the "298 Petition." You may qualify to proceed as a pro se litigant (self representing litigant) without having to pay any fees. This form is available in Room 802 of the Richard J. Daley Center.

Q: How does a person join the child support enforcement program?
A: You may request an application for the child support enforcement program service, also called the IV-D (4-D) program, by calling the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) at (800) 447-4278. If you have an existing child support pay order, you may call the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s Child Support Division at (312) 345-4188, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Q: Who is responsible for the tax intercept letter that I receive every October?
A: If you have questions regarding this matter, please contact the Illinois Department of Healthcare & Family Services (HFS) at (800) 447-4278.

Q: Why do I receive a bill for $36.00 every year?
A: The State of Illinois requires all Clerks of the Circuit Courts to collect a fee of $36 ($3 each month) for processing services associated with child support.

View All Domestic Relations Division Frequently Asked Questions

Article: Motion Counter

Parties seeking to file a new case, pleadings, motions, appearances or other court documents should visit the Motion Counter. There are court forms available at this counter upon request.   

Article: File Counter

The file counter is available for customers who would like to view court files, obtain copies of court orders and/or copies of pleadings. Customers seeking to obtain copies of case file content must provide a current and valid picture identification. Access to case files and copies are only available to the following persons: legal parents, guardians, attorneys, social service workers and law enforcement involved in the case. Customers are allowed a maximum of five files at one time.

Article: Cashier Counter

All financial transactions are processed at this counter. The cashier is able to assist customers with payment of filing fees, copy fees, certification fees, Annual fees, Non-sufficient fund check collection and case number assignments, 

Article: Domestic Relations Legal Assistance

There is a service on the Concourse Level, Room CL16,of the Richard J. Daley Center called Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services (C.A.R.P.L.S.) that is available to assist our post decree customers for free or for a nominal fee.

Article: Reviewing Court Files in Room 802

Come to Room 802 of the Daley Center and go to the File Request Counter.

Article: Obtaining a copy of a Divorce Judgment that was entered before 1986

Dissolution of Marriages can be obtained by ordering over the phone, email or in person. Domestic Relations can conduct a search upon a in upon request with the the party names and/or the case number.  Cases can be found on the computer, on microfilm or on microfiche. If the case is older than 1987, you can get it from the Archives Department in Room 1113 of the Daley Center or call (312) 603-6601 for more information. If you want to see the entire file, the Clerk can order it from the Record Center.

Article: Transferring a Domestic Relations case to another location

Pre-judgment matters may be transferred from a suburban district back to the Daley Center/Chicago upon the filing of the respondent's appearance.

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