The Opening of Divorce Courts In Illinois: What That Could Mean For You

divorce courts in Illinois

By Miriam Cooper, Divorce Attorney, Fellow of the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois

Good News! Divorce courts in Illinois are officially open. It has been a long, sometimes stressful few months for so many. With pressing legal issues and limited resources, those who have been waiting to have cases heard in court or addressed in non-court settings can finally find some resolutions. Whether you need a court hearing or would prefer a more private option, like Collaborative Divorce or mediation, we are here for you and can meet your individual needs.

First, let’s clarify what divorce courts in Illinois are and are not doing as we move deeper into the summer: On May 26th, the Illinois Supreme Court revised their guidelines for hearing cases in light of the governor’s plan to move the state into phase three.

In July, as Illinois moves into phase four, divorce courts in Illinois have the authority to reopen, implementing their own guidelines specific to their jurisdiction. Cook County Courts, while still operating mostly remotely, are conducting the full range of legal proceedings with the exception of jury trials.

No date has been set for when those will resume, although the governor has granted the authority to do so. According to an order issued May 20th, 2020, courts are “Exploring use of remote mediation, arbitration, and facilitation, as consistent with court rules, to potentially resolve cases.”

Clients who have waited months for hearings on petitions and motions for child support, maintenance (alimony), contribution to and for expenses, and enforcement compliance with a previous court order can proceed with their cases, with most proceedings conducted virtually to maintain the safety of all parties. Up until this point, the courts were in a holding pattern where previous orders stood, except in cases of emergency.

Now, more cases in divorce courts in Illinois are being processed, paperwork is flowing again, and clients are able to move forward in their legal status. We stand ready to facilitate those processes.

In many ways, working through legal issues is even easier than before. With remote options available, the process can be done in more comforting surroundings and often without the court at all.

Miriam Cooper & Associates offers several options to address clients’ legal needs that do not involve the court and result in resolution. The following are some of those options:

Mediation: This involves an independent mediator, who serves to facilitate a settlement.

Negotiation: This is more of a back-and-forth designed to reach a shared agreement.

Collaborative Divorce: Here, both parties retain specially trained lawyers and enter into an agreement to collaborate outside of the court. Both parties must agree to negotiate in good faith and are committed to resolving the matter through this process. Information is provided voluntarily by both parties and guided by the attorneys and sometimes other parties, such as divorce coaches and financial consultants. The result is a mutually settled upon outcome, conducted civilly and with the support of expert advisors. Miriam Cooper is a long-standing member of The Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois. 

Our firm offers the range of services to meet our clients’ needs, and our attorneys are mediators, collaborative divorce practitioners and child appointed representatives. With many options available to clients to work through their legal challenges without involving the court, Miriam Cooper & Associates provides a comprehensive list of options that can be tailored to our clients’ individual needs and completed in familiar, supportive settings, making both the process and outcome comfortable for our clients. We can be reached at: (847)995-8800.

Like this article? Check out, “How to Help Children Through Divorce: 6 Best Practices.”



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