You can get divorced now–Cook County Divorce Court is open and operating during COVID-19

You can get divorced right now Chicago, Illinois without going to court.  This may surprise many people but the Cook County, DuPage and surrounding county divorce courts are open and operating remotely.  For uncontested divorces, it may even be possible to get divorced quicker than was possible before COVID-19 took place.  Divorce and parentage cases in Illinois are filed online and are coming back filed the same day.  It was not uncommon to wait several days for a filing to come back before COVID-19.  Court orders for the Judge to sign can be sent electronically.   The court will schedule the parties appearance via Zoom video conference when the parties are ready to have their divorce finalized.

LEGAL SEPARATION

People often ask about the legal separation requirement in Illinois.  Couples are required to be living separate and apart for a period in excess of six (6) months before the court will enter a divorce.  How could a couple that is living together under quarantine get divorced?  The legal separation requirement is not interpreted to only mean living in separate households.  Legal separation is also defined as living in separate rooms and otherwise not living as a married couple.  If both parties inform the court they have been living separate and apart for 6 months, that is good enough for the court.  The court does not require proof of the separation.

COLLABORATIVE LAW AND MEDIATION

It is difficult to get a contested hearing right now during COVID-19.  Many contested divorce cases that need trials or hearings are being continued indefinitely until the stay at home order is lifted. This does not apply to parties who have reached a full agreement on all the issues. The issues that need to be resolved include property division, spousal support, debts, child support and parental responsibilities (formerly known as custody).  A good way to keep momentum in a case is to try mediation or the collaborative method of divorce. Collaborative attorneys and mediators are using Zoom video conferencing and other technology to help the couple come to full agreement.  You can bypass having a trial or waiting for a judge by working the case out yourself through mediation.

If you are looking to get divorced now, give us a call at 312-223-1763 or email at service@markeylaw.com to set up a video consultation or a phone call.