With the COVID-19 pandemic evolving, the Cook County Circuit Court recently released numerous updates regarding court operations moving forward. There are a lot of updates to look through and it can be overwhelming. With that in mind, the team at Family Law Solutions has summarized important orders and guidelines below.

GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER 2020-01 – 3/13/20

  • All matters in all divisions are continued for a period of 30 days from the originally scheduled court date (following business day if it falls on a weekend); 
  • Agreed matters by all parties to be emergencies will be heard and conducted either in person or via video or telephone conference
  • Discovery in civil matter continue as scheduled 
  • File pleadings and responsive motions in person or via e-filing 

GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER 2020-01 Amended as of 3/30/20

  • Cook County Courts suspended/services provided remotely through May 18th 
  • Matters continued for 30 days from scheduled date
  • Except for oral depositions, discovery shall continue as scheduled 
  • Parties shall use best efforts to reschedule oral depositions for a period not to exceed 60 days 
    • If no agreement, proceedings shall be deferred until such later date as court can review the matter and issue directives
  • Litigants shall not be penalized if discovery compliance is delayed for reasons relating to COVID19 emergency

GENERAL ORDER 2020 D 1 – 3/11/20

  • All parents ordered to attend mediation or emergency intervention to complete Focus on Children are allowed to complete online Children In Between course
  • Family Mediation Services authorized to conduct mediations by phone 

GENERAL ORDER 2020 D 1 – 3/16/20

  • Any Emergency or Interim OP that is set to return/expire on 3/17/20 through 4/15/20 is extended and rescheduled for 30 days

GENERAL ORDER 2020 D 3 – 3/17/20

  • Any emergency pleading shall be submitted via email at: rvp.domesticrelations@cookcountyil.gov by 4:00 pm the evening preceding the day motion is to be presented, unless emergency occurs overnight
  • Parties shall copy all opposing parties or counsel on the email
  • Court staff forwards emergency motion to scheduled judge and judge will review to determine if an emergency has been established
  • Court staff will notify parties by email of the outcome and next steps by 8:30 am
  • If emergency not established, court will either: 
    • Deny pleading as non-emergency;
    • Enter order denying pleading and refer case to an approved mediation for no more than a 2 hour remote conference without cost
    • Parties can submit proposed order if an agreement is reached in mediation
  • Parties can refile matter once court resumes regular schedule 
  • If emergency is established, court will either: 
    • Enter ex parte order; 
    • Allow time to respond;
    • Conduct a telephonic or Zoom hearing with both parties; or 
    • Last Resort: have parties and attorneys appear for hearing
  • This order does not apply to Emergency OPs

GENERAL ORDER 2020 D 4 – 3/16/20

  • Agreed orders (not a final and appealable judgment) may be submitted to court for entry via email by either party with all counsel or parties included to: rvp.domesticrelations@cookcountyil.gov
  • Make heading of order: AGREED TEMPORARY ORDER SUBMITTED BY ELECTRONIC MEANS
  • Order must contain email address and phone # of all counsel or parties if pro se
  • If approved, will be returned within 48 hours
  • Court may decline to enter order and will communicate the reasons for same

GENERAL ORDER 2020 D 5 – 3/17/20

  • Suspended Services: 
    • Family Mediation Services’ Emergency Intervention
    • Family Mediation Services’ Custody Evaluation
    • Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage (unless emergency)
  • All TROs and Preliminary Injunctions extended and returnable for 30 days
  • New TROs will be ruled upon based on the pleadings filed and returnable 30 days from the date it is ruled upon 

GENERAL ORDER 2020 D 6 – 3/18/20 

GENERAL ORDER 2020 D 7 – 3/18/20

GENERAL ORDER 2020 D 8 – 3/18/20

  • Parties’ regular parenting time schedule shall control in all instances
  • School closure not considered a day off from school 
  • Unless directed by further order, parties shall continue to follow parenting time schedule
  • Parties can alter schedule by agreement or from seeking court order
  • Parties encouraged to act in best interest of children and admonished from taking acts that would imperil health of child, such as unnecessary travel 

GENERAL ORDER 2020 D 9 – 3/18/20

  • If case involves State’s Attorney’s Office, case continued to the closest day that the SAO had already planned to be present before each judge
  • Example, if judge only hears SAO cases on Mondays, case continued to closest Monday when courts resume 

GENERAL ORDER 2020 D 10 – 3/19/20

  • Uncontested prove ups can be conducted remotely
  • Parties must submit all documents required under Local Rule 13.5 and, in addition, an agreed order signed by both parties agreeing to prove up to be held remotely 
  • All parties/counsel of record shall be included in email
  • Email with required documents to be sent to: 
    • Court coordinator for any judge who maintains an individual calendar; or
    • Court coordinator for the applicable team judge; or 
    • Division administrator for any judge who does not have a court coordinator; or 
    • Any other method directed by the assigned judge
  • Agreed order shall include a requested date and time for remote prove up, and method of remote prove up (telephone or other audio transmissions such as conference call or Skype)
  • Within 48 hours, coordinator will notify parties of date, time and method 

GENERAL ORDER 2020 D 11 – 3/20/20

  • Agreed Final Orders and Agreed QDROs can be submitted to court via email to the judge’s court coordinator or court coordinator for applicable judicial team 
  • All Agreed Final Orders and QDROs shall having the heading: AGREED FINAL ORDER SUBMITTED BY ELECTRONIC MEANS or AGREED QUALIFIED DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDER SUBMITTED BY ELECTRONIC MEANS
  • If possible, parties’ written signature shall be on order
  • If possible, electron signature of counsel shall be on order
  • Order shall contain email and phone # of each counsel or pro se party
  • Can be executed in counterparts, but QDROS preferably on same page
  • Party may request remote certification on the order

GENERAL ORDER 2020 D 12 – 3/24/20

  • Body attached issues for nonpayment of support is stayed for 60 days
  • No body attachment shall be executed until May 22, 2020

GENERAL ORDER 2020 D 13 – 3/24/20

  • Parties can e-file Motions for non-emergency relief 
  • Notice shall set the matter for the next regularly scheduled court date after court resumes normal operations
  • Must send copy of motion and notice and copy of the general order to all parties of record and attorneys via email
  • Responding party automatically granted 21 days to respond
  • Thereafter moving party granted 7 days to file a reply to response
  • Movant then shall submit motion with any exhibits/responses/objections/replies to the circuit court via email with all counsel and parties of record included on email to the judge’s court coordinator 
  • Judge will then take all under advisement 
  • Court staff will then communicate whether judge shall issue a written ruling or conduct a remote argument/hearing on the matter. Court will schedule tentative date if in person hearing shall take place
  • Court can also request additional documents from parties
  • Parties can agree via Agreed Orders (follow 2020 D 4 above) to set a briefing schedule other than presumptive schedule above 
  • If it is a Motion to Withdraw: reasonable notice shall be deemed to be no less than 3 business days to client prior to email submission of the motion to court. Prior written notice must be provided to the Court in the email 
  • All motions shall contain email address and phone number of each counsel or pro se parties
  • Email submissions shall use title: “Motion for Non-Emergency Relief”, Case Number and Calendar Number

GENERAL ORDER 2020 D 14 – 4/1/20

  • The court may in its discretion set a matter for pretrial conference, case management conference, or a hearing
    • Unless otherwise ordered by the Court, no matter shall be set for hearing unless it has been fully briefed pursuant to ordered briefing schedule
    • Any request to set a matter for hearing must identify the court order that set the briefing schedule and clarify the number of days remaining to file any responses pursuant thereto
    • Terms of General Order 2020 D 13 shall apply if movant wishes to set matter for hearing that does not already have a court ordered briefing schedule
  • To submit formal request to have matter set for pretrial, case management or a hearing via email, movant must email the court coordinator and copy on the email the opposing counsel or party if party represents themselves
  • Formal request will be taken under advisement by regularly assigned calendar judge, and the court staff will communicate whether it shall conduct a remote pretrial, case management conference or hearing and will designate the manner, date and time or whether it shall defer the matter to a date when court resumes full operation
  • All email requests shall contain the email and contact phone # of each counsel or record or the self-represented party
  • All email requests shall use the title: “Request to Set Pretrial Conference/Case Management Conference/Hearing; Case No. _____; Calendar ______;”
  • If Court elects to conduct remote pretrial, case management conference or hearing, then movant shall submit all pleadings, motions, responses, replies and relevant exhibits to the Court by email no less than 7 days before the scheduled date. The title of the email shall designate the type of remote proceeding, the date chosen by the Court, the case number and calendar number

GENERAL ORDER 2020 D 15 – 4/1/20

  • GALs, Child Representatives and Attorneys for the Children are given until 45 days after resumption of normal operations to file quarterly invoice that became due pursuant to 750 ILCS 5/506(b) during the period commencing March 17, 2020 and terminating when normal operations resumed

GENERAL ORDER 2020 D 16 – 4/1/20

  • The terms of General Order 2020 D 1 and General Orders 2020 D 3 through 2020 D 15 are extended until May 17, 2020
  • All non-emergency remote submissions shall be filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County and then submitted via email, with all counsel of record and self-represented parties copies as recipients to the court coordinator for judge who maintains individual calendar or the court coordinator for the applicable judicial team
  • Automatic extension of all TROs and preliminary injunctions set to expire between 4/16/2- – 5/17/20 (See Paragraph C 1 of General Order 2020 D 5)
  • All TROs entered between 3/16/20 and the date of entry of this general order are automatically extended and returnable 30 days from the currently scheduled court date, or a date not more than 30 days after 5/18/20
  • Plenary Orders of Protection are amended to extend the ability to request an extension of a Plenary OP to litigants that have a Plenary OP set to expire between 4/16/20 and 5/15/20
  • The Judge’s Office shall submit a list of case numbers to the Cook County Sheriff to automatically extend the Plenary Ops entered between 3/18/20 and the entry of this order. Cook County Sheriff to automatically make them returnable in accordance with General Order 2020 D 17

GENERAL ORDER 2020 D 17 – 4/1/20

  • Any Emergency or Interim OP that is set to return and/or expire on 4/16/20 through and including 5/15/20 is extended, reschedule and continued for 30 days

GENERAL ORDER 2020 D 18

  • Movants may move to hold a Respondent in default and proceed to a default prove up remotely. To proceed, movant must submit:
    • Submit all documents required under Local Rule 13.5;
    • Certificate and Motion for Default; and
    • If service effectuated by publication, then the Motion for Default should include a description of the efforts to locate and serve Respondent
  • Movant shall submit all required documents to court via email to the court coordinator for judge who maintains individual calendar or the court coordinator for the applicable judicial team
  • In the email, movant shall propose a date for the prove up not less than 14 days from the date of submission of the motion and the means to conduct the default prove up remotely (e.g., Skype, Zoom, telephone, etc.)
  • Within 48 hours of receipt, the court coordinator shall notify the movant whether the request to set the Motion for Default/Prove Up for remote hearing has been granted and if the date and method of prove up has been approved
  • Movant shall then send a copy of the court’s response to the Respondent, noting the date, time and method of the remote means of the default prove up and details on how to join the remote proceeding (i.e., Zoom meeting ID and password) via regular mail to the Respondent’s last known address within 48 hours of receipt of approval but no less than 7 days before the remote proceeding is to occur
  • Movant must arrange for a court reporter to join and transcribe the remote proceeding. No remote default prove up shall occur without a court reporter
  • Movant shall be responsible for the cost of securing any conference line and for all costs associated with producing a transcript of the proceeding

All original orders and more resources can be found on the Circuit Court of Cook County website.