eFile Court Documents with Ease

Cook County, IL eFiling

Cook County, IL eFiling

Mastering eFiling can take time and dedication. Legal support professionals themselves still need assistance to ensure that they electronically file paperwork the correct way. In the same vein, pro se (self-represented litigants) need a complete walk-through and assistance from the court or a lawyer to make sure that the paperwork correctly submitted to the court system.

On top of the requirements, eFiling can differ from county to county. The Cook County Clerk listed special instructions for filing in their court system. Here, we break down the peculiarities of filing in Cook County, Illinois to help guarantee accepted files.

To get started, view and download Cook County’s court forms that you may need for your case.

Case Cross Reference Numbers

Attorney Codes

  • If you are an attorney or representative of a law firm filing paperwork, you must include your Cook County Attorney Code Number into the Case Cross Reference Number section (part of step 1 on CourtFiling.net).
  • If you are a new attorney, you can get your Cook County code with this form.
  • This step is crucial as wrong or absent Attorney Code Numbers result in rejected paperwork.

Self-Represented Litigants (Pro Se)

  • If you are representing yourself, input 99500 into the Case Cross Reference Number for the Cook County Attorney Code

Motions

  • If your case requires a motion, the Case Cross Reference section is the location to schedule your motion. Type “Motion” into a Case Cross Reference field and select the type of motion you need.
  • Types of cases that often require motions:
    • Domestic Relations Division
    • Probate Division
    • Chancery Division
    • Law Division (only if you need to file on Calendar 5 and M1)

Confidential Filings

If you select confidential security (step 3 on CourtFiling.net), then you must have a separate order permitting the confidential filing. Upload that confidential permit order with your other court documents. However, there are exemptions as noted in the law where you do not need a separate form. For example, Notices of Confidential Information Within Court Filing documents do not require a separate order as they are pre-approved.

Court Fee Waiver

If you are looking to have your eFiling fees waived, you must have an approved order from the court. Visit the Cook County Clerk’s website for Fee Waiver Hearing information.

Depending on the type of filer, you will need specific waiver forms:

  • Self Represented Litigants – Application for Waiver of Court Fees
  • Civil Legal Service Providers – CLSP form
  • Government agencies – Fee Exempt Reduced Fee Agency Cover Sheet
  • Government filers – Intergovernmental Billing Agreement
    • Government filers with approved Intergovernmental Billing Agreements – choose government billing as the payment type

New Cases

Cover Sheets

When filing a new case, you must upload a Cover Sheet for the specific division where you are filing your case. You can find these forms on the Cook County’s Court Forms webpage.

Ad Damnum

For civil cases, the ad damnum amount affects the filing fee. Therefore, for papers to be accepted, you must include the right Ad Damnum (claim amount) fee.

Mortgage Foreclosure

If you are filing documents for a mortgage foreclosure case, be sure to choose “Add Optional Services and Fees” to choose the right tier for the Mortgage Foreclosure case.

Foreign Judgment, Counterclaims, Administrative Review

In order to pay the correct mailing fees, click the “Optional Services” when filing foreign judgments, counterclaims, administrative review cases, and civil division cases when there are multiple defendants.

Name Changes

Enter your current name as the Plaintiff and your new requested name as the Defendant.

Existing Cases

Case Number

Be sure that you are entering your case number in the correct format as the court system catalogs numbers in a specific way. If you are having trouble, read this help article about finding the correct case number.

Appearances

If you are filing an appearance, be sure to check “Return Date Not Applicable” so the system can generate a status date. This specific date does not relate to the summons’ return date.

Court Dates

Return Dates

Return dates are necessary when issuing summons. From the calendar option, choose when your case needs a return date. If you are not sure of your return date or if you need one, click “validate” so it chooses the first available date, otherwise, the system will automatically complete that a return date is not applicable.

Hearing Dates

If you are not sure if your case requires a hearing date, contact the specific division or suburban district where you are filing your paperwork. Be sure to not choose a hearing date unless your case type requires one.

Self-Representation / Pro Se Tips

Case Cross Reference Numbers

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, those who are representing themselves must include the code 99500 into the Case Cross Reference section under “Cook County Attorney Code.” Failure to do so will result in a rejected filing.

Summons

When filing a new case, the parties involved in your suit must be served with a summons to alert them in the new case initiation. You can use Step 8 when filing a new case in CourtFiling.net to request a process server or contact a server on ServeNow.com.

Exemptions

Cook County understands that eFiling is difficult for certain filers. While eFiling is possible for pro se individuals, they do allow self-represented individuals to file for an eFiling exemption.

eFiling Exemption Reasons:

  • I am representing myself and do not have the Internet or a computer in my home. My only access is through a public terminal at a courthouse, library, or other location. This poses a financial or other hardship.
  • I am representing myself and have a disability that prevents me from e-filing.
  • I am representing myself and have trouble reading, writing, or speaking in English.
  • I am filing a document in a sensitive case, such as a petition for an order of protection or a civil no contact/stalking order.

If you have additional questions about eFiling in Cook County, IL, contact the court, the clerk’s office, or visit their website.

References:

Special Instructions for eFiling in Cook County
Mandatory eFiling Quick Reference Guide
Entering Correct Case Number in Cook County

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