Posted on June 28, 2017

In What Court Houses Do We Practice Law?

***Update*** Since the corona virus crisis courts have switched from in-person hearings to doing everything remotely via Zoom. I will now practice anywhere in Illinois (or Florida) so long as remote hearings are the standard. 

I only practice Family Law and I only practice in Chicago, Cook County, IL.  Specifically, I will only handle cases in the Richard J. Daley Center at 50 W. Washington, Chicago, Illinois.  This is the largest court building in the world.  Tens of thousands of family law cases are processed in the Richard J. Daley Center each year.  There’s more than enough work on those 32 floors for any law firm.  If you’re getting a divorce in Chicago, my firm is available and only focuses on the courthouse in Chicago.

Specifically, I don’t want to bill my clients for driving to and from different court houses.

Because of all these reasons, I only file my divorce and parentage cases in Cook County’s 1st district court, the Richard J. Daley Center, 50 W. Washington, Chicago, Illinois.

If the opposing counsel has filed your case in one of Cook County’s 5 other district courts; Skokie, Rolling Meadows, Maywood, Bridgeview or Markham, we can file a motion to remove the case to the 1st district, the Richard J. Daley Center, Chicago as a matter of right when we file our appearance.

This right is granted by Cook County Court Rule 13.3(f) which reads:

“(f) Removal to Daley Center – Domestic Relations Division actions may be transferred from suburban municipal district court locations to the Richard J. Daley Center as follows:
(i) Pre-Judgment Cases – Removal of a pre-judgment case filed within a suburban municipal district shall occur by the sole action of the Respondent when the Respondent files an appearance, together with the District Transfer form. Absent leave of court, district transfers must be filed no later than 30 days after service of summons, not counting the day of service. The appearance fee in the suburban district shall be waived if Respondent provides proof that Respondent has filed a case in the Richard J. Daley Center. Upon a motion to consolidate where there is a case pending in the Richard J. Daley Center, the pre-judgment case shall be transferred from the suburban district to the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division to be consolidated with the prior pending matter in the Daley Center. Cases removed from the suburban municipal district pursuant to this paragraph shall be transferred to the Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division in the Richard J. Daley Center for random assignment to a team or individual judicial calendar within the Richard J. Daley Center. Such a transfer shall not be deemed an exercise of statutory rights for Substitution of Judge. [Amended, effective July 21, 2015.]”

While the local rules of each courthouse are important, it’s more important to focus on the statewide Supreme Court Rules which govern all courts in Illinois. “Although circuit courts share some authority with this court to make rules, circuit court rules are subject to review by this court and may not conflict with this court’s rules” People ex rel. Brazen v. Finley, 119 Ill. 2d 485, 491 (1988)

If the opposing counsel has filed your case in another Illinois county, I may be able to remove the case to Cook County via a Motion For Transfer of Venue To Cook County – Forum Non Conveniens. There typically has to be something in Cook County that makes Cook County the only practical forum for your dispute.  The salient issue for a venue change is almost always the children’s residence and it can sometimes be a fixed asset in Cook County like real estate.

If your case is in a county other than Cook County, Illinois, I am happy to provide a referral to one of the many excellent family law lawyers I know who practice outside of Cook County, Illinois.

If your case has been filed in Cook County, then contact my Chicago, Illinois law firm where I am less than a mile and a half from the Daley Center (see below map)

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Russell Knight

Russell D. Knight has been practicing family law as a Chicago divorce lawyer since 2006. Russell D. Knight amicably resolves tough cases while remaining a strong advocate for his client’s interests.

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