Family Law Resources
This legal research guide features links to family law resources in Cook County, Illinois, the United States generally, and internationally. This guide also includes information on child support and resources for victims of domestic violence. All links are freely available to the public. For resources available within the Law Library see our catalog.
VI. International Family Law Resources
I. Illinois Resources
- The new Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act and Parentage Act took effect January 1, 2016. Text of the acts are below:
- Recent Articles on Family Law from the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA)
- Family Law from Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO) - Includes step-by-step guides on getting a divorce in Illinois, allocation of parental responsibilities (custody), changing child support payments, and enforcing child support orders.
- Illinois General Assembly (ILGA) website
- Select Illinois Compiled Statutes for listing of Illinois laws. Maintained by the Legislative Reference Bureau.
Searching Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS)
For example, locate the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/) by:
- Search ILCS Use the search term: "750 ILCS 5/" (use quotation marks for greater accuracy).
- Illinois Courts website
- Supreme Court opinions filed since May 23, 1996.
- Appellate Court opinions filed since September 3, 1996.
- Illinois Administrative Code - Maintained by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.
- Illinois administrative agency web sites - Agency web sites may contain news releases, forms, publications, brochures, directories, and annual reports.
- Department of Children and Family Services - Information on adoption, foster care, child protection. The "Policy and Rules" tab has text of administrative rules, agency guidelines, policy interpretations, policy guides and laws.
- Department of Healthcare and Family Services - Links for child support enforcement, medical programs, pharmacy, agency information, brochures and forms, laws and rules. Formerly the Illinois Department of Public Aid.
II. Cook County Resources
- Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County - Select "Operational Divisions" button, then select Domestic Relations link for information about the division
- Domestic Relations Forms Select "Court Forms" button for listing of clerk of court forms.
- Cook County Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage - General information and instructions
- Domestic Relations Division, Cook County Circuit Court - Select Court Forms for sample petitions, judgments, parenting plan, prove up documents, and notice of motion. Information available on child support.
- Juvenile Justice and Child Protection Department, Cook County Circuit Court - Includes the Court Guide for Caseworkers, division orders, the Benchmark Hearing Program, and the Child Protection Mediation Program.
- Cook County Commission on Women's Issues - The Commission on Women's Issues advises on issues of concern to women and girls by developing policy and program recommendations addressing issues affecting the status of women and girls, including domestic violence, child care, economic equity, and health.
III. Family Law Websites
- Illinois Legal Aid - Search Illinois Legal Aid by entering terms that identify your legal issue in the search box. A listing of topics covered can be accessed by clicking the Browse Articles link at the bottom of the page. Illinois Legal Aid is statewide collaboration of Illinois legal services providers, funding entities, the private bar and law schools.
- In August 2016, Illinois Legal Aid merged with Illinois Legal Advocate, and now includes topics and guides written for legal aid attorneys. Select Legal Resources tab for listing of topics. Some features of the site are accessible for legal aid attorneys only. Provided by Illinois Technology Center for Law and the Public Interest and Chicago-Kent College of Law.
- American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) - Full-text resources under Journal tab. Use the Find a Lawyer tool to search for an AAML member attorney by name or location.
- ABA Guide to Family Law - A book discussing the rights and responsibilities of people who are married, divorced, or living together. Full-text available online.
- ISBA Legal Information: Your Family - Articles and links to legal resources on Illinois family law.
- Your Guide to Getting a Divorce in Illinois (PDF) - ISBA issued pamphlet giving an overview of divorce proceedings in Illinois. Also available at the Daley Center Law Library.
- Child Welfare Information Gateway - Provides access to information and resources to help protect children and strengthen families. Extensive resources on child welfare, child abuse and neglect, adoption, and statistics.
Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs)
- Qualified Domestic Relations Orders and PBGC (Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation)
- Divorce and QUILDROS (State Universities Retirement System) - Helpful information if retirement benefits are being considered for possible division in divorce proceedings. For SURS members.
- Division of Pension Benefits in Divorce (IMRF) - Information booklet, forms, calculation order. From the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.
State Law Compilations
- Marriage Laws of the Fifty States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico - Comparative table of marriage laws from the Cornell Legal Information Institute (LII)
- Divorce Laws of the Fifty States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico - Comparative table of divorce laws from the Cornell Legal Information Institute (LII)
- Topical Index: State Statutes on the Internet - Find family law statutes focusing on adoption, divorce, emancipation of children, and marriage from all states. From the Cornell Legal Information Institute (LII)
- Family Law in the Fifty States - Charts for maintenance (alimony), custody criteria, child support guidelines, grants and residency requirements for divorce, and property. Provided by the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association (ABA)
IV. Domestic Violence
If you or a loved one is a victim of domestic violence you can get help by contacting the 24-hour multilingual toll-free Domestic Violence Help Line at 1-877-863-6338 or by TTY at 1-877-863-6339.
- Domestic Violence Victim Services - Illinois Department of Human Services resources for victims of domestic violence.
- Help on Domestic Violence - City of Chicago resources for victims of domestic violence.
- Domestic Violence Division, Cook County Circuit Court - Information about the courthouse and its service. Forms for Order of Protection, Stalking No Contact, Civil No Contact, and other domestic violence actions available. For assistance deciding which kind of protective order is appropriate for your circumstance consult the Orders of Protection page.
- Domestic Violence Resources - Information on how to obtain an order of protection. From the Cook County Clerk of Court.
- Illinois Legal Aid Online - Family & Safety - Topics covered include protected persons, remedies, procedures, types of orders, and enforcement.
- Advocating for Women - Information and brochures on domestic violence, teen dating violence, and crime victim services. From the Illinois Attorney General.
- Safety Planning - Information on "creating a plan to keep yourself and any children and/or pets safe while living in an environment of domestic violence and abuse, preparing to leave, leaving, and after leaving an abuser." From the Domestic Violence Resource Center (DVRC).
- Sample safety plan (PDF) - A fill in the blank form for establishing a domestic violence safety plan. From the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence (NCDSV).
- Office on Violence Against Women - Part of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ)
- ABA Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence - Provides publications and resources including:
- Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence: A Primer for Judges
- Meeting the Legal Needs of Child Trafficking Victims: An Introduction for Children's Attorneys & Advocates (PDF)
- Statutory Charts - These charts summarize statutes from all 50 states regarding domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, and trafficking.
- WomensLaw.org - State-by-state legal information and resources on domestic violence.
V. Child Support Resources
- Illinois Child Support Services - Resources for custodial and non-custodial parents, Illinois employers, and other state agencies.
- Unclaimed Child Support Check Search - Search for unclaimed child support checks in Cook County. Provided by the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
- supportpay.com - Includes child support guidelines, calculators arranged by state, and family law resources.
- Compliance Guide for Qualified Medical Child Support Orders (QMCSO) (PDF) - From the United States Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration.
- Administration for Children and Families (ACF), United States Department of Health and Human Services - The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is a federal agency that assists state, territory, local, and tribal agencies in providing family assistance, child support, child care, Head Start, child welfare, and other programs relating to children and families.
- Office of Child Support Enforcement - Includes pamphlets, handbooks and guides on child support enforcement, and information about child support enforcement systems.
VI. International Family Law Resources
- Representing Children Worldwide - A research project of Yale Law School that compiles information and resources on "how children's voices are heard in child protective proceedings" worldwide in 2005. Includes summaries of the practices of the 194 signatories to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child (UNCRC).
- International Adoption - Extensive information on international adoptions with country-specific resources. From the United States Department of State.
- Judicial Assistance - Information on international judicial assistance, notarial services, and authentication of documents.
- International Parental Child Abduction - Resources from the U.S. Department of State. Information booklets, country-specific reports, texts of legislation and international conventions.
- Commission on European Family Law (CEFL) - CEFL studies family law in Europe with a focus on harmonization efforts. Features information from 22 European countries including analysis in English along with text of legislation.
VII. Reference Resources
- Where to Write for Vital Records - From the CDC National Center for Health Statistics
PLEASE NOTE: The websites listed in this guide are for information only and are not endorsed or supported by the Cook County Law Library. Please independently verify the accuracy and currency of all information. Consult an attorney for legal advice.
Compiled by Jean M. Wenger
Revised March 2021 by David Sanborne