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E-Filing Has Finally Come for Illinois Divorce and Other Cases
Filing lawsuits and other paper court documents in Illinois civil courts will soon be a thing of the past in Illinois. Both lawyers and non-lawyers alike will be required to file their cases electronically. "E-filing" of lawsuits, including divorces and all other civil cases, will soon all be done without paper.
The Illinois Supreme Court has passed a rule requiring all of the local courts, which in Illinois are the Circuit Court, Appellate Court, and the Illinois Supreme Court of Illinois, to no longer accept cases filed in paper form.
Chief Justice Rita B. Garman of the Illinois Supreme Court announced that the electronic filing of documents in civil cases will be required in the Supreme Court and five districts of the Appellate Court effective July 1, 2017, and in all circuit courts effective January 1, 2018.
An E-filing pilot program began January 1, 2003, and included five sites: Cook, DuPage, Madison, St. Clair, and Will counties. Counties that currently allow e-filing include Clinton, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kendall, Lake, Madison, Marion, McHenry, Montgomery, Moultrie, Sangamon, St. Clair, Will and Winnebago Counties. So far, 15 of 102 Illinois counties have been approval for e-filing.
You may ask why has it taken from 2001 until 2016 for Illinois Courts to go paperless?
One possible answer is differing technologies. When Steam Railroads were introduced in about 1825, there were not less than 12 different railroad gauges or sizes of railroad tracks. [See Track Gauges]
There are now at least a dozen different case management software systems in the Illinois civil court systems. To make things more uniform, the Illinois the Supreme Court will require e-filing through a single Electronic Filing Manager (EFM), which will be have to be integrated with each Illinois counties court's case management system and attorney-selected e-filing service provider.
These requirements will be phased in over two years. E-filing will be required in civil cases in the Supreme Court and the five districts of the Appellate Court effective July 1, 2017, and thereafter in all Circuit Trial Courts effective January 1, 2018.
Lawyers and ordinary people who represent themselves will be able to E-file documents from any location at anytime of the day or night. Of course, the Illinois Courts will need to create rules for documents filed at odd hours of the night including when deadlines take place. Court Orders frequently state a Husband or Wife has "30 days to file a written answer to a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage." Will the deadline then be 11:49 p.m. on the last day, or only when the Clerk of the Circuit Court accepts the document for filing? Only time will tell.
All Courts must then provide lay people with a working space, computer access, and human assistance to those who represent themselves in Illinois by doing their own E-Filing at the Courthouse.
Lawyers, like everyone else, have been challenged by the Electronic Age. As practicing lawyers at Illinois Courthouses, it is necessary to keep up not only with the latest laws but the technology of the law as well—practicing law now requires knowledge and experience in technology as well as the law.
Consult with a Skilled Illinois Family Law Attorney Today
You do not need to go at it alone; we can help you. Our experienced Hinsdale family law attorneys at Martoccio & Martoccio are experienced not only in the law but also experiences with the newest technologies to help and guide you. Please give us a call today at 630-920-8855.