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Our Legal Self-Help Centers make available correct and current information on Illinois law and court proceedings. A navigator is present during normal working hours to assist individuals with using the available computer and print resources. Be advised, Navigators and employees of the Circuit Clerk’s Office cannot give out legal advice or tell you which forms to fill out.

Divorce with Children E-Guide

Step 1: Start your Divorce 

You will need to let the Court know you would like to divorce your spouse. This is done by filing a petition for divorce. 

The fee to file a divorce is several hundred dollars but you may ask the court to waive that if you can prove you have an economic need. Learn more about fee waivers here

Step 2: Notify your Spouse 

You will need to let your spouse know you’ve filed for divorce. This is done in two ways. 

1. Summons for Service

Your spouse will be served with a Summons & Petition. This can be handled at the Clerk’s office when you file your petition. 


2. Waiver & Consent

If your spouse signs the Waiver & Consent form you do not have to serve the paperwork on your spouse. This will significantly speed up the divorce process by granting you an earlier court date. Bring this form with you to the Clerk’s office once signed. Notary required. 


Step 3: Receive your Date

Your court date will be set depending on the method you use to notify your spouse, described in Step 2. 

1. Summons for Service

You will receive your court date when you file your petition, which will be listed on the summons. This will typically be less than 90 days from the date of filing. 


2. Waiver & Consent

You will suggest a court date to the Clerk when you file your petition. You must also communicate this court date to your spouse.   


Step 4: Prepare for your Court Date

1. Both parents must complete parenting class through PACT. Use the website listed below to register for classes. If you were granted a fee waiver as a part of your divorce, you qualify for a free or reduced cost PACT class. 

  • Register for the PACT Class.
  • File your certificate with the court to prove your successful completion. 

2. Negotiate property & debt, spousal and child support, allocation of parental responsibilities (custody) and parenting time (visitation). 

  • Finalize these agreements using the following forms listed below. 

* Available in print form at the Self-Help Center

If you and your spouse are ordered to attend mediation, read about the Family Mediation Program and understand the Suggested Rules of Conduct.

You must bring these with you or submit them at least 3 days in advance if your hearing is to be held virtually. Failure to bring these may extend the time you spend in court!

If you don’t agree on the matters included in the forms above, the case will go to trial and the judge will make decisions for you! 

Visit one of our self-help centers in person, use our Online Self Help Center to the right or visit ILAO for more resources and information. 

Winnebago County Self-Help Center

Winnebago County Courthouse
400 West State Street, Room 304 (inside the law library)
Rockford, Illinois 61101
Navigator's Hours: 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday
815-319-4526 or

Boone County Self-Help Center

Boone County Courthouse
601 North Main Street  (inside the law library)
Belvidere, Illinois 61008
Navigator's Hours: 10 am to 2 pm Monday through Friday


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400 W State St
Rockford, IL 61101