These instructions are to File on an Existing Case in Cook County, Illinois. If one does not exist yet, you will want to Initiate a New Case.
These steps take you through the process of e-filing on an existing case that we have to retrieve from the Court’s system. Once the court’s filing clerk receives the submission, we’ll take a quick peek at our Filing Status screen.
File on an Existing Case
From the Dashboard, click File on an Existing Case
1. Select Court & Case Type – Choose your case, or click add a case to retrieve your case from the court’s system.
If you do not see your case in the drop down, you may type some or all of the case number to filter your results. If you have not yet added the case to your account, you may click the Add a Case link to the right of the Case field.
Learn how to add a case to your account
Once you select your case, please fill out the remaining relevant information in the section.
- Court – Confirm the chosen court and case information is correct.
- Cook County Attorney Code – Attorneys will enter their Cook County Attorney Code. Self-Represented litigants and attorneys without an Illinois Bar ID will enter 99500.
- Case Cross Reference Code(s) – Enter any additional information that is required for this filing type.
2. Add Documents – Define, select, and upload the documents that make up your filing.
- Document Type – The Court prescribes the list of documents available in the Document Type field. If you don’t see the specific document type you are looking for, then you will select the document type that most closely matches, or is somewhat generic in nature.
- Document Description – If you choose a document type with (name extension) on the end of it, you will be able to type the true document title in the document description field.
Note: To improve your chances of having the filing accepted, you will want this description to 100% match the document’s title.
- Click to Upload – Click the link to add your document. Aside from the Bulk Party List, our system will automatically convert most native file formats (i.e. Word, WordPerfect, JPG, PNG, GIF, TIF) into the Court’s preferred Adobe PDF format, upon upload.
- Edit – Click the Edit button to edit a description, delete a document, or replace a document.
3. Security & Optional Services – Choose a security level, and any needed optional services, for each document.
- Security – Most times your choices are public or confidential, but those choices will vary from court to court, and from document type to document type. You will need to pick something from the choices presented to you. While many people choose the public option, others choose confidential if there is sensitive information they do not think should be public.
If a filer sets a document’s security to confidential AND they do not want anyone served those documents, filers will NOT want to electronically serve any party. Electronic service sends ALL of the documents in a filing to ALL selected parties regardless of the document security type chosen.
- Optional Services – When you initiate a new case or file on an existing case, you have the choice of adding optional services for the document(s) you are filing. This can be for extra fees or services like the court reporter fee or first paper fee, or for extra things like ordering certified copies (if the court offers it). There are many different choices that can appear here, so always be sure to check it before submitting a filing. You can also add a Qty to these optional services if you need multiples of something.
4. New Case Parties – Enter the required parties.
If the party you are filing on behalf of isn’t listed in 5. Filing Party, click the Add Party link in 4. New Case Parties; then select and enter the new party’s information in the subsequent fields.
5. Filing Party – Choose the party or parties you are filing on behalf of.
If you do not see your party listed, you may add them in the step above, and then come back to this section to select them.
6. Service Contacts – Add service contacts to your filing to perform electronic service.
- eServe – Select (or deselect) any one listed to receive e-service. If no contacts are listed (or if a filer wishes to add additional service contacts), click the Add Service Contact link (Letter D). A filer may only edit or delete service contacts they originally added.
IF YOU DO NOT WANT THE OPPOSING PARTY (OR ANY PARTY) TO HAVE ACCESS TO A CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENT NEVER E-SERVE THEM. E-SERVING A PARTY MEANS THAT YOU, THE FILER, CONSENTS TO THEM HAVING ACCESS TO THE DOCUMENT.
- Mail Service – Certified and First Class Mail – Starting in 2022, filers may choose to send the accepted documents to contacts via Certified and First Class Mail.
- Name – In this column, a filer may add or edit an address for Mail Service. However, only the contact’s name will show unless the filer selects a Mail Service type in the previous column.
- Add Service Contact – As always, filers may click the Add Service Contact link to add new contacts to a filing.
- Return Address – Filers will want to make sure the Return Address listed is correct for any returned Mail Service.
Learn More about Service Contacts and our new Mail Service via Certified and First Class Mail
7. Filing Fees – Select a payment method to pay estimated fees.
Court Filing Fee(s) – If any of your Document Types have fees associated with them, the first row(s) will list the document with its associated fees. If this amount looks incorrect, filers will want to choose a different document type above.
eFileIL EFM Fee – The fee the Illinois Court’s E-Filing Manager software provider charges filers for each accepted filing. This is the software the courts use to receive, review, and process filings that each e-filing service provider is integrated with.
Provider Service Fee – This is the fee your chosen provider (EFSP) charges for each accepted filing. Please refer to your EFSP for more information regarding their fees.
Payment Service Fee – The Payment Processor currently charges 3% the total fees for using a credit card or $0.50 for using an ACH payment type for each accepted filing.
Select Payment Account – Choose your payment type. Filers who select an ACH payment type will also need to select a credit card on file as backup. If you do not see your payment type, click the Add New Payment Method link below (Letter G).
Confirm Fee Calculation – Click the Confirm Fee Calculation link to see the estimated fees. The filing fees auto-populate from the court based on the Document Type(s) selected and the Additional Information entered. If the fees seem incorrect, you may need to change one of these types above.
Add New Payment Method – If you do not see your payment type in Letter F or wish to add a new one, click this link to add it.
Fee Waivers on a Case – If (1) your party has an existing fee waiver on the case, (2) you are requesting a waiver of fees for your case, Illinois filers will use a Waiver Payment Account for the Payment Type.
8. Return Date – Select a return date for your filing. This is the date by which the opposing party must respond to your filing..
- If a Return date is not needed, check the Return Date Not Applicable box.
- Verify Button – If a Return date is needed, filers must enter and Verify the date.
If the system does not generate a return date, the filer may try leaving the filing clerk a message in the Note to Clerk field along the lines of “This filing needs a return date, and the Odyssey system is not providing one no matter how I request and validate, please assign a return date of mm/dd/yy”.
9. Review & Submit – Finalize your filing, review, and submit.
- If you are Filing for an Attorney select them from the menu or click the Add Attorney link.
- If your firm uses any sort of Client Matter No, enter it here. If you want an unofficial copy of the filing to go to anyone associated with the case, like a client, enter their email(s) here. Note: this is different from a service contact, and it, along with the client matter number, are for your internal purposes only.
- If your court has the option to leave the clerk a memo, enter any sort of note here in the Note to Clerk box.
- Review your entire filing for accuracy, Then check the box to acknowledge you have verified your filing information.
Submit Your Filing
Click the Submit Filing button. Clicking this button, sends your filing directly to filing clerk’s queue at the Court for review. Once all documents are successfully sent to them, the Court will return an envelope number with the date and time they received the full submission. This will be the date and time for the file stamp in your accepted filing. Any filing the Court receives weekdays after 11:59PM, on the weekend, or Court Holiday receives an accepted file stamp of the next Court business day.
On the Filing Status Screen, you will now see your filing is listed as pending. You may return to this screen at any time to see the current status for it and any other filing. Depending on the Court, it can take as little as a minute to review the submission to a few hours to a full business day. If it takes longer than that, the Court may have a backlog they are working through. If you are ever concerned about the status of a submission, the best thing to do is contact the Court directly and provide them with the Envelope Number on your filing.
10. Request a Hearing Date
If you need to request a hearing while the filing is pending, and you correctly entered the Case Cross Reference Code(s) / Hearing Requests information in Section 1, you may now do so as long as the filing is pending.
11. Pre-authorization of Fees
It is important to note that when you submit your filing, the court does a pre-authorization on your card for the filing fees. If the court rejects the filing, then they will not settle that pre-authorization, and it will eventually fall off your card within 3 to 10 business days from the date of the clerk’s rejection depending on your banking institution.
Learn more about the pre-authorization of fees