Now that you have created and configured your new account, you are ready to e-file!

These instructions are to Initiate a New Case in Cook County, Illinois. If a case already exists in the court system, you will want to File on an Existing Case.

These steps take you through the process of starting a brand new case, and shows you how to electronically serve your documents on parties and / or attorneys in the case through the use of service contacts. Once filers submit a new case to the court, they will send email notifications to the filer on its status.

Note: To initiate a new case in Los Angeles Civil courts, follow the instructions from this article.

Note: To initiate a new case in all other courts, follow the instructions from this article.

Quick Steps

Scroll down for more detailed instructions.

From the Dashboard, click Initiate a New Case

  1. Select the Court & Case Type, and add appropriate Cross Reference Codes.
  2. Select your Document Type and enter a Document Description. Then click the Click to Upload link to add your document.
  3. Give your document a Security Type, and review your choices in the Optional Services drop down. Select any necessary services.
  4. Enter your New Case Parties as required by the court.
  5. Choose the Party or Parties you are filing on behalf of.
  6. Review your Filing Fees, and select a Payment Method to pay the estimated fees.
  7. Add and Verify a Return Date if applicable.
  8. Select the Filing Attorney if necessary, review all information for accuracy, and Submit Filing.

Initiate a New Case in Cook County, Illinois

From the Dashboard, click Initiate a New Case

  1. Select Court and Case Type – Choose the court location, case type to file your new case, Case Cross Reference Code(s) and Hearing Requests; and an Ad Damnum amount (if required).Initiate a New Case in Cook County, Illinois
    1. Choose the court location and case type to file your new case.
    2. Enter your Cook County Attorney Code. Pro Se (Self-Represented) litigants will enter 99500.
    3. If a filer needs to request a hearing when the filing is pending, they will want to select a Motion Type from the drop down and then enter the word Motion for the Code / Value. Learn more…
      Note: The choices in the Type drop down auto-populate directly from the court. If the correct calendar for the court does not appear, the filer will still need to select one of the choices here or they will NOT be able to schedule a hearing date while the filing is pending. In this situation, it is recommended the filer picks something, and then leave the clekr a note at the bottom stating the true calendar needed.

      The Probate, Domestic Relations, and Domestic Violence (Civil) Divisions in Cook County have changed their method for selecting motion types in a filing. Please refer to this help article for their new procedure.
    4. If an Ad Damnum is required, enter your damage/claim amount.
  2. Add Documents – Define, select, and upload the documents that make up your filing.

    1. Select the Document Type: The Court prescribes the list of documents you see available in the Document Type field. If you don’t see the specific document type you are looking for then you’ll need to select the document type that most closely matches, or is somewhat generic in nature. Learn more about selecting a document type when the one needed isn’t listed…
    2. Enter the Document Description: After making your selection, type the true document title in the document description field.
    3. Click the Click to Upload link to add your document. We’ll automatically convert most native file formats (i.e. Word, WordPerfect, JPG, PNG, GIF, TIF) into the Court’s preferred Adobe PDF format, upon upload.
    4. Click the Edit button to edit a description, delete a document, replace a document, or add an attachment.
  3. Security & Optional Services – Choose a security level, and any needed optional services, for each document.

    1. Choose your 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.
    2. Choose any 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 – Each case type you choose has required parties that must be defined. You may add more parties by clicking the Add Parties link at the bottom of this section, but you must still have the court’s required roles in order to file.

    1. Most states will alert filers to the roles they need defined via this Tip box.
    2. Some states will auto-populate the required roles in the parties section itself.

    When filling out this section, you may select Representing Attorneys from the menu, or click the Add Another Attorney link to add them.

    If you do not know your party’s address, you may click the Address Unknown checkbox.

  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. Filing Fees – Select a payment method to pay estimated fees. The filing fees auto-populate from the court based on the case type, document type(s), and optional services filers select. If the fees seem incorrect to you, you may need to change one of these types. After selecting a payment method, filers will want to click the Confirm Fee Calculation link before proceeding.

    Please read this article regarding the use of Debit Cards with e-filing.

    If you have a waiver of fees for your case, you will need to make sure to select a Waiver Payment type to avoid the charges listed in this section. To create a waiver payment account, click the Save Draft link on the upper right. Then click Settings at the top of the screen, and then select Payment Settings from the menu on the left. Next, you will click Add a Payment Account on the right side of the screen. Give the account a nickname, then select the account type as Waiver. Navigate back to your filing by clicking Filing Status in the left menu from the Dashboard, and choose this for the payment option.

  7. Return Date – Select a return date for your filing. This is the date by which the opposing party must respond to your filing.

    1. If a Return date is not needed, check the Return Date Not Applicable box.
    2. 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”.
  8. Review & Submit – Finalize your filing, review, and submit.

    1. If you are Filing for an Attorney select them from the menu or click the Add Attorney link.
    2. When a firm uses any sort of Client Matter No, the filer may 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.
    3. If your court has the option to leave the clerk a memo, enter any sort of note here in the Note to Clerk box.
    4. Review your entire filing for accuracy, and check the Verify box to acknowledge you have and also agree to any service provider fees.

    Click the Submit Filing button. Once filers click the button, the application immediately sends all documents to the court’s filing clerk for review. The system will then show the filing as Pending. The court assigns a submission time once the system completes its upload of all documents, and the court returns an Envelope Number.

Congratulations! You have submitted your filing to Initiate a New Case. The court will review it, and email you with a response in short time depending on their backlog. You can always go to the Filing Status page at any time to see where the filing stands.

If a filer needs to request a hearing while the filing is pending, and they correctly entered the Case Cross Reference Code(s) / Hearing Requests information in Section 1, they may now do so at this time, and any time while the filing is pending. Learn more…