A Dissolution of Marriage (commonly referred to as a divorce) is a serious legal step which should not be taken without considerable thought. If you are considering such a proceeding, you should note the following:
It is in the best interests of each of the parties to consult attorneys regarding the dissolution of their marriage.

  • You should not rely exclusively on this information. This information is intended only as a guide for self-representation.
  • Once you lose the right to maintenance in a legal proceeding, you can never again obtain maintenance from your former spouse.
  • A judgment entered in a dissolution proceeding is final. You will have no right to appeal. Such a judgment may only be set aside on grounds of fraud, duress, accident, mistake, or other grounds at law or in equity.
  • You and your spouse remain married and cannot remarry until a judgment dissolving your marriage is signed by the Judge.

Early Resolution Program for Divorce Cases involving Self-Represented Litigants (ERP)

The 22nd Circuit was one of the first in the state of Illinois to offer an Early Resolution Program for self-represented divorce litigants. The Early Resolution Program (ERP) is unique, using a “problem solving” model rather than the traditional adversarial approach. The ERP Coordinator works with local legal aid centers and members of the local bar to assist self-represented litigants to narrow issues and aid in the completion of divorce paperwork during the ERP session. The program is only for cases with no children and must be uncontested.

If parties are able to resolve outstanding issues, mutually agree on the outcome and complete the paperwork; the litigants will be sent to the courtroom where a judge can grant the judgment of dissolution. If parties fail to achieve a resolution during the ERP session, the case will be returned to the regular calendar for hearings and a trial date.

ERP cases are typically scheduled for one Thursday afternoon per month. Both parties must agree to attend the session. No children will be allowed at the session. Parties are required to complete the paperwork which will be sent to them by the ERP Coordinator in advance of the ERP date, and bring a check for the $60.00 transcript fee for the court reporter if the judge grants the judgment of dissolution.

Goals of the Early Resolution Program (ERP)

  • Shorten the length of time from the date of filing to case disposition
  • Reduce costs due to lost wages for litigants required to attend multiple court dates and hearings
  • Provide meaningful access to the justice system
  • Reduce the number of case processing steps
  • Reduce the number of post case motions and hearings
  • Increase public trust and confidence in the judicial branch


If both parties agree on the issues, the ERP is a great program which can allow you to obtain a judgment of dissolution more quickly, many times on the same day.  This is an opportunity to work with the other party to resolve your case, without the need of additional hearings or a trial.  For more information on the ERP program, contact the ERP Coordinator at (815) 334-4166. 

Filing Certificate of Dissolution

Pursuant to 750 ILCS 5/707, a certificate of each dissolution of marriage ordered in Illinois shall by filed with the Illinois Department of Public Health. This form shall be prepared by the person filing the petition for dissolution of marriage and shall be presented to the judge for his/her inspection prior to the entry of the final order. After the judgment of dissolution is granted, the Clerk of the Court completes the remaining entries on the certificate and files it with the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Below is a link to an electronic version of the Certificate of Dissolution provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health. This form should be completed and filed electronically when filing your new divorce case.

Parenting Class

The Judges of McHenry County are concerned for the welfare of children of divorce. Parenting Class is mandated in McHenry County for any parent in the process of divorce or who is involved in after-divorce proceedings in which there are minor children involved. Parents involved in parentage actions, and ordered by the Court must also attend, however, any adult who is interested in the program can participate. The four-hour class offered at McHenry County College, “Focus on the Kids,” is designed to offer parents the opportunity to learn about and discuss the effects of divorce on minor children. Registration fee is $90 per person (materials included) and is due in full at the time of registration. The fee is paid to McHenry County College; do NOT pay the Court. McHenry County College accepts cash, money order, Visa, MasterCard and Discover for payment. Both parties must complete the Parenting Class before a judgment of dissolution will be entered in a divorce case.