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How Long Does a Divorce Take in Illinois?

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In Illinois, the process of obtaining a divorce typically ranges from a minimum of six months to a maximum of two years. However, the exact duration varies based on numerous factors, including whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, the complexity of financial matters, and the workload of the local court system. Understanding the legal procedures involved and considering your specific circumstances can provide insight into the expected timeline for your divorce.

Understanding Divorce in Illinois

In Illinois, the process of divorce begins with one spouse filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the circuit court in the county where either spouse resides. This petition outlines the grounds for divorce, which typically revolve around irreconcilable differences. After filing, the other spouse must be served with a copy of the petition, initiating the legal proceedings. Illinois follows a “no-fault” divorce system, meaning fault or wrongdoing does not need to be proven for the divorce to proceed. Instead, the focus is on resolving issues such as property division, spousal support, and child custody if applicable. Throughout the process, both spouses are required to disclose financial information and participate in negotiations to reach agreements on these matters. If agreements cannot be reached through negotiation, mediation or a trial may be necessary to resolve contested issues. Once all matters are resolved, a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage is entered by the court, officially terminating the marriage.

divorce wait time in Illinois

What is Contested Divorce?

A contested divorce occurs when spouses cannot agree on one or more key issues related to the divorce, such as child custody, division of assets, spousal support, or any other significant matter. In a contested divorce, the spouses may disagree on various aspects of the divorce settlement, leading to negotiations, mediation, or even litigation to resolve the disputes. Contested divorces typically last around a year on average. One reason for this duration is the mandatory six-month waiting period required to establish grounds for divorce. However, the primary factor contributing to the length of a contested divorce is often the challenge of reaching a settlement agreement between the parties.

Learn: How to Handle a Contested Divorce?

What is Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce occurs when both spouses are in agreement on all key aspects of the divorce, including issues such as child custody, division of assets, spousal support, and any other relevant matters. In an uncontested divorce, there is no dispute or disagreement between the spouses regarding the terms of the divorce settlement. This typically results in a smoother and quicker divorce process since there is no need for extensive negotiations, mediation, or court proceedings to resolve conflicts. Instead, the spouses can submit a joint petition or agreement to the court outlining their agreed-upon terms, making the divorce process more straightforward and efficient. An easy uncontested divorce can wrap up in just two months when both spouses agree on everything.

Common Reasons That Could Lead to Divorce Delays

A divorce involves various complexities, and delays can arise from a multitude of reasons. Let’s understand some of the common reasons behind these delays:

couples fighting for child custody

  • Hard-To-Solve Conflicts: When spouses cannot find common ground on essential matters like child custody, asset division, or spousal support, the divorce process can stall as negotiations or court proceedings become necessary to resolve conflicts.
  • Complex Legal Issues: If a couple’s financial situation is tangled up in businesses, investments, or other complicated assets, it takes time to untangle everything. Lawyers need to dig deep, crunch numbers, and figure out what’s fair. This complexity can stretch out the divorce process as everyone tries to make sure they’re getting a fair shake.
  • Court Clog: Backlogs in court schedules can lead to delays in setting hearings or trials, with priority often given to urgent cases, causing routine divorce proceedings to be postponed.
  • Discovery Challenges: The exchange of necessary documents and information during the discovery phase may encounter delays if parties are slow to provide requested materials or disputes arise over the scope of disclosure.
  • Negotiation Hurdles: While seeking settlements through mediation or negotiation can expedite the process, reaching agreements may take time, especially when addressing contentious issues that require careful resolution.
  • Jurisdictional Disputes: Disagreements over jurisdiction or venue, particularly in cases involving spouses residing in different locations, must be resolved before proceedings can move forward in the appropriate court.
  • Interim Arrangements: Temporary orders for child custody, support, or other matters may be sought during contested divorces, leading to delays as parties negotiate or contest these interim measures.

What Are Some Legal Options Available to Speed up the Divorce Process?

There are a few legal options to make the divorce process faster. Couples can consider an uncontested divorce if they agree on everything, like how to split assets and handle custody and support. This way, there’s less need for court involvement, which saves time and money. Another route is mediation or collaborative divorce, where a neutral person helps them negotiate and find solutions together. These methods focus on cooperation and can lead to quicker resolutions. Also, getting temporary orders for important issues like child custody can bring clarity and stability while waiting for the divorce to finalize, reducing delays from ongoing conflicts. When filing a divorce in Illinois, you need to know how to file a divorce legally with right steps.

Get Legal Help in Illinois

Berry-K.-Tucker-Personal-Injury-Lawyer-Oak-Lawn-ILIf you’re thinking about divorce and you’re in the southwest Chicago suburbs, you should definitely get in touch with Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. Our team has more than 50 years of combined experience in family law, and we’ve handled all sorts of cases.

We’ve worked with both men and women, making sure to find solutions that really work for them. Plus, we’re always up to date on any changes in the law, so you can trust us to handle asset and property division effectively. We also have experience in handling all sorts of cases like child custody, business or any other kind of property or financial asset.

To schedule an initial consultation with one of our divorce attorneys, contact Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. at (708) 425-9530. We look forward to working with you soon!

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