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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!

What to Ask a Divorce Attorney During the Consultation

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If you have a scheduled consultation coming up and you’re clueless as far as what to ask your divorce attorney, you’ll definitely want to figure it out ahead of time. In fact, getting as much information as possible during the consultation can save a lot of time and money in the divorce process.divorce-attorney-Oak Lawn, IL

Here are some vital questions for which you will want answers if you are going for your first consultation:

What is Your Fee Structure?

The first and one of the most important questions you will want to ask is what is their fee structure. Do they charge for each hour spent on your case or one flat fee? Keep in mind that divorces can also last years, so it is important to also ask about any financial implications.

What are the Divorce Procedures?

Every state will have different divorce procedures in which must be followed by both you and your attorney. The exact length of time necessary to complete the divorce will depend on the complexity of your situation (child custody, property division, disagreements with both parties, etc.). Be sure to inform the divorce attorney of all aspects in your divorce so they can give you the most accurate estimate and timeline of your divorce.

Keep in mind that if you work full-time or have other needs that require the majority of your time, knowing the requirements and commitments of the divorce ahead of time will help while you prepare.

What if I Need Alimony?

Each state will differ in regards to allowing a spouse to seek alimony from the other. Some cases will depend on the length of the marriage, whether a spouse stays home with the child, or the difference in income between the spouses.

Whether you are seeking alimony or your spouse is seeking it from you, let your attorney know during the initial consultation so they can inform you of any liabilities that can occur during the divorce.


What about Child Custody?

If you are not able to agree with your spouse as to who will have custody of your children, ask about the factors that are most important to the judge when determining custody. This can include income, the amount of time spent with the child, how involved they are in their children’s lives, their ability to provide for the children, and more. You should also ask about your chances of having custody of your children.

It is often child custody issues can prolong the divorce process, so it would be good to know which issues to surrender to and which to challenge. You can also ask about alternative dispute resolution, such as a mediator or arbitration if you want to avoid going to trial.

How Should We Split Marital Assets?

Many states will differ in regards to marital assets, but their process is pretty simple as far as allocating joint assets to each spouse. Generally, they will state the ownership of each spouse. Just make sure to ask your attorney about the procedure for splitting marital assets in your state.

How Long Have You Been Practicing Divorce Law?

Having an experienced attorney is extremely important, especially if your situation is more complicated. Knowing how many years they have been practicing, their specialties, with which attorney you will be working, the number of cases they have won, and other general information about the firm.

Who Will be Working on My Case? And Will You Be Involved as Well?

An experienced family law attorney will often work with a team to gather as much information as possible. But it is important to know who exactly will be working on your case and to have their contact information if you have any updates or questions throughout the divorce. You will also want to know who will be in charge and how you will be billed for that work.

If I Call and Nobody Answers, How Long Will it Take to Get a Response?

Asking this question during the consultation might seem silly, but some firms are busier than others. It would be good to pay attention to the amount of clients present in the office and if the attorneys always seem busy. A good divorce lawyer will answer all emails and calls within 24 hours, or will have their staff respond earlier.

How Familiar Are You with the Local Courthouses and Judges?

If you are in a situation where mediation is not an option, having an attorney who knows the local judges and court system well is important. Having someone who knows what judges favor, their process, and even the best times to reach them can be very helpful to your case.

Will I Get Copies of Documents Generated Throughout My Divorce?

A good attorney will provide you with all copies of documents generated during the divorce process. They also shouldn’t be forgetting to send documents to you after receiving a settlement offer from your spouse’s attorney.

Is There a Retainer and How Much Is It?

This is extremely important as well as having the money to pay the fee upfront. Ask what it covers and if you reconcile or switch attorneys, ask whether the retainer will be refunded or not. Some attorneys also charge additional retainers when the initial one is depleted.

Work with An Experienced Divorce Attorney in Oak Lawn, ILBerry-K.-Tucker-Lawyer-Oak-Lawn-IL

Finding an experienced attorney that stays within your budget can be difficult but not impossible. Generally, it is recommended to find one that you can trust, has experience in cases similar to yours, and is responsive to your emails and calls.

One such law firm that can provide these to you is Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. Our divorce attorneys have over 50 years of combined legal experience, working with clients in unique situations while working to establish the best solutions. Our specializations cover many aspects, including child custody, domestic violence, property division, father’s rights, pre-and post-nuptial agreements, alimony, post-decree issues, and more.

If you are contemplating getting a divorce, or if your spouse has served you with a divorce, you will definitely want to work with an attorney. Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. can provide you with the answers you need while determining what is in your best interest.

Give us a call at (708) 425-9530 for more information about our law firm or to schedule your consultation. We are located in Oak Lawn, IL, and look forward to serving you soon!

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