How Long Does a Divorce Take in Illinois?

Posted on in Divorce

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When facing a divorce, most generally want to get the process over with as soon as possible. Unfortunately, ending a marriage takes time. Some of the time waiting for your divorce to be finalized may be out of your control. However, there are some steps you can take to expedite the process. Below are some of the main factors that influence how long a divorce will take in Illinois:

The Residency Requirement and Waiting Period

To get divorced in Illinois, at least one spouse must live in the state for at least 90 days. If you and your spouse agree that irreconcilable differences have led to the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage, you can complete your divorce with no waiting period. If either spouse does not agree to the divorce, irreconcilable differences will be presumed if the two of you live “separate and apart” for at least six months prior to the date of the divorce judgment.

The Divorce Timeline 

There are certain steps that must be taken during the divorce process, and each of these can take time. The first step is filing the petition for divorce. After one spouse files a divorce petition, a copy of the petition should be served to the other spouse within two days. The respondent will have up to 30 days to respond to the summons. Following this response, an initial court hearing will be scheduled in which you, your spouse, and your respective attorneys can identify the issues that need to be settled, as well as any requests for temporary relief. 

After the first court date, the discovery phase of the divorce will begin, and it may take several weeks to complete. During this process, you and your spouse will make a full financial disclosure to each other, reporting your income, assets, expenses and debts.

Following discovery, the two of you may work together to resolve the outstanding issues involved in ending your marriage, including the division of marital property, the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, spousal maintenance, and child support. Depending on the complexity of these issues, they may take multiple weeks or months to address and resolve. If you use methods of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or collaborative law, you may be able to come to an agreement more quickly. Once a settlement has been reached, a final court hearing will be held to finalize the divorce.

If you are unable to reach a settlement, litigation in court may be required. This may require multiple court hearings, which can extend the process significantly. In cases involving child custody disputes, a guardian ad litem (GAL) may be appointed to evaluate the situation and make recommendations about how parental responsibilities and parenting time should be allocated. This evaluation process can take multiple weeks or months. The timeline may also be extended if other outside experts, such as financial appraisers or forensic accountants, are needed. Litigated divorce cases often take more than a year to fully resolve.

Contact a Northwest Cook County Divorce Attorney

There are many things you can do to speed up the process of your divorce, such as agreeing to work together with your ex-spouse to reach a compromise. However, the best way to ensure that you are able to complete your divorce efficiently and effectively is to speak to an experienced attorney. Dedicated Palatine divorce lawyer Nicholas W. Richardson can help you understand the issues that need to be addressed, and he will work with you to negotiate an agreement that meets your needs. Attorney Richardson has the experience necessary to help you get your divorce finalized as quickly as possible while making the entire process easier for you. Call our office today at 847.873.6741 to schedule your free consultation.  



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