How long will it take for me to get a divorce? | Illinois


Length of a Divorce

This is the most common question that we receive, and we usually respond by saying that the case goes as fast as the slowest person moves. The length of a divorce can be anywhere from 30 days to two years or more. No case is the same so you should not think your case will be the same length as anyone else’s case. Sometimes, the length of a divorce can be strategically longer than other divorces. For example, the parties agree to wait for a child to finish high school before finalizing a divorce, or the parties agree to sell a house before finalizing the case. On the other hand, some cases can take longer because of some seriously contested issues. If you are considering a divorce, it is important to understand that your case will be different than anyone else’s case. 

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce If Both Parties Agree in Illinois?

When both parties in Illinois agree on all aspects of their divorce, known as an uncontested divorce, the process can be relatively quick. Typically, such divorces can be finalized within 30 days to a few months. The efficiency largely depends on how swiftly the couple can reach an agreement on all the divorce terms and complete the necessary legal procedures. In these cases, the lack of dispute over assets, child custody, and other common contentious points expedites the process.

What Is the Fastest Way to Get a Divorce in Illinois?

The fastest way to get divorced is to reach an agreement, which is sometimes easier said than done. All divorces end with either (1) an agreement, or (2) the judge making a decision. If you really want to move fast, agree with your spouse and move forward.  

For a select few that qualify, a joint simplified dissolution is faster and cheaper than a traditional divorce. This is a streamlined process available to couples who meet specific criteria, including having been married for less than eight years, having no children, and not owning significant joint assets or property. A joint simplified divorce can be processed and completed in an exceptionally short time frame, sometimes in less than a week, provided that both parties are in complete agreement and all eligibility criteria are met.

How Long Do You Have to Be Separated to Get Divorced in Illinois?

Six months of “separation” is required before you can get divorced. However, you are not required to live separately or even required to sleep in separate bedrooms. In Illinois,a divorce is only based on irreconcilable differences, which means that  it is a “no-fault divorce.” In practice, this separation period essentially means that one of the spouses feels like the marriage has been broken for 6 months or longer. Unless the other spouse contests that the relationship is broken, there is an irrebuttable presumption in the court that the requirement of irreconcilable differences has been met, paving the way for the divorce proceedings to proceed.

Factors that Can Impact the Length of a Divorce

Involvement of Children 

Children’s presence in a marriage introduces additional considerations like custody and education into the divorce process, potentially extending its duration.

Assets & Liabilities

During a divorce the parties need to allocate all assets and liabilities so that legal responsibility is clear after the divorce. Property division is not difficult, but it is also not easy. 

Role of Divorce Attorneys and Third Parties

The efficiency and responsiveness of the attorneys involved significantly impact the divorce timeline. Delays in communication or action can elongate the process. The involvement of third parties, like witnesses or asset valuation experts, also influences the timeline.

The Divorce Process in Illinois

Initiating a divorce begins with filing a petition in the appropriate county court. This step is followed by the serving of divorce papers and a 30-day period for the recipient spouse’s response. Court dates are scheduled, and in contested cases, mediation may be required, which can prolong the divorce.

Finalizing the Divorce

Once all disputes are resolved, either through mediation or court judgment, the final divorce decree is issued. Quick resolution of disagreements leads to faster divorce finalization.

Learn More About the Factors That Can Impact a Divorce

Every divorce is unique. This makes it difficult to say how long a divorce will take. If you are ready to get started, let’s set up a time to talk. Our family law attorneys are here to help you find the right solutions and move forward.