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Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we will talk about the length of time a divorce in Illinois takes, including “The Divorce Timeline,” “What Affects the Timing of Your Divorce,” and “How to Speed Up Your Divorce Process.” The most significant factor in how much time a divorce requires is whether it is contested or uncontested. You may want to check out this article to remember the difference between the types of divorce.

An uncontested divorce takes significantly less time than a contested divorce. Uncontested divorces can be completed in as little as two months. In contrast, contested divorces, in some cases, can take multiple years. The determination of how long a divorce will take, beyond whether it is contested or not, depends on the issues to be resolved and how willing each party is to reach final decisions.

Divorce Timeline for Illinois

To begin, in Illinois, it is required that at least one of the spouses has lived in the state for 90 days before they can file for a divorce. Additionally, Illinois law requires that if there will be child custody decisions made in the divorce proceedings, the children must have been Illinois residents for at least six months. If the divorce is filed uncontested, both parties agree to waive the requirement that the spouses live separate and apart, then there is no longer any waiting period in Illinois. Divorces that start off contested typically have a six-month waiting period.

Beyond residency requirements, the first step in a divorce is filing the petition for dissolution of marriage. The timeline can vary slightly based on county court; however, once this form has been received by the county clerk, in the next two weeks, you will receive the case number, the judge presiding, and your summons. The summons must be served to the other spouse, typically by the sheriff or a professional service.

Wedding Rings resting on a Gavel.

It can take the sheriff’s office up to three weeks to serve your spouse. After this time, the spouse is given 30 days to respond whether the divorce is uncontested or contested. Once the spouse schedules a response and appearance within the 30 days, both spouses attend. If the summons is not responded to within 30 days, a judge will typically set the court date out another four weeks.

After the initial court date to dissolve the marriage, court appearances to make decisions on things such as finances and child custody will be decided on at a later date. The willingness of each spouse to reach agreements on these decisions will affect how long they take. Although these cases can take a long time to resolve, there is an Illinois law that, unless it is agreed upon in writing, all custody cases must be resolved within 18 months of when they were filed.

After all, decisions have been made, and the judge will schedule a prove-up hearing in order to finalize everything. The date for the prove-up hearing depends on how long it takes decisions to be finalized and divorce papers to be agreed upon.

What Affects the Timing of Your Divorce?

As already stated, the primary thing that affects the timing of your divorce is whether or not it is contested. Divorces, where decisions are reached easily between spouses, are resolved quickly. Another aspect of the divorce that can have an impact on the timing is how busy the court docket is when one spouse files for divorce. Lastly, all court and filing fees must be paid before court dates can be set.

wedding ring taken off sitting on a coffee table

How to Speed up Your Divorce Process

If spouses are having a hard time agreeing on decisions, there is no set way to speed up the divorce process. However, if you know your spouse is filing for a divorce, speak with attorneys and choose one before you are served the paperwork. Additionally, giving your attorney any paperwork and responses you have will help with responses to the other spouse. Remaining in constant contact with your attorney is the best way to ensure your divorce process is quick and efficient.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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