How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in Illinois?

We know that you want your divorce to be over as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the legal system does not move as fast as we’d like, which can cause frustration for those wanting to resolve their divorce and move forward.

Knowing a little about the timeline of an Illinois divorce can help you prepare for what’s ahead and set reasonable expectations for its conclusion. 

Requirements for a Divorce in Illinois

There are two key time requirements to file a petition for an Illinois divorce. The first is that one or both spouses must live in Illinois or be stationed here as a member of the military for 90 days prior to filing. The second is that the spouses must live in separate households or separately within the same household for six months. The exception to this second requirement is if both spouses assert that the marriage has broken down, all attempts at reconciliation have failed, and continuing to live together would not serve the family’s best interests.

Assuming you meet these conditions, a judge can issue a divorce order shortly thereafter. However, a judge will not issue a divorce order until you have resolved all the issues involved in a divorce, such as child custody, dividing shared assets and property, and child support.

What Factors Affect the Timeline of an Illinois Divorce?

Divorce proceedings in Illinois vary widely in duration depending on several critical factors. Those factors include:

  • Contested vs. Uncontested Divorces: Uncontested divorces, where both parties agree on major issues like property division, child custody, and support, tend to resolve quickly. Contested divorces, which involve disputes that require court intervention, take longer due to negotiations, mediation, and, potentially, the need for a trial.
  • Complexity of Assets: The complexity and volume of marital assets can prolong a divorce. High-asset divorces or those involving businesses, extensive real estate, or investments require detailed valuation and division, extending the process.
  • Child Custody and Support Issues: Disagreements over child custody, visitation schedules, and child support can significantly delay proceedings. The court’s primary focus in these disputes is the child’s best interest, which may involve evaluations and custody hearings.
  • Spousal Support: Determining spousal support (alimony) can be contentious, especially if the divorce significantly affects one party’s financial independence. Negotiating agreeable terms can take time.
  • Court Caseload: The court’s schedule and caseload at the time of filing can affect the timeline. If the court where you must file your petition has a high volume of cases, your case might be put on the court’s calendar much later than you would like.
  • Willingness to Negotiate: Both parties’ willingness to negotiate and compromise on disputed matters can either shorten or lengthen the process. Stubbornness or unwillingness to find common ground can result in prolonged litigation.

Contact Our Illinois Divorce Attorneys Today

Working with an Illinois divorce lawyer can significantly shorten the time required by the legal process and make your divorce easier for you. The attorneys at Gravel & Wechter P.C. know how complex and taxing a divorce can be. We can help ease your burdens during this challenging time. Call us today or complete our online contact form for a free consultation.