How Long Will My Chicago Divorce Take?
By: M. Scott Gordon
When you are planning to file for divorce in Chicago, you are probably wondering how long the whole process will take. The short answer is that the length of the divorce process can vary widely, and it depends upon your specific circumstances and the facts of your case. Sometimes a divorce can be very quick, and in other situations the divorce process can take many months. We will go over some of the different factors that influence the length of the divorce, and steps you may be able to take to speed up the process.
Statutory Time Requirements in Illinois
Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), there are some initial timing requirements that must be met in order for two people to be eligible to get divorced in Chicago. For most couples, there is a requirement that you must live separate and apart for at least six months in order to be eligible for divorce. This means that you cannot begin thinking about divorce, move into your own apartment, and file for divorce within a week. Instead, in order for the court to grant a divorce on no-fault grounds—which is how divorces are granted in Illinois now that there are no longer grounds for divorce—you typically must live separate and apart from your spouse for that six-month period.
In addition to that six-month period, you or your spouse also must have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days before the court can grant your divorce. For example, even if you have been living separate and apart for over a year, if you just recently moved to Illinois and your spouse lives out of state, the court typically cannot finalize your divorce until you have been an Illinois resident for 90 days. Military families may have different options and should speak with a Chicago divorce lawyer.
Uncontested Versus Contested Divorces
One of the most basic ways to have a general sense of the length of your divorce, once you have met the statutory requirements above, is to know whether you will have an uncontested or a contested divorce.
In an uncontested divorce, the parties come to an agreement about all terms. For example, in a couple without children, they will need to agree to all terms of property division, spousal maintenance, and any other matters that the court would decide in a divorce proceeding. When there are children from the marriage, the couple agrees to all financial and support issues, as well as parenting time and other matters concerning the children. If you and your spouse agree to all terms, you also may be eligible for a joint simplified divorce, which can also speed up the process.
As soon as the parties cannot come to an agreement—even over a single issue—the divorce becomes a contested divorce. With a contested divorce, there is a need for additional time before a judge, as well as the need for more time for each party (and his or her attorney) to gather evidence.
Learn More About Divorce in Chicago
If you need help with your divorce case, a dedicated Chicago divorce attorney can assist you. Contact M. Scott Gordon & Associates today for more information.