How long will my divorce take?

You can find the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act at 750 ILCS 5/.  This is a basic overview of divorce in Illinois.  You should consult an attorney to discuss how the law applies to the facts in your case.

It depends

This is one of the most frequent questions I am asked.  It requires a typical lawyer answer  -It depends.  There are many factors that contribute to the length of time spent in divorce court.  It is possible to be divorced in just a few weeks.  That is the case if you agree to the divorce, issues with the children, and all issues regarding money and property.  There is no longer a waiting period in Illinois if both parties agree to the divorce.  However, that is not typical. In most cases, there are at least some disagreements that will take some time to work out.

What is the process?

If parents cannot agree on issues regarding the children, the court requires mediation.  The mediation process takes a few months.  It if affected by the court’s schedule in ordering it, the mediator’s schedule, and the parties’ schedule.

If the parties disagree on support, property, debts, or other issues, they will need to do discovery.  Discovery is where the parties exchange information such as financial documents under oath so that both sides are fully informed about the financial picture.  Discovery takes at a minimum 28 days, but commonly it takes 3 months or more for the first round of discovery.  Then parties can request additional information or take depositions.

Usually, after discovery is complete, the parties will negotiate settlement.  Sometimes the parties will schedule a conference with the judge to assist in settlement.  Ultimately, if the parties do not reach a settlement, the case will go to an evidentiary trial before a judge.  To get to trial, usually takes a year to 2 years. 

As you can see, the process is affected by the court’s schedule.  This varies by court depending on the population of the county, availability of judges, scheduling practices, and number of cases in the county.  The time estimates above are based on common practices in the counties where we primarily work, St. Clair, Monroe, and Madison.

What can I do to speed up my divorce?

Many parts of the divorce proceedings will be out of your control.  That can be frustrating and scary.  You can control some things though.  Probably, the best way to help your attorney to move your case along efficiently is to provide the documents and information that are requested in an organized and timely manner.  Also, to the extent possible, remove the hurt and emotion that accompany the end of a marriage from the decisions you make about financial issues.  These tips will not only save you time, but money in attorney’s fees as well. 

Contact us if you are facing a divorce.  We have the knowledge and experience to vigorously fight for you. 

Content contained on this site is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. You should consult an attorney of your choosing to discuss your particular case and to obtain legal advice specific to your situation.


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