The timeline for getting a divorce in Illinois can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the case, the cooperation of both parties, and the court's caseload. While some divorces can be finalized relatively quickly, others may take several months or even longer. In this blog, we'll explore the factors that influence the duration of divorce proceedings in Illinois and provide insights into the general timeline for the process.
Before filing for divorce in Illinois, one or both spouses must meet the state's residency requirements. At least one spouse must have been a resident of Illinois for at least 90 days before filing the divorce petition.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce:
The first major factor that affects the timeline of a divorce in Illinois is whether it is uncontested or contested:
Uncontested Divorce: In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree on all key issues, such as child custody, child support, spousal support (alimony), property division, and debt allocation. Uncontested divorces generally proceed faster and are less expensive since there are no significant disputes to resolve.
Contested Divorce: In a contested divorce, spouses disagree on one or more key issues, leading to legal disputes that require court intervention. Contested divorces can take longer to resolve as the court needs to hear evidence and make decisions on contested matters.
Mandatory Waiting Period:
Illinois law imposes a mandatory waiting period after filing the divorce petition before a court can finalize the divorce. The waiting period is typically six months from the date the respondent (the other spouse) is served with the divorce papers or acknowledges the divorce through their attorney.
Discovery and Negotiation:
In a contested divorce, the discovery phase involves gathering relevant information and evidence related to finances, assets, debts, and child-related matters. This phase can be time-consuming, as both parties exchange financial documents and respond to interrogatories and requests for production of documents.
During this time, negotiations may also occur through mediation or direct communication between the parties and their attorneys. The more complex the issues and the less cooperative the parties, the longer this phase can take.
Court Hearings and Case Management:
If the spouses cannot reach agreements on all issues, the court will schedule hearings to resolve contested matters. Each county's court calendar and caseload can impact the scheduling of these hearings, potentially adding to the overall duration of the divorce process.
Finalizing the Divorce:
Once all issues are resolved through negotiation, mediation, or court hearings, the divorce can be finalized. The court will review the settlement agreement or the court's decisions on contested issues and issue a divorce decree.
Contested divorces generally take longer to finalize than uncontested ones. A contested divorce may take six months to a year or more, depending on the complexity and the willingness of the parties to cooperate.
Accelerated Resolution Track (ART):
In certain Illinois counties, an Accelerated Resolution Track (ART) program is available for cases with fewer complexities and disputes. The ART program aims to expedite the divorce process and offers a streamlined approach for resolving issues, potentially reducing the overall duration of the divorce.
Navigating the divorce process in Illinois can be complex, but with the right knowledge and guidance, you can minimize the time and stress involved. At Law Firm of Caryl Jacobs Gabe, Ltd., we understand the challenges you may face and are here to provide you with compassionate and experienced legal support.
Contact us today to discuss your divorce case and let us help you through this difficult time.