How Long to Get a Divorce in Illinois?

By Beverly Bird

Although Illinois technically has a 90-day waiting period for divorce, this is deceptive. The three-month period overlaps the 90-day residency requirement to be able to file for divorce in the state. Once you file, your divorce might take days, or it might take years, depending on the complexity of your situation. (References 1 and 3)

Although Illinois technically has a 90-day waiting period for divorce, this is deceptive. The three-month period overlaps the 90-day residency requirement to be able to file for divorce in the state. Once you file, your divorce might take days, or it might take years, depending on the complexity of your situation. (References 1 and 3)

Joint Simplified Divorce

The quickest option for divorce in Illinois is the state’s joint simplified process. However, not every couple qualifies. It’s restricted to spouses who do not have children, who do not own any real estate, have less than $10,000 in assets and who collectively earn less than $35,000 a year. Your marriage must also be short-term, less than eight years in duration. If you qualify, you and your spouse can file a divorce petition together, waive service and be divorced as soon as the court can schedule a date for a hearing. However, you would have to complete your own settlement agreement, telling the court how you’re going to divide your assets and joint debts.

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Uncontested Divorce

If you don’t qualify for a simplified divorce because you own too much property, earn too much or have children, you can still hasten the process by completing a marital settlement agreement prior to filing. You can file a “regular” complaint for divorce and file it with your settlement agreement. If your spouse signs an entry of appearance, waiving his right to be officially served with your complaint, and if you file that at the same time you file your complaint and agreement, you can usually receive a court date to finalize your divorce within a couple of weeks.

Collaborative Divorce

A collaborative divorce is similar to an uncontested divorce, and Illinois law recognizes the concept. It involves a series of meetings between you, your spouse, your attorneys and various custody and financial experts. If you and your spouse can’t reach an agreement on your own, you can try with the help of these professionals. Generally, you won’t file for divorce until you’ve ironed out your differences and an agreement is in place. Although this can take some time, once you do so, you can be divorced just as quickly as with a simplified or uncontested matter.

Contested Divorce

As in all states, the divorces that take the longest are contested matters. Your spouse can still waive service by signing and filing an entry of appearance, but if he does not, you will have to have the county sheriff serve him with a copy of your divorce documents. This can take a couple of weeks, then you must wait out the 30-day period the court gives him to respond to your complaint. You may have to engage in the discovery process to identify all assets and debts. If you don’t have a parenting plan, you’ll have to negotiate one. If you can't reach an agreement on these issues, you'll have to go to trial. Overall, a contested divorce can take a year or more, although the Illinois Supreme Court wants divorces resolved within 18 months when children are involved.

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References

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Illinois Divorce & Separation Paperwork

Illinois courts offer a joint, simplified divorce for couples with no children and limited assets. This type of divorce only requires four documents, including the final judgment issued by the court. For more complicated divorce cases, with significant marital assets or children's issues to resolve, you can file a petition for dissolution of marriage. If you want to end your relationship and divide your lives, but not end your marriage, use a petition for legal separation. If you and your spouse agree to the divorce or legal separation, property distribution, child support, child custody, spousal support and all other pertinent issues, your case proceeds as an uncontested matter. If you and your spouse do not agree on all issues, your case moves to trial as a contested matter.

How to Apply for Simple Divorce

Divorce laws vary significantly between states, but some states offer a simple divorce that streamlines the process if the spouses meet certain criteria. The process goes by different names in different states and varies somewhat, but there are some similarities between states. You don’t have to “apply” for a simple divorce, but you must file the appropriate paperwork to begin your divorce.

How to File For a Non-Contested, No Children Divorce in Alabama

Non-contested divorce, commonly referred to as an uncontested divorce, does not depend on whether you have children. However, if you don’t have children, this can expedite the process. In Alabama, an uncontested divorce means you and your spouse agree on how to settle all issues to end your marriage. If you don’t have children, custody terms and child support are two less things you have to negotiate.

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