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)

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.

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.

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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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How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take?


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Most states share similar divorce procedures. In all jurisdictions, a complaint for divorce is required to begin the proceedings. One spouse must file it with the court, and in most cases, the other spouse will answer it. The two parties then exchange financial information and either reach a settlement or go to trial for a judge to decide the terms of their divorce for them. Georgia also requires special attention to parenting issues during the divorce process.

How Long Does Divorce Take in Michigan if You Have No Children?

Establishing custody and support for a minor child can be a time-consuming aspect of the divorce process. These matters often become highly contested and Michigan law imposes a longer waiting period for divorces if you have children. Otherwise, the time it takes to finalize any divorce generally comes down to how quickly you and your spouse can agree on all issues and reach a settlement.

How to Get a Quick Divorce in New York

New York does not have a reputation for speedy divorces. If your spouse contests your divorce, the process can easily drag on for more than a year. However, if he does not contest it, you might be divorced in a matter of months, especially if you work together to finalize your marriage. New York’s divorce laws are somewhat complex, but if you understand their nuances, you can hasten the process.

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