How Long Does a Divorce Take in Illinois

How Long Does a Divorce Take in Illinois

Type of Divorce Timeframe
Uncontested Divorce 2-3 Months
Contested Divorce 6-12 Months
Collaborative Divorce 4-6 Months
Default Divorce 3-4 Months
Mediated Divorce 3-6 Months

Overview of Divorce in Illinois

  • To file for divorce in Illinois, one party must have been a resident of the state for at least 90 days.
  • Illinois recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. No-fault means that neither party is to blame; rather, irreconcilable differences have caused the breakdown of the marriage.
  • If you’re filing on no-fault grounds, you’ll need to show that you’ve been separated from your spouse for at least six months (if you agree on all issues) or two years (if you don’t).

Additionally, couples may decide between an uncontested or contested divorce based on how they want their assets divided and whether there are any disputes over child custody or support. The length of time it takes to get divorced will depend on several factors such as court schedules and complexity of issues involved.

Definition of Divorce in Illinois

  • Adultery
  • Desertion for one year or more
  • Habitual drunkenness or drug addiction lasting at least two years
  • Mental cruelty
  • Felony conviction and imprisonment for at least two years.

To file for divorce in Illinois, you’ll need to complete several forms and provide them to the court. The documents required will vary depending on whether it’s an uncontested or contested divorce. Typically, couples seeking a divorce must come up with a settlement agreement that covers all aspects of their separation including child custody and support payments if applicable.

Types of Divorce in Illinois

In addition to these two types of divorces, some couples may opt for legal separation instead. Legal separation allows couples to live apart while still being legally married; however, they must still follow court orders regarding property division and financial support obligations. Unlike with a divorce, legal separations do not terminate the marriage so spouses cannot remarry without first getting divorced.

Grounds for Divorce in Illinois

  • Fault-Based Grounds:
    • Adultery
    • Cruelty or abuse
    • Addiction to drugs or alcohol
    • Infecting your partner with an STD (sexually transmitted disease)

    The type of grounds you choose may impact how quickly you can finalize your divorce and whether you need additional evidence such as witness testimony or medical reports. It’s important to speak with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through this process and help protect your rights throughout your divorce proceedings.

    Residency Requirements for Divorce in Illinois

    In addition to meeting the residency requirements, couples must also meet other legal grounds to obtain a divorce. In Illinois, there are two types of grounds: fault and no-fault. For example, irreconcilable differences or living apart from your partner for more than two years without reconciliation can be considered as valid grounds for getting divorced under no-fault. On the other hand, such faults as adultery or physical cruelty may lead to a fault-based divorce that can affect the outcome of child custody and support decisions.

    It’s essential to understand these laws when going through a separation since it will impact how you proceed with your case. If you’re unsure about what specific laws apply to your situation or need assistance with filing paperwork correctly or navigating court procedures- consulting with an experienced family law attorney is advisable.

    Steps Involved in Filing for Divorce in Illinois

    The length of time it takes to get divorced depends on whether there are any disputes over issues such as child custody and support payments as well as how busy courts are at the time. It can take anywhere from several months up to two years or more if contested in court – so it’s important that couples work together and remain patient throughout the process


    Filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage

    When preparing your paperwork, be sure to include all relevant information such as:

    • Your full name and contact information
    • The full name and contact information of your spouse
    • The date and location where you were married
    • A statement indicating whether there are any children involved (and if so, their names and ages)
    • A list of assets that need to be divided between spouses including property, bank accounts or retirement benefits.

    Once filed with the court, copies will need to be served on your spouse along with a summons giving them notice of your request for divorce. The respondent then has 30 days from receipt of service to respond or face default judgment.

    Service of Process

    Once you’ve filed for divorce in Illinois, you’ll need to ensure that your spouse receives a copy of the paperwork. This is known as service of process and it ensures that both parties are aware of the legal proceedings taking place.

    The most common way to serve divorce papers in Illinois is through personal service. Personal service involves physically handing over the documents to your spouse or someone else who lives with them and is at least 13 years old. If personal service isn’t possible, there are other options:

    • Substitute Service: If you can’t personally serve your spouse, someone else may do it on your behalf such as a friend or relative.
    • Service by Publication: You can publish a notice of the divorce proceedings in a newspaper if all other methods fail to locate and notify your spouse.

    Response to the Petition

    If the other spouse does not agree with everything in the petition, they must file a response within 30 days of being served with divorce papers. In this response, they may request changes to property division or child custody arrangements outlined in the original petition. They may also make counterclaims against their spouse for things like alimony or child support.

    • If both parties have filed uncontested paperwork, then there will be no trial and it typically takes about three months for a judge to review and approve your divorce decree.
    • If one party files contested paperwork because he/she disagrees on some issues related to children or finances then it could take up six months or longer for resolution.

    Discovery Process

    The discovery process may also involve custody evaluations or assessments by professionals who will make recommendations regarding child placement and visitation schedules based on what’s in the best interest of the child(ren).

    Negotiating a Settlement Agreement

    One of the most critical steps in a divorce is negotiating a settlement agreement. This document will outline how property, debts, and assets will be divided between both parties. It can also cover child custody, visitation schedules, and support payments.

    If you’re working with your spouse to negotiate an agreement outside of court or through mediation, here are some tips:

    • Start with the areas where you agree
    • Be honest about what’s important to you and why
    • Consider all options for dividing property
    • Avoid making emotional decisions based on hurt feelings or anger towards your spouse.

    In Illinois divorces where spouses cannot come to an agreement on their own, a judge may step in and make decisions for them during a trial. Both parties will present evidence regarding issues such as finances and parenting capabilities. The judge will then issue an order outlining his or her decision on each matter.


    If the parties cannot reach an agreement, a trial will be necessary. A divorce trial is similar to any other civil trial. The judge will hear evidence from both sides and make decisions regarding the division of property, spousal support, child custody and support.

    During a divorce trial in Illinois, each spouse may testify under oath about their version of events that led to the breakdown of their marriage. It’s important to note that Illinois is an equitable distribution state meaning that assets are divided fairly but not necessarily equally.

    • The first step in a divorce trial is jury selection if either party requested one.
    • Next, both parties have the opportunity to present evidence through testimony and documents such as bank statements or tax returns.
    • The judge will then issue a ruling on all issues based on the evidence presented during the trial.

    Factors Affecting the Time it Takes to Finalize a Divorce in Illinois

    • Whether the divorce is contested or uncontested
    • The complexity of issues involved, such as division of assets and child custody arrangements
    • Whether there are any disputes between the spouses that need to be resolved in court
    • The court’s docket and availability to hear your case
    • How quickly you and your spouse can agree on all terms of the settlement.

    In general, an uncontested divorce where both parties agree on all aspects of their separation will take less time than a contested one that involves multiple hearings and negotiations. Typically, a simple uncontested divorce without children or significant property may be finalized within 60-90 days after filing. However, more complex cases with disagreements over key issues like alimony or child support can take much longer.

    If you’re considering getting divorced in Illinois, it’s important to consult with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process and help ensure that your rights are protected throughout every stage of proceedings.

    Complexity of the Case

    In general, uncontested divorces where both parties agree on all major issues tend to move faster than contested ones. The court’s availability and backlog of cases can also play a role in how quickly your divorce is finalized. It’s important to work with an experienced family law attorney who understands Illinois divorce laws and can guide you through the process from start to finish.

    Cooperation of the Parties

    In fact, couples who agree on all issues related to their separation may be eligible for a simplified uncontested divorce which can save them time and money. This type of divorce typically requires fewer court appearances since there are no disputes over property division or child custody arrangements.

    • To increase cooperation between divorcing spouses, some choose alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or collaborative law where each party hires their own attorney but agrees to resolve conflicts without going to trial.
    • However, when one party refuses to cooperate with the other it can lead to delays in the proceedings. In these cases, a judge will need to intervene and make decisions regarding property division and child custody arrangements based on evidence presented by both sides at trial.

    Court Scheduling

    It’s important to note that each county has its own rules and procedures for scheduling court dates; however, there are some general guidelines you can follow:

    • Uncontested divorces usually require only one hearing with a judge, which may take as little as 10-15 minutes.
    • In contested cases where parties cannot agree on all issues, multiple hearings will likely be necessary. These could include pretrial conferences, settlement conferences or mediation sessions before going to trial.

    In general, the more complex your case is and the more disputes between you and your spouse exist regarding property division or child custody matters; the longer it will take to resolve your case through these various legal proceedings. Working with an experienced divorce attorney can help ensure that your interests are protected throughout this difficult time while also helping you navigate through any challenges presented by court scheduling constraints.

    Mandatory Waiting Periods

    In Illinois, there are mandatory waiting periods before a divorce can be finalized. These waiting periods give couples time to think about their decision and potentially reconcile. The length of the waiting period will depend on whether you’re filing on fault or no-fault grounds:

    • If you file on no-fault grounds, you’ll need to wait at least six months after separation if both parties agree to the terms of the divorce.
    • If you don’t agree on all issues and choose to file for divorce based on irreconcilable differences, then the waiting period is two years from the date of separation.
    • If you’re filing for divorce based on fault, there is no waiting period required in Illinois.

    It’s important to note that even once these waiting periods have passed, it may still take several months or even longer for your divorce to be finalized due to court schedules and other factors beyond your control.

    Timeline for Divorce in Illinois

    The length of time it takes from start to finish depends on how complex your case is and how busy local courts are at any given time. It could take anywhere from several months up to two years or more if there are complications involved in reaching an agreement between both parties. The best way to ensure that you’re prepared for every step along the way is by working closely with an experienced family law attorney who understands Illinois’ laws governing divorces!

    Typical Timeline for Uncontested Divorces

    The typical timeline for an uncontested divorce in Illinois is as follows:

    • Step 1: Filing the paperwork – The first step to getting divorced is filing a petition with the court. Both parties must sign this document before it can be filed. Once filed, there will be a waiting period of at least six months before the divorce can be finalized.
    • Step 2: Serving your spouse – After you’ve filed for divorce, you’ll need to serve your spouse with copies of the paperwork. This can be done either through personal service or certified mail.
    • Step 3: Waiting period – As mentioned earlier, Illinois requires a waiting period of at least six months before finalizing an uncontested divorce. During this time, both parties may work out any remaining details such as spousal maintenance or financial support if necessary.
    • Step 4: Final hearing – After all documents have been signed and filed with the court and any issues have been resolved between both parties,a final hearing will take place where a judge signs off on the final decree of dissolution ending your marriage

    The length of time it takes to get divorced may vary depending on how busy courts are and whether additional documents or hearings are needed; however,the typical timeframe for an uncontested divorce in Illinois is around four to five months after filing .

    Typical Timeline for Contested Divorces

    Here is a typical timeline for a contested divorce in Illinois:

    • Filing of Petition: The first step in any divorce is filing a petition with the court. Once filed, your spouse has 30 days to respond.
    • Discovery: During this phase, both sides exchange information about assets, debts, income and other relevant financial matters.
    • Negotiations/Settlement Discussions: If possible, spouses may engage in settlement negotiations or mediation to try and resolve their differences without going to trial.
    • Motions/Pretrial Hearings: If disputes arise during discovery or negotiation phases, either party can ask for temporary orders from the court regarding child custody or support payments while waiting for trial date
    • Trial Preparation: Preparing evidence and documents that will be presented at trial takes time; typically six months is enough but it could take up to one year depending upon case’s complexity.

    The actual length of time it takes to complete each phase will vary based on individual circumstances. It’s essential that you work with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through each stage of this process so that your rights are protected throughout.


    The length of time it takes to get divorced will vary based on many factors including court schedules and complexity of issues involved. Seeking advice from an experienced attorney can help ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.

    Factors to Consider When Estimating the Time it Takes to Finalize a Divorce in Illinois

    Divorce can be a lengthy and complicated process, especially in Illinois where there are several factors that can impact the timeline for finalizing a divorce. Here are some key considerations:

    • The type of divorce: An uncontested divorce is typically faster than a contested one.
    • Court scheduling: Depending on how busy the court system is, it may take longer to get your case heard.
    • The complexity of issues involved: If you and your spouse have children or significant assets to divide, this will likely extend the time it takes to finalize your divorce.
    • Your ability to work with your spouse: If you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement quickly on all issues, it can speed up the process significantly. However, if negotiations break down and you need mediation or litigation services from attorneys, this will add more time onto the overall timeline.

    Tips for Minimizing the Time it Takes to Finalize a Divorce in Illinois

    • Communicate effectively with your spouse: Open communication between you and your spouse can help resolve any conflicts more quickly and efficiently.
    • Hire an experienced divorce attorney: An experienced lawyer will be able to guide you through the legal process and may also provide insights into how to streamline proceedings.
    • Come prepared for court hearings: Have all necessary documents organized and ready for presentation when attending court hearings so that things proceed smoothly without delay.

    By following these tips, divorcing couples in Illinois may be able to reduce the length of time it takes for their divorce case to come to a close while still achieving satisfactory results.

    FAQ on ‘How Long Does a Divorce Take in Illinois’

    Q: Can I get a divorce faster than six months if my spouse and I agree on everything?

    A: No, even if you and your spouse agree on all aspects of your divorce, Illinois law still requires a minimum waiting period of six months before a judge can enter a final divorce decree.

    Q: What factors can delay the completion of my divorce?

    A: Several factors can impact how long it takes to complete a divorce in Illinois. These include disputes over child custody, property division, spousal support, and other issues. Additionally, if one party fails to respond to court filings or contests any part of the divorce proceedings, this can also prolong the process.

    Q: Is there anything I can do to speed up my divorce process?

    A: While there is no guaranteed way to speed up your divorce proceedings in Illinois, working cooperatively with your spouse and their attorney can help streamline negotiations and potentially resolve disputes more quickly. Additionally, being organized and responsive throughout the process may help prevent unnecessary delays.

    Q: What happens after the six-month waiting period is over?

    A: After the six-month waiting period has elapsed, either party may request that their case be heard by a judge. If both parties have agreed on all aspects of their divorce beforehand, this hearing may be relatively brief and simply involve the judge signing off on the final divorce decree. If there are outstanding issues, however, a more extensive hearing may be required to resolve any remaining disputes.