As a Chicago divorce attorney, I’m often asked the question “How long does a divorce take?” While it is impossible for any attorney to give an exact answer – particularly one who is simply writing this post – you might keep in mind the following points covered in the below “Divorce time FAQ.”

What’s the quickest way I could get divorced?

If you want to get divorce quickly as possible, then you might be interested in an uncontested divorce in Illinois. Uncontested divorce is where the parties agree on every aspect of the divorce. In Chicago, and most places in Cook County,  Lake County and DuPage county, parties in an uncontested divorce could be divorce in as little as two months if they quickly reach agreement. If you are interested in an uncontested divorce, then you might read my posts entitled  “What is an uncontested divorce in Illinois” and “Phases of an uncontested divorce in Illinois.”

How long could my divorce take?

How long your divorce takes depends primarily on how much fighting you do with the other party. In divorce court, certain procedures must be followed. Consider the following:

  • Time to respond: If a “petition for dissolution of marriage” (what starts a divorce) is filed, the other party has time to respond. This could be 14 days, 21 days, or some other amount of time.  In fact, the other party will have the same time to respond for anything that is filed, such as a motion.
  • Discovery: Discovery is the process of gathering evidence, deposing the other party, asking questions of the other party, and so forth. For a fairly simply divorce, discovery might only take a month or two. For a more complex divorce, where complicated financial assets are being divided or there is a heated dispute over children, discovery could take much longer.
  • Filing motions: Motions are how parties ask the court to do something after the divorce case has been opened by a “petition for dissolution of marriage.” Unless there is an agreement regarding a motion, the filing of a motion can create the follow: an appearance in court to “present” the motion, time for the other party to respond to the motion, a “status” date to update the judge on what’s happening with the motion, a “continuance” because one party wants more time, and a hearing on the motion.  I would not be surprised if all of that took three months. Then again, if the parties drag it out, it could take much longer.
  • Court’s schedule: Divorces are popular. Divorce court is busy. While Cook County is perceived as a very busy, you will be at the mercy of the court’s schedule regardless of which court you are in. It is not rare at all to appear in court on a very simple matter, then have to wait one month to come back to finish it up. In a divorce, the parties often think everything is urgent, and they want to move on with life. However, the court still works on its own schedule.
  • Divorce attorney’s schedule: While your attorney should want to help you efficiently handle your divorce, it is not always possible for any attorney to handle all clients’ matters with immediacy. Most clients probably would not want to pay for an attorney for immediate attention. For more about Illinois family law attorneys and Chicago divorce lawyers, you might want to see my post titled “Who’s the Best Divorce Attorney in Chicago.” I cannot tell you what other attorneys will do, but I take my clients’ concerns about time very seriously, and try to make sure they are informed about what type of time is involved in various aspects of the divorce.
  • Other matters: If one party is not following court orders, that could also cause a delay. For more on this topic, see my post “Court orders: Get them enforced!” A case can also be delayed various other ways.

What to do if you wan to file for an Illinois divorce

The best thing to do is meet with an Illinois divorce attorney. You can feel free to contact me, Chicago divorce attorney David Wolkowitz – I will promptly respond. After that we can chat about the specifics of your divorce.

About the author: Contact Illinois family law attorney David Wolkowitz at 312-554-5433 or online. He is a family law and divorce attorney serving Chicago and the Counties of Cook, Champaign, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. Areas of practice include divorce, uncontested divorce, child custody, visitation, spousal maintenance, child support, and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction & Enforcement Act (the “UCCJEA”).

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jessica Apr 4, 2012 @ 4:37

    Good Morning. I have so many questions to ask. My husband and I been married since May 07, 2011 and We both decided that we are simply not happy with each other anymore. We both think we should just go our seprate ways. We want to be only friends and not be married. We do not have any childern. I am 20 yrs. old and he is 21. Him and I talked about our decision and we both happy that we are willing to stay friends after it all. He doesn’t have the fault our marriage didn’t work and neither is my fault that it didn’t work. We do no have any property nor do we have a lot of money. We do not have shared anything. So basically got married because we were young and in love. Now I’m in college and he is working and we both have different goals in life.

  • Betsy Jun 5, 2012 @ 22:57

    Hello. I have so many questions to ask.My husband and I have been married since April 2,2005. He left me and my three children, and I haven’t seen him or heard from him like for almost 4 Yrs. I want 2 know how can I get divorce quickly.

    • It is impossible to tell exactly how long your divorce in Illinois will take – your husband seems to be a strange guy. If your attorney makes appropriate attempts to serve him, and he cannot be found, he can be found in default by the court, and you will be divorced without him participating in the case. However, if he is served, and participates in the case, he could take very steps to cause you a delay. The best thing to do would be to contact a Chicago divorce attorney, such as myself, and get the process started.

      Please use my contact form or call me at Three-One-Two-554-5433.

  • Betsy Jun 6, 2012 @ 8:32

    How much is the cost to get divorce?

    • Illinois Divorce Lawyer David Wolkowitz Jun 10, 2012 @ 17:46


      I do offer a flat-fee uncontested divorce in Chicago; it is an affordable option. Keep in mind that you have to truly agree on everything. Sometimes, people think they have discussed all the issued, but have not. Please call me, Chicago divorce lawyer David Wolkowitz, at Three-One-Two-554-5433 or here so I can discuss your specific situation.

      Dave Wolkowitz

  • A. Jackson Jul 29, 2012 @ 10:42

    I am very interested in knowing the cost of an uncontested divorce. We have agreed on virtually everything and we are both ready to move on with our lives. Please contact me as I am very serious about cost and discussing this process with you. Thank you very much.

    • Ms. Jackson,

      Thanks for contacting me about an uncontested divorce in Chicago. The process is quite simple – for more on that you may view my article “Phases of an Uncontested Divorce in Illinois.” As to costs, the cost of an uncontested divorce depends on whether or no you have kids, and whether or not there is a jointly-owned house involved. Please send call me at Three-One-Two-554-5433, or use my contact form to send me an email with your phone number.

      Chicago divorce lawyer David Wolkowitz

  • Vince Nov 27, 2012 @ 12:05

    What if your spouse committed adultery? Do you still go with uncontested divorce?

  • Carlos Jan 6, 2013 @ 11:59

    I married with my wife 1989 and we do not have kids together. All our assets are separated, and we have been separated since September 2008. She lives in Illinois and I live in Florida. She lives in the house that we have in our names – I do not want to split the house she can keep everything. I am 72 Years old and retired; she is 61. I just want a divorce.

  • mary Jan 18, 2013 @ 16:59

    Please help answer this for me. I sat down w/my layer in Oct 2012, provided all required documents to file my divorce papers. My lawyer completed the paperwork, submitted it to the Chicago court system & STILL hasn’t heard back yet…Its been almost 4 months!! Do you have any insight into this issue? My lawyer says the courts are packed & he has been calling regarding this issue BUT do I believe him? My husband has not been served yet & I know people who filed & w/in 5 months their divorce is complete.
    Thank You

    • It is strange that your husband cannot be served within 4 months. If he cannot be found, there are other ways to proceed with the case aside from personally serving him. If you lawyer is not information you of what is going on, you should considering firing that lawyer.

      You can contact me at Three-One-Two-554-5433. Or, contact me via my online contact form.

      David Wolkowitz

  • mary Jan 19, 2013 @ 16:42

    It is not that my husband cant be found, we still live in the same house.
    My lawyer keeps telling me every 2wks that “its in the cook county courts, they are packed” REALLY??? Since Oct?
    I would LOVE to get a new lawyer but I lose all money I havegiven this guy

    • If your lawyer has not done anything, then he shouldn’t be billing very much. If you send me your case number, I can loop up your case. If you paid a retainer, and there are still funds in that retainer that your lawyer has not earned, then that leftover amount must be refunded to you if you discontinue working with that lawyer.

      You can contact me at Three-One-Two-554-5433. Or, contact me via my online contact form.

      David Wolkowitz

  • Nell Archer Feb 12, 2013 @ 10:15

    I was married to my spouse in Oct. 2007 in Los Altos, CA. We were married less than 6 months, then he abandoned me. We have lived apart since April, 2008. I am now a resident of Chicago, IL and he resides in Utah. After I file the forms required to start a Dissolution of Marriage case, if he does not respond nor sign the forms sent to him, is it true that after 30 days, the Judge can grant me my Divorce by Default?

  • Giselle LeBron Mar 1, 2013 @ 6:05

    Its been more than 5 years that I have no idea in what part of mexico my husband is so I would like to get a divorse….how long does its takes thank you in advance!

  • AQ Mar 30, 2013 @ 9:49

    I want to file a divorce but he said he woudn’t sign and he doesn’t want to divorce and will go as messy as it takes…..I have a baby boy. What’s my options if he refuse to sign? How do i live seperately with him during filing divorce? because he said he will call police and tell i’m kidnapped the baby if i leave the house…I’m stucked….
    Thank you very much for your help!

  • p May 5, 2013 @ 3:21

    I was wondering if I could send a lawyer for me to court for an uncontested divorce? Husband won’t be there because out of country?

  • Esmeralda Aug 12, 2013 @ 0:37

    I been married for about 7 months, but my husband is in Mexico he got deported. The question is how can I file for divorce? when his in Mexico and im in Chicago. We have agreed to get a divorce we don’t have no kids together.

  • Tonya Dec 25, 2013 @ 10:16

    I’ve been married since March 2006 and my husband is military. Are home of record is IL but we are stationed in another state. My first question is could we do the divorce in IL? Also the reason for the divorce is that I have physical proof of him cheating and paying for sex. He also has domestic violence charges with the military. Can I file in IL and how do I start?

    • Chicago divorce lawyer Dec 25, 2013 @ 10:48

      I cannot address every question. Please click the Google +1 button on on the article page, and that will increase the chances I can address your question.

  • Adrian Jan 24, 2014 @ 16:41

    Hello, i am writing this for my mother and hoping to get an answer. My mother already had a talk woth my father about a divorce. But my father says he does not want to get a divorce. He has been abusive to both my mother and me as well as my 2 brothers. What can she do?

  • Kiana Jan 29, 2014 @ 18:50

    I have been married with my husband since June 2012. We have beeb seperated since May 2013. He left for school in another state and met the woman hes currently with there. Ive been the only one working the entire marriage and we have no children together but he dies have 6 whom i assisted with raising in our home. He recently filed an order of protection on me only because i moved all my things from the house. I was never violent towards him. Can my divorce be simple considering we dont have any biological children or marital property together?

  • sylvia Aguilar Jan 30, 2014 @ 8:55

    I have a question I have been separated for seven years, we have no contact I have two children who are 18 and 19. The reason we separate was because of domestic violence. I had a restraining order in 2007. I just want to have no legal ties to him, what would be even thebest way to end my marriage, and how fast can I have it done.?

  • angel Mar 2, 2014 @ 8:54

    I was married For only 11 days before my husband told me he is in love with his ex who is pregnant by him I want a divorce and of course he agrees how soon could it happen we both will agree on everything