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 divorced 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.
But note, you can avoid all that waste of time if both you get an uncontested divorce in Illinois.
What to do if you want 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.