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How Long Does a Divorce Take in Illinois

How Long Does a Divorce Take in Illinois?

Divorce is a complex and emotional process, and one of the most common questions people have when going through this legal procedure is: How long does a divorce take in Illinois? While it would be ideal to provide a definitive answer, the truth is that the duration of a divorce can vary greatly depending on several factors. In this article, we will explore the various elements that can influence the length of a divorce in Illinois and answer some frequently asked questions about the process.

Factors Affecting the Length of a Divorce in Illinois

1. Residency Requirements: Before filing for divorce in Illinois, one or both spouses must have resided in the state for at least 90 days. If residency is not established, the divorce case cannot proceed.

2. Grounds for Divorce: Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, which means that neither party needs to prove fault or wrongdoing for the divorce to be granted. The most common ground for divorce is irreconcilable differences, where the spouses have been living apart for at least six months. However, if there are issues such as adultery, abuse, or abandonment, the divorce process may become more complicated and time-consuming.

3. Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce: The level of cooperation between the spouses significantly impacts the duration of a divorce. If both parties can agree on all major issues, including child custody, property division, and spousal support, the divorce can be finalized relatively quickly. On the other hand, if there are disagreements or disputes regarding these matters, the divorce is considered contested, and it may take longer to reach a resolution.

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4. Waiting Period: In Illinois, there is a mandatory waiting period of six months from the date of filing before a divorce can be finalized. This waiting period is intended to give spouses time to reconsider their decision and potentially reconcile. However, if the divorce is uncontested and all issues are resolved quickly, the waiting period can be waived, expediting the process.

5. Complexity of Assets and Debts: The more complex the financial situation, the longer the divorce process can take. Factors such as multiple properties, significant investments, business ownership, or substantial debts require careful evaluation and division. Valuing and dividing these assets and debts can prolong the divorce proceedings.

6. Child Custody and Support: If the divorcing couple has children, determining child custody arrangements and child support can be a time-consuming process. The court will prioritize the best interests of the children when making decisions, which may involve evaluations, interviews, and expert testimonies. Resolving child custody disputes can significantly extend the duration of a divorce.

FAQs about Divorce in Illinois

1. Can I get a divorce without going to court?
Yes, it is possible to reach a settlement agreement outside of court through mediation or collaborative divorce processes. However, if any issues remain unresolved, going to court may be necessary.

2. Can I speed up the divorce process?
While some aspects are beyond your control, such as the waiting period, you can expedite the process by cooperating with your spouse, providing accurate information, and hiring an experienced divorce attorney.

3. How much does a divorce cost in Illinois?
The cost of a divorce varies depending on several factors, including attorney fees, court fees, and the complexity of the case. It is essential to consult with an attorney to get an estimate based on your unique situation.

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4. Can I modify child custody or support orders later?
Yes, child custody and support orders can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances that justifies a modification. However, it is advisable to consult with an attorney to understand the specific requirements and procedures for modification.


The duration of a divorce in Illinois depends on various factors, including residency requirements, grounds for divorce, level of cooperation, complexity of assets and debts, and child custody disputes. While an uncontested divorce with no major complications can be finalized within a few months, contested divorces or those involving complex issues may take much longer. If you are considering or going through a divorce, it is crucial to consult with an experienced divorce attorney who can guide you through the process and provide personalized advice based on your situation.

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