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How Long Does a Divorce Take in Illinois?

In Illinois, there is no mandatory waiting period for an uncontested divorce as long as you meet the residency requirements. A contested divorce usually has a waiting period of six months. Overall, finalizing a divorce in Illinois can take anywhere between two months and a few years.

There are many types of divorce and factors that impact the length of finalizing a divorce. In a contested divorce, one spouse might not agree to the divorce, where the children should stay, how property should be divided or other key differences.

How long your divorce will take is never an easy question to answer. Please review our list below for time estimations based on divorce type so you can make a plan for moving forward.

Length of Divorce by Type

One of the best ways to narrow down the length of your divorce is to look at what type of divorce you have. The type of divorce solidifies many factors, but there is always variation.

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce is one where parties disagree on one or more divorce topics. Each party usually has an attorney, or they represent themselves. Contested divorces take anywhere from six months to a year or even longer.

They are usually the longest type of divorce. This is because they usually have the most court involvement and the most disagreement between spouses.


Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is one where the divorcing parties file together. They share an attorney and agree on how to move forwards. Uncontested divorces take anywhere from two months to a year.

The main things delaying an uncontested divorce are the planning and the court's calendar.

Joint Simplified Divorce

A joint simplified divorce is the fastest way to get a divorce in Illinois. With this method, the court can finalize your divorce in as fast as a week to a month. Joint simplified is a form of an uncontested divorce that is not available to everyone. You can only get a joint simplified divorce if you meet all the qualifications.

The main factor affecting the time frame for a joint simplified divorce is how fast the court can get you in.

Mediated Divorce

In divorce mediation, a mediator facilitates communication to settle divorce issues. There are the mediation sessions and then the finalization process afterwards. In total, mediation usually takes between three months to a year. Attorney-assisted mediation takes a similar amount of time. The main difference with attorney-assisted mediation is that each party's attorney is directly involved.

How long it takes parties to agree on everything determines how long meditation takes. If parties have no kids and not very many assets, things go much quicker.

Collaborative Divorce

The collaborative divorce process tailors itself to the situation. In a collaborative divorce, each party has an attorney specially trained in the collaborative process. A collaborative divorce usually takes around 8 to 14 months to complete.

Similar to mediation, the level of cooperation and number of issues determines how long it takes.

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Factors Impacting a Divorce

There are many factors that impact how long a divorce takes.

  • Assets and Debts – The more assets and debts the longer it takes to divide them.
  • Level of Conflict – The more spouses fight the longer it will take.
  • Children – If there are minor children in the divorce, it adds a variety of issues to resolve.
  • Residency Requirements – Parties may have to wait to file if they do not meet the residency requirements.
  • Grounds – Parties must either be physically separated for 6 months or both agree to divorce.
  • Existing Agreements – If parties have a prenuptial agreement, it should speed things up.
  • Service Time – After serving the other spouse, they have 30 days to respond.
  • Court Calendar – The court’s schedule fills up quickly, so it may be hard to schedule hearings.
  • Other Factors – Anything from someone getting sick to a house needing appraisal could delay a divorce.

To get the best understanding of how long your divorce will take, call Sterling Lawyers, LLC for a consultation with one of our attorneys. They can give you more in-depth information specific to your case and your situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does a divorce take in Illinois if both parties agree?

If parties agree on everything, then it is an uncontested divorce. Depending on the exact circumstances, it could take anywhere from a few weeks to a year to get divorced.

What is the fastest way to get a divorce in Illinois?

The fastest way to get a divorce in Illinois is to get a joint simplified divorce. There are specific requirements on who can get one of these divorces. The second fastest option is an uncontested divorce.

How long does an average divorce take?

Divorce usually takes between 6 months and a year. It could be much quicker or much longer, all depending on the factors listed above.

How long does a simple divorce take?

A simple divorce can take a few weeks if you meet the qualifications for a joint simplified divorce. A simple divorce is one with no children, minimal assets, and no fighting.

How can I get a quick divorce?

The best way to quicken your divorce is to agree with your spouse on everything. This isn’t the right thing to do in many situations, but the sooner there is a compromise, the sooner the divorce can finish.

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