Length of Chicago Divorce Proceedings: What to Expect

Chicago divorce lengths can vary based on whether they are contested and fought in court, or whether they are resolved through mediation and arbitration. Filing the paperwork alone will take about one month, but if the participants are unable to amicably make decisions on the division of property, assets, and child support, the proceedings will go to court and you can expect at least one year before the divorce is finalized. Illinois has four options for divorce, each with its own expected timeline:

Joint Simplified Divorce is only available to some couples, because it may only be pursued by couples who have been married less than eight years, have no children, earn less than $35,000 a year between them, do not own real estate, and have less than $10,000 in assets. If your marriage meets these qualifications, and you are able to reach an amicable settlement agreement with your spouse, you will be able to file and finalize your divorce as soon as the court is able to fit you in.

Uncontested Divorce is similar, except it is for those who do not meet all of the requirements of the Joint Simplified Divorce. If you and your spouse are able to reach a settlement agreement, and if your spouse agrees to sign an entry of appearance (meaning you can cut out the time it takes to officially serve your spouse with the complaint and wait the 30 days mandated by the court for his/her response) then you will be able to finalize your divorce as soon as the court can schedule a time.

Collaborative Divorce is a choice for those who wish to seek a settlement agreement instead of fighting it out in court, but may not be able to do so on their own. In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse will be helped in the decision-making process by your attorneys as well as financial and custody advisors. The length of time for this type of divorce will vary depending on how long it takes to reach a settlement.

The longest divorce option is the Contested Divorce. While generally settled within 18 months, it can typically take one year for these divorces to finalize. These are difficult cases, where the spouses are unable to reach a settlement and must present their cases to the court for a ruling. The combative element of these divorces means the proceedings can go back and forth for months before any progress is made.

No matter which type of divorce you are planning to file, you should consult with an attorney to make sure you understand all the legal ramifications of your actions, and to make sure you are not being taken advantage of in your settlement agreements. The Law Office of Michael P. Doman, Ltd. is committed to fair, efficient divorce law. Contact us today for a consultation on your case.

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