Getting a divorce is not an easy decision to make, and one consideration for many couples is the amount of time it takes to get a divorce. Although there are ways to determine how long the process might last, there isn’t a way to know exactly what the duration of your unique divorce will be. It depends on many factors, including the type of divorce, whether you have children, and how complex your marital assets are. Having an Illinois divorce attorney by your side is one way to make the process more efficient.

Divorce Filing and Waiting Requirements

In Illinois, one or both spouses must be a resident of Illinois or stationed as an active military member in Illinois. A spouse must either be a resident for at least 90 before filing the case, or they have to be a resident 90 days before the final judgment is filed. If you or your spouse are not yet residents, this waiting period will affect the amount of time it takes to get a divorce.

If spouses agree to get a divorce and it is uncontested, then there isn’t a waiting period. In a contested divorce, the filing spouse may have to show that there were irreconcilable differences. This is the no-fault grounds for divorce in Illinois.

If the spouse shows that the couple was living separately for the last six months, this is sufficient evidence that there were irreconcilable differences. Because of this, there may be an informal waiting period of six months for couples getting a contested divorce, although there is no stated waiting period in Illinois.

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorces

The type of divorce you file also influences the amount of time it takes to divorce, outside of the waiting requirements.

An uncontested divorce occurs when spouses can reach an agreement on the major aspects of the divorce separation agreement, including division of marital property, child custody, child support, and spousal support. Although spouses may need to negotiate the specifics of areas such as a parenting plan, the process is much faster than if they don’t agree.

Once a separation agreement has been created, spouses can submit it to the court. As long as the agreement is fair to both spouses and in the interests of any minor children, the court is likely to approve it.

In a contested divorce, spouses do not agree on all the aspects of their divorce. This doesn’t mean they have to take the case to court. However, whether the case is managed in court or through alternative dispute resolution, the process is likely going to take longer as the spouses work to find a compromise. If the spouses have to begin the separation waiting period, this will set a minimum amount of time required before the divorce is finalized.

Complex Factors in a Divorce

In addition to whether a divorce is contested or uncontested and whether it is litigated or negotiated, there are several unique factors in each divorce, which can make the process more complicated and, therefore, longer. Some of these include:

  1. Child-Related Matters: Any divorce where minor children are involved is going to be more complicated. Parents must not only determine custody and support, but they also need to create a parenting plan that the court approves. The process of creating a parenting plan can take time.
  2. Business Ownership: If one or both spouses own a business or interest in a business, this can significantly complicate the process of separating assets and determining if one spouse needs support.
  3. High-Value Assets: Similarly, if one or both spouses have complex or high-value assets, this complicates the division of property. These assets must be valued properly to create a fair division of assets, and the more complicated that valuation is, the longer a divorce will take.
  4. Conflict Between Spouses: If spouses are unable to agree, one spouse refuses to compromise, or the spouses even hide assets, this will lengthen and complicate the proceedings.


Q: Is It Hard to Get a Divorce in Illinois?

A: It is not harder to get a divorce in Illinois than in other states, as the difficulty and strain of divorce rely on your unique situation. Illinois allows no-fault-based divorces, and it has no mandatory waiting period for uncontested divorces. This means that, as long as couples can efficiently create a fair separation agreement, they can file for and finalize a divorce very quickly. If the divorce is contested, this will take longer, and it also has a waiting period of six months.

Q: How Long Can a Spouse Drag Out a Divorce in Illinois?

A: If spouses are obtaining a divorce out of court in Illinois, a spouse could theoretically drag out a divorce indefinitely. Finalizing a divorce outside of court requires the agreement of both spouses. If you are getting a divorce through negotiation, and your spouse is refusing to cooperate, it may be in your interest to take the case to court. Although a spouse can refuse to cooperate, the court will eventually resolve and finalize the divorce.

Q: How Long Is an Uncontested Divorce in Illinois?

A: An uncontested divorce in Illinois has no mandatory waiting period, so it can be obtained as soon as the spouses have a separation agreement to submit to the court. Typically, uncontested divorces take from a few weeks to a few months. They are considered one of the fastest types of divorces. An uncontested divorce occurs when both spouses agree on the issues surrounding their divorce, such as division of property, child custody, spousal support, and child support. The divorcing couple only has to negotiate the finer details of these aspects and get the court’s approval.

Q: What Is the Longest Time a Divorce Can Take?

A: A divorce can take as long as it requires to settle all issues. Divorces handled outside of court through alternative dispute resolution take until the spouses have made a separation agreement. This timeframe can rely on the complexity of their specific issues and the ability of both spouses to compromise.

Divorces handled through litigation take until the court reaches a decision. The duration of this type of case can rely on the schedule and availability of the court, how complex the aspects of the divorce are, and the level of contention between the spouses.

Contact Stange Law Firm in Metro East, IL

One way to obtain a more efficient divorce is to work with a skilled divorce attorney. Not only can an attorney help you secure a resolution to your divorce more quickly, but they can also protect your rights and your family’s interests during the process. Contact Stange Law Firm today.