How Long Does a Divorce Case Last?
One of the first questions people have before they file for divorce is how long the process will take. Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer that question because there are many different rules and complications that can come up, even in cases where the two sides are in agreement about everything. There are some general guidelines that will help you understand how long of a process you may be looking at based on your own individual circumstances.
What Happens When You Agree on Everything
If you and your soon to be ex-spouse already agree about how the property should be split, what the support amounts should be, and what the child custody and parenting time determinations should be, you can have a divorce finalized in as little as a month. For a divorce to be completed this quickly the parties will have to have signed agreements before the divorce is filed, and the couple will have to meet all the requirements for different waiting periods depending on the ground of divorce. A judge will have to sign off on any property division and child support and custody agreements.
But, even if the two of you agree on everything, a divorce may take longer. If the judge isn’t sure the custody or support agreement is in the best interest of the child the judge can order a hearing or ask for more evidence. This will extend the time before a final divorce judgment is signed.
If you are filing for a divorce based on irreconcilable differences, you have to prove you have been separated for six months, even if both sides in writing agree to waive the longer two-year requirement. One of the spouses also has to satisfy the residency requirement by having lived in Illinois for at least 90 days before the divorce is filed.
However, typically, if the parties agree the divorce will be final within a month, or shortly thereafter.
What Happens When You Disagree
Unsurprisingly, many couples have many disagreements and have what is known as a contested divorce. If the parties are unable to agree on the property split, the ground for divorce, custody, or support issues, the divorce proceedings can take a year, two years, or even longer in rare instances. The more complicated the issues and the further apart the two sides are, the longer the divorce will take.
Often when the two sides are contesting any of the major issues in a divorce case, the judge will order the parties to attend mediation to try and come to an agreement. If mediation fails, a trial will be scheduled. Prior to a trial, both sides will have the chance to request documents, conduct depositions, and request other types of discovery. This process can be lengthy and expensive.
In contested divorces any time requirements will still have to be met. For example the two-year waiting period for an irreconcilable differences divorce still applies and the sides will have to agree to waive it, or the divorce cannot be final before two years.
If you are going through a divorce or are considering a divorce, even if you and your souse are in agreement you need to consult with an experienced divorce attorney to make sure your rights are protected and that your long-term interests are being watched out for.
Call for a Free Consultation 24/7
Contact our law office today to discuss your divorce questions. We offer a free initial consultation by phone or in person. You are able to reach a member of our firm at any time, day or night. You can reach us by phone at 815-723-2895, toll free at 866-733-5529 or via e-mail.
Se habla Español.