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How long does it take to get a divorce?
Since 2001, Findgreatlawyers.com has been the leading resource for people looking for Illinois attorney referrals or legal guidance. We help in almost every town in Illinois for almost every area of Illinois law including divorce. We are unique in that when you contact us you speak with an attorney for free who will answer your questions and if needed, refer you to an experienced Illinois lawyer that fits your needs. For general information on the divorce process please read on.
There is no way of predetermining exactly how long a divorce will take because each divorce is different from the next. In other words, until you and your spouse agree on everything there will not be a settlement. If you can never agree you will have to go to a trial and that will likely be at least 1-3 years from when the case is first started.Although you cannot predict how long the rest of your divorce will take, there are certain factors that indicate whether a divorce will be brief or lengthy.
- - Cooperation: The main key to the length of a divorce proceeding is the level of cooperation between your spouse and you. A contentious situation will almost always increase the time it takes for the divorce to be finalized because fighting spouses will inevitable have a difficult time agreeing upon anything. Cooperating and negotiating with your spouse will speed up your divorce (and eliminate a lot of stress). Of course this is often easier said than done. The reality is that if one party to a divorce wants to make it last longer they will likely be able to do so.
- - Communication: During a divorce, you need to communicate clearly with both your spouse and your lawyer and vice versa. If neither knows what you want, you will become frustrated with the results you achieve and find yourself back in court repeatedly. Letting your lawyer know what your goals are gives him/her something to work toward in either reaching a settlement or deciding to go to trial. Failing to have goals and properly communicate them makes a divorce take longer and cost more money. A good Illinois divorce attorney will help their client create a list of goals.
Below are the areas of consideration that will be strongly affected by the level of cooperation and communication you exhibit:
- - Marital property: The more money and physical property a couple possesses, the more complicated it will be to divide it. Spouses are also more likely to fight if there is a considerable amount of property at stake.
- NOTE: Once physical property has been split, the final agreement becomes permanent and final. You may never return to court to alter the property agreement. Therefore, it is in your best interest to take your time and make sure you divide it fairly and to your liking, if possible.
- - Maintenance/Alimony: If one spouse isn’t working or makes considerably less than the other, maintenance may come into play. If you can’t agree on what is fair it will be decided by the judge.
- - Children: Frequently, the most critical aspects of a divorce are the decisions you make regarding your children. Although both custody and child support may be changed, it may take considerable time and significant evidence of changed circumstances to alter these agreements. Like a property agreement, you must be patient and create an agreement that works for everyone. In other words, don’t rush to settle these issues so the case can be over. Make sure whatever you agree to you can live with and make it clear on paper.
On average, a typical divorce takes twelve to eighteen months. Some divorces where everything is agreed upon can be done in as little as 30-60 days. More complex divorces, especially where you are fighting over the value of a business that was started by a spouse during a marriage, can take years.
Regardless of your actual ability to get your divorce over and done with, you must be careful not to rush through critical decisions in favor of putting an upsetting situation behind you. You may find yourself in an irreversibly difficult situation or paying excessive attorney’s fees to go back to court and try to amend your final agreement. Have clear cut goals, work to achieve them and make sure that any agreement is clearly stated on paper and entered with the court. Believe us when we tell you that it’s better to resolve all of your issues now in a longer divorce than to get a quick divorce and find yourself in and out of court over the years because you failed to address all of your issues.
Do you have questions about the divorce process? If so please fill out our contact form or call us at (312) 346-5320 or (800) 517-1614. Since 2001 findgreatlawyers.com has helped more than 100,000 people with Illinois legal troubles. Find out for yourself why we are like having a lawyer in the family.