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Chicago Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > How Long Will My Divorce Case Take? What You Need To Know About The Chicago Divorce Process

How Long Will My Divorce Case Take? What You Need To Know About The Chicago Divorce Process


At the outset of a divorce, the process can seem like it might never end. Uncertainties of the outcome of a contested divorce, coupled with emotional strain and the stresses of daily life on top can seem insurmountable at the beginning of the divorce process. Indeed, when a person or spouses decide to get a divorce, one of the first things that they surely think of is how long will the process take, and how invasive will it be in their daily life. Therefore, it is important for an individual or spouses who plan to file for divorce, or who are in the midst of the process, to understand the potential timing of a Chicago divorce case and the factors that may shorten or lengthen it.

Average Duration of a Chicago Divorce Case

Just like most things involving the law, the answer to the question “how long does a Chicago divorce typically take?” is answered best with “it depends on the facts of the particular divorce case.” The inquiry is even better approached by considering the two types of divorces that occur in Chicago divorce cases.

First, there is the case of the “uncontested divorce.” An uncontested divorce is a divorce, simply put, wherein the parties agree on the divorce. In practice, this might look like the following process: the individual filing for divorce files and serves the initiating papers for the divorce on the responding individual (the other spouse to the marriage). In answering the papers, the responding spouse indicates that the divorce is “uncontested.”

In an uncontested divorce, assuming that key elements are truly “uncontested”, the process can be much quicker than in the case of a contested divorce. This is because key issues of the divorce, such as property division and issues involving any children to the marriage, are already agreed upon, and so further mediation or court intervention is not necessary. An uncontested divorce can take a matter of weeks to finalize, or several months, although of course the facts of every uncontested divorce case are different and it may take longer or shorter depending on the case.

The second type of Chicago divorce case is a “contested divorce.” In a contested divorce case, the parties do not agree on the key elements of the divorce and the issues that must be determined. Key elements and issues that can increase the length of time that it takes to finalize a contested divorce include things like complex properties and/or assets belonging to the parties, parenting plans and child support, and spousal maintenance. Generally speaking, the further apart the parties are in their expectations and desired outcome of the divorce on these and other key issues, the longer the divorce will inevitably take. This is because in contested divorces key issues may need to be worked out through rounds of mediation and/or in front of a judge in court. Although, again, there is no exact average time that a person seeking a divorce can rely on to determine the length of their case, generally, a contested divorce can take more than a year and a half to two years or more to finalize, depending on the case and the issues presented.

Best Practices for Starting Your Chicago Divorce

Considering that a divorce may take center stage in a person’s life for a long duration of time, it is best for those seeking a divorce or thinking about divorce in Chicago to first speak to an experienced Chicago divorce lawyer. A Chicago divorce lawyer will listen to your side of the case and provide helpful feedback on your options, next steps, and how long the process may take in your individual case. Contact the experienced Chicago divorce lawyers at Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux today for your confidential consultation to see if they can help you.

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