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How Long Does The Divorce Process In Illinois Take?


What to Expect From The Illinois Divorce Process

Ending a marriage can be an intimidating process. It’s unfamiliar and a time in your life when it feels as if everything is falling apart. This can make the process even more difficult and, in some cases, stops many from filing, even if they want to.

At Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., our goal as your family law attorney in Naperville is to keep you informed and comfortable throughout your entire proceeding. This means explaining what is happening in your case and what to expect next every step of the way.

Here, we’re going to discuss the basic steps present in any case so you know what to expect before you call us for your free, 30-minute consultation. We hope doing so puts you at ease and makes you more confident moving forward and starting anew.

Step 1: File a Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage (or Answer Your Spouse’s Petition)

The first step in any divorce, after you meet with an attorney and pay a retainer, is to file or answer the Petition For Dissolution Of Marriage. If you’re the spouse filing the petition, you will file. If your spouse has already filed, you will answer the petition already filed.

The Petition is how your case is entered into Court. When the Petition is filed, you’ll receive a judge, case number, and initial “Status” date. There are Status dates, or Court dates, throughout your case so both your lawyer and your spouse’s lawyer can go before the Judge and keep him or her up to date on what’s happening in your case.

Step 2: File an Allocation of Parental Responsibility Judgment

The Allocation Of Parental Responsibility Judgment, formerly known as child visitation, divides parenting time and clarifies other important issues that will determine how your child is raised.

Typically, your attorney will negotiate and enter this before the settlement is complete. There are some cases that settle quickly where the parenting plan is entered at the prove-up date, or the Court date at which you’re case is finalized.

Step 3: File the Judgment and Marital Settlement Agreement

The Marital Settlement Agreement represents the financial settlement in your case. It will contain information about the marital residence, motor vehicles, personal property, retirement plans, bank accounts, and other assets. This is often the most difficult document to draft and agree upon because the financial burden resulting from the end of a marriage can be quite heavy on many individuals.

The Judgment is more of a “boilerplate” document that is filed with the Marital Settlement Agreement. Both of these documents are signed and entered by the Judge on your final Court date.

Step 4: Entry of QDROs or QILDROs, if Necessary

If you’re dividing retirement assets or pensions as part of your case, QDROs or QILDROs will be prepared and entered once the settlement is complete. Doing so entitles you to your fair share of any retirement assets and provides your spouse with his or her share of the same.

As You Can Imagine, This Process Isn’t Always Smooth…

While there are three general steps to any divorce – or four if retirement assets are involved – the process is anything but quick and easy for most. Heavily litigated cases can spend years in court, making it important that you find a skilled negotiator and experienced attorney for your case.

At Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., we’ve represented clients in family-related matters for over 35 years. To take advantage of your free, 30-minute consultation, contact us at 630-470-9990 or fill out our simple online form to request a time.

We look forward to speaking with you and breaking down an intimidating process that many legal professionals don’t for your peace of mind.

Common Questions:
How Long Will My Divorce Take?

Clients often come in to our office with two main questions:

  1. How much will this cost?; and
  2. How long will this take?

To be sure, both of these questions are incredibly important to most people. After all, you don’t want to spend more than is necessary, nor do you want to drag out the process any more than is required. But, as you can imagine, there are several factors that can and will affect the length of any case.

Cases can take anywhere from weeks to a few years depending upon which county you live in and the nature of your case.

Factors That Affect the Length of a Divorce

There are several factors that will affect the length of a case. While some issues remain in your control, others may depend on your spouse as well.

Here are just some of the ways in which it can be prolonged:

  1. There are Several Contested Issues – Whether you and your spouse disagree on property division, maintenance, parenting time, or another issue, negotiating takes time. If you still fail to agree on issues over time, your case will go to trial which further draws out the process and increases the expenses of the case as well.
  2. There is a Lengthy Discovery Period – Discovery, or information exchange between parties, can be messy and complicated. Most discovery begins with document exchange and if either your attorney or your spouse’s attorney deems that insufficient, they will take your deposition (i.e. a recorded meeting in which they will ask questions regarding documents produced or facts they are still uncertain about). If the discovery process involves depositions, it can add significant time to any case.
  3. There isn’t a Focus on Settlement – Settlement means coming to an agreement with your spouse regarding all (or even some) relevant issues without the need for a trial. If your case goes to trial, the judge will determine how to resolve remaining issues. Without a settlement, a case will be drawn out further.

Keep in mind that your attorney will play a major role in how quickly you can get your case processed. For example, some attorneys create issues to litigate a case and increase their bills. Others, like our team at Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., focus on settlement to reduce the cost of your divorce as well as how long it takes to finalize. As experts in the Illinois divorce process, we can be your guide through this difficult time.

Request Your Free Consultation at Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd.!

If you’re concerned about how long your settlement will take to process or want to discuss the relevant issues to get a better idea as to the length of your case, Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. can help. With over 35 years of experience in negotiation and other critical skills, our focus on settling your case means you will be divorced more quickly and be able to begin your new life sooner than you may have thought possible.

Contact us at 630-470-9990 to request your free consultation or request your consultation using our easy-to-use online form. We look forward to speaking with you to resolve any uncertainties you may have before filing your case.

Concentrated on Family Law

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

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About Attorney Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd.

Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. is a law firm concentrating solely on family law and has served clients in DuPage, Will, Kane, and Kendall counties for over 35 years.

We continue to work with clients in Naperville, Wheaton, Lisle, Oswego, Downers Grove, and the surrounding areas to provide one-on-one support and attention that will help you through this difficult time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at any time. We look forward to offering our expertise and support to you throughout your case and after.