How Quickly Can A Divorce Be Finalized?

by | Oct 17, 2018 | Financial Featured

If you are considering a divorce, or in the process of a divorce, you may be wondering how long the whole divorce case will take. There are many factors to consider when trying to answer this question, and your circumstances will inform the actual outcome. We’ve compiled a list of factors to consider when trying to determine what to expect for your own divorce. If you are looking for a divorce lawyer in Schaumburg, Illinois, they will be able to give you an estimation based on the way you answer the following questions, and more.

Separation Time

If you are filing for a no-fault divorce, each state has a different requirement for a length of separation before being able to move to the divorce process.

No-Fault Divorce Separation Time

A no-fault divorce occurs when both parties agree that there are irreconcilable differences in the marriage, and both agree to terminate the marriage contract. Both parties may file for a divorce, but must then complete a separation period before the divorce is finalized.

In a no-fault divorce, the state of Illinois requires a 2-year separation period before the official divorce case can begin. Unlike many other states, this does not mean that the parties must live in separate residences, only that they establish and maintain a completely independent routine. If the parties remain in the same residence, this means that they have separate rooms, separate finances, separate schedules, and no longer rely on each other for anything that would indicate that they are still in a partnership.

Separation Waiver

In certain cases, both parties may sign a separation waiver that states that they fully agree to the terms of the divorce, and the separation period will be reduced from two years to six months. There is still a mandatory period of separation, but the time is reduced on account of both parties agreeing to the situation.

Fault Grounds for Divorce

Illinois additionally recognizes that there are many circumstances that there are faults for a divorce. In the event that a spouse is able to clearly show the faults present that validate the divorce, the court may determine that the separation time is not required, and that they may proceed with the divorce immediately. Some fault grounds for divorce are as follows:


If there is domestic violence in the household, the court will allow the divorce to move forward without separation.


If drug or alcohol abuse or addiction has been present in the household for more than two years, this is another grounds for a fault divorce.

Felony Conviction and Imprisonment

If a spouse is convicted of a crime and/or imprisoned, the state of Illinois considers this to be a valid grounds for a divorce that requires no separation period


If a spouse has abandoned the other for more than one year, this is grounds for an at-fault divorce.


If there is infidelity present in the marriage, this is another acceptable grounds for an at-fault divorce.

Other Fault Grounds for Divorce

Attempted murder, sexually-transmitted diseases, bigamy (a spouse is involved in another marriage), or mental cruelty are all considered valid circumstances for an at-fault divorce. When the court determines that there are faults present for the divorce, the separation period will be waived. Although the separation period is waived, this simply shortens the length of the entire process, but does not expedite the actual divorce proceedings.

Length of a Divorce Proceeding

There are a variety of factors that influence the length of a divorce proceeding. If both parties are in agreement with the terms of the divorce, then the process will simply take the length of the separation, plus a single hearing, to finalize. Given the possibility of a separation waiver, this means that the divorce could take six months or two years, plus one divorce hearing to finalize all paperwork.

In the event that there are disagreements about the terms of divorce, there is no concrete formula to determine the length of the divorce process. Again, you must factor in either a six month or two year separation period, at which point the divorce hearings will begin. Below are some common factors that will lengthen the process:

Custody Issues

If there are children involved in the divorce, determining the proper custody will lengthen the divorce process unless both parties are able to agree quickly.

Asset Division

If both parties are unable to reach an agreement about the division of assets, this is another complication that will lengthen the divorce. This may require liquidation of existing assets, division of savings and retirement accounts, and more. The more assets that are involved in the marriage and divorce, the longer it may take to rectify the division.

Child Support

If there are children present in the divorce, it is likely that there will be child support payments to the parent who retains the majority of custody. The amount depends on a variety of factors such as the number of children, age of children, financial status of each parents, and more. The court may take extra time to determine a fair obligation.


Alimony is a different type of financial obligation to an ex-partner, which does not involve child support, but instead involves the support of one ex-partner from another. Alimony payments, much like child support, are dependant on a variety of factors such as each partners’ financial situation, the history of dependency, and more.

How Long Will My Divorce Take?

As you can see, there is no simple answer for how long a divorce process will take. Given the terms of separation, you can add the required length to the divorce process for a baseline. If you and your partner are in agreement with all terms of the divorce, you can plan on a simple process once completing the required separation. If you do not agree on all terms of the divorce, these complications are sure to lengthen the process. If you are unsure of what to expect, it is best that you discuss this with a divorce attorney so you can have a better idea of the process to come.

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