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How Quickly Can a Divorce be Finalized?

Divorce time frame

No divorce is the same. While some divorces can be straightforward, others are complex legal battles. For that reason, there’s no way to say how long it will take to finalize your divorce. There are many details of your divorce that can affect the timeline. Learn more about those details and find out the typical timeline for a simple divorce.

What Factors Affect Your Divorce?


In some cases, a divorce is agreeable and there is no need for a courtroom battle. Although those divorces can have a quick resolution, other divorces can take months or years to resolve. The following factors can affect how long your divorce takes from start to finish:

1. The State in Which You File

Divorce laws are state laws, which means you need to comply with the laws of the state in which you file. In some states, there is a lengthy waiting period before filing. For example, filing in Illinois requires you to reside in the state for 90 days. If children are involved, you need to be in the state for 180 days.

Some states require you to live apart before you divorce. Once again, Illinois is the perfect example. You  need to live apart for six months if you and your partner agree to the divorce and it’s a no-fault divorce. If you live in a state with strict divorce laws, your divorce could be lengthy.

2. Whether or Not It’s Uncontested

An uncontested divorce is the least complicated type of divorce. Depending on the state in which you file, it could take as little as two weeks. However, the process isn’t always that simple. In some states, all of the paperwork makes getting an uncontested divorce difficult without the help of a lawyer.

Nevertheless, uncontested divorces are much shorter than contested divorces. When a divorce is uncontested, both parties agree about everything. But contested divorces involve many disagreements. They require negotiation, and sometimes, a courtroom battle. Depending on the situation, a contested divorce can take as long as 30 months to resolve.

It’s worth mentioning that some states have options for simplified divorces. If you live in a state that offers a simplified divorce, you must be sure that your situation meets the requirements. If it does, your divorce is likely to be speedy.

3. Child Custody

When children are involved in a divorce, the process becomes more complex. It’s common for parents to initially disagree about custody plans.

Before you can finalize your divorce, you and your partner need to determine child custody. This can greatly extend the time it takes for you to finish the process

4. The Court

Whether you have a simple or complex divorce, the timeline depends on the wait period of your local court. In some cases, you might need to wait weeks for a court date.  After that, you could need to wait for your partner to be served. If your partner does not respond to the summons, it extends the process.

5. Your Lawyer

If you choose to work with a divorce lawyer, you increase your chances at a timely divorce. When you work with someone who has knowledge of divorce law in IL, you improve your chances at successful negotiations. Additionally, you limit your chance of mistakes that can hold up the process.

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