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Let’s Get This Done

By Nottage and Ward on January 16, 2019

For James and Erin Clark, after five years of marriage, the honeymoon was over. It was over clearly, literally, figuratively, definitively, mutually—the list of “ly” adverbs could go on indefinitely, except they were missing the only one that really counts: legally. They each wanted a divorce to be done yesterday, and they were willing to do whatever it took to get the process completed as quickly as possible.

While each spouse may be ready and willing to sign the papers and make it official, here in Illinois there are a few legal requirements couples like the Clarks will need to undergo before a divorce is final.

First of all, at least one party must be an Illinois resident for at least 90 days. Why, you may ask? This jurisdictional requirement establishes legal contacts between the party and the State. Moreover, this keeps couples from performing a “tourism divorce,” where they go to a state with minimal residential requirements, if any at all, just to end their marriage. The busy family courts of Illinois don’t want to be bogged down with divorce proceedings.

Next up is the biggest factor that will determine how quickly the divorce will go: the couple must determine if the divorce is contested or uncontested. If it’s uncontested, the couple is in luck. As of 2016, there is no longer any waiting period in Illinois, and the whole thing can be done in a short period of time. But, if the divorce is contested, the spouses may be looking at a procedure lasting from six to 18 months (or more!). The exact length of time depends on many factors and varies by case. The process of divorce can be slowed down if either of the spouses disagree about any of the following:

  • Does one spouse not want the divorce?
  • Are there kids involved? Where will they live? If there are kids, what does the child support arrangement look like? As you might imagine, allocation of parental responsibilities gets complicated.
  • Does the couple share a pet, or pets? Where will the pet live?
  • What about any property or business the couple shares?
  • How will outstanding debts, such as a home mortgage or car loan, be divvied up?

There are many things to consider, and these are just a few of examples that can greatly impact the duration of the divorce process. If you are considering getting a divorce in Chicago, it’s important to have an experienced, legal hand to hold onto through this difficult time. At Nottage and Ward, LLP, we have been helping Illinois residents settle family law conflicts for over 25 years. Give us a call at (312) 332-2915 to set up a consultation.

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