Ryan Family Law, P.C.
Ryan Family Law, P.C.

Elgin, Illinois
847-586-0161

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How soon can you divorce in Illinois?

Marriage generally symbolizes a lifelong commitment between two partners. However, sometimes life takes unexpected turns, and divorce becomes necessary. If you find yourself in this situation in Illinois, you might wonder: how soon can I actually file for divorce?

Exploring the legalities surrounding divorce filing timelines in Illinois can help to ensure that you make an informed decision. It can help to familiarize yourself with residency requirements, waiting periods and different scenarios that can affect the process.

No mandatory waiting period for filing

The Prairie State is a welcome exception for couples seeking a swift divorce resolution. Unlike some states with mandatory separation periods before filing, the land of Lincoln boasts no mandatory waiting period for filing a petition for divorce. This means you can initiate the legal process as soon as you decide to move forward. There’s a catch, however. While you can file immediately, the court won’t grant the final divorce decree until one crucial requirement is met: residency.

The 90-day residency requirement

State law stipulates that you or your spouse must have resided in the state for at least 90 days before the court finalizes the divorce. This residency requirement helps ensure both parties have a genuine connection to the state’s legal system.

Here’s how this plays out: let’s say you get married and live happily in another state. Later, you decide to divorce. If you move to Illinois and file a petition immediately, the court won’t be able to finalize the divorce until 90 days after your move establishes residency. On the other hand, if you’ve been living in the state for years before marriage and decide to divorce soon after, the 90-day residency requirement might already be fulfilled.

Uncontested vs. contested divorce: Time considerations

If both spouses agree on all elements of the divorce, the process can be significantly faster. Once the 90-day residency requirement is met and all paperwork is submitted correctly, the court can finalize the divorce in as little as two months. However, when disagreements arise, the process gets more complex. Negotiations and potential court appearances can significantly extend the timeline. A contested divorce can take anywhere between six months to a few years to finalize.

Divorce can be a life-altering experience, and navigating the legalities involved can add further stress. Familiarizing yourself with the timelines and seeking legal guidance can help you manage expectations. Remember, a 90-day residency requirement is the key hurdle before the court can finalize your divorce.

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