How Long Does the Divorce Process Take in Illinois?

How Long Does the Divorce Process Take in Illinois?Illinois calls the process of divorce a spousal dissolution. This process can be extremely stressful from start to finish. However, understanding the process to expect and how long it will take can help you ease your concerns.

While every divorce is different, there are some common elements that all Illinois divorces share. Consultation with a qualified Woodridge divorce attorney will help you know which kind of divorce to file and how long the process is likely to take.

A Quick Guide to Divorce in Illinois

Some things your divorce attorney should cover in your first consultation.

  • Important Information
  • Deciding how to proceed with your divorce
  • Complete the forms
  • Filing Your Documents
  • Divorce papers for your spouse

Gather Important Financial Information First

If you approach gathering information positively, you can set the tone for the process of your divorce. This will save you money, time, and stress over the long-term.

Having your documents and information in order will you the best chance of a favorable and speedy outcome. This task can be completed successfully by being organized and starting early.

  • Open a checking or savings account in your name only.
  • Open a new credit card in your name only.
  • Get a free credit report. You can also sign up for credit monitoring services like LifeLock. If your spouse opens credit cards or racks up debt under your name, you’ll be notified. It’s well worth it for the peace of mind.
  • Make a list of all assets and liabilities you are aware of. You should include any memberships, reward points, and other perks that could be considered assets.

Which type of divorce is best for you?

Deciding which divorce process to use. That decision will determine how contentious or amicable your divorce will be. If you have children, it will also set the tone for future co-parenting relationships. It is crucial that you fully understand your options and how they affect your particular situation.

What Forms are Required for a Divorce?

Once you have decided on the type of divorce you want, you will need several forms to begin the process.

An attorney can help you through this process by making sure you use the correct forms and filling them out correctly.

There are many forms that you can fill out on your own, and many people do. Illinois doesn’t have a uniform set of forms across the state. Therefore, each county will require its own unique forms. It is important to research where you live.

You will still need to file a “Petition to Dissolution of Marriage”. You will be called the petitioner if you start the process. You will be called the respondent or defendant if you are the one who files the petition.

These forms should be completed and filed to get a better understanding of what you might need to submit in your particular country. These include:

  • Domestic Relations Cover Sheet
  • Petition for the dissolution of marriage
  • Summons
  • Affidavit for Service
  • Certificate of dissolution
  • Financial Disclosure Statement

You will need to file the following if you have minor children:

  • Joint Parenting Agreement
  • Visitation Form
  • Uniform Order of Support

To legally notify your spouse of the divorce petition, you must serve them with copies of the divorce papers.

Filing your Divorce Forms to the Court

Working with an attorney will ensure that all forms are completed correctly. Your attorney will them file them at the clerk, which can be found in the county courthouse.

When you submit your paperwork, you will be required to pay a filing fee. The fees vary from one county to the next, but you can expect to pay $150-$300.

The clerk’s office will file the paperwork, give you a case number and assign a judge to your case. Finally, they will issue your summons.

To legally notify your spouse of the divorce petition, you must serve them with copies of the divorce papers.

Serving your spouse with divorce papers

Illinois law permits the spouse who is filing to “serve the other spouse” in five ways.

  • Acceptance by voluntary consent
  • Sheriff’s service. This is the preferred method for service in Illinois. Once the sheriff has served the papers to your spouse, you will be given a proof document that you must file with the court.
  • Special process server for service (must have court permission).
  • Service by publication If you cannot find your spouse, this option is available. This allows you to notify your local newspaper about your divorce. This is generally the most expensive method.
  • Service by special order from the court

From the date of service, the Respondent has thirty days to file a response. Once you have the date of service, the Respondent can go back to the Clerk’s Office and request a court date. Notify the Respondent about the court date.

A Few Questions to Ask About Filing for Divorce in Illinois

What is the cost of filing for divorce in Illinois?

While costs vary from one county to the next in Illinois, a petitioner can expect a cost of $150 to $300 to file paperwork to start a divorce case. Contact the circuit clerk in your county to get an exact estimate of the cost. You will need to pay an additional fee in order to serve your spouse. A process server or sheriff’s deputy is the cheapest way to get the service done.

Is it possible to waive divorce fees in Illinois?

If you feel that filing for divorce is a burden to your finances, you may ask the judge to waive any fees. You will need to show your inability to pay the fees, fill out a waiver request form, and submit it to be considered.

Can I file for a divorce online in Illinois?

Yes! Yes!

Online divorce isn’t right for everyone. A lawyer is recommended if you are involved in a dispute about child custody or complicated financial matters. You don’t want to lose sight of the important things.

If you can have an amicable separation, you may be able do it yourself.


In short, an uncontested divorce can be settled in less than 100 days. How long your particular divorce takes to be settled depends on several factors, including whether it’s uncontested, whether you have children, the size of your joint assets, and other factors.

The most important factor in how long the process takes is if you and your spouse settle without having to go to a court trial. That is where a good divorce attorney comes in.

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