In today’s world, meeting someone new and the dating process is fast-tracked due to the multitude of dating apps and services that provide instantaneous access to an exceptionally large dating pool. Even the process of planning a wedding can be expedited without sacrificing quality, as flowers, venues, clothing, etc. can be booked or ordered online at any time. Similarly, we have become conditioned to a “rip off the bandage” approach to breakups, where simply never responding to another phone call or text message has become an acceptable method of ending a relationship. Breaking down a marriage, or a relationship involving children does not fit in with the current standards of quickly and easily finding a pain-free solution to any problem. These things can take serious time.
Illinois law requires a six-month separation period before couples can finalize their divorce, a reduction from the previous two-year waiting period. This means that a couple must wait half of a year between deciding that their marriage is over and being divorced, though the couple may still choose to live together during the separation period. Illinois lawmakers have built-in this waiting period in order to ensure that couples have had a full chance to attempt to reconcile any differences they may have before deciding to end their marriage. Still, if the couple is able to come to an agreement on all aspects of the divorce, including breaking down the debts, assets, and any decisions regarding child support, alimony, and parenting time and decision-making responsibilities for the children, the divorce, if correctly filed and motioned, may be finalized very quickly, sometimes within the same month as the case was filed.
Conversely, if the couple is not able to agree, the divorce may take much longer. Any disagreements as to finances may require the judge to make the final determination. However, this usually requires the couple to undergo the discovery process, in which they exchange bank statements, tax returns, pay stubs, and even statements from any retirement accounts they may have or financial statements from companies they may own. Naturally, as this process often requires the couple to obtain documents from outside parties, this process can add months or even years onto the divorce process before the judge can make the final decision.
Additionally, any disputes regarding children tend to prolong the process, as Illinois courts require parents to attend mediation to try to settle disputes through a neutral third party. If the parents are unable to settle their differences in mediation, the courts may appoint an attorney for the children, who must then conduct an investigation and report back to the court before the judge can make the final determination if the parents are still unable to agree. Typically, through working with an attorney for the children, the parents are usually able to come to an agreement that works for everyone involved and avoid a lengthy trial.
Kiswani Law, P.C. can be there to help you regardless of where you are in the process, whether you are looking for someone to represent you in finalizing your full agreement, for someone to litigate on your behalf for any disagreements, for a mediator to help you reach an agreement, or as the attorney for your children.
Written By: Stephanie Gilbert