The time it takes to finalize a divorce in Illinois varies greatly from case to case. A divorce court may grant a divorce only if the parties agree on all key terms or the parties submit the case for trial for the judge to decide. Preparing a case for settlement or trial can be very time-consuming. Delays are frustrating for clients and attorneys. A variety of factors can influence how quickly a case is ready to settle or ready to proceed to trial.
A divorce may stall out if either or both parties are not emotionally capable of helping the divorce proceed in a timely fashion. The emotional energy required to bring your divorce to a swift resolution may simply be lacking, at least initially. It’s not surprising but can make it very difficult for a case to progress quickly if either party is emotionally overloaded. Perhaps the decision to divorce has been draining and you simply need to pause before progressing. Alternatively, the divorce may have caught you by surprise; you may be grieving the end of your marriage and simply not emotionally ready to timely respond to requests from attorneys and courts for financial documents and parenting schedules.
Grief happens in stages and on a continuum. Each spouse may be in a very different place on the grief continuum, even if they agree divorce is necessary. In short, if either or both spouses are coping with the substantial emotional toll incident to divorce it can understandably account for some delays.
It should come as no surprise that divorcing couples can harbor deep-seated resentment for each other. The degree of hostility can slow down progress on a case to varying degrees. Baseless allegations of spousal or child abuse are an extreme example of hostility causing delay. False allegations of abuse to punish a spouse for filing for divorce or to gain an advantage will slow down progress toward settlement or trial while an investigation takes place and tempers calm. A less sinister example of hostility slowing down the progress of a case is the failure of one party to share required financial information necessary to determine what a fair settlement even looks like. This can stall progress for months while attorneys try to force disclosure of the information.
A divorcing couple may disagree on all key terms or only a few. The more issues they disagree on the longer the divorce will likely take. A couple only fighting over whether to sell the marital home will usually resolve their divorce faster than one fighting over custody of the kids, the family business, total annual income, alimony, and dissipation. Similarly, when couples fight over issues including temporary parenting time, temporary maintenance and child support their case may take longer to resolve. Resolving temporary issues can detract from working the case up toward a final resolution.
Every divorce is different; some are very complex. As a general rule, the more assets and income a couple has the longer their divorce will take. To resolve a divorce, all assets need to be identified and valued. Anything that impedes the process of identifying or valuing those assets will slow down a case. Even a very amicable divorce can progress slowly if there are complex assets involved.
A case won’t progress if the necessary work is not completed. Attorneys and clients both shoulder some responsibility for getting the work done. Attorneys should diligently request documents and information from their client and opposing counsel to move the case forward. They need to follow-up when progress stalls or they don’t have what they need. Clients have to put in the time to gather the documents and information requested to not cause delays.
Judges and attorneys handle multiple cases. Finding days and times when their schedules are free at the same time can sometimes be challenging. It may account for some degree of delay in a case.
Wanting a swift resolution to your divorce is understandable and delays can be frustrating. Goodman Law Firm in Oak Brook, Illinois is an experienced divorce and family law firm. We have years of experience helping individuals navigate the divorce process. We work with our clients to help resolve your case in the most efficient and favorable way possible. Contact us today to learn how we can help.
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