A divorce is the end of a relationship. But, just as a relationship takes time to build, a relationship also takes time to unwind.
A divorce can be completely finished in as little as three weeks if everyone agrees and there is absolutely no issues that need to be memorialized with specificity. This means divorces that don’t involve children, assets, debts or alimony. Those divorces are pretty rare.
In a simple agreed divorce, the divorce lawyer prepares the documents, circulates the documents, schedules a final hearing, appears at the final hearing with their client and enters the final documents with the court.
Most divorces aren’t that simple, however. Divorces with assets or debts require the itemization of each asset and debt and an assignment of which party will keep that asset or be responsible for that liability. This can be difficult to achieve a complete agreement on.
If the parties can’t agree regarding their assets and debts, they must turn to the court to apply the law as to how assets and debts will be distributed in a divorce.
Similarly, if the parties have an imbalance in incomes, alimony may be requested by one party. Alimony will vary based on the jurisdiction of the divorce, the length of the marriage and the respective incomes of the parties. Again, if the parties to a divorce cannot agree on an alimony amount and duration, the parties must turn to the local divorce courts to enforce the law.
Going to court takes time. A court date must be scheduled, evidence must be gathered, subsequent court dates are usually required as well.
If the parties have children, they must both propose a parenting plan which will govern the children’s schedules and the parental responsibilities for the children. If the parties cannot agree on those factors, they must both go to mediation. If mediation does not achieve a mediated agreement, the parties must seek outside help to determine what schedule would be in the best interests of the children. This process takes months if not years.
Finally, if no outside help can achieve a full agreement regarding children, the parties must go to court to have a judge determine the best interests of their children using the local Rules of Evidence. This is a time-consuming and expensive process.
Finalizing a divorce takes time. Strategies and tactics employed by a Chicago divorce attorney can make that time shorter or longer, if need be.