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January is National Divorce Month. In DuPage County and Cook County, Illinois, January is the most popular month in which to file for divorce. February and March follow closely behind.
Why is January so popular for divorce filings?
Typically, parents refrain from filing for divorce at the beginning of a school term because it is too disruptive to the children. Additionally, the holidays, such as Thanksgiving, prevent couples from filing because they want to protect their children's memories and do not want their children to associate the holidays with the divorce of their parents.
Hence, each year, filing for a divorce in January is when we conduct the majority of our family law practice in DuPage County and Cook County, Illinois.
Once the decision to divorce is made, most people ask, “How Long will my divorce take in DuPage County, Illinois or Cook County, Illinois?” With more than 40 years of practicing family law in DuPage County and Cook County, Illinois, I can answer that question
If your case is an uncontested case, then it is possible to actually get a divorce—start to finish—within 10 days to two weeks of filing. I know that sounds incredibly short. But, it can be done.
An uncontested divorce case means that both parties agree to divorce, and they can thereby avoid a fight over grounds for divorce. In addition, both parties must have come to a complete agreement to the custody of their children, the visitation and parenting time of the non-custodial parent, the division of assets and debts, and the amount of child support or maintenance (alimony), if any, that will be paid and received.
Simply put, an uncontested divorce means that all of the potential issues have been resolved by the parties.
As family lawyers, our job is to craft a written agreement, known as the Marital Settlement Agreement. If there is a child or children involved, a second agreement, known as a Joint Parenting Agreement, is also crafted. If all of the issues are agreeable to the parties, a lawyer's job is to then create those agreements, file the right court papers, and have a divorce judge grant the divorce as quickly as possible.
Contested DivorcesIf your divorce is going to be contested by your spouse, you may ask the following question: How can I speed up the process of divorce?
Lawyers in general, and divorce lawyers in particular, do not like to give nice, straightforward answers. So lets give it a try: just look at statistics.
By far, Cook County, Illinois has the highest number of divorce cases. The Circuit Court of Cook County is the largest of the 24 Circuits in Illinois, as well as one of the largest unified court systems in the United States. More than 2.4 million cases are filed each year. Of course, not all of these are divorce cases.
To get an idea of how many new cases are filed, year-to-date, look at your Cook County divorce case number. The digits after "D" give you the number of cases filed that year-to-date. Frequently, there are more than 24,000 divorce-related cases pending each year in Cook County.
The lesson? If you are going to have a contested divorce, do not file it in Cook County. File for divorce in another Illinois county, such as DuPage County, Illinois, or any other county in Illinois. The sheer volume of cases will be much lower, and your divorce judge will not be as overworked.
However, in Illinois, this is not as simple as it may seem. You are generally required to file divorce in the county in which you or your spouse resides. But there are exceptions. For example, you can move to another county, other than Cook County, and file in your new county of residence.
For more information regarding what county to choose, see our blog posts, “10 reasons why you need an experienced divorce lawyer in Illinois Part I and “Four Tips to Know Before Filing For Divorce in Illinois.”
Need to Speak with an Attorney? Contact the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio TodayIf you are considering filing for divorce, please contact the experienced DuPage County divorce attorneys at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio. We are here to advise you and look out for your best interests. Call us today at 630-920-8855 to schedule your free consultation.