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The Chronology of a Divorce Case

 Posted on April 03, 2015 in Divorce

chronology of divorce casesAs you are undoubtedly aware, divorce cases can drag on for months and even years, preventing the parties from moving on with their lives. But why does it take so long? The lifespan of a divorce begins even before either party files for dissolution of marriage under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, and lasts until a full agreement has been reached. Many cases involve complex circumstances that take longer to sort out. Below you will find more information on the main phases of a divorce.

Filing of a Petition for Dissolution

Your case officially begins when your lawyer files a petition in court. Once the petition is filed, you can wait before telling your spouse, if it is to your advantage, but you cannot wait forever. An attorney can help you decide when the time is right to ask the sheriff to serve your spouse with divorce papers.

Notifying Your Spouse

Unless your divorce is urgent, as is often the case when abuse is involved, your lawyer will notify your spouse in writing that you have begun a divorce case and provide them with a copy of your petition. Before you can move forward and bring the case in court, you must be able to prove that your spouse knows that a case has begun. Once your spouse has officially received notice that a divorce case has begun, they have 30 days to respond. An initial court date will be set with the judge, so that she can get an idea of how complex the case may be.


Divorce cases allow time for each side to learn about one another’s positions, usually relating to assets held by each spouse. Each county may have different court rules that determine how long the discovery period may be, but judges frequently grant extensions at this phase, allowing divorces to drag on for much longer while each side builds their case against the other. Depositions, which are formal interviews, subpoenas for information from banks, employers, hotels, and requests for documents from the other side are all frequently part of the discovery process, and getting each additional piece of information adds time to the clock.

Status Calls and Case Management Conferences

Throughout your divorce, the judge who is overseeing your case will require your lawyers to provide her with updates. She will want one lawyer to come to court and let her know if progress has been made in settlement negotiations, how far discovery has progressed, and that the divorce is not heavily impacting the children. Usually, these short status calls are scheduled monthly.

If settlement talks are dragging on, a judge may call for a case management conference to offer guidance on how she might rule if the case were to reach the trial phase, and to help the settlement talks progress.


Negotiation on all aspects of a divorce case can take varying amounts of time, depending on how strongly each side feels about how their case should go. If you can come to a reasonable settlement agreement, make sure to give it careful consideration with the assistance of your lawyer.


Most couples actively try to avoid taking a divorce case to trial because they can be even longer, more expensive, and emotionally taxing than settling outside of court.

The divorce process is tricky, but having a dedicated DuPage County divorce lawyer at your side to help clarify your options, advocate for your interests, and support you throughout it is invaluable. Contact Davi Law Group, LLC for a consultation today.
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