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When Does a Divorce Become Final?
03 Mar, 2024

When Does a Divorce Become Final?

It can be confusing trying to understand all the ins and outs of divorce. Paperwork must be filed at a certain time, court dates will need to be set, and decisions need to be made about many aspects of the couple’s marriage. Additionally, spouses may have questions about when their divorce officially becomes finalized. At SLG Family Law, we’re here to help Illinois couples understand when their divorce is considered final and how our services can assist during this difficult time. 

What Is the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage?

In Illinois, a divorce officially becomes finalized when a Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage has been entered. A Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage is the last document involved in divorce proceedings that outlines all of the agreements previously made. A judge must sign this document to claim the couple as officially divorced, and the day it’s entered becomes the official divorce date. Unlike an annulment, which ends a marriage the law doesn’t recognize, a dissolution ends the marriage while acknowledging its validity. 

How Long Will It Take Before My Divorce Is Finalized?

The amount of time it takes to reach the Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage greatly depends on the type of divorce and how cooperative each spouse is. For example, an Illinois divorce can either be contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce is one in which both spouses agree to important aspects of the divorce, including dividing any marital property and debt. Typically, an uncontested divorce moves faster towards resolution as couples cooperate about divorce proceedings. Court intervention usually isn’t needed to resolve disputes. In a contested divorce, couples disagree about one or more aspects of the divorce and require court intervention to help resolve the disputes. The spouse’s attorneys and the court judge will often need to discuss the issue before deciding how to proceed forward. A contested divorce can certainly slow down the process and lengthen the time it takes to reach a final divorce. 

Is There Anything for Me to Do After My Divorce Is Final?

Some individuals believe that once their Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage is signed, they are officially done with the divorce process. While this may be true, and your divorce is officially final, there are still items that need to be accomplished. For example, if individuals choose to change their last names as a result of the divorce, they will need to ensure that they have properly documented this change. Additionally, individuals should revisit any accounts that have both spouses’ names on them. For example, if it’s determined in divorce proceedings that couples should close any joint bank accounts, they should be sure to do this. It’s important that individuals not only understand the outlines of their divorce but adjust to any necessary changes after the divorce has been finalized. 

Contact Us Today

If you have questions about how divorce becomes finalized in Illinois, contact our team today. We’re happy to assist with all of your legal needs. 



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