Divorce in Illinois is expensive. At Vantage Group Legal, we can help you do get it done for less.
Worrying about how much a divorce costs in Illinois adds to that emotion and stress.
While no one may know what your divorce will ultimately cost, carefully considering the following factors may provide guidance.
Understanding where to place your priorities and what fees may be unavoidable in the process minimizes the risk of surprises and assists in managing your expectations.
What are the Costs Involved With Divorce in Illinois?
Initial Fees for an Illinois Divorce
Even if you and your ex-spouse mutually agree to end your marriage based on irreconcilable differences, unavoidable fees make up part of the average divorce cost in Illinois.
You must file your petition for divorce in the county where you reside. The average cost to file for divorce in Illinois varies from county to county. For example, in Cook County, parties are responsible for paying the following costs for processing a divorce:
- $337 to open a case and file for divorce,
- $206 to respond if your ex-spouse files for divorce first,
- $60 to have the sheriff serve your spouse with a copy of filings, and
- $50 to attend FOCUS on children, court-ordered parenting classes.
These fees may seem minimal, but they typically make up only a portion of the divorce cost in Illinois.
Looking to keep your Illinois divorce costs down? You’re in the right place.
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Divorce Attorney Retainer Costs
Many attorneys require clients to pay a retainer payment. A retainer payment is an advance deposit paid initially to hire the attorney. While the average retainer payment varies from attorney to attorney, retainer payments increase how much it costs to file for divorce in Illinois. Most attorneys require retainer payments to pay for court fees, attorney fees, and other expenses arising in your case. Retainer payments rarely constitute the total divorce costs in Illinois.
Divorce Attorney Hourly Rate
The hourly rate of any potential attorney you hire affects how much a divorce costs in Illinois. For example, even simple issues increase the average cost of your divorce in Illinois if your attorney charges a high hourly rate. Suppose the complexity of your dissolution requires multiple court hearings, trials, and conferences with the attorney representing your ex-spouse. This can increase your divorce costs in Illinois exponentially.
When your potential divorce cost in Illinois represents a significant concern, it’s essential to utilize your attorney’s assistance strategically. You do not want to call your attorney for every little thing, but only legal matters for which you require help and advice.
Other Factors That Affect the Cost of Divorce in Illinois
Multiple factors significantly increase the divorce cost in Illinois. Determining whether these factors may come into play in your dissolution process may prepare you for potential costs to consider.
When unable to resolve issues, your attorney must represent your interest at trial. A trial requires significant preparation by your attorney and can be expensive.
When the parties have minor children, the cost of divorce in Illinois often skyrockets. Disputes often arise due to disagreements over child support, child custody, and visitation. Parties may save on the average cost of divorce in Illinois if they agree on issues about the children.
When parties own property or multiple pieces of property, divorce costs in Illinois increase. Parties unable to reach an agreement regarding property division must rely on the court to determine who gets what—reaching an agreement as to property division out of court assists in reducing the cost of divorce in Illinois.
Mediation may be an option for parties unable to reach an agreement on multiple issues about their divorce. To save on the divorce cost in Illinois, a skilled mediator may provide solutions to disagreements between parties.
What are the Grounds for Divorce in Illinois?
The type of divorce you pursue can affect the divorce cost in Illinois. The degree to which you are able to cooperate with your spouse will help determine how much a divorce costs in Illinois.
Formerly, Illinois permitted a spouse to file for dissolution of marriage on fault-based grounds. The grounds for fault-based dissolution included infidelity, cruelty, abandonment, and many others.
However, as of January 1, 2016, Illinois legislation eliminated fault-based dissolution and now permits parties to file for divorce under irreconcilable differences. Therefore, a party may file for dissolution of the marriage simply by representing that the marriage is an irretrievably broken union with no hope for reconciliation between the parties.
The court then must find that the reconciliation efforts by the parties failed and future attempts to reconcile are impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.
Proving irreconcilable differences requires a showing that the parties have lived apart for at least six months. Once parties establish the six-month separation, the court presumes satisfaction of the irreconcilability requirement.
Additionally, you may receive a divorce decree with no waiting period if both parties agree to irreconcilable differences. When both parties agree to irreconcilable differences, this may substantially reduce the cost of your divorce in Illinois. However, even if your spouse disagrees, you may still receive a divorce decree after the six months have passed.
Collaborative divorce provides another option for cost-sensitive parties and operates similarly to mediation. Attorneys work to resolve differences between parties. Upon resolution, the attorneys draft an agreement reflecting the resolution reached by the parties. Collaborative divorce significantly decreases the average cost of divorce in Illinois by reducing court involvement.
Although most couples disagree about specific issues relating to their dissolution, parties may resolve them through negotiation. Parties may reach an agreement on all or some of the problems. The matters that need to be decided in a divorce include:
– Property division,
– Division of debts,
– Child custody and visitation, and
– Child support.
When negotiations reach a standstill, the court must decide on these matters. Relying on the court to make determinations increases the average cost of divorce in Illinois.
How Can Vantage Group Legal Help You Lower Your Divorce Costs?
Vantage Group Legal understands the stress and emotions associated with divorce. We help clients find the best divorce attorney for them! Call our office to discuss your case either in person or virtually with one of our in-house attorneys.
In this initial consultation, you advise us of your goals and any concerns you may have regarding divorce costs in Illinois. We then provide a clear plan of action and get you set up with our subscription service. Once you sign up for a subscription, we work to match you with a family law attorney to help you meet your goals and address your concerns as you move through the dissolution process.
Vantage Group Legal also provides secondary assistance to all clients, including support, case monitoring, and documentation. Contact Vantage Group Legal today for a free consultation and to learn more about our unique service!