| Read Time: 4 minutes | Category: Divorce & Family Law Articles
how to file for divorce in illinois without a lawyer

The divorce process has a reputation for being financially draining on both spouses.

The burden is so significant that more and more people are trying to learn how to file for divorce in Illinois without a lawyer.

Although it may be tempting to obtain a divorce without an attorney, handling a divorce is not easy. And this difficulty is further compounded by the reality that divorces almost always involve a lot of emotions. 

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Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Divorce?

On the face of it, family law seems like an area of law that your average individual can handle. In fact, people often research, “can you get divorced without a lawyer” because family law seems much less intimidating to handle on your own than other areas of law like personal injury or criminal defense.

In theory, anyone can file for a divorce without an attorney. But filing a divorce on your own is not suggested because of the intricacies of every individual case.

What’s Required for Filing for Divorce On Your Own in Illinois?

If you want to file for a divorce on your own, you must file a petition for dissolution of marriage. You will need to file specific documents if you have children with your spouse or if your spouse contests the divorce. Once you have the appropriate paperwork filed, you must serve your spouse to notify them of the lawsuit. 

The court requires that both parties file paperwork for the disclosure of financial information. If any pending issues need to be addressed, this is the point when parties may set up temporary hearings. For example, you may need a hearing on issues concerning injunctions, child custody, child support, or spousal support. 

After the judge reviews the case and all paperwork submitted, the judge can enter a final judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. However, if there are any issues that the parties need to resolve, the judge may order that the parties attend mediation prior to entering the final judgment. 

What is the Cost of a Divorce in Illinois?

Costs for divorce vary from county to county. So your fees depend on which county you file your divorce. To find county-specific information on filing fees, check out your county’s Clerk of Courts website. Most counties provide a breakdown for filing fees. If you are unsure which county to file for your divorce, an experienced attorney will help you file in the appropriate county. 

The Key Issues to Handle Before Obtaining a Divorce

In the state of Illinois, a judge cannot grant a divorce without addressing all issues pertaining to the marriage. Spouses seeking a divorce must settle issues on:

A judge can order both parties to attend mediation if both parties cannot come to an agreement on these issues. If mediation does not help resolve the outstanding issues, both parties must plead their case to the judge.

At that point, both parties hand decision-making control to the judge. The judge will rule on outstanding issues based on the evidence provided. There is still a filing fee even if both spouses agree on all issues or divorce collaboratively

The Primary Reasons Why Your Divorce is Expensive

Many people are surprised to learn that there are additional costs associated with obtaining a divorce, apart from hiring a divorce lawyer. The costs associated with a divorce are:

  • Costs for filing which go directly to the Clerk of Courts,
  • Service of process fees to serve your spouse with legal documents,
  • Costs for responding to the initial complaint, and
  • Attorney fees, if any.

Although there are fees to get a divorce in your state, obtaining an attorney often increases costs, so pick your attorney wisely.  

RELATED: How to Find an Affordable Divorce Lawyer in Chicago

Attorney fees vary for each lawyer, depending on their retainer fees and hourly rates. An attorney may require that you pay for a consultation, then a retainer, plus additional costs associated with the filing. Vantage Group Legal Services approaches billing from a different perspective. We aim to cut out the costly lawyer fees.

First, you start off with an initial consultation that is free of charge. Once you have signed up for a subscription plan, an experienced attorney will provide you with legal representation. For a monthly fee, you have the costs of your legal assistance covered. No more wondering if you can afford the monthly bill from your attorney. This method cuts out the guesswork with attorney fees. 

Why It’s Probably in Your Best Interest to Retain an Attorney to Get Divorced

The fact of the matter is that obtaining a divorce is expensive for the average person—so much that some people wonder, “Can you get divorced without a lawyer.” Although obtaining a divorce becomes more expensive with the assistance of an attorney, remember that the divorce process is often more complicated than it looks, and getting an attorney may help you avoid costly mistakes. 

For example, imagine if your case made it to trial. Examining witnesses that you have a personal relationship with could become emotionally distressing. An attorney acts as an advocate for you to present evidence in the clearest and most effective way possible.

Additionally, hiring an experienced attorney prevents you from making costly mistakes. Your attorney knows the appropriate county to initiate your case. They also file the appropriate pleadings and motions to push your case forward.

Time and time again, parties experience issues with their case because they did not follow court procedures. These errors dramatically lengthen your case, especially if you need an attorney to fix any issues created from improper filings. 

We Offer Affordable Divorce Representation

We hope that you never have to ask how to file for divorce in Illinois without a lawyer. But if you do, know that Vantage Group Legal Services is here to help. We provide our customers with a cost-effective subscription-based legal service. All you need to do is sign up, submit an inquiry, and we provide you with an attorney based on your needs.

Your attorney will handle all aspects of your case for the duration of your subscription. Do not hesitate to get into contact with Vantage Group Legal Services to get matched with an attorney today at 773-938-4747