If spouses decide to get divorced in Illinois, they may be concerned about their ability to pay legal and attorney fees.
It can become a severe problem when a couple is already struggling financially. However, knowing all the pitfalls and additional tools for divorce, partners can save a lot of money and even learn to maintain a healthy relationship with their ex.
Average Cost of Divorce
The average divorce costs $15,500. However, this is not the exact price.
The divorce cost mainly consists of court and attorney fees. In addition, expenses can increase or decrease depending on the presence of minor children, the number of disagreements, marital property, and other factors that directly affect divorce.
Even the spouse’s fault affects the divorce cost in Illinois. After all, the petitioner needs to provide solid proof of the respondent’s misconduct, after which the court will conduct additional procedures to study the data provided.
An uncontested or amicable divorce is a divorce proceeding where the spouses mutually seek to divorce and consider the breakup terms fair to each of them. The court typically makes a final decision within three months.
It is worth noting that Illinois does not have a mandatory waiting period for an uncontested divorce. Therefore, couples can get a divorce immediately after filing. However, the court’s workload and the case circumstances can cause the judge to consider the case longer than expected.
The average cost of an amicable divorce without children in Illinois is $13,800. It is one of the highest rates in the nation. However, partners can reduce the dissolution cost by refusing a lawyer’s services or using an online divorce company such as Online Illinois Divorce to complete divorce forms quickly and with high quality.
To obtain an uncontested divorce in Illinois, spouses have to decide:
- property division;
- child custody;
- child support;
- spousal support (if needed); and
- any other matters that may affect the divorce process.
In addition, divorcing spouses must meet state requirements:
To be eligible for a divorce in Illinois, at least one spouse must have resided in the state for at least 90 days before filing. The petitioner must apply in the county where both or one of the spouses has lived for 90 days.
Spouses’ desire to divorce
To get an uncontested divorce in Illinois, both spouses should want a divorce. Otherwise, the court will reclassify their case as contested. It will lead to additional costly procedures.
It is one of the critical documents in an uncontested divorce. It is confirmation that the spouses have settled all divorce-related issues without the need for a trial.
If partners have minor disagreements and wish to divorce amicably, they can use couples mediation. The mediator (a neutral third party) helps the spouses resolve disputes and sign a settlement agreement out of court.
The average cost of mediation in Illinois is about $3,000 to $8,000. However, the price for the mediator services varies depending on the number of disputes.
Divorce Cost Without a Lawyer
Family law attorneys are legal professionals who primarily represent and defend their client’s interests in court. However, in divorce proceedings, they can also complete and file divorce filings and serve the other spouse.
In an uncontested divorce, the spouses do not have to hire lawyers. This decision could save them about $10,900 in attorneys’ fees.
Spouses should consider divorce without a lawyer if they:
- are ready to represent and defend their interests in court,
- want to do paperwork on their own,
- do not have a lot of shared marital property, assets, and debts,
- do not have significant disagreements that make their case contested, and
- both mutually seek divorce.
How Much is DIY Divorce
An uncontested divorce allows spouses to have a do-it-yourself divorce. DIY divorce means that the divorcing spouses maintain their divorce case without a lawyer’s legal support. As a result, spouses are absolutely responsible for all divorce proceedings, from pre-divorce preparation to representing their interests in court.
DIY divorce costs a minimum of $350 for filing fees. However, this amount will increase depending on the needs of the petitioner and the respondent.
Also, spouses may have to pay:
- A fee to complete a co-parenting class, if necessary;
- A sheriff to serve the divorce petition on the respondent;
- Copy fees for obtaining the divorce judgment.
If the petitioner has a low income, they may file for a payment waiver. They need to fill out and submit the Application for Waiver of Court Fees. The petitioner will be released from paying court costs when the court approves the application.
Divorcing partners should consider a DIY divorce if:
- they agree on all marriage and divorce-related matters;
- they have the time and desire to run their divorce.
Divorcing partners should not consider a DIY divorce if:
- they have many family assets, including debts;
- they have a contested case; and
- one of the spouses does not want to divorce.
In a DIY divorce, mediation is available to spouses. As mentioned earlier, it can help the involved parties to compromise and maintain a healthy relationship after a divorce. Partners can also use the services of Online Illinois Divorce for convenient and affordable preparation of divorce filings.
Using supportive tools can help couples file for a divorce without the hassle and high costs. It will simplify and smooth the divorce process.
Besides, additional services cost significantly less than a lawyer’s hourly fee. However, spouses should use only trusted and verified resources.
Contested Divorce Cost
A contested divorce is a complicated and challenging way to end a relationship with a spouse. The court classifies a case as contested if:
- spouses have a lot of family assets and debts;
- spouses have disagreements on at least one of the issues regarding child custody, alimony, and the property division;
- one of the spouses does not want a divorce.
The cost of a contested divorce can reach up to $35,300 on average. Litigation can take up to a year or more.
Divorce Lawyer Cost
A contested divorce requires the hiring of professional family law lawyers. They fully organize and run the divorce process, freeing spouses from paperwork.
However, the attorney’s fees make up the bulk of the cost of a divorce. Lawyers often charge an hourly fee rather than a flat fee. In Illinois, attorney fees are $260 per hour on average.
However, spouses can save some money on lawyers’ fees even in a contested case. Many couples in Illinois hire paralegals to handle small errands, such as collecting statements and receipts. On average, paralegals charge $90-$125 per hour in Illinois.
In addition, in a contested divorce, the spouses must pay the legal fees and related costs necessary to resolve the case. Moreover, the parties involved will spend time, effort, and nerves. Since they can not settle all divorce-related issues by phone, they will have to make personal appointments, adjust to the attorney’s work schedule, and answer an endless amount of questions.
It is impossible to get a final divorce decree over the Internet in the US. However, spouses can prepare divorce papers online.
Online divorce is an inexpensive and convenient way to select and fill out the legal forms under the latest requirements and changes in local laws. Moreover, some online divorce companies provide additional services such as initial filing of documents, serving the other spouse, and completing paperwork for divorce with a missing spouse.
Online divorce is suited for spouses who:
- want a DIY divorce, and
- have an uncontested divorce.
Online Illinois Divorce will help spouses quickly and cheaply generate forms tailored to the specifics of their case. Partners do not even need to leave their homes. All processes are online. Services are available 24/7, anywhere, for any device.
To prepare divorce filings, spouses need to:
- have an uncontested divorce,
- log in to Online Illinois Divorce,
- fill out an online questionnaire and provide up-to-date information about their breakup and marriage,
- recheck the correctness of the entered data,
- confirm the information.
When all the steps are completed, the spouses will receive ready-to-print papers within two business days. In addition, Online Illinois Divorce provides a detailed step-by-step guide for filing documents without a lawyer.
Spouses in Illinois choose online divorce because:
- it is fast and inexpensive;
- they no longer need to spend time and money on lawyer visits;
- they can spend their free time with their families or take care of themselves;
- they can maintain friendly relationships with the ex-spouse after the divorce;
- they receive quality paperwork under the high standards of the Illinois courts.