What is the Cost to File for Divorce in Illinois?

People working on divorce papers

The cost to file a divorce in Illinois varies from county to county, but filing fees are just the beginning. If a case has contested issues that are hard to resolve, a divorce can be costly. The more the couple can agree on, the less money, time, energy, and emotion are used in the process. A skilled attorney Wolfe & Stec Ltd. can represent you in your divorce case. We can guide you on the path that’s best for you and your children. There are ways to reduce your costs in a divorce, but you don’t want to cut corners when factors like child custody, child support or alimony are on the line.

In Cook County, filing for divorce currently costs $388.00. If you respond to the complaint and file an appearance, it will cost $251.00. In DuPage County, the cost to file the divorce complaint is $343.00, while filing an appearance is $218.00. There are many potential costs and fees in a divorce. Filing fees may be a small fraction of the costs of a divorce that’s drawn out and strongly fought.

Attorney’s Fees When You File for Divorce

We charge for our time. The more complex and contested the case, the more it costs simply because the case involves more time. Some divorcing couples split amicably, so there’s less work, and the costs are lower. We make sure our client understands their situation and the tradeoffs they make when they reach a divorce agreement. A divorcing spouse needs to decide whether the legal fees and other costs are worth fighting over assets, debts, or child custody.

Divorce cases get expensive when they become drawn out. Many issues come up in a divorce. The less agreement you have on those issues, the higher the cost. Most spouses reach agreements, and divorces do not go to trial, but it can happen. All of the details that need to be addressed in a divorce, such as child custody, child support, division of assets and debts, and spousal support can be, but need not be, expensive matters to resolve.

We zealously defend our client’s rights, but so does the attorney for the other spouse. Every divorcing couple needs to understand the costs and benefits of a more or less confrontational approach to divorce.

Other Costs Associated with Filing for Divorce in Illinois

Psychological Testing of Children

If you have children and you and your spouse disagree on custody, both of you may have a psychologist evaluate your children. The court may have its expert do the same. This happens because custody is determined by what the judge decides is in the child’s best interests. The psychologist(s) would evaluate what the child needs and how well each parent can meet them. Each side makes their argument and an expert witness can strengthen it.

We use highly qualified, well-experienced child psychologists with impressive backgrounds who have testified in past cases. Their time can cost several hundred dollars an hour. Different psychological tests could be used. There would be interviews with parents and their children. There may also be discussions with teachers, doctors, babysitters, and mental health professionals treating the children.

When there’s no custody agreement reached by the parents, a judge decides the issue. Competent judges understand their limits. They know they’re not child psychologists. Judges will rely on expert testimony they find well-documented, reasoned, and credible. Costs associated with use of psychologists may be part of a child custody battle that cannot be resolved by negotiation.

Forensic Accountant

‘Forensic’ means the use of scientific methods and techniques to investigate a crime or legal issue. A forensic accountant’s services are used in divorces when financial matters are litigated. A forensic accountant may find important information and records during the divorce process. They may determine how much money is available for alimony payments and child support, trace assets and liabilities, and find assets and income streams a spouse tried to hide.

Using an accountant is especially important when a married couple has many assets. How they’re owned may be complicated. If one or both spouses own a business, it may be used to shield assets that should be subject to division.

A forensic accountant may review a wide range of business and personal information and documents:

  • Tax returns
  • Accounting records
  • Financial and bank statements
  • Canceled checks
  • Credit card statements
  • Appointment books
  • Sales invoices
  • Business contracts
  • Financial projections
  • Mortgage and loan applications.

We understand the value of these services in the right case. Though forensic accounting is expensive, the return on that investment can be substantial. If a spouse fraudulently tries to prevent or reduce the division of assets, payments for child support or alimony, and it’s uncovered, a forensic accountant will be well worth their fees.

Mediator

We use mediators when we think they’re a good fit for our clients and their cases. A mediator is a neutral third party who helps others reach agreements. Many mediators are attorneys, or they practiced family law in the past. They’re familiar with divorce issues and the emotions that come with them.

A skilled mediator will get to know the parents’ needs and reach beyond their bargaining positions. They find the critical issues for both sides. Most mediators work on resolving smaller issues to develop momentum and trust between the parties. As mediators help easier conflicts get resolved, tougher ones are addressed.

Mediators meet with the parents together and separately. They also work with attorneys for both sides. One party will often get an issue resolved to their liking in exchange for an agreement on another issue favorable to the other spouse.

Even if mediation doesn’t end with a total resolution, often many issues are agreed upon and the conflicts are narrowed. What remains will probably be settled later. If not, the litigation would be limited to a few remaining issues.

Though mediation sessions can cost thousands of dollars, the cost is usually split between the parties. If a complete or substantial agreement is reached, it may save significant sums that would have been spent in litigation costs and attorneys’ fees. A mediator can also save the parties a lot of time, energy, and spent emotions, which is highly valuable.

What’s the Cost to File Uncontested Divorce in Illinois?

The costs to file an uncontested divorce in Illinois is the same as one that’s contested. But as we can see, the overall costs could be a fraction of one involving important, disputed issues that end up getting decided at a trial. Even when a divorce doesn’t go to trial, if there are numerous disputed issues, costs for attorney fees and any related specialists, whether mediators or forensic accountants, will all go up.

Contact Our Woodridge Divorce Lawyer for Help

Illinois divorce law is complicated and always changing. It makes sense to seek experienced legal counsel to represent your interests. The skilled DuPage County divorce lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., can handle your divorce with sensitivity to you and your needs.

For your initial consultation with an experienced and compassionate Woodridge divorce lawyer, contact us online or call 630-305-0222. We handle cases throughout Illinois.