How Much Does It Cost to File for Divorce in Illinois?
The cost to file for a divorce in Illinois varies from county to county, but filing fees are just the beginning. A divorce can be costly if a case has contested issues that are hard to resolve. The more the couple can agree on, the less money, time, energy, and emotion are used. A skilled attorney at Wolfe & Stec Ltd. can represent you in your divorce case. We can guide you on the best path 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.
So, how much does it cost to file for divorce in Illinois? In Cook County, filing for divorce currently costs $388. If you respond to the complaint and file an appearance, it will cost $251. In DuPage County, filing a divorce complaint costs $343, while filing an appearance costs $218. There are many potential costs and fees in a divorce. Filing fees may be a small fraction of the costs of a divorce that is 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 because it involves more time. Some divorcing couples split amicably, so there’s less work and lower costs. We make sure our client understands their situation and the tradeoffs they make when they reach a divorce agreement. A divorcing spouse must decide whether fighting over assets, debts, or child custody are worth the legal fees and other costs.
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 expensive matters to resolve, though they need not be.
We vigorously defend our client’s rights, but so does the attorney for the other spouse. Every divorcing couple must understand the costs and benefits of a more or less aggressive approach to divorce. That is why you should know the answer to what the average cost of a divorce in Illinois is before going through with the process.
Other Costs Associated with Filing for Divorce in Illinois
Attorney’s fees are not the only costs associated with filing for divorce in Illinois. It is important to know these additional costs ahead of time so you can budget accordingly for the divorce proceedings. Talk to a Woodridge divorce attorney from Wolfe & Stec Ltd. today about your situation. We can guide you through the divorce process so you have a clear understanding of what to expect.
Psychological Testing of Children
If you have children and you and your spouse disagree on custody, 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 would evaluate the child’s needs and how well each parent can meet them. Each side makes its 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 the parents are unable to reach a custody agreement, 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 to be well-documented, reasoned, and credible. Costs associated with using psychologists may be part of a child custody battle that negotiation cannot resolve.
The Use of a Forensic Accountant
‘Forensic’ means investigating a crime or legal issue using scientific methods and techniques. Forensic accountants’ 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 has 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. Forensic accounting is expensive, but the return on that investment can be substantial. Suppose a spouse fraudulently tries to prevent or reduce the division of assets, payments for child support, or alimony, and it’s uncovered. In that case, a forensic accountant will be well worth their fees.
Working With a Mediator
We use mediators when we think they fit our clients and their cases well. 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 resolve easier conflicts, 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 on litigation costs and attorneys’ fees. A mediator can also save the parties time, energy, and spent emotions, which is highly valuable.
How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost in Illinois?
The cost to file an uncontested divorce in Illinois is the same as one that’s contested. But as we can see, the filing fee could be just a fraction of the overall costs in a case involving important, disputed issues 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. However, it is important to note that you could still owe thousands of dollars less than if the divorce is contested and has to go in front of a judge.
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.
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.