What You Need to Know About the Cost of Divorce in Illinois

Couples seeking a divorce in Illinois may worry about the high cost of divorce in the state. Here’s how much a divorce costs in Illinois.

Couples must pay for an attorney, for petitions and papers throughout the process, and for court hearings as applicable.

Illinois Divorce Laws

Illinois is a no-fault divorce state. A no-fault divorce state allows spouses to file for divorce without blaming the failed marriage on either spouse. In Illinois, a spouse must prove to the court their marriage failed and is irretrievable. One spouse must explain the marriage’s breakdown and claim it cannot be fixed. The spouse must provide written proof of the couple’s failed attempts to salvage the marriage.

In Illinois, if a couple legally separates for at least two years, the court can grant the couple a no-fault divorce. Legal separation does not blame either spouse for the marriage’s breakdown.

At least one spouse seeking a divorce in Illinois must be an Illinois resident for at least 90 days before filing for divorce. Spouses must first file a petition for a divorce in the county they currently reside. If the couple meets all of the grounds for divorce in Illinois, the court will not require a waiting period.

Related: Equitable Distribution of Marital Property in Illinois

Cost of Divorce in Illinois

An Illinois divorce lawyer’s hourly rate is above the national average. The exact costs of an Illinois divorce vary by county. Costs for a lawyer and other fees can be higher in the city than in the suburbs. The average hourly rate for an attorney in Illinois can cost about $250 – $350. The cost of an attorney for a couple throughout the divorce process can end up being over $11,000.

To begin the divorce process, couples must file a petition for a divorce. The price to file a petition for divorce can cost over $300 depending on the couple’s county. Individuals may have to pay over $200 if they choose for the state to serve their spouse with papers or to respond to divorce papers the state serves. If couples disagree on the terms of the divorce, they must pay to have a court hearing. The total cost of a divorce in Illinois can be near $20,000 if the couple requires all steps throughout the process.

Related: Who Keeps the Wedding Ring in an Illinois Divorce?

Alternative to the High Cost of Divorce in Illinois

Couples may want to divorce without the high cost. In Illinois, couples can seek an alternative type of divorce. Couples may choose to go through an uncontested divorce if they agree on all the divorce’s terms before filing for divorce through the state. Couples seeking an uncontested divorce can avoid attorney fees if they would like to handle all of the terms on their own.

Couples may hire an attorney to handle the terms of the divorce and protect their rights and assets throughout the divorce. If couples cooperate with an attorney, the cost can be significantly lower because of the quick, efficient process.

FAQs About the Cost of Divorce in Illinois

Is legal separation cheaper than divorce in Illinois?

Couples seeking legal separation must hire an attorney to legally separate. The cost of an attorney for legal separation may cost the same as the cost of an attorney for a divorce.

Do I have to hire an attorney throughout the divorce process?

If couples agree on all of the terms of the divorce including the division of their assets, couples can file for divorce to the Illinois state court without hiring a lawyer.

Can I get divorced in Illinois if I was married in a different state?

Yes, if one spouse resides in Illinois for at least 90 days, a couple can divorce in Illinois even if they were married in a different state.

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