The Cost of a Divorce
It has long been said that divorce may cost you a bit of money. Unfortunately, changes to the Courts’ procedures for divorce mean those prices aren’t likely to go down. While it may be almost impossible to estimate the exact cost of your unique divorce, it is possible to give you an estimate or range of typical costs depending on the issues you believe will be contested. When finding a number for the cost of divorce, some things to consider include (1) whether you hire a lawyer, (2) if you have children or other shared finances, and (3) whether your divorce will be contested.
The Fixed Costs of Divorce
According to some sources for Illinois, the average overall fee for a divorce lawyer can range from $11,000 to $14,000. This figure largely depends on what your lawyer charges hourly and what the attorney’s fee structure entails. A flat rate (or smaller retainer) fee is common for uncontested divorces where the separation of shared items has been sorted before lawyers become involved. Thus, the primary cost is just the time spent drafting your documents. The two factors deciding the price for contested divorces are how much your lawyer will charge you hourly and how many hours it will take to resolve your divorce. If a case settles early, then the total investment cost will be significantly less than if a case proceeds to a trial.
Divorce Attorneys: Average Hourly Costs
Most divorce lawyers have an hourly cost for their services. Hourly lawyer costs in Illinois range, on average, from $260 to $400, but this will vary by jurisdiction, as more populated counties tend to have higher costs and rates for divorce. Many attorneys will require you to pay upfront or advance “retainer costs” to cover anticipated work they’ll do on your case. These costs can range from $500 to $10,000 or more, depending on the issues that will be involved. Retainers are generally just estimates of work to be performed and do not typically cover the entire bill. Instead, they act as an advance payment to allow the attorney to get the case open and underway before additional payments become necessary. Money that is paid toward a retainer, and then not needed, is returned after your case is settled absent your Fee Agreement stating otherwise.
Other Factors that Influence the Cost of Divorce
When children and other finances—such as custody, alimony, and property—are added into the mix, the division of each may add significant time to negotiations. Divorces, where children are involved, tend to take the most time to settle. When couples can’t agree by themselves, they must rely on lawyers, and sometimes experts, to be their middle person and find a solution. The more hours spent on splitting each of the above means the cost of your divorce goes up. Another factor to consider is the filing fee. To determine the exact cost, contact the Circuit Court Clerk’s office so they can give you the price depending on where you live.
The Emotional Costs of Divorce
It’s not easy to sort through personal belongings that once had much meaning in the relationship. Sometimes divorces will be uncontested and have less emotional turmoil, especially if both spouses are on the same page. But, contested divorces can get “nasty” or more complicated without the help of your lawyers bridging the gap. However separation has affected you, Strieker Law can help resolve your divorce without adding more worry to your life.
How Strieker Law Can Help During Your Divorce
At Strieker Law, we frequently work with clients on cases involving divorce, custody, and property division. Our knowledge and expertise in handling a range of divorces or other family law issues, particularly those requiring more complex litigation, allow us to confidently say we can help you through a smooth transition and separation from your ex. Kristen C. Strieker has experience with clients going through a contested or uncontested divorce and various other family law issues. Whether or not you agree with your spouse, Strieker Law can help find common ground to settle your divorce case.