The cost of the divorce process is one factor that may cause spouses to hesitate in getting a divorce. Studies have estimated that the average divorce in Illinois costs $13,800, which puts the state in the top third of the most expensive states for divorce in the U.S. It is reasonable to consider whether you can afford a divorce if you are heavily in debt or lack financial resources. However, avoiding divorce when it is necessary keeps you stuck in an unhealthy relationship. You also risk your marriage worsening to the point that divorce is unavoidable and more expensive than it would have been before. By understanding the costs involved in the divorce process, you can find ways to save money.
Having a skilled divorce attorney is invaluable to you, but it is also likely to be your largest expense. You can shop around to find an attorney you can afford or explore financing options. However, you may be able to save more money by being efficient in your use of your attorney. Attorneys are often paid based on billable hours that they work, and you can reduce the hours by:
- Preparing questions and important information before meeting with your attorney;
- Providing copies of key documents on your own so your attorney does not need to file a formal request;
- Not asking your attorney to perform tasks that are outside of his or her areas of service; and
- Behaving amicably with your spouse so as not to draw out the process.
The court fees involved in getting a divorce are more rigid than your attorney fees. You will have a basic fee for filing your divorce papers and additional fees for your court appearances. The best way to save money on court fees is by keeping your court appearances to a minimum. Spouses can negotiate their own divorce agreement outside of court and present the agreement for court approval at the end of the process. Courts must intervene in the negotiations when spouses cannot come to terms on a divorce agreement. The spouses must attend a series of divorce hearings, which increases their court and attorney fees.
Do Not Go It Alone
Because of the associated fees, some spouses choose to handle their divorce without an attorney. However, a do-it-yourself divorce is time-consuming and may backfire if you make mistakes. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can efficiently handle your divorce case and help you reach an agreement that best benefits you. Schedule an appointment by calling 630-879-9090.