What will a divorce cost me?
Choosing a Law Firm , Costs and Fees
“How much is a divorce?” Read below for the answer.
The cost of divorce is scary for anyone considering a divorce. It is not as bad as you think. You probably are familiar with a retainer, but before you start down the path of the total cost, it is important to understand what you are paying for. Your out-of-pocket payment includes both “costs” and “fees.” So read on below to understand the basics.
- Petition Filing Fee. This ranges by county, but is between $300-$400. Contact your county to find out your fee. In some circumstances, you can apply for a fee waiver
- Service of Process Fee. If you have to serve the adverse party, you can expect to pay the process server between $75-$150.
- Expert Costs. If your case requires expert testimony, you can expect to pay between $200-$500 per hour for their service. Note, this is very rare and only happens in the most contentious cases.
- Legal Fees. The amount of your legal fees will vary based on your unique circumstances and the length of your case. You are paying for the specific knowledge and experience along with the guidance of someone knowledgeable with your situation.
- Attorney Rates There is a range that attorneys charge based upon their location (e.g., Cook County versus Southern Illinois) and experience. You can expect to pay an hourly rate between $250 and $750 per hour.
- Paralegal and Admin Rates This hourly rate also varies based upon their location (e.g., Cook County versus Southern Illinois) and experience. You can expect to pay an hourly rate between $50 and $250 per hour.
You are probably thinking, “that’s great, but how much will MY divorce cost me?” That is a great question and one that should not be answered without doing a full analysis of your situation. We believe that anyone who tells you your cost without understanding your case fully is telling you what you want to hear. We will not do that. It is important to understand that your total cost is different from your retainer.
Can I Do This Without A Lawyer?
You may be surprised to know that the answer is yes! In fact, Illinois has created standard forms that will work for many people. If your situation fits into the blanks that the State has provided, you may not need a lawyer. If your situation does not fit into the preformed boxes, you should consider hiring an attorney before you make a mistake that costs more in the long term.