Financial differences are one of the primary reasons that couples divorce, and money is often at the forefront of a person’s mind when he or she is contemplating divorce. Regardless of whether you are initiating divorce proceedings or whether you have been served with divorce papers, you are probably wondering: How much is this divorce going to cost?
The cost of getting divorced varies widely depending on several factors, such as the following:
- Whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. All divorces incur court document filing fees, but the amount of attorney’s fees and other legal fees involved with a divorce hinge on the degree to which a couple agrees or disagrees with respect to the divorce settlement. An uncontested divorce is significantly cheaper than a contested divorce because there will be less legal work and court appearances involved.
- Whether one spouse is ordered to pay the legal fees of the other spouse. The law generally does not require one spouse to pay for the other spouse’s legal fees. If one spouse has significantly more income than the other, however, the court may order that spouse to help the financially-dependant spouse pay his or her attorney’s fees. The spouse seeking reimbursement for legal fees bears the burden of proving a financial hardship to the court.
- Complexity of the marital estate. Illinois law states that marital property shall be divided in a manner which is “just and equitable.” The marital estate includes those assets and debts that are considered to be the joint property or obligation of both spouses. Non-marital assets are those assets that are owned by a spouse prior to a marriage or are obtained as a gift, inheritance, or pursuant to a prenuptial/postnuptial agreement. If a couple has a complex marital estate with business assets, retirement assets, or significant debt, it might cost more to determine how to divide marital assets and debts.
- Spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance, or alimony, is the financial support provided by one divorcing spouse to the other. Spousal maintenance is not an absolute right, however, even in a long-term marriage. When determining whether to award spousal maintenance, the court will consider a wide range of factors, including income/assets of both spouses, needs of both spouses, and the earning capacity of each spouse, among other factors.
- Child support. Child support is the court-mandated amount of money that a noncustodial parent is legally required to pay to the custodial parent for the care of their children. The amount of child support that you may be required to pay or entitled to receive depends on whether you have custody of the children, the number of children you have, and the income of the custodial and noncustodial parent.
Divorce is often one of the most stressful events that a person can go through – both emotionally and financially. At The Law Offices of Scott D. Rogoff, our knowledgeable Des Plaines divorce attorney understands that you are likely concerned about the cost of divorce. He strives to provide clients with a realistic expectation of the financial impact of divorce and guide clients through the divorce process efficiently and effectively, with as little stress and conflict as possible.
If you are considering, or are faced with divorce, contact skilled Illinois divorce lawyer Scott D. Rogoff at (847) 768-2194 to discuss your impending divorce.