Illinois couples who are concerned about the cost of divorce may have reason to be worried. Illinois is one of the 10 most expensive states for divorce, with an average cost of around $13,800 to end a marriage. Add in parenting time disputes, property division, alimony, and child support, and that number can quickly rise to more than $35,000. Fortunately, there are steps divorcing couples can take to control the cost of divorce.
Why Is Divorce so Expensive?
Conflict costs money. When spouses cannot agree on parenting issues, financial concerns, or property division, resolution can take a long time and numerous trips to court. The longer a divorce settlement takes, the more it’s going to cost. In addition to hourly attorney fees, spouses should consider court costs and filing fees as well as the rate for legal staff, financial analysts, child custody evaluators, and other professionals.
Unreasonable Behavior Drives up the Cost
Unreasonable behavior is one of the main reasons divorce is so costly. When couples focus on fighting and who will be the “winner” rather than the overall outcome, divorce proceedings become more complicated and take more time. In many cases, divorcing spouses spend tens of thousands of dollars fighting about a small piece of property or parenting time on the holidays instead of looking at the big picture. In some high asset divorces, these disputes can cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
Dragging Out Discovery Costs More
Discovery is a legal process wherein both parties discover information about each other during a divorce. This is typically done to ensure that the financial aspects of the marital property are properly divided. When discovery gets drawn out too long, it can add thousands of dollars to the cost of the divorce.
Going to Court Is Expensive
Filing fees, court costs, child custody evaluator fees, tax advisory fees, and real estate appraisal costs quickly add up. Depending on the circumstances of their divorce couples who can’t reach a settlement could spend years filing motions, dealing with status conferences, and battling it out in the courtroom.
How to Lower the Costs of Divorce
To reduce the cost of divorce, spouses can promptly present financial information to avoid dragging out the discovery process. They can use a mediator to work through some disagreements. And they can work with divorce lawyers who are experienced in negotiating to reach out of court settlements.