There’s some people who already know that an uncontested divorce is fast, and affordable. But if you don’t understand why, you should read this FAQ about why an uncontested divorce in Illinois is so affordable.
What does a lawyer charge per hour when litigating a divorce?
For an uncontested divorce, many lawyers offer a flat fee.
For example, we offer one flat fee that covers all of our work, and the court costs for both people. Check out this article to find out more about our flat fees for uncontested divorce.
But there is no flat fee for a divorce or people are fighting.
That means that lawyers will charge by the hour. Most lawyers in the Chicago area charge $250 per hour, or more. For example, some charge more than $400 per hour.
As you can imagine, if you have to pay someone more than $200 an hour to work on your case, it can get very expensive. If if you are rich, you don’t want to pay someone too much. That’s why we wrote this article about rich people getting a cheap divorce.
So getting an uncontested divorce is a much better deal than paying someone by the hour. And that’s mainly because an uncontested divorce is something you can get for a flat fee that covers all the lawyers work, and the court costs for both people.
How much money do I need to pay upfront to start a case?
There’s a big difference between the upfront costs of an uncontested divorce, and one that is litigated.
For example, we are for a flat fee for an uncontested divorce. Sometimes that flat fee is under $2,000, and it covers all the core costs for both parties. By the way, the court costs alone can be more than $700.
Contrast that to a case that is litigated – one where people are fighting in court.
Divorce lawyers will ask for a retainer to get a case started. A retainer is an amount of money paid to start a case up. A retainer can be $3,000, $4,000, $5,000, or more. It depends on the lawyer, the type of case, and other factors.
But I think you get the point. For less than many retainers for a litigated case, you can pay for an entire uncontested divorce in Illinois.
How many court appearances are required when people fight?
Akey difference between an uncontested divorce and one where people fight is the number of court appearances required.
For an uncontested divorce in Illinois, more than 99% of our clients appear in court only once.
However, in a case that is litigated, people might have to appear in court numerous times over the course of a year or more. Furthermore, lawyers often have to appear in court when the parties aren’t required to be there. In other words, there can be many court appearances required. And that makes a litigated case much more expensive than an uncontested divorce.
Can the cost of fighting about a divorce be predicted?
You should also know that a litigated divorce has a total cost which cannot be predicted.
I understand why people want to know the total cost of their divorce. But if you fight about your divorce, there’s no way to tell.
That’s because there are many factors that contribute to how complicated the divorce will be. For example, your goals, your spouse’s goals, what the other lawyer does, what the judge thinks, and more.
Contrast that to an uncontested divorce in Illinois.
In an uncontested divorce in Illinois, everything is by agreement. That makes the case predictable. And that’s why there can be an affordable flat fee for a fast uncontested divorce.
Fighting about a divorce can be very expensive. Try not to do it.
Are there other expenses in a litigated divorce?
An uncontested divorce has a predictable cost.
In contrast, a litigated divorce involves expenses which are unpredictable.
For example, a litigated divorce might involve experts. An expert might be required to value a business, analyze a retirement account, or analyze family dynamics and write a report for the court.
Additionally, when people disagree about child-related matters, the court can appoint other people to be involved in the case.
For example, a guardian ad litem will act as a witness and report to the court what he or she thinks is in the best interest of the kids.
The court can also appoint what’s called a child’s representative. That’s a person who acts as the child’s lawyer, and who can actually file documents with the court. A child’s representative is a lawyer. Do you want to pay another lawyer? I don’t think so.
Do you want to pay experts and lawyers to be involved in your case?
Probably not. If your case goes down that route, those sorts of people can cost you $10,000 or more, easily.
This is a type of expense that you won’t incur at all if you get an uncontested divorce in Illinois.
Hopefully you see now why an uncontested divorce is much less expensive than a divorce which is litigated.
Before you get into a big fight with your spouse, consider the cost of a litigated divorce versus an uncontested divorce.
Sometimes it is much better to give your spouse a little bit of money, instead of paying lawyers more money.
Don’t get me wrong, I like when people pay me. Being a divorce lawyer isn’t exactly fun, and I wouldn’t do it for free.
But I’d like to look out for my clients’ best interests. So if you can pay your spouse an extra $1,000 a year in child support, and you don’t have to pay me $5,000 to fight about it, It would probably benefit you to come to agreement.
An uncontested divorce is cheaper than a litigated divorce for reasons including the following:
- It is expensive to pay lawyers by the hour
- Litigated divorces created unpredictable amount of work
- A retainer for a litigated divorce can be several times a flat fee for an uncontested divorce in Illinois
- A litigated divorce can require you to pay experts and extra lawyers that you really don’t want to pay, and those costs can easily be more than $10,000