How Expensive is a Divorce? And How long Does it Take?

September 26, 2023
  1. The Breakdown of the Average Hourly Rates for Divorce Lawyers in Illinois:


My quick googling led me to the following results:

  • Chicago: $350+ per hour
  • Springfield: $280+ per hour
  • Peoria: $250 per hour
  • Rockford: $225 per hour
  • Decatur: $200 per hour
  • Metro East: $300+ per hour


However, this number can vary greatly depending on the factors mentioned above. For example, a complex divorce with contested issues could cost upwards of $20,000 or even $200,000. Simple divorces, where you agree on everything, cost a lot lett. Basically, fighting drives up the costs.


2. Some Ideas to Help you Save Money on Your Divorce


  • Do your research: Get quotes from different lawyers and compare their fees. Be sure to ask about their experience with divorce cases and their hourly rates. A lower rate does not necessarily mean a cheaper divorce. More experienced attorneys can be a lot more efficient in their work than less experienced attorneys, so an attorney with a higher rate might actually cost less. And remember, a retainer is that – a deposit against the work, not the final cost.
  • Consider mediation before hiring lawyers: Mediation is a less expensive way to resolve your divorce. In mediation, you and your spouse work with a neutral third party to reach an agreement on issues such as property division and parenting times. If you can come to a full agreement, or even agree on some things, you can save money because you will not have to re-decide those issues.
  • Be prepared to compromise: Be willing to compromise with your spouse on issues such as property division and child support. This can help you reach an agreement without having to have a judge decide the issues, which can save you money. Look here to get some ideas
  • Negotiate your own settlement: If you are able to negotiate your own settlement with your spouse, you can save money on legal fees. However, this is not always possible, especially if the case is complex or contested. If you can do that, then you may only need an attorney to turn your agreements into the paperwork that will actually get you divorced. (hint: that’s what I do)
  • Use online resources: There are many online resources that can help you save money on a divorce. These resources can provide you with information about the divorce process, help you find a lawyer, and negotiate a settlement.
  • Don’t use one of the online fill-in forms that you pay for. They are nothing but junk and you will have to figure out how to fix them, which might cost you a lot more than if you simply used a lawyer.
  • Get organized: if you are going to go through a contested case, you will be giving discovery to your lawyer. Download bank & credit card statements, bills, tax returns, pay check stubs and the like and organize them. Your lawyer may want any financial information you have touched for the last several years, and its easier to have it ready to go, rather than delaying your case and driving up your costs.


3. Typical Timeframe to Get Divorced in Illinois


  • The typical timeframe to get divorced in Illinois is 6 to 18 months. However, this timeframe can vary depending on the complexity of the case and the availability of the court.
  • If you are able to reach an uncontested settlement with your spouse, the divorce process can be completed more quickly, sometimes as fast as 30 days or less. However, if the case is contested, the process can take longer, because you have to spend time preparing for court and then you have to wait until the Judge has time to hear your case. In the larger counties, it is not uncommon to have to wait 3-6 months to get a hearing date.


4. Some Factors That Can Affect the Timeframe of a Divorce in Illinois:


  • The complexity of the case: The more complex the case, the longer it will take to resolve.
  • The availability of the court: The court may be backed up, which can delay the divorce process.
  • The willingness of the parties to cooperate: If the parties are willing to cooperate, the divorce process can be completed more quickly.



Divorce can be difficult and expensive process, but there are ways to save money. By starting planning early and doing your research, you can reduce the financial impact of your divorce up front. If you and your soon-to-be-ex can work through the issues, such as dividing your stuff, the house, maintenance (alimony), and parenting, I would love to help you out. I handle divorces for a lot less than people fear an attorney might charge, a lot faster than you might think, and in a way that will make you feel more comfortable with lawyers. Reach out through my website or call me.