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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Posted on in Divorce

Getting a divorce is difficult in many different ways. It changes the lives of everyone involved, causing stress, grief and a host of other negative emotions. In addition, divorce is also expensive. Court costs, lawyer fees and other expenses can add up quickly, making the situation even more trying for both parties. Below are some of the most common questions about the cost of divorce.

What costs are involved in divorce?

When you divorce your spouse, you may pay:

  • Attorney fees
  • Court costs
  • Mediation fees
  • Parent education expenses
  • Fees related to changing ownership of property (refinancing, title transfer, etc)

How much would it cost to get a divorce without a lawyer?

It may possible to purchase a divorce kit on the internet and represent yourself for under $100. In this case, you will also need to pay any costs not including in this amount, such as the cost of parenting education classes. However, unless your divorce case is extremely simple and you are on good terms with your spouse, choosing to represent yourself may not be the best decision.

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The state of Illinois recognizes that many children may experience negative short-term and long-term effects related to their parents' divorce. To help mitigate the impact, parents with minor children who file for divorce are required to attend and complete a class. DuPage County offers a helpful summary of the parent education requirement and information about enrolling in the mandatory class.

What is the Law?

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Watching your child grow and develop is among the most sublime experiences a parent will ever know. It follows, however, that changes in growth and development also affect the child's needs in many areas, including physical, emotional, mental, and educational requirements. A child of divorced or unmarried parents may have had such needs considered during the initial establishment of a child support order, which, consequently, may require updating.

In addition to the evolving needs of the child, a support order may also need to be updated as the result of other situational changes surrounding the family. Understanding the need for modification, though, begins with a clear comprehension of how a child support order is determined in the first place.

Income and Other Factors

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Any situation involving unmarried or divorced parents can certainly be difficult. Cases in which the relationship between the parents is contentious and bitter are even more challenging. Regardless of the comfort level between the adults, however, every child deserves a relationship with both parents. Under Illinois law, visitation is one of the means by which a parent may seek to foster such a relationship.

Joint Custody or Sole Custody

In a post-divorce or unmarried parent situation, the court may elect to grant joint custody to both parents, based on an arrangement for shared parenting responsibilities and decision-making. However, such an agreement is not always possible or in the best interest of the child. When it is not, the court will grant custody solely to one parent, leaving that parent responsible for the daily decisions related to raising the child. The law, in such cases, expressly recognizes the right of the non-custodial parents to "reasonable visitation," based on the assumption that parental involvement is nearly always in the child's best interest.

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Each year, more than one third of all children born in the United States are born to unmarried parents. While certain cities and states deal with higher out-of-wedlock birth rates than others, the numbers indicate that, nationally, nearly 1.5 million sets of parents must legally establish paternity for their child in order for the child's father to be granted parental rights as set by law. With those rights, obviously, comes responsibilities as well, as establishing legal paternity also requires the father to contribute to the support of the child, often in the form of financial child support.

Paternity in Illinois

Under Illinois law, legal paternity converts a "putative," or alleged, father of a child to the child's legal father, with full parental rights and requirements. Statutorily, there are several ways in which a father's legal status can be secured:

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