Step 4: do it yourself or hire a divorce attorney?
Self-representation (Lowest Cost)
If at all possible, convince your spouse to agree to an uncontested divorce. Not only will an amicable divorce significantly reduce costs, but it will limit the emotional toil on you, your spouse and any children. It is best to discuss the terms of the divorce beforehand and have a signed, written agreement.
If you meet the criteria for an uncontested or simplified divorce, you are probably capable of managing the divorce procedure without an attorney. With the aid of powerful online tools like MyDivorcePapers.com you can determine if you qualify for this expedited divorce process by answering some simple questions and following the easy-to-use guide. My Divorce Papers provides the forms necessary to complete your divorce.
Illinois, like most states, encourages the use of mediation before and during divorce cases. a mediator is a neutral party that attempts to reconcile you and your spouse, eliminating the need for a divorce. Prior to a divorce filing, a mediator can also provide legal advice to help you and your spouse produce a settlement agreement. This prevents the need to hire expensive attorneys and enter protracted negotiations.
The court may recommend a mediator, or you can research available mediators in your area. These professionals do not have the final say on any issues; you and your spouse must make any final decisions. Mediators typically cost much less than an attorney.
Divorce Attorneys (High Cost)
If you and your spouse are at an impasse, then the judge will likely set a date for a trial. At this point, you will require a lawyer to represent your interests, provide legal advice and manage the clerical duties required to proceed. a divorce attorney is likely to charge by the hour, and a contested divorce could last months or, in some rare cases, more than a year.
Attorneys who are experienced in divorce cases can provide expertise essential for a desirable outcome. These attorneys will represent you in court, handle most of the scheduling and document submissions, and dialogue with various court officials. Most importantly, attorneys will handle negotiations with your spouse as well as conduct the discovery process which may involve interviews and other investigatory techniques.
- If your spouse contests the divorce, expect that they will hire an attorney. You should do likewise to protect your interests.
- Although an experienced divorce attorney is likely to produce a favorable judgment, it remains in the hands of the judge.
- A protracted discovery and negotiation process will increase costs
- A combative divorce can be especially difficult for children.