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Chicago Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > The Cost Of Breaking Up: 3 Unavoidable Costs In Your Chicago Divorce Case

The Cost Of Breaking Up: 3 Unavoidable Costs In Your Chicago Divorce Case


If there is a universal truth about the divorce process, and the court system in general, it is that there will almost always be costs involved in a case that are unavoidable to the litigants. This likely comes as no surprise to most people, even if they have little to no familiarity with the Chicago marriage dissolution process, as we have probably all at some point witnessed the stress that comes with the cost of a divorce on television, the movies, or through our friends and family members. However, while most people may be aware that there are unavoidable costs when it comes to getting a divorce, what exactly those costs are may still be shrouded in mystery. It is important for those seeking a divorce or in the midst of the divorce process to be aware of these three unavoidable costs they will likely see in their Chicago divorce.

  1. Filing Fees

Filing fees are an unavoidable cost that must be paid to the court of jurisdiction when initiating, or “filing”, a Chicago divorce petition. The filing fee, with the submission of the initiating documents, is a flat cost that essentially “kicks-off” the case and gets the case entered into the court’s filing and docketing system. Filing fees in most courts are usually around a couple hundred dollars, depending on the individual court. Filing fees are required whether a divorce is uncontested or contested.

  1. Costs for Hiring a Process Server 

Once a divorce petition is filed with the court, the next step is that the petitioner (the person who filed the divorce papers) must serve the other party to the divorce with the divorce papers. Typically, in order to do this, the petitioner must hire a third-party to deliver the papers, called a “process server”. A process server carries out what is known as “service of process”, the legal way that a person receives notice of a filed lawsuit against them. The service is done in person and the process server provides a copy of a sworn statement regarding the service for the petitioner to file in court as evidence that the other party received proper notice of the pending divorce. Process servers range in price, but often range from $50-150 for a standard server. In some counties, a Sheriff can serve the papers, usually for a fee and arranged through the court.

  1. Costs of Transcripts and Other Courtroom Expenses

In the case of a default divorce, where the non-petitioning spouse fails to respond to the divorce petition and participate in the case after being properly served, in some counties, such as Cook County in Illinois, court rules require that a court reporter be present for the final hearing. A court reporter transcribes what is said under oath at a hearing to preserve it for the record. If court rules require a court reporter at a dissolution hearing, this cost may be passed on to the party seeking the divorce.

Other Costs and Considerations

Even in uncontested divorces, there are some costs that are just unavoidable in Chicago divorce cases. Ultimately, speaking with an experienced Chicago divorce lawyer can help a person seeking a divorce understand the full picture when it comes to expenses and costs in their unique divorce case. Working with an experienced Chicago divorce lawyer can ultimately save a person seeking a divorce time and money, because an experienced divorce lawyer can strategize the best path forward in a divorce case, considering their client’s wishes and budget. If you are seeking a divorce in Chicago and are curious about the costs associated with a Chicago divorce case, or have other questions, contact the experienced Chicago divorce lawyers at Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux, LLC, and speak to a lawyer today.

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