Do I Have to Pay for an Ex's Divorce Attorney Fees in Illinois?

Updated on August 15, 2023
Updated: July 10, 2023

Whenever a couple decides to divorce in Illinois, they are often faced with the question of who will have to pay for an ex's divorce attorney fees. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer as to whether one spouse must pay for the other spouse’s attorney’s fees.

It should be noted that a court ordering a divorce decree for one spouse to cover the other's attorney fees does not automatically mean that the payment must come from the assets of either spouse. For quality legal advice contact Tommalieh Law today.

Call today at (708) 232-0017 for a free consultation to speak with our knowledgeable divorce attorney!

What Factors Do Judges Consider When Awarding Attorney's Fees in Illinois?

When it comes to the petition for a spouse's attorney fees during divorce, the Court will consider all factors it deems relevant and necessary to make a divorce judgment decision. Section 501 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act outlines a few primary factors that usually help the Court come to a determination in favor of one side or another. These include both parties’ incomes, as well as any marital or non-marital property either may have access to during proceedings. It also takes into account age and physical and emotional health, along with how complicated the facts of each particular case are.

money sitting underneath a gavel, Pay for an Ex's Divorce Attorney Fees

Ultimately, the Court’s goal is to provide adequate financial support throughout divorce proceedings. This includes interim attorney fees, which are typically payable by one spouse to another depending on various elements they will initially consider before determining whether or not such payments should be granted. In a divorce case, disclosure of financial information from both parties is necessary for a fair ruling on the fee award.

What is the Process for Determining Attorney's Fees in Illinois?

In Illinois, the court will consider several factors when determining family law lawyers' fees in a divorce decree. These factors include:

  • The marital assets and the financial resources of each party;
  • The relative incomes of each party;
  • The nature, extent, and complexity of the case;
  • The time expended by current counsel; and
  • Any other factor that the court may deem relevant.

The family law court considers the conduct of each party during the entire Illinois divorce process and determines who should pay the family lawyers' fees. The judge decides the amount and recipient of the award of attorney fees at any point during the divorce proceedings, and both parties are informed of the decision.

Does Family Court in Illinois Have the Authority to Grant Attorney's Fees at a Temporary Hearing?

In the state of Illinois, family court judges have the authority to grant temporary award of attorney’s fees at a hearing. This is done through a request for temporary relief, which is an application submitted by one spouse seeking financial assistance for their standard of living established expenses during the divorce proceedings. The court may order that one party pay the other's attorney's fees as part of the temporary orders.

The divorce judge has a wide range of discretion when it comes to determining the award of attorney amount and who should pay them. The court will consider factors during the entire process such as the financial resources of each party, parenting time, expert witness accounts, alleged non-marital property, bad faith behavior, and any other relevant factor. Additionally, judges may also take into account any marital misconduct that occurred during the proceedings.

an attorney working on her fees with a statue in the foreground

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) does provide that in certain circumstances, the court may order one party to pay the other’s family law attorney’s fees. The court will usually look at several factors when determining in a divorce decree who should pay for attorney’s fees, including:

• The financial resources of each spouse;

• The ability of each spouse to pay their legal expenses;

• The conduct of the parties during the litigation about discovery requests;

• The merits of each party’s case; and

• Whether the payment of attorney’s fees would be unfair or unjust.

In a divorce case, divorce courts may order one party to pay a specific amount of money to cover the other's legal fees during divorce proceedings. This award of attorney payment can be made in a lump sum or through installment payments and is considered a financial obligation during the divorce process. It is important to note that the payment does not necessarily need to come from either spouse's assets.

Learn More: What if my spouse is hiding assets?

What if You Don’t Have Enough Money to Pay Your Ex’s Attorney’s Fees?

Legal fees in divorce cases can be overwhelming and costly. In some cases, one spouse may not be able to afford an experienced divorce attorney. In such circumstances, the disadvantaged party can use divorce law and file a Motion for Interim Attorney Fees to get partial or complete payment of their legal fees during the divorce case.

FAQ: How much does a divorce attorney cost?

The family law judge examines the financial resources of both parties, including any legal fees already paid, to determine whether one or both parties should be responsible for ongoing legal fees during the divorce trial settlement. The objective is to ensure that neither party's financial security is jeopardized by changing legal costs and to guarantee fairness during this challenging time. The court also rules on any temporary alimony requests.

An Error in an Award of Attorney’s Fees Can Be Disastrous

In Illinois, divorcing couples may be legally required to pay their ex-spouse's attorney's fees in certain cases. This is done to ensure both parties can properly present evidence and information necessary for the court to make a fair decision. Unfortunately, if an error occurs in awarding attorney’s fees, it can have disastrous consequences for the paying party.

an attorney working on some paperwork for a divorce case

Attorney fees awarded more than what is reasonable and necessary can be overturned by an appellate court. This means that the party ordered to pay could be left with a large amount of debt and a lower standard of living due to the loss of income. To avoid this situation, it is important to have a skilled and experienced divorce lawyer who can present your case in the best possible light.

An attorney can also help ensure that the court awards the appropriate amount of attorney’s fees and will work to protect your financial security.

In a divorce, an experienced attorney is crucial. They guide representing your case and protecting your interests in court. Your attorney determines fair fees and negotiates a settlement that benefits both parties. This saves time, energy, and money during the divorce process.

Call Tommalieh Law Today for a Free Consult!

In an Illinois divorce, the court will generally not require one party to pay the other party's attorney fees. However, depending on the circumstances of the case, a court may order that one party pay for all or part of their ex-spouse's attorney fees. This is typically done when there are financial disparities between the parties and a spouse cannot afford to hire an attorney without assistance from their make the right choice and learn your options, call Tommalieh Law for a free consultation.

The law firm specializes in family law matters, specifically child custody and divorce. Their team possesses the necessary knowledge and skills to assist you during this sensitive time. For further information, please reach out to them.

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