Can I Seek Attorneys’ Fees in My Chicago Divorce?

Divorces in Chicago can be expensive, especially if your spouse is engaging in behaviors or actions that are requiring extra time with your attorney or additional court dates. When a married couple begins the process of getting divorced and one of the parties was a primary earner or breadwinner in the marriage, the other spouse (the non-primary earner, often the stay-at-home parent) can struggle to find resources to pay for a divorce. If you are in this situation, you may be wondering, “Can I seek attorneys’ fees in my Chicago divorce?” 

It is important to know that the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) has provisions for attorneys’ fees in a Chicago divorce. We want to provide you with more information about how attorneys’ fees work and how a party can be eligible to receive them in a divorce in Illinois.

Interim’s Attorney Fees and Costs in a Chicago Divorce Case

The IMDMA expressly provides for “interim attorney’s fees and costs” in certain Illinois divorce cases, which means that one of the parties in a Chicago divorce can seek interim attorney’s fees and costs from the other party, and those fees can include money already paid to a divorce lawyer as well as future money that will need to be paid to a divorce lawyer. In order to obtain interim attorney’s fees and costs, the party seeking them must provide written proof that outlines the party’s needs for the court to consider in deciding whether an award of interim attorney’s fees and costs is appropriate.

Factors in Awarding Interim Attorney’s Fees and Costs

When the court decides whether it is appropriate to award interim attorney’s fees and costs, it looks at numerous statutory factors that may include, according to the IMDMA, any of the following: 

  • Total assets – income and property – owned by each spouse;
  • Future earning capacity of each spouse;
  • Any factor that might impact the earning capacity of either party, such as age or physical fitness;
  • Standard of living the couple enjoyed when they were married;
  • How complicated the issues of allocation of parental responsibility, evaluating and splitting up family-owned businesses, and tax planning are; 
  • Whether expert investigations or expert witnesses are required;
  • Payments already made or that will be made to the other spouse’s attorney; and
  • More

The statute further clarifies that, when the court deems attorney’s fees and costs appropriate, it will determine the interim award as appropriate to enable the petitioning party to participate adequately in the litigation.

Contact a Divorce Lawyer in Chicago

If you have questions about seeking attorney’s fees in your Chicago divorce, an experienced divorce attorney in Chicago can assist you. Contact Arami Law, Inc. to speak with an advocate today about your divorce case.

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