How Much Does it Cost to File for Divorce in Cook County?

Uncontested Divorce Mediation

Posted December 8, 2018

If you’re planning to get divorced, you undoubtedly have a lot of questions on your mind. While it certainly isn’t at the top of the list, one question you probably have is: “How much does it cost?”

Even if you reach an uncontested divorce — meaning that both you and your spouse agree to the divorce and plan to remain amicable during the proceedings — a traditional, courtroom divorce with attorneys for both sides who are charging by the hour can prove quite costly. Fortunately, the traditional way of doing things isn’t the only way when it comes to divorce in Cook County. Uncontested divorce through mediation can be a cost effective alternative.

What Is Mediation?

divorce attorney chicagoAt Split Simple, we believe that divorces are best handled in a calm environment, with a productive exchange of ideas. However, the adversarial dynamic of the traditional divorce is not conducive to calm environments and productive exchanges. Instead, it involves attorneys for each “side” fighting to serve their clients interests.

Mediation with an attorney-mediator provides the following benefits:

  • The attorney-mediator is not on anyone’s “side.” Instead, the mediator focuses on guiding both spouses through a productive exchange of ideas with the goal of coming up for solutions that work for each one of them.
  • Mediation allows for, and encourages, the engagement of each party in the process. This fosters a sense of ownership for the process, and the final agreement by both spouses.
  • An attorney-mediator is experienced in family law, which helps in ensuring that all of the issues that need to get resolved are mentioned, discussed, and included in the divorce agreement.
  • When hot-button issues arise, an attorney-mediator is able to help keep the focus on the decisions that need to be made, rather than allowing the conversation to turn to past grievances.
  • Split Simple’s fixed pricing plan for mediated uncontested divorce allows you to know upfront how much your divorce mediation in Chicago will cost, so that you can budget for the expense. We guarantee that the agreement that is reached during mediation will be accepted by the court, or else there will be no additional costs in order to achieve that court approval. This provides you with assurance that the process will work.

The Process

There are five steps to our uncontested divorce process:

  1. Each spouse will receive a free phone consultation with the attorney-mediator. This consultation will provide an opportunity to discuss which fixed pricing plan works for you, and to schedule a time and location for the mediation to take place.
  2. Before the first mediation session, you and your spouse will be provided with a “Critical Mediation Checklist” which outlines the topics to be discussed in mediation, as well as a financial questionnaire that will be used by your mediator to get an idea of what your estate consists of. This information will save time — and money — during the mediation process.
  3. Two hour mediation sessions that are facilitated by your attorney-mediator will help you and your spouse to work through an intelligent allocation of assets and debts. You will have the use of a large screen monitor during these sessions in order to keep the product of the discussion in front of you. Other items that are discussed and agreed upon during these mediation sessions include developing a parenting plan, if applicable, as well as learning about the tax impacts of the divorce.
  4. Following each session, you and your spouse will receive a copy of the topics you discussed and the tentative agreements that you’ve reached. Questions are welcome between sessions, and you can rest assured that your mediator will be available to you until your divorce mediation in Chicago is finalized.
  5. Your mediator will provide a comprehensive separation agreement and parenting plan that will be available for your review. Once you are satisfied that you understand the agreement in its entirety, you will sign this agreement in the presence of your mediator. You will leave the final document review session with all of the documents necessary to submit to the court and our guarantee of the court’s acceptance.

How Much Does It Cost?

Split Simple offers the following fixed-price plans, with prices listed per spouse:

  • Basic: The basic mediation plan costs $1,250 with children, or $1,100 without children. This plan includes one two-hour mediation session, all document preparation fees, and a final document review session. This plan is appropriate for simple estates and a straight-forward support plan.
  • Standard: The standard mediation plan costs $1,700 with children, or $1,500 without children. It includes two two-hour mediation sessions, all document preparation fees, and a final document review session. If you have a typical estate, spouses with differing incomes, disagreement on some issues, and need division of retirement account, the standard mediation plan may be appropriate for you.
  • Premium: The premium plan costs $2,100 with children, $1,900 without children. This plan includes three two-hour mediation sessions, all document preparation fees, and a final document review session. This plan is appropriate for those with high net worth estates, multiple asset transfers and co-ownership, a complex support plan, and/or significant areas of disagreement.

There is no retainer required, the plans are pay-as-you-go. Because the prices are fixed, there is no hourly billing. Each plan provides the Critical Mediation checklist, the financial questionnaire, free consultation with each spouse, and continuing support for court communications and interactions until the divorce is finalized.

Take the First Step

While divorce mediation in Chicago won’t remove the intense emotions associated with divorce, it can provide you with the ability to save time and money, while enabling you and your spouse to craft a fair and equitable agreement that both of you have worked to create. Split Simple offers a transparent process, a fixed price, and guarantee of court acceptance of your final documents so that you can budget for your divorce mediation in Chicago and have the peace of mind that the agreement will be worked out sooner rather than later. For more information and to schedule your free consultation, contact Split Simple today.

Split Simple
Two Prudential Plaza
180 North Stetson Avenue #3500
Chicago, IL 60601