A person will usually have to pay 2 fees to get a divorce in Illinois:
- Fee to file a case: The filing fees are different from county to county. Contact your county's circuit clerk to find out the cost for filing a divorce case and serving the divorce papers. At the same time, ask the clerk the cost of notifying your spouse. To find out how to contact a county's circuit clerk, visit the Illinois Courts' website.
- Cost for notifying the spouse: A person who wants a divorce must pay the cost of making sure their spouse has been notified of the divorce. This is called "serving the divorce papers." This usually involves having a sheriff's deputy personally hand a copy of the divorce papers to their spouse or, if the spouse cannot be found, publishing a notice of the divorce in the newspaper.
A person who has been served with divorce papers by their spouse may choose to participate in the divorce case. They will need to file court papers called an Appearance and an Answer. The county clerk charges a fee to file these court papers.
If a person chooses to not participate in the case, the case will go on without them. The court will make decisions based on what the other spouse says.
As the divorce process goes on, there may be other fees. For example, the judge may order mediation for the spouses. For spouses with kids under 18, the required parenting class costs money. Any additional motions the spouses file with the court could also cost money.
If you cannot pay the fees, you can ask the judge to allow you to go ahead without paying. You will need to prove you have limited income. For more information on how to ask the judge to file for free, check out Filing court papers for free.