A divorce is exceptionally expensive, both due to immediate costs and the long-term losses of income and resources. It can seem counterintuitive to work with an attorney on top of these costs, but an experienced Bloomington divorce attorney can help negotiate or advocate with the court for fair terms that help you financially. These may include fairer support payments, a better division of property, and other financial rights protections.

Even with the help, a divorce is costly. This financial strain only adds to the emotional stress of the proceedings. By preparing and budgeting for the significant costs of divorce, you may be able to handle them more effectively.

Immediate and Long-Term Financial Consequences of Divorce

It’s important to understand the various ways that a divorce affects your financial standing. Some costs of divorce include:

    1. Cost of the Divorce Process
      An uncontested divorce handled outside of court is much less expensive than a contested, litigated, and contentious divorce. A high-tension court battle may require multiple court dates to resolve, which rely on court availability. It may take years for the court to reach a resolution.A lengthy court process increases the court costs, attorney fees, and other required costs.
      An uncontested divorce may only require one in-court hearing and filing fees, and it has lower attorney fees. Negotiations, if they are necessary, are much less expensive than hearings and are more flexible. These divorces are usually resolved much faster and less expensively.
    2. Limited Income
      After a divorce, ex-spouses must readjust to having only their income for budgeting rather than the combined marital income of both spouses. This is especially difficult for spouses who were under- or unemployed during their marriage, often to care for the home or for children.
    3. Property Division
      During the divorce process, spouses must split their marital assets, which includes nearly all assets obtained during their marriage. These assets may be split according to the wishes of the spouses if they are negotiating their own separation agreement out of court.
      If spouses cannot reach an agreement this way, the court divides their assets based on equitable distribution laws. Therefore, a spouse may lose half or more than half of their marital assets, potentially including long-term, beneficial assets like retirement benefits or insurance policies.This can significantly affect the financial stability of both spouses.
    4. More Expenses
      Once parties have divorced, they may each find themselves with higher and more expenses. One or both spouses may find themselves having to secure and furnish new living spaces, and each party is shouldering the entire cost of each location’s bills. One party may also have to pay court-ordered support to the other party.
    5. Spousal Maintenance and Child Support
      Spousal maintenance is not always awarded in a divorce, but a divorce with children will likely result in child support payments.
      Child support payments are calculated to cover the basic needs of a child. Parents are both responsible for the financial support of their children, and when one parent has primary custody, the other parent must also provide financial support. Having custody of the children can also significantly impact the finances of either party.Spousal maintenance is typically only awarded if one spouse has a significant need for support and the other spouse has the ability to pay for the support.
      Support payments do not usually last indefinitely. Child support may end when a child is older or self-supporting. Spousal maintenance may only last for a few years or until a spouse has made efforts to become self-supporting.
    6. Tax Consequences
      After a divorce, ex-spouses are unable to file their taxes jointly, and the changes may also affect each party’s filing status. The division or transfer of certain assets, such as retirement accounts, can also have financial implications. For divorces finalized after 2018, spousal support is not tax deductible. All of these changes can have long-term financial consequences.


Q: How Are Assets Split in a Divorce in Illinois?

A: Assets are split in a divorce in Illinois based on what the court considers to be fair and equitable. The court considers factors such as:

  1. The contributions of each spouse, both financially or nonfinancial, to the acquisition or change in value of marital or nonmarital property
  2. Whether each spouse has dissipated marital property without notice in the last five years
  3. The value of each spouse’s separate property
  4. The length of the marriage
  5. Obligations either spouse has to a prior marriage
  6. The age, health, and occupation of each spouse

Q: How Does Divorce Affect You Financially?

A: A divorce financially affects divorcing spouses in many ways, such as limiting your resources, reducing your household income, and being an overall costly process. Some divorces are more financially impactful than others.

Whether your divorce is handled in court will change the costs. You may pay or receive spousal maintenance or child support, which can affect your finances. You could also be the primary guardian for children, which affects your finances. How assets are divided in the divorce will also affect your finances.

Q: Am I Responsible for My Spouse’s Debt After Divorce in Illinois?

A: Whether you are responsible for your spouse’s debt after divorce in Illinois depends on whether it is considered separate or marital debt. If the debt is separate, meaning it was obtained by your spouse prior to your marriage, you are not responsible. If it was gained during the marriage, it may be considered marital property. If both you and your spouse benefitted from the debt, it will likely be considered marital. Marital debt, like marital assets, is split equitably between spouses.

Q: What Is the Impact of Divorce on an Existing Will in Illinois?

A: Under Illinois law, a divorce or annulment of a marriage results in the ex-spouse being removed from a will in most capacities. This includes revocation of interest, legacy, or power of appointment. This is only true for wills created prior to the divorce or annulment. When the court follows a will, it will be implemented as if the ex-spouse died before the creator of the will. If you do not have contingent persons, then your estate may be distributed as if you did not have a will.

Contact Stange Law Firm in Bloomington

The attorneys at Stange Law Firm have helped many families in our community navigate the financial challenges of a divorce. Contact us today to learn how we can help.