Divorce Attorney’s Fees In Illinois — What You Need To Know

Divorce attorney’s fees can be expensive and is one of the most popular topics for questions we receive from new clients in our Chicago family law practice. Namely, Will I be able to afford to pay for a divorce? Can my spouse pay my bill for attorney’s fees?

There are Various Avenues in which Divorce Attorney’s Fees Can Be Paid


When do Illinois divorce courts grant petitions for interim attorney fees?

How do interim attorney fee awards impact asset division in divorce?

For a Party Held in Contempt or if a Party Unnecessarily Delays the Case, 508(b) Fees are Awarded

In Budorick, 2020 IL App (1st) 190994, the trial court and the appellate court wrote about the husband’s legal maneuvering that led to excessive delays in the divorce litigation. At one point, the husband filed suits in federal court, which also delayed the trial court’s divorce trial. The federal court eventually sanctioned Mr. Budorick, but that did stop him. Days before his divorce trial was to begin, he filed bankruptcy, and that led to another delay. Delays lasted over four years and after four continuances, the divorce trial finally began and the trial court granted the divorce.

The wife filed her petition for fees over the delays and the judge granted the wife $50,000 in fees. It is important to note that under 508(b) it does not matter if the other party can afford them or not. When the court ruled on the fees, there was no indication as to which statute the fees were awarded under. The wife could have received attorney fees under 508(b), but she expressly denied bringing her fee petition under subsection 508(b) of the Act, and the court did not award fees under subsection 508(a) because it explicitly stated that the award was “not based on the ability of the parties to pay.” The court’s ruling stated that the fees were not based on either subsection 508(a) or subsection 508(b) of the Act.

It is hard to fathom then just what statute the court used then, and because the order was not clear, the appellate court concluded that the court abused its discretion in ordering the husband to contribute $50,000 to his wife’s legal expenses. That part of the trial court’s order was reversed.


There are many Illinois laws available to litigants to receive attorney’s fees. By working with an experienced Chicago divorce attorney, you will review the differences to see which statute best applies to your situation.

THIS ARTICLE WAS PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED AT: https://illinoislawforyou.com/attorneys-fees/divorce-attorneys-fees-in-illinois-what-you-need-to-know/

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