Divorce mediator pegs Illinois divorce costs between $35K and $70K

(The Center Square) — Illinois’ divorce rate may be lower than most other states, but it’s still expensive to untie that knot, with the cost ranging from $35,000 to $70,000.

A divorce mediation expert said couples who are no longer compatible can keep the cost of divorce down by working things out before going to court.

Sharon Count, a certified divorce financial analyst with the Center for Divorce Resolution in Northfield, Illinois, said the average price of a divorce in Illinois can range from $35,000 to $70,000. She said working with a mediator before going to court can drop that down to less than $10,000.

“It depends on the complexity, also of the financial circumstances and how well people can communicate with each other,” Count said. “You can spend a lot of money arguing or you can save a lot of money and get along and try to go through this process of making decisions together like you did when you bought your house or had children.”

Illinois’ divorce rate, according to U.S. News and World Report, is on the lower end of all states at 6.6 percent. By contrast, Arkansas has the highest divorce rate of 13 percent. The lowest is North Dakota, with a divorce rate of 4.7 percent.

While each case is different, one thing Count said was similar was a loss of trust.

“It’s common in every one of the cases that I work on,” Count said. “Someone has done something to hurt the other person and they don’t have a strong enough relationship for keeping the marriage together.”

To try and avoid the high cost of paying a lawyer an expensive retainer or what could be $650 hourly lawyer rates, she said using mediation services like what she offers before going to court will help.

“So the first thing that people need to do is to really make as many decisions as they can, if they can, outside of court,” Count said.

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