Where to File and Court Costs
Spouses must file in the county where they reside, or in the county where their spouse resides. It does not matter where the marriage took place or where the marriage was registered. Residency is the only basis on deciding where to file.
Selection on where to file is less problematic when both spouses reside in the same county. Problems surface when spouses live in different counties or in different States. If spouses live far apart from each other, they may find themselves in a "race to the courthouse" situation, because whomever files first, wins the choice of courthouse, and often times judges believe that serving your spouse first matters more. So, if your spouse files after you, but serves you first, your spouse may win that argument and choice of courthouse.
Having a nimble attorney could be the difference in having to attend court nearby or having to drive far-away.
Also, different counties handle cases a little differently. This could dynamically impact the outcome and the cost of your case. Some counties are more attentive on getting the case completed and allow for Zoom court dates (which will make your case less expensive), other counties will allow your case to linger for years or insist on in-person court dates (which will make your case more expensive).
Court costs also vary by County, but the difference is minor. Here are some examples:
DuPage County. Filing Fee: $348. Appearance Fee: $223.
Will County. Filing Fee: $364. Appearance Fee: $239
Cook County. Filing Fee: $388. Appearance Fee: $250.
If you have a lawyer that didn't talk about this when you started your case, and you're finding that this has hurt your case or your wallet, you may want to seek a second opinion on how to better strategize moving forward.
If you and your spouse can file in different counties, waiting to see what happens is neither a good approach nor strategic and will cost you in the end. Call Mr. Nordini today for your free phone consultation to determine the best approach for you or your case.