IRMO Heroy, 2017 IL 120205.
Heroy provided the Illinois Supreme Court with the opportunity to finally try to provide clarity regarding many competing appellate court decisions – whether the standard is ability / inability regarding contribution petitions or whether the standards are those set forth in the statute. Unfortunately, the case retains the so called “ability/inability” standard but in the context, at least involving post-decree cases. This historical standard looks at whether one party is unable to pay attorney’s fees and the other party is able to do so. But the language of prior caselaw regarding ability / inability is not taken literally but in the context of overall relative ability to pay regarding whether payment would potentially undermine one’s financial stability.
The Supreme Court stated:
The Court stated succinctly: “Thus, it is clear the inability to pay standard was never intended to limit awards of attorney fees to those situations in which a party could show a $0 bank balance.”
Regarding attorney’s fees, the Court concluded: