Since 1997 detailed legislation has been in force controlling attorney’s fees in divorce and matrimonial law matters (cases under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act – “IMDMA”). While there was the promise to quickly amend this legislation to address some of the significant concerns, until 2009 there were no significant amendments. In 2016, we had new amendments to the fee legislation. The 2016 amendments continue to provide some tweaks to the law regarding attorney’s fees in divorce cases. And since then, we have had two critical Illinois Supreme Court cases: Heroy II and Goesel on the subjects of contribution awards and disgorgement. Heroy II had attempted to balance the historical ability / inability to pay standard with the language of our statute. Goesel finally addressed the split among the districts regarding whether earned fees were subject to disgorgement.
For further updates, etc., see Gitlin on Divorce: A Guide to Illinois Family Law (5th Edition).