A divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences for someone to go through. Even if the decision to end your marriage was both you and your spouse’s idea, there are many issues that require careful consideration before you can obtain your final divorce decree. Illinois is classified as a “no fault” state for divorce, and the only grounds for legally terminating your union is “irreconcilable differences.” This means you have tried to reconcile but the marriage is beyond repair. Although you and your soon-to-be ex may verbally agree on how to split up certain marital property, it is critical to get any decisions put in writing.
Marital Settlement Agreement
In Illinois, parting spouses must create a marital settlement agreement (MSA). Every divorce is unique. For example, some couples may have children while others do not. They may also have signed a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement that clarified how to divide assets ahead of time in case the marriage did not last. A parenting plan is often part of the MSA, and it specifies the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation).
Drafting the MSA typically requires at least one settlement conference, which can be an informal negotiation or meeting between you, your spouse, and your attorneys or a more formal conference with a judge. Often referred to as a judicial settlement conference, this can avoid the expense and time spent in litigation if your divorce case goes to trial. The judge will listen to your concerns and suggest helpful solutions. Hopefully, this will help you and your spouse compromise on certain matters so you can finalize your settlement agreement.
Depending on the circumstances, the legal MSA document may outline several important aspects in your divorce, such as the following:
- Child support: The amount and duration of payments based on the Illinois Income Shares model
- Spousal maintenance: The amount and length of payments based on both spouses’ needs and earning capacity
- Division of property: How a house, vehicles, furniture, heirlooms, artwork, and more will be split based on equitable (fair) distribution
- Division of assets and debt: How to divide up savings or retirement accounts plus any credit card or mortgage debt
- Allocation of parental responsibilities: Which parent will have the majority of the parental decision-making authority
- Parenting time: The schedule of when the children will be with which parent
Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer
The divorce process can be challenging, but with the help of a skilled law firm like Weiler & Lengle, P.C., you can be assured that your best interests are at the forefront of the proceedings. It is important to learn to your rights to marital property as well as your parental rights if you have children. Our qualified and compassionate St. Charles family law attorneys understand the legal and emotional impact of a divorce. We will work hard to achieve a fair settlement for you so you can begin the next chapter of your life with confidence. To schedule your confidential consultation, call us today at 630-382-8050.