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St. Charles Family Law AttorneysA 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. 

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