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St. Charles divorce attorney settlement conference

Divorce is rarely easy for either party given the major life changes it brings and the potential for emotions to run high, but the good news is that most divorces are able to be resolved through a settlement agreement. When settlements are successful, couples can avoid facing the time, costs, and publicity associated with a divorce trial. Just keep in mind that if you choose to pursue the settlement approach, it is still important to come prepared for negotiations, and that starts with understanding what to expect from a settlement conference.

Important Things to Know About a Divorce Settlement Conference

As you begin the divorce process, the more you know about settlement conferences in advance, the less likely you are to be surprised by the unexpected. Some important things to keep in mind include:

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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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