A settlement agreement is often the best way to resolve a divorce proceeding efficiently and with minimal conflict. Unfortunately, when people are going through this trying time in their lives, coming to terms on a divorce settlement can be challenging. However, divorces that are contested and require litigation are generally much more costly, lengthy and stressful, so it makes sense to attempt to achieve a negotiated resolution.
The divorce settlement process involves back and forth negotiation between the spouses and their respective attorneys on essential issues that include division of property, child custody arrangements (allocation of parental decision-making responsibilities and parenting time), and domestic support payments (child support and spousal support). The lawyers converse with each other over proposed terms and conditions and seek to resolve points of disagreement. That phase is often followed by a settlement conference, at which the spouses and their lawyers attempt to work out the terms of the divorce agreement in person.
To make the negotiations productive, the parties should give forethought to what their priorities are and also to where they are prepared to yield ground. Usually, money and property issues can be resolved by give and take as long as each party’s general financial livelihood is preserved. Child custody and visitation (allocation of parental decision-making responsibilities and parenting time) conflicts are often more challenging but can be easier to resolve if the parties organize goals according to a range of acceptable outcomes. Above all, the spouses should not allow their emotions to influence their thinking.
Mediation may be needed to reach an agreement if the spouses cannot find common ground. A mediation session is similar to a settlement conference except that a trained neutral mediator is present to help facilitate an agreement. The mediator cannot make decisions for the parties. His or her role is simply to ask questions, offer insight and guide the conversation to help the spouses discover areas where they can agree.
After the spouses sign the divorce agreement, it will be submitted to the court for review and approval. It will eventually be incorporated into the final divorce decree. If the spouses simply can’t agree about any matters relating to the divorce, the contested issues will have to be decided by a judge.
The Law Offices of Paul Chatzky helps Illinois clients navigate the legal separation and divorce process, including the negotiation of fair and comprehensive settlement agreements. We have decades of experience litigating in the court in Chicago, Skokie and other suburban District Courts. To schedule an initial consultation with our attorney, please call our Northfield office at 847-416-1646 or contact us online.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Paul Chatzky is fluent in Spanish and English, enabling him to effectively represent a wider range of individuals and families. He is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and is listed among Illinois Super Lawyers, which is a reflection of his high ethical standards and exceptional legal knowledge. As a…
Prior to joining the firm as a paralegal, Debbie was employed by major banking institutions as a loan processor and as an executive secretary. Debbie was also employed as an administrative assistant for the Board of Jewish Education. Having majored in Sociology, Debbie graduated from the University of Florida in 1980. Debbie completed her studies…