Divorce can happen for many reasons, either because the parties fell out of love or generally do not see eye to eye on various issues. That is partly what makes the divorce process emotional and sometimes difficult or contentious. There are many issues that need to be resolved during an Illinois divorce, and therefore there are plenty of issues to disagree about.
However, discord doesn’t always have to be the case. The couple can use mediation and other tools to attempt to reach an agreement. Both parties may not be completely happy with the outcome, but often times it is better than presenting all the issues to a judge and being bound by whatever is decided by a third party.
In Illinois, to encourage settlement and amicable divorces, the law allows the parties to reach an agreement on their own and that agreement will become the divorce judgment. The parties can reach an agreement to any issue in the divorce including property division, spousal maintenance, child custody, child support and others.
A judge will review the agreement to ensure that the terms are not what the court would consider “unconscionable.” Then, if the judge decides that it is an acceptable agreement, he or she will sign the contract, incorporating the entire agreement of the parties. The agreement then becomes an enforceable order just like any other order and the parties are bound by the terms of their agreement.
Also, as with other orders, its terms can be modified later. The only exception to this rule is that, except for custody, visitation and child support, the parties can state in the agreement that the terms cannot be modified. If that is stated in the agreement, the court cannot modify it later.
As people in Illinois go through the divorce process, there will likely be plenty of disagreements. However, the parties may also find or create agreement, and that agreement can become the divorce judgment. Experienced divorce attorneys understand how agreements on divorce legal issues are reached and may be a useful resource as one goes through the process.
Source: Illinois General Assembly, “750 ILCS 5/502,” accessed March 24, 2015