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Negotiations and divorce settlement agreements

Some Illinois couples whose marriages are ending might want to negotiate a comprehensive settlement agreement instead of going to court and having a judge rule on the issues. However, they may want to get a good understanding of their financial and legal situations before doing do.

People should organize their finances and should speak to an attorney about what obligations and rights they have under Illinois divorce law. They might also want to create a budget and think about their wants and needs as well as those of their spouse. It is important that people do not make the mistake of offering more in alimony than they are able to pay.

An attorney could give clients a sense of what are likely to be the best and worst outcomes. The clients can then prioritize their needs. The attorney can assist in negotiations or can represent the client in court if negotiations are unsuccessful and the case must go to litigation.

There are a number of issues that must be addressed, but even in a complex divorce, a couple might be able to negotiate a solution. An example might be if the couple owns a business together. They will need to decide if one will buy out the other, if they will sell it or if they will continue to run it together. While this is a decision that may be emotionally difficult to make, with a good understanding of one another's finances and priorities, the right decision might be clearer. There may be similar issues with a home that needs to be divided. Dividing certain types of retirement accounts, such as a 401(k), may also be complicated since some may incur penalties and taxes for early withdrawal unless a qualified domestic relations order is prepared.

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