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Can My Spouse and I Negotiate a Maintenance Agreement on Our Own?

Posted on in Maintenance

Arlington Heights family law attorneyAs you go through the divorce process, you and your spouse will have many issues to consider and address. For example, you must decide how you will divide your marital assets, make arrangements regarding your children, and think about how you will manage your post-divorce life. In many divorce cases, the issue of maintenance—also known as spousal support or alimony—can be challenging, as it is not easy to “put a price” on the end of your marriage.

You might be perfectly content to allow the court to make decisions about maintenance, but it is important to keep in mind that you have the right to develop an agreement with your spouse that meets both your needs while keeping the court out of the decision-making process.

Cooperate and Communicate

Frankly, divorce is never easy, but more and more couples today are approaching the process with a spirit of cooperation. It is not uncommon for both spouses to reach the mutual conclusion that they would be better off apart than they would be if they stayed married. The spouses still care about one another, however, and have no desire to cause one another unnecessary stress by dragging out the divorce process. With a similar attitude, you and your spouse could develop a spousal maintenance arrangement quickly and efficiently.

As you and your spouse sit down to talk the matter over, you both must be forthcoming about your financial situation and your expected needs. This is not the time for false modesty about how well you are doing, nor is it a good time to play the martyr role by insisting that you are financially fine if you actually need help. It is only through honest conversation can you really know what the best way forward will be.

You might determine that maintenance is not necessary at all or will only be needed for a few months. On the other hand, you and your spouse might determine that your circumstances are such that spousal support is reasonable for the foreseeable future. If you do reach an agreement that involves maintenance payments, you will want to include provisions that address how you or your spouse can open the agreement back up for discussion if your situation changes in the future.

Making Sure the Agreement Is Fair

Before you present your agreement to be approved by the court, you should have a qualified attorney, at the very least, check over your agreement to identify any potential problems. According to Illinois law, the arrangements that you and your spouse make must be reasonably fair to both parties. You and your spouse must also fully understand the provisions and implications of your agreement as well. If the agreement is not reasonably fair or one of you does not demonstrate full comprehension of how the agreement will work, the court is likely to reject the agreement on the basis that it is unconscionable. You would then have the option of revising the agreement or allowing the court to enter an order for maintenance based on the factors and formulas provided in the law.

Call a Rolling Meadows Family Law Attorney

If you are thinking about a divorce, but you would like to simplify the process as much as possible, A. Traub & Associates can help you do just that. Contact one of our experienced Arlington Heights divorce lawyers to discuss your situation and explore your available options. Call 847-749-4182 for a confidential consultation today.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+V&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=6100000&SeqEnd=8350000

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