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property settlement, Lombard family law attorneysNo matter how much—or how little—you and your spouse may own, figuring out who should get what during a divorce is probably not going to be easy. You may find that you both have an attachment to certain assets, such as the family home or a particular car, which may not lend themselves well to being divided between the two of you. Regardless of how divorce may be presented in movies and on television, yours does not need to be played out with open hostility in a courtroom brawl. Instead, you can develop an agreement that recognizes the contributions made by both you and your spouse to the marriage and allocates your property in a way that meets everyone’s needs.

Inventory Your Assets

The first step toward a workable property settlement is understanding what is to be included. This means taking stock of everything you own and owe. Assets include real estate, vehicles, furniture, business holdings, investments, and, of course, cash savings, among many others. Debts are also important part of the agreement, as they can follow both of you for years to come if they are not properly addressed.

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divorce agreement, negotiation, Illinois divorce lawyersA marriage can legally end in just two ways, and both are incredibly difficult experiences. The first is by the death of either spouse, and, of course, the death of a loved one is always challenging. The second, as you probably realize, is divorce, or the dissolution of the marriage, according to the law in Illinois. For many, divorce is no less traumatic than a loved one’s death, and can even be made worse by months of intense fighting and brutal courtroom litigation. There is, however, an alternative to a hotly contested divorce process and, while still not necessarily easy, negotiating the terms of your divorce agreement outside of court may be the best solution for all parties involved.

What Can We Negotiate?

The laws governing divorce in Illinois are contained primarily in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). The IMDMA is a comprehensive set of statutes that covers, often in great detail, the responsibilities of each divorcing party, as well as those of the court, for most matters of family law. Regarding divorce agreements, the IMDMA specifically acknowledges that a negotiated agreement promotes the "amicable settlement of disputes between parties to a marriage." It goes on to specify that such an agreement may contain terms regarding spousal maintenance, the division of property, the allocation of parental responsibilities, and child support.

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Posted on in Mediation

mediator, mediation, Illinois divorce lawyersWhile deciding to end a marriage is never easy, some situations are certainly more difficult than others. Couples who are able to work together through the divorce process, however, often find that doing so leads to much more manageable stress levels and reduced difficulty in coming to a workable divorce agreement. Mediation, for many such couples, offers the opportunity to minimize the challenges of divorce while promoting a cooperative spirit that may last long after the divorce is finalized.

Is Mediation Your Best Option?

Before you and your spouse begin looking for a mediator to help you through the divorce process, you must first understand what your needs are. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method and is generally of value only to cooperative couples with unresolved issues in their divorce. If you and your spouse have already come to an agreement on most of the inherent details, it is possible that you would be better served by a divorce attorney who can help you file the necessary paperwork. However, if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement regarding important concerns, a mediator may be able help you do so.

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