When a couple divorces but is still joined by financial or familial considerations such as real estate ownership or children, they need parameters in place for how those matters are handled after the marriage ends. Couples in Illinois can create a legally binding document known as a divorce settlement agreement.

Individuals who are divorcing should participate fully in the creation of this document. While it is best to have an attorney to handle the legal side of things, the individual should speak up if they notice discrepancies in the document, potential ambiguities or simply things they are not happy with. They should also thoroughly understand the document and its implications. After the divorce, if there is a dispute that goes to court, the judge will use the document and its provisions to make a ruling.

People should also avoid the temptation to deviate from the document. This might be tempting because the person wants to do their former spouse a favor or because it would be in their own interest to do so. However, it is best to view the divorce settlement agreement as the legally binding document that it is and act accordingly. Even if a person does do something for the spouse that is not covered in the agreement, this does not constitute setting a legal precedent.

Not every divorce will result in the parties having contact after the marriage ends, and even in the divorces where that is the case, there will probably still be matters of property division to negotiate. These might be decisions that people can make with the assistance of their attorneys, as it may be necessary to go before a judge. If the case does go to litigation, a person’s attorney might be able to give them advice on how to best conduct themselves in the courtroom.