The Court Can Reject an Unconscionable Divorce Agreement
As you approach the divorce process, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse may already have most of the details covered. It is not uncommon for a couple to “pre-negotiate,” if you will, regarding the various necessary considerations before the petition for divorce is even filed. For the vast majority of cases, this is very welcome, and a much lower-stress alternative to long, drawn-out courtroom battle, the impact of which may be felt by both parties for years into the future. For some couples, however, their negotiated agreement may not meet the court’s standards, and could be rejected on the grounds of being unconscionable. It is important to understand just what that means so you can be prepared to avoid such a response from the court.
Negotiate with an Understanding of the Law
While you certainly do not need to be an attorney to reach a reasonable agreement with your spouse, it does help to have a basic grasp of what the Illinois divorce laws require. This is especially applicable to concerns for property division, and spousal maintenance. A negotiated agreement does not necessarily need to adhere to each and every provision in the related laws, but understanding what the law considers to be just and equitable is a good place to start. From there, you and your soon-to-be ex can create virtually any type of settlement you wish, as long as it is reasonably fair to both parties and your children.
Before the final decree of divorce is entered the court will need to approve your settlement agreement. For issues unrelated to child custody, support, or visitation, the court must include the agreement in the decree, unless the terms of the agreement are found to be unconscionable, or too one-sided. For example, if, for some reason, you presented a signed agreement to the court which gave 100% of the marital estate to your spouse without valid justification, the agreement would not likely be approved.
Upon rejection of an unconscionable agreement, the court will provide you and the other party the opportunity to revise it, or appear in court for a hearing. If the matter goes to a hearing, the court could potentially make its own orders for property division and maintenance, among other concerns, regardless of what was offered by the proposed agreement.
You can prevent having your agreement rejected as unconscionable by working with an experienced Geneva family law attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick and Associates today to schedule a consultation with a professional who understands the law. We will work with you to draft a settlement agreement that meets your needs as well as statutory standards. Call 630-232-9700 for an appointment.