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Negotiating Your Own Maintenance Agreement

Posted on in Spousal Maintenance

DuPage County family law attorneyIf you or your spouse has recently filed for divorce, you will soon face a number of difficult decisions. You will need to consider how to divide your marital property, develop a plan for cooperative parenting of your children, and build a new life for yourself following the divorce. In many divorce cases, the issue of maintenance—also known as spousal support or alimony—may be especially challenging. While you and your spouse could decide to leave the matter for the court to decide, you also have the ability to draft your own agreement regarding maintenance that helps you avoid a potentially nasty courtroom battle.

Working Together

Anybody who tells you that divorce is easy and painless is either lying or trying to sell you something. Divorce is never easy. A growing number of divorcing couples, however, are coming at the process with open communication and a commitment to cooperate. With the elimination of at-fault divorce in Illinois last year, the focus has largely shifted from laying blame to reaching a reasonable resolution. In many cases, each spouse realizes that their relationship is not healthy nor is it truly benefiting either party. They still love their partner enough to want to avoid creating problems during the divorce. If this describes your situation, you and your spouse will likely be able to reach an amicable agreement on spousal maintenance.

Be Open and Forthcoming

During the course of your negotiation, you must be completely honest about your financial needs and your overall situation, and your spouse must do the same. With everything out in the open, you and your spouse may reach the conclusion that maintenance is not really needed or is only necessary for a limited amount of time. You may also jointly decide that your circumstances are such that one of you needs spousal support indefinitely. A modification clause is an important element of a maintenance agreement so that if your situation changes in future, you and your spouse can revisit and amend your agreement.

Keep It Fair

The terms of your agreement must be reasonably fair, or it will not gain the court’s approval. Both you and your spouse must also fully understand the arrangement and agree to comply with its provisions. If your agreement is too one-sided or one of you does not fully understand the terms, the court may find it unconscionable and either give you the chance to revise it or enter a maintenance order based on provisions in Illinois law. A qualified family law attorney can review your agreement before you submit it to the court so that you any possible problems can be identified and addressed.

At Pesce Law Group, P.C., we are committed to helping couples find reasonable divorce solutions while minimizing acrimony and contentiousness. For guidance with your case, contact one of our experienced DuPage County divorce attorneys today. Call 630-352-2240 for a free consultation today.


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