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Naperville divorce attorneysIf your spouse suffers from narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, or another type of personality disorder, you may have concerns about how he or she will respond to divorce. Ending a marriage can be extremely difficult no matter the circumstances, but when a spouse suffers from a mental illness, the situation can be particularly stressful. You may encounter legal obstacles during the divorce process that are nearly impossible to manage on your own. Fortunately, a divorce lawyer experienced in handing cases involving mentally ill spouses can help you navigate this tricky situation.

Protect Your Finances  

Sometimes, a mental illness like a personality disorder manifests in impulsive behavior. This may include going on shopping sprees or spending money through a gambling addiction or substance abuse problem. There are a few different ways that you can protect your finances before the divorce process is initiated. If you are not quite ready to divorce or you suspect the divorce process will take a considerable amount of time, you may want to obtain a legal separation.

A separation agreement may clarify which spouses have access to joint bank accounts or it could stipulate that joint accounts be closed and that each spouse opens his or her own account. A legal separation will also prevent you from being responsible for debts accumulated by your spouse before the divorce is finalized. Another option is to obtain a financial restraining order. This is a court order that will freeze marital assets for both parties and prohibit spouses from selling off marital property.


Naperville family law attorneysAn order for spousal maintenance, or spousal support, in a divorce is issued on a need-based review of each individual case. There is no presumption that one spouse or the other will be required to pay spousal support. Spousal support, though less common than in previous generations, is still awarded in many divorce cases to help alleviate the financial burden of the divorce on an economically disadvantaged spouse. Once the final divorce judgment is entered, the spousal support order becomes enforceable by law and the supporting spouse must comply or face court sanctions. But what about during the divorce? Can spousal maintenance be ordered while the proceedings are still ongoing?

Temporary Orders

The simple answer is yes. Spousal support can be ordered by the court before the final divorce judgment is entered, but the order takes a somewhat different form. The process for obtaining a temporary maintenance order is different as well.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (720 ILCS 5) provides that either party in a divorce may request temporary spousal maintenance via a motion and a financial affidavit. The affidavit is a sworn (or affirmed) statement that lays out a party’s current financial situation, including all income, debts, and expenses. When filing, the spouse must also include supporting documentation such as tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, and others as appropriate. The court will also take into account the current arrangements regarding parenting time and parental responsibilities.


Naperville divorce attorneyAs 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 a 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 might 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.

Unconscionable Agreements

Before the final decree of divorce is entered, the court will need to approve your settlement agreement. For issues unrelated to parental responsibilities, parenting time, or child support, 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 that gives 100% of the marital estate to your spouse without valid justification, the agreement would not likely be approved.

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