Most parties are able to agree to the terms of a divorce without having to go through the trial. In these cases, the parties would memorialize the terms of the agreement into a marital settlement agreement, which they present to the judge for approval. Absent some glaring deficiencies, the judge will usually make the agreement part of the final divorce decree.
Parties who have hired qualified divorce attorneys will also present the judge with a joint parenting agreement (“JPA”), which sets out the child custody provisions. For example, the JPA will state whether parents have joint legal custody or whether only one has legal custody and the other has visitation rights. In cases where parents are splitting physical custody, the JPA will set forth the daily custody schedule. Yes, the attorney will take a calendar and note on each day which parent has custody.
The JPA is a fluid document and an DuPage family lawyer will adapt it to each case. For example, if the parties are concerned about providing for the children in the long term, the attorney may advise them to create a trust and fund that trust with marital property. The attorney could set up the trust so that it invests the original funding amount and uses the income to provide for their children.
A JPA should also contain a provision requiring either parent to have life insurance and name the children as beneficiaries. The life insurance amount should be large enough to insure support for several years to come. For example, if the children are young, a life insurance policy of $20,000 or $50,000 would hardly be enough. A good rule of thumb would be to calculate how much the children would need yearly until they turn 18 and take out a life insurance policy for that amount. An experienced Illinois divorce attorney can easily make that calculation.
If you facing a divorce, you may have questions. Do not fight alone; contact an experienced Illinois divorce attorney who can represent you with the experience and professionalism you deserve.
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