Obtaining a judgment for dissolution of marriage can be overwhelming, even if the parties are in complete agreement. Negotiating and executing a marital settlement agreement can take months depending on the complexity of the parties’ assets and the issues of the case. After taking the time and effort to execute a settlement agreement, parties often expect entering the agreement to be just as daunting. However, the procedures required to enter the agreement itself can be relatively simple.
To obtain a judgment for dissolution of marriage by agreement in Cook County, the parties must sign and file a form titled “Certification and Agreement by Counsel, Stipulation and Request to Hear Uncontested Cause.” This form certifies that there are no contested issues in the parties’ case, the parties have entered into an agreement, and the parties are prepared to present the agreement to the Court. Once the parties file this form, they may schedule what is called a prove-up date. The prove-up date is the date the parties will appear in court and present their agreement to a Judge.
On the date of the prove-up, the parties must bring their settlement agreement and a Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage asking the Court to grant the divorce and enter the agreement. Other forms may be required depending on the parties’ assets and the issues of the case. At the prove-up, the parties will testify regarding the agreement and its terms. After hearing testimony regarding the parties’ agreement, the Court must make certain findings before granting the divorce. Like any other contract, a settlement agreement must be fair, reasonable, and not unconscionable. The Court must also find that the parties voluntarily entered into the agreement. If the court finds the agreement to be fair and voluntarily entered into, the Court will grant the divorce and enter the parties’ agreement. If you and your spouse feel you have an agreement, but need help executing and entering it, please feel free to set up a consultation with our office.