When you are dissolving your marriage, it is not official until the court issues a divorce decree. A divorce decree legally separates you from your spouse and lays the outline for what will happen with your shared assets and childcare plans, if applicable. A divorce decree is different than a divorce agreement, as a divorce agreement outlines the expectations and duties of each party after the divorce.
While some states mandate that a couple must wait for a specified number of days between filing for divorce and signing the agreement, Illinois is a bit different. In Illinois, a couple must be able to prove that they have been living separately (this can be in a shared residence) for a minimum of six months before a divorce decree will be granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. Other divorce grounds may not apply such a separation period.
Just because it has all been agreed upon and settled, however, does not mean that both parties will automatically honor it. For some couples, especially if the divorce was high-conflict, it can be just as difficult to enforce the agreed-upon divorce decree or agreement as it was to dissolve the marriage. In some cases, one party to the divorce will not follow through with his or her end of the deal, or will try to alter the divorce agreement after it has been signed. A divorce agreement cannot be changed without the consent of both parties—it is legally enforceable.
If, for example, your divorce agreement states that one party will stay in the marital home, there is usually a designated number of days that the other party will be given in which to move out. If he or she overstays that grace period, especially if it is by an excessive duration, you may have to call the police to get him or her to leave.
If you or someone you know is having trouble enforcing a divorce decree, do not go through it alone. The most important step to remedying the situation is to seek legal counsel. Contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney today.