If you do not know your rights in a divorce, you may not end up with a favorable settlement.

While you may have particular concerns about child custody and the family home, failure to focus on other matters may cause you trouble. The Illinois General Assembly explains the courts do not provide explanations, advice or counsel, so you should explore your options before you face a judge.

  1. Do not remarry before the final order

Until the final divorce decree, you are still legally married, even though you are not living with your spouse. Remarrying before the divorce is final results in bigamy, which could lead to serious criminal charges. To avoid a bigamy charge, you must wait for the judge to issue the final paperwork that shows the legal dissolution of your marriage. You can then show this paperwork when getting your new marriage license.

  1. Do not waive spousal maintenance

If you waive your right to spousal maintenance during the divorce process, you cannot request that the judge modify this agreement later. You should only waive your right if you are 100% positive you will not need support in the future. Consider the potential issues that might come up to change your situation, such as a job loss or health complications.

  1. Do not count on an appeal

You cannot request changes to the property division settlement after the final divorce decree. The courts do not allow appeals to the judge’s decision. You can request a modification for decisions on child custody, child support and spousal support after the finalization of your divorce.

Do note the finality of property and spousal support decisions does have exceptions. If you can prove you were under duress or that your spouse committed fraud during the proceedings, then you may be able to appeal the divorce decree. The law also allows for appeals when there was an accident or mistake or you can prove through some other legal grounds your right to appeal.