In an effort to help minimize confusion, let’s take a closer look at what a prove-up is under Illinois’ divorce laws. I would like to define the term. I would also like to discuss the standards used in a prove-up hearing.
How is a Prove-Up defined According to Illinois’ Divorce Laws?
A prove-up is a specific type of hearing within an Illinois divorce proceeding. At this hearing, the parties to a divorce proceeding “prove-up,” or present, their Petition for Dissolution of Marriage along with their Marital Settlement Agreement before the judge. If applicable, a prove-up hearing could also include the presentation of a Parenting Agreement. The judge can either approve or disapprove these documents in accordance with specific standards set forth under Illinois’ divorce laws.
What Standards Are Used in a Prove-Up Hearing?
The specific standards used in a prove-up hearing depend on the family law issues being resolved. For example, a prove-up hearing may solely involve divorce terms affecting the parties involved. Some of these terms may include: maintenance, division of assets, and allocation of debts. Here, a judge will approve an agreement if it is not unconscionable. This is typically considered a very light standard and is easily met.
A prove-up hearing may also involve issues affecting children to a divorce. Some of these issues may include: parental custody, visitation, and support. Here, a judge will approve an agreement if it is in the best interests of the children. In terms of child support, an agreement’s approval also requires that the support at issue be within statutory guidelines. If it falls outside of these guidelines, the judge must approve why the support deviates above or below the guidelines.
Prove-up hearings are often short in duration. They can also symbolize one of the final steps in a divorce proceeding. I understand that divorce and family law matters carry confusing definitions and descriptions that most people are not normally exposed to. Please don’t let this possible confusion create more stress in an already stressful situation.
Do not hesitate to contact me if I can answer any questions or provide any further information regarding your prove-up.
Michael C. Craven is a partner at Beermann Pritikin Mirabelli Swerdlove LLP