The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

Yorkville Office By Appointment

Initial Consultations via ZOOM Available

Recent blog posts

North Aurora property division attorney

If you and your spouse own a home or other real estate, and you are planning to get a divorce, you must determine a way to divide the value of the home. In Illinois, marital property is subject to division in an equitable manner if you get a divorce. This does not necessarily mean that the value of all property is split in half and given to each spouse. Instead, the marital estate will be distributed equitably between the spouses based on a variety of factors. This means that one spouse could end up getting a larger portion of the marital estate. With that in mind, it is extremely important that you know the true value of your home before you begin the asset division process. Having your home appraised is a simple way to do this.

Benefits of a Home Appraisal

Home appraisers are often used when people want to sell their homes. An appraisal is considered an official “market value” of what a home is worth, and it can then be used to price a home to sell. Even if you do not plan on selling your home, getting an appraisal is an important step in knowing what your home is truly worth. Once you have it appraised, the appraiser will provide you with official documentation of your house’s value. This document can be used as proof of your home’s value in court or in negotiations involving the division of property.

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St. Charles divorce attorney

Everyone has most likely heard these four words together before: “We need to talk.” Even if this phrase has not been related to relationship problems, it is still likely to elicit a few anxious and nervous feelings. Ending a relationship is never easy to do, especially when you have decided to dissolve your marriage and get a divorce. Whether you are the person breaking the news or the person on the receiving end, that conversation will likely be one of the most difficult and painful conversations you will ever have. It may also end up being a discussion that both sets the tone for the divorce and that you and your spouse remember forever. 

Breaking the News

Before you have the divorce conversation with your spouse, it is important to carefully consider his or her feelings, as well as those of your children to make the transition easier. Here are a few things you should keep in mind: 

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Batavia guardianship attorney

It has often been said that the only two things in life that are certain are death and taxes. While this is true, there is also one other thing that is certain: everyone gets older and will eventually need assistance with daily tasks and/or making decisions. When that time comes, it is important to have the correct legal documents and orders in place, such as a guardianship or power of attorney, in order to protect yourself and maintain a good quality of life.

Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) is a legally binding document that gives a designated person (referred to as your "agent") the ability to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. There are two types of power of attorney. Power of attorney for healthcare allows a person to make decisions about medical care or other personal needs, while power of attorney for property allows a person to make decisions about financial matters and the property or assets you own.

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Aurora parenting time attorney

Depending on where you are in your divorce proceedings, you may not have given much thought about what will happen after everything is said and done. The divorce process usually consumes all of your attention and energy, leaving you little to none to devote to focusing on the future. Most people who file for divorce have a general idea of how the process works, but what they do not know is what happens after everything is over. Life after divorce can be intimidating, but you should also think of it as the beginning of the rest of your life. You may be surprised at what the next chapter holds. 

Expect the Unexpected 

Going through a divorce under any circumstances can be life-changing, but may also be a fresh start. Here are a few things that you may not be expecting after your Illinois divorce:

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Geneva divorce attorney

At the beginning of your marriage, both you and your betrothed were likely bright-eyed and crazy in love. However, life rarely works out the way you plan. One day, you may find yourself trying to figure out how to tell the person with whom you once wanted to spend the rest of your life that you want a divorce. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same in the end. Sometimes, the other spouse does not think the relationship is over and does not want a divorce. Even though this can make the legal process of ending your marriage more challenging, you can still obtain a divorce if your spouse refuses to acknowledge your desire for one.

Handling a Spouse Who Refuses to Call it Quits

In the state of Illinois, the divorce process is started when you file a Petition For Dissolution of Marriage with the clerk of the court in your jurisdiction. This officially asks the court to legally terminate your marriage, and it also establishes you as the petitioner and your spouse as the respondent. Once you have filed your petition, you are then responsible for notifying your spouse of your intent to divorce and of the hearing that will be held before the judge. Your spouse has 30 days from the date you filed the petition to file a response to the notice.

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North Aurora parenting plan attorney

In the United States, healthcare can be an extremely complicated topic, especially for children. After a divorce, many parents find that managing the medical care of their children may be wrought with arguments, tension, and stress. Although there is no guarantee that you can eliminate all issues down the road, planning for your child’s healthcare before your divorce is finalized is a good idea. Some children may need more managed, targeted medical treatment, while other children may only need a yearly checkup. Every family is different, so putting your child’s medical plan in writing can help save you from future disputes.

Managing Your Child’s Health Insurance

Part of the child support obligation that parents share is intended to cover some basic medical expenses, but the court will likely also require you to have medical insurance for your child. Either parent can opt to include the child on medical insurance coverage that he or she has through an employer. The cost of the health insurance premium for the child is typically added to the monthly support amount and split between the parents.

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Geneva divorce attorney

Whether you finally made the decision to leave your spouse, or you are in the middle of your divorce, you may find yourself immersed in a sea of emotions. Even divorces in which you and your spouse are on the same page can be stressful. All of the major life changes that divorce brings can also cause a lot of emotional, mental, and even physical distress. It is important to consider how you can best manage your stress both in the current moment and in the future. Below are a few practical ways to handle the rollercoaster of emotions during divorce:

Give Yourself Permission to Acknowledge Your Feelings

It is entirely normal to feel a range of emotions after you have made the decision to get a divorce. After all, you and your spouse did vow to spend the rest of your lives together at one point. It is important to understand that it is okay to feel sad, angry, depressed, bitter, scared, and even relieved or excited at some points. Allowing yourself to acknowledge and express these emotions is a step toward moving on with the next chapter of your life.

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North Aurora parenting time attorney

When you created your parenting plan during your divorce, it contained a lot of information. It included what you and your spouse’s parenting time schedules looked like, who your child would spend vacations and school holidays with, and how you and your spouse would settle child-related disputes. What your parenting plan likely did not contain was a game plan for co-parenting during a health crisis, such as the one the world is experiencing with COVID-19. Unprecedented situations may warrant a change in everyone’s routine, so it is important to be flexible and willing to compromise with your ex-spouse while considering your child’s best interests.  

Working Together for Your Child’s Well-Being 

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we go about our daily lives for weeks and in some places, even months. Co-parenting is not an easy task, and it can become even more difficult during a crisis because of the stress and uncertainty that family members are experiencing. Even so, here are a few things you should keep in mind while you navigate co-parenting during this challenging time:

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Geneva parenting time attorney

When you have children, and you get a divorce, the state of Illinois requires you to decide on and make arrangements for your children’s affairs after the divorce is over. Not only do you have to determine how parenting time will be split between you and your spouse, but you also have to decide on other issues, such as how major life decisions will be made for the kids. The law states that every decision concerning the children in an Illinois divorce should be made in the children’s best interests, but parents may not always agree on these issues. In some cases, the court will intervene and often order an evaluation to be completed before any determinations regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) are made.

What Happens During the Evaluation?

If divorcing parents tell the judge that they cannot come to an agreement on any of the child-related issues, the judge will typically order a trained professional to conduct an evaluation to help determine what would be in the children’s best interests. These often include mental health professionals, such as psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, and counselors who have experience dealing with family disputes.

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Geneva collaborative divorce attorney

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of divorce? You probably think of a couple who is frustrated, upset, or hostile toward each other, in and out of courtrooms, and fighting over every single little issue. While it is true that some partners can be very stubborn and combative, many spouses are not that adversarial with one another. In fact, the majority of divorces only require one courtroom visit, which is to have a judge finalize and sign your divorce decree. Depending on your relationship with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you may be able to benefit from the collaborative divorce process.

What Is a Collaborative Divorce?

In a traditional litigated divorce, each spouse retains his or her own attorney who is present to advocate for his or her best interests. First, the lawyers attempt to conduct negotiations privately, but if there is too much disagreement between the spouses, then the proceedings are taken to court, where a judge determines the outcomes of the matters that need to be resolved, including the division of property and child-related issues such as parenting time.

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North Aurora property division attorney

Divorce is a major event that can change nearly every aspect of your life. Unsurprisingly, this is why divorce is considered the second-most stressful life event you can go through, while dealing with the death of a family member or friend is typically number one. During a divorce, emotions can run wild, changing the personality and demeanor of even the most steadfast people. It is easy to make mistakes during your divorce process because of this, but it is crucial that you try to avoid making the following mistakes whenever possible:

  1. Do not try to “DIY” your divorce. Although it is possible to get a divorce on your own without a lawyer, it is not recommended. Divorce is complicated, and an attorney can ensure you are aware of the laws that apply to you and your rights in the decisions involved in ending your marriage.

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DuPage County spousal support attorney

It can be freeing to finally have your divorce finalized. Changing your marital status from married back to single can have a big impact on many areas of your life. For instance, if you changed your last name when you got married and are now changing it back, you will want to pay close attention to your legal documents and make note of the ones that need attention. Although updating these essential documents may not be your first priority, proactively updating them can save you time and frustration in the long run. 

Legal Documentation

Although it may seem like there is a lot of paperwork involved in dissolving your marriage, updating forms can ensure that your rights are protected and you receive everything that you are entitled to. Here are a few important documents you may need to update after your Illinois divorce:

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North Aurora divorce attorney parenting time

Being a parent means you do everything in your power to give your children the best life possible. Unfortunately, spouses are not always in agreement when it comes to what is best for their children. Having differing opinions is nearly unavoidable, but these differences can get in the way when it comes to creating a parenting plan. If you are getting a divorce, and you have minor children, you and your spouse must draft this legal document, which contains vital information about parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities. Disagreements are a part of life, but a knowledgeable divorce attorney can help you resolve many of these issues.

Drafting a Joint Parenting Plan

Before you can finalize your divorce, you and your spouse must have a parenting plan in place. The parenting plan is like a game plan for how you will raise your children after the divorce. The two main components of a parenting plan are the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and the parenting time (visitation) schedule. Your parenting plan should also address issues such as each parent’s decision-making rights, where the child will spend certain holidays and school breaks, how and where parenting time transitions will take place, and how your child will be transported between households.

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North Aurora divorce attorney property division

By far, one of the things that couples state is the most stressful during a divorce is the financial aspect of the proceedings. When you get a divorce, you and your spouse must come to an agreement as to how nearly everything the two of you own will be divided. This includes both tangible items, such as vehicles and your marital home, in addition to intangible assets and debts, such as bank accounts and credit cards. The courts encourage you to come to an agreement about the division of your property among the two of you, but that is not always possible. If the court must intervene, a variety of factors will be used to determine an equitable distribution of assets.

Dividing Marital Property

If you are like most married couples, you and your spouse probably jointly own most everything. This makes things easier during a marriage, but during a divorce, it can complicate matters. If you and your spouse both have your name legally attached to items such as vehicles, homes, other real estate property, or credit card debt, it may be confusing when it comes to dividing the property. Because many of these items cannot just be split in half, some creative methods are often used to accomplish the division in a fair manner.

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North Aurora child support attorney

Getting a divorce is a stressful situation, with much of that stress stemming from the uncertainty of the situation. Once your divorce is finalized, you will have an agreement in writing for how issues will be handled moving forward. You and your spouse must create a parenting plan that will be followed as you raise your children. This may also include a spousal support and/or child support agreement, so you have a better picture of your future financial situation. However, what happens before you reach that step? During the divorce process, it is not uncommon for one spouse to move out of the family home, and you and your spouse will begin separating your finances and other aspects of your lives. During this time, temporary orders can be put into place to help alleviate some of the anxiety during the transition.

What Do Temporary Orders Address?

Illinois courts always believe that the best and most beneficial way to handle domestic disputes is for the parties to work together to come up with a solution. During a divorce, this may be difficult to do, which is when temporary court orders can come in handy. As you work to complete your divorce, you can ask the judge for temporary relief to address things such as parenting time or child support while the case is pending. When granted, temporary orders will typically remain in effect until your divorce is finalized. Common temporary orders can include:

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Oswego parenting time attorney

The ultimate goal of all parents is to make sure their children are happy and healthy. In cases in which parents are divorced or are no longer together, disagreements may arise when it comes to determining what is best for their kids. In divorce cases, you must address certain child-related issues, such as parenting time and decision-making responsibilities. Illinois courts strongly encourage couples to work together to come up with a plan for their family, but this does not always work. Sometimes, a parent will do whatever they can to get their way when it comes to the custody of the children. If it is known that a parent uses marijuana, the other parent may attempt to use that fact to their advantage. 

Marijuana Laws in Illinois

Medical marijuana has been legal in the state of Illinois since 2014. Those with a variety of qualifying conditions have been able to use cannabis as a way to treat certain diseases and conditions. At the beginning of 2020, recreational marijuana became legal for most adults in Illinois. As long as you are over the age of 21, you are legally permitted to purchase and consume cannabis in Illinois, although in certain amounts and in designated places. It is important to note that the drug still remains federally illegal.

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Kendall County parenting time attorney

The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we go about our daily lives in almost every aspect. Many states across the country have closed non-essential businesses, which include dining rooms for restaurants, movie theaters, non-essential retail businesses such as malls and clothing stores, and even many office buildings. These measures have been put into place to try to stop the spread of this new virus, also known as COVID-19. At the time of this writing, the United States has surpassed every other country in the world with the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. In Illinois alone, there have been more nearly 6,000 confirmed cases, with 99 deaths reported. Many people have been wondering how this pandemic will affect their family situations, such as parenting time, especially those parents who are divorced with kids who are splitting time between different households.

Understanding Illinois’ Stay-At-Home Order

In an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, many states have also enacted “stay-at-home” orders that prohibit citizens from gathering with other people who are not household members. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a statewide stay-at-home order that started on March 21, stating that individuals should only leave their homes for essential or life-sustaining services. Illinoisians are still permitted to leave their homes for things such as outdoor exercise, going grocery shopping, attending doctor’s appointments, and going to work at an approved essential business.

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North Aurora guardianship attorney

When you think of guardianships, you may think of a person who is legally appointed to care for a child when that child’s parents are unable to do so. While this definition is accurate, that is not the only form of guardianship. Some adults are also in need of guardians. In the state of Illinois, the probate court is entirely responsible for granting guardianships to adults in need. Illinois has some of the most progressive and protective laws concerning adult guardianship. Rather than deeming a disabled adult “incompetent,” as was necessary prior to 1979, the needs of adults are measured through a clinical report put together by the court, and their guardianship will be tailored to meet their needs.

Who Can Have a Guardian Appointed to Them?

Like other states, Illinois law presumes that those who are over the age of 18 are able to handle their own affairs. In some situations, however, a person may be incapable of making important decisions or taking care of themselves for various reasons. Illinois law may grant guardianships to people who are disabled because of:

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St. Charles child support attorney

The state of Illinois, like most other states, acknowledges that it is the duty of both the mother and the father to financially provide for a child. In situations where parents were married but got divorced or were never married but are now no longer together, child support is ordered to ensure the child is being provided with the essentials that he or she needs. Child support orders are legally enforceable orders, meaning someone can face consequences if he or she does not pay support as ordered. Unfortunately, this does not stop some parents from violating orders and refusing to pay child support payments. However, safeguards are put in place to help parents enforce and collect past-due child support that is owed to them.

 

What Happens When Payments Are Delinquent?

Once a parent becomes delinquent on child support payments, he or she will be in violation of the court's orders. If the other parent has not received child support payments on time or in full, he or she should work with a family law attorney to pursue enforcement of child support through the court. In many cases, the court will order that the paying parent's wages should be garnished, and an order will be sent to the parent’s employer requesting that they withhold an extra specific amount to cover the delinquent amount. Income will be withheld from the parent until the amount owed is paid in full. Any amount of child support that is owed must be paid in full, along with interest on past-due payments.

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North Aurora divorce attorney child issues

Each year, thousands of American children experience their parents' divorce. This can be difficult for many kids to process and understand, and it can lead to other issues that can be of great concern to parents. During a divorce, one of the most common things parents report as being worrisome is how their children will cope. While many children have the ability to adjust to the divorce with supportive parenting and guidance, some kids can still struggle. A child’s difficulty with coping with the divorce can manifest in many ways, some of which can be frustrating or confusing to parents. Here are a few signs that your child is having a hard time accepting your divorce:

  • Behavioral issues: Once of the most common signs that your child is not coping with the stress of divorce is through his or her behavior. If your child is exhibiting behaviors that are out of his or her normal way of acting, he or she may be suffering from the stress of the situation. This can manifest in a child returning to behaviors that he or she had grown out of, such as a school-aged child throwing temper tantrums. Another type of behavioral issue could be a child acting out in school or frequently getting in trouble for misbehavior.

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The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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