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


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

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Aurora Divorce AttorneyNot all divorces are not the high-conflict, high-stakes battles inside of a courtroom that television and film would have you believe. When dissolving a marriage, couples have options to avoid the emotionally draining and financially impactful traditional litigation scenario. Mediation and collaborative law are two common ways to settle legal affairs without much or any court interference. They are terrific ways for cooperative couples to end their marriage amicably and on better terms. But in what situations would collaborative divorce not be beneficial? For an in-depth overview of collaborative law or answers to questions regarding divorce, consult an experienced attorney.

Collaborative Divorce: What Is It?

Collaborative divorce is a method for couples who mutually agree to a “win-win” attitude to handle their divorce with more civility. Couples looking to negotiate their marriage settlement more cooperatively benefit significantly from collaborative divorce. It is also one of the best ways for couples with children to communicate their wishes better and work towards co-parenting in a more cooperative light.

Why Would a Collaborative Divorce Not Work?

Though it works for many couples, not every divorcing couple will benefit from a collaborative divorce. Collaborative divorce requires both parties to cooperate to reach a settlement that both sides can agree to for their sake and that of their children. Some relationships have far too much conflict involved ever to see eye to eye on a settlement.


The Advantages of an Uncontested Divorce

Posted on November 21, 2023 in Divorce

Batavia Divorce Attorney

An uncontested divorce can be a blessing when compared to the alternative. When divorce is the only option, it is best to break things and divide assets amicably rather than going through a nasty contest of “win” vs. “lose.” A good lawyer can help you get through any type of divorce and explain the best course of action every step of the way.

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

Uncontested divorces are those where a couple has most, if not all, points of typical contention already planned. Things like spousal supportchild support, agreements on parental responsibilities, and how to divide marital assets all come into play in a divorce. Having every one of these factors squared away, where the only thing left to do is have the divorce finalized, makes the entire process that much easier.


Most Common Reasons for a Contested Divorce?

Posted on November 15, 2023 in Divorce

Batavia Divorce Attorney

Divorce is almost always exhausting, and adding additional disagreements and arguments on top of things will often only worsen matters. However, sometimes, these things are unavoidable, and some factors are major points of contention that need to be addressed. A skilled attorney can help you navigate the complex nature of a contested divorce and guide you toward a more amicable outcome.

Marital Asset Division

Both parties in a contested divorce may choose to lay claim to specific property or assets they feel they deserve in the split. It is often a reason for divorcing couples to have a judge split the assets on their behalf in what they deem is a fair and equitable distribution.


Batavia Divorce Attorney

There are multiple avenues couples can take to reach to dissolve their marriage. Mediation, collaboration, and litigation are all different ways to reach the same end: divorce. The right one for you will depend entirely on your situation. A divorce and family law attorney can help you reach a decision where you feel most comfortable throughout the process.


Mediation involves a third party, a “mediator,” who helps the couple negotiate multiple aspects of their impending divorce. The mediator does not have official ruling powers like a judge, but mediation still serves as a great alternative to the court process, which is often expensive and overly complex. However, a judge could order the couple to attend mediation if they feel it would be in their best interests.



Domestic violence is no laughing matter and is especially egregious when it involves children. Illinois courts pay special attention to domestic violence claims in determining the allocation of parental responsibilities. Domestic violence has a habit of escalating inside the home and, as such, is not particularly healthy for a child’s development and overall well-being. A good attorney can make all the difference in the fight for the safety and prosperity of you and your children during divorce proceedings.

The Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Both decision-making and parenting time must be decided in court to allocate parental responsibilities. Decision-making refers to the overall responsibility of significant decisions for your child. Parenting time refers to your child’s legal residence and how much time the child will get to spend with either parent.


Kendall County divorce lawyerTaking appropriate steps to ensure you are ready for divorce proceedings is a smart approach. There are also several mistakes you should avoid in hopes of keeping the process simpler than it would be otherwise. A skilled divorce attorney can provide much-needed guidance on handling divorce proceedings while avoiding a few common pitfalls.

Hiding Assets

Make sure that you are entirely forthcoming with your assets and their evaluation. Hiding property, accounts, or other assets during a divorce can come to haunt you. Everything will likely be discovered during proceedings, so you can save yourself some hardship by being transparent upfront. The same can be said for the opposing spouse. If you feel they may be hiding assets or are not being entirely truthful with their information, you can hire an investigator to dig up the dirt on your behalf.

Making Blanket Assumptions

To set the record straight, nobody truly wins in a divorce. Do not set yourself up for failure by assuming that divorce is a competition with one winner and one loser. According to Illinois law, the entire process is set up to be fair and equitable. This means you should also not assume you will receive half of everything. A judge will examine many factors when determining how to split the property between spouses.


Kane County divorce lawyerEven in uncontested divorce scenarios, it is common for a couple to still go to court for various reasons. However, this does not make these court visits an official trial. An official trial becomes mandatory when issues regarding the allocation of parenting responsibilitieschild supportspousal maintenance, and property division cannot be settled in an agreement. A lawyer experienced in divorce proceedings, and trials can help you navigate the legal complexities of a divorce and represent you in a trial if necessary.

Can I Request a Trial at Any Time?

Requesting a trial at any point throughout the divorce process is possible. Parties with unresolved issues regarding children in a divorce can demand a trial occur within 18 months of a divorce filing. One side can oppose the trial as they may not be ready to participate. In this case, schedules can be set later depending on the reasons for the delay.

What Should I Expect from a Trial?

A divorce trial involves both parties, their attorneys, and the judge. The judge will listen to both sides' arguments and then decide on the unresolved issues. Both sides should gather evidence to support their claims in all contested issues. You can expect a pre-trial where both parties and their legal representation must confer with the judge. The judge will review all the unresolved problems and offer advice on the best way to proceed so that it does not go to trial.


Kendall County family lawyerIt may be a hard pill to swallow, but grandparents do not have inherited visitation rights to a child. In fact, if a parent were to deem a grandparent a danger to their child, they could prevent that grandparent from interacting with the child. The rights of grandparents are not governed by federal law. As a grandparent in Illinois, it is always a good idea to fight for your rights to your grandchildren by consulting an experienced family law attorney.

When Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights?

Grandparents’ rights are limited in Illinois. A grandparent can only be granted legal visitation rights to their grandchildren through court-ordered visitation. A child must reach the age of one year before a grandparent can petition for legal grandparent visitation rights. Before one year old, birth parents can choose to keep grandparents from visiting or interacting with their children.

How Can Grandparents Obtain Visitation Rights?

A grandparent must petition the Illinois court for grandparent rights. To have rights granted to a grandparent, they must meet at least one of the following:


Does Spousal Maintenance Ever End?

Posted on October 16, 2023 in Spousal Support

Kane County divorce lawyerSpousal maintenance or support is the official Illinois terminology used for alimony. It is awarded after a divorce so that each spouse continues to maintain the standard of living they were living while married. In most cases, spousal maintenance does end, and the duration is largely based on the length of the marriage.

Maintenance payments are calculated by taking 33 percent of the payer’s net pay and subtracting 25 percent of the recipient’s net income. Consulting a skilled divorce attorney can help you figure out what you might owe or are owed in spousal maintenance.

What Are the Different Types of Illinois Spousal Maintenance?

Illinois recognizes five variations of spousal maintenance that the court can award:


Substance Abuse and Child Custody

Posted on October 11, 2023 in Child Custody

Kendall County child custody lawyerA child’s best interest will always come into play when a judge decides on parental responsibilities. When one or both of a child’s parents engage in recreational substance abuse, the judge can deem them unfit to make decisions on the child’s behalf. The response could see parental responsibilities and parenting time revoked or lost altogether.

Individuals with a substance abuse problem can exhibit unpredictable and erratic behavior. Your child should not have to endure such a dangerous environment. Get help for your child by consulting a child custody attorney as soon as you notice habitual drug abuse in your ex-spouse.

What is Substance Abuse?

Drug addiction, or substance abuse disorder, is a disease that affects an individual’s cognitive behavior and can potentially lead to uncontrollable use of drugs, either legal or illegal. Alcohol, prescription drugs, nicotine, illegal narcotics, and even caffeine are considered substances in this regard.


Aurora, IL prenuptial agreement modification lawyerYes, the terms of a prenuptial agreement (prenup), or premarital agreement, can be changed or revoked in Illinois. However, certain requirements must be met for changes to take place.

When considering changing your prenup, it is important to consult with an attorney. A divorce and family law attorney can help you understand the legal implications of your decision and can draft the necessary paperwork. It is also a good idea to have each spouse hire their own attorney to ensure that both parties are represented fairly.

How to Change a Prenup

Prenuptial agreements in Illinois can be changed in a few ways. One way is to sign a new agreement with your spouse, which will effectively cancel out the old prenup. Another option is to use a postnuptial agreement, which is similar to a prenup but is created after marriage. Postnups are often more detailed than prenups, especially in terms of how marital assets will be divided in the event of a divorce.


Yorkville, IL collaborative divorce lawyerCollaborative law and traditional divorce litigation are two very different ways to get a divorce. Collaborative law is a voluntary process during which divorcing couples work together with their attorneys to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. Traditional divorce litigation is an adversarial process in which couples go to court to have a judge decide the terms of their divorce.

If you are considering collaborative law, it is important to find lawyers who are experienced in this process. You should also make sure that you feel comfortable with your lawyers and that you trust them to help you reach a fair and equitable settlement.

Collaborative Law

Collaborative law is a voluntary process that focuses on cooperation and communication, so both parties must agree to participate. The goal is to reach a settlement that is fair to both parties and that meets the needs of their children.


Geneva Annulment LawyerThere is not an official court action in Illinois for a marriage annulment. Instead, you will need to ask a judge for a judgment of invalidity. The meaning is the same but the outcome is rarely granted. This is because the grounds that must exist before you can ask a judge for a judgment of invalidity are very specific.

Whether a judgment of invalidity is right for you depends on your individual circumstances. Before you petition a court, it is important to speak with an experienced annulment attorney to discuss your case and determine if you meet the grounds necessary in the state of Illinois.

What are the Grounds for a Judgment of Invalidity?

In Illinois, there are four reasons the court outlines for invalidating a marriage:


child custodyParents going through a separation or divorce will need to develop a solid parenting plan. Assuming both parents can and want to remain in the children’s lives, co-parenting and parallel parenting are two approaches to effective parenting. Both of these approaches can be successful, but it is important to choose the one that is right for your family and your individual circumstances.


Co-parenting is a parenting approach where both parents remain actively involved in their children's lives after separation or divorce. Co-parents work together to make decisions about their children's upbringing, including education, healthcare, and extracurricular activities. They also make an effort to spend time with their children on a regular basis.

Benefits of co-parenting include:


shutterstock_1506863825-min.jpgIn an ideal divorce, both spouses agree to end the marriage and work together to divide assets and, if necessary, decide on a parenting plan. However, not all divorces are this simple. Sometimes, one spouse may not cooperate, which can lead to a longer and more difficult process.

It is important to speak with an attorney if you are considering divorce and your spouse is refusing to participate in the process. An attorney can help you understand your options and provide guidance on what to do next.

Why Would Someone Not Sign Divorce Papers?

In a divorce case, the defendant is not required to sign any papers agreeing or not agreeing to the divorce. However, there are a variety of reasons why spouses may refuse to participate in certain aspects of the divorce proceedings, such as:


Oswego parenting plan lawyerWhen parents get divorced, they can make a parenting plan that says how much time each parent will get to spend with the children. But sometimes, a parent might not be able to watch the children during their scheduled time. Maybe they have to work late or go out of town. In that case, that parent might need to find someone else to watch the children.

The right of first refusal says that if a parent cannot watch their children, they have to offer the other parent the chance to watch them first under certain circumstances. This means that the other parent has the first chance to be with the children before they go to a babysitter, other family members, or daycare. A family lawyer can help you make sure the right of first refusal is in your parenting plan and that the terms suit your needs.

How is a Right of First Refusal Created?

The right of first refusal is not automatically implied. It has to be written into the parenting plan. The parents can agree to it themselves or a judge can order it if they think it is in the best interests of your children.


Aurora, IL collaborative divorce lawyerConsidering mediation or collaborative law can be a way to resolve your family law dispute without going to court. Both mediation and collaborative law are alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes that can help you reach a mutually agreeable outcome. However, there are some key differences between the two processes.

When considering either mediation or collaborative law in Illinois, it is important to speak to an attorney. They can provide more information about the process and to see if it is the right decision for you.

A Basic Overview

In mediation, a neutral third party called a mediator helps you and your spouse communicate and negotiate a settlement. The mediator does not make any decisions for you, but they can help you to understand each other's needs and interests. The process usually lasts no more than one or two meetings but they can take anywhere from four to eight hours to complete.


Creating a parenting plan can be challenging, requiring parents to make important decisions about their children's care and upbringing. There is no universal solution; however, parents should avoid some common mistakes to ensure that their parenting plan is practical and workable.

Using General Wording

One common mistake parents make when creating a parenting plan is using vague or general wording. This can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. Unfortunately, it leaves room for interpretation and disagreement. To avoid this mistake, it is important to be specific and detailed when outlining the plan's parenting schedule and other provisions.

For example, instead of saying that the child will spend "weekends" with one parent, specify which weekends (e.g., the first and third weekends of the month) and the exact times of pick-up and drop-off. Precise detail can help prevent conflicts and ensure parents understand their rights and responsibilities.


IL divorce lawyerDivorce can take an emotional and financial toll on both parties involved. For couples with income disparities, alimony helps ensure the lower-earning spouse maintains financial stability. Illinois has guidelines for alimony duration, but judges consider unique circumstances when making final decisions.

Calculating Alimony Duration in Illinois

Illinois utilizes a formula to calculate alimony duration based on the length of the marriage. For marriages lasting less than five years, alimony payments typically continue for 20 percent of the time the couple is married.

For marriages between five and 20 years, the percentage used to determine alimony duration increases incrementally based on the total years married. A marriage lasting five to six years would result in alimony payments over 24% of the time married. A six- to seven-year marriage equals alimony for 28 percent of the duration. The percentage keeps increasing up until marriages lasting 15 to 20 years.


IL divorce lawyerWhen married couples in Illinois divorce, dividing up marital property can get complicated if one or both spouses own a business. Illinois has particular laws about classifying and splitting up business assets that add complexity.

Categorizing Business as Separate or Marital Property

Typically, in Illinois, any property acquired during marriage is considered "marital" and is divided in divorce. But there are exceptions - gifts or inheritances usually stay separate property, as does property exchanged for separate assets unless they have been commingled with marital assets. Prenups and postnups can also define separate properties.

If a spouse started a business before marriage and kept it financially independent, it may stay their separate property. But if marital money expanded the business, or the other spouse helped run it, the increase in value could be marital property.

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


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

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