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


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

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kane county collaborative law divorce lawyerCollaborative law is a type of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in which both parties and their lawyers agree to settle disputes outside the courtroom. With collaborative law, divorce proceedings can be amicable. Eliminating litigation can also result in a more economical and expeditious divorce that mitigates acrimony. The collaborative law model encourages parties in family legal proceedings to responsibly and respectfully resolve their disputes. The best interests of the child is always at the forefront of every collaborative law conflict. Negotiations and mutually created outcomes are prioritized. Skilled in this type of dispute resolution, a collaborative law lawyer can help facilitate a shared resolution and fair divorce agreement. 

Ten Elements of Collaborative Law 

Collaborative law divorce attorneys are trained to qualify for this dispute resolution discipline. Through the collaborative process, divorcing spouses may be able to negotiate an agreement regarding property division, child custody, and other divorce matters. Collaborative law includes the following elements: 

  1. Each party must consent to the collaborative divorce law process. 


aurora child custody lawyerAccording to the Illinois Department of Child & Family Services, nearly 70 percent of child abuse is not reported to authorities. Typically, a child informs seven adults of their abuse or neglect before it is reported to the authorities. Any delay in reporting can intensify the severity of the abuse and embolden the offender to abuse more children. The Children's Advocacy Centers of Illinois (CACI) asserts each day, there are 222 reports of abuse, and one in ten children are sexually abused before reaching 18 years of age. Illinois law defines four types of child abuse: emotional, physical, sexual, and neglect.  

 For most, child abuse engenders reactions of visceral disgust and outrage, especially as children are the most vulnerable in society. Child abuse can be perpetrated by an ex-spouse, the ex-spouse's new partner, or even the child's step-sibling. A divorce attorney can help a concerned parent who suspects their child is suffering abuse to present their case to the court, modify the parenting plan, and petition for an order of protection. 

Illinois Law’s Definition of Child Abuse

Child emotional abuse – This type of abuse from offending parents or guardians is typically chronic. The abused child is endangered with impairment or risk of impairment to their emotional well-being. Abusive behaviors include but are not limited to rejection, isolation, terrorizing, ignoring, corrupting, and verbal abuses. Emotional child abusers are also sometimes known to place unrealistic pressures on the child.


kendall county divorce lawyerColloquially known as gray divorce, late-in-life divorce has steadily risen since the 1990s, and the divorce rate of this demographic is projected to triple by 2030. According to the American Association of Retired Persons, 25 percent of all divorces occur later in life. A gray divorce comprises those over age 50 who divorce after decades of marriage. Divorce at any stage in life can be traumatic for all families. However, the longer a marriage, the more complicated and acrimonious a divorce can be. 

Late-in-life divorces can instigate not only emotional turmoil between spouses but also among their adult children, grandchildren, in-laws, and family friends. Late-in-life divorces can entail complex asset division, and a divorce attorney skilled in this delicate field can help strategize a fair divorce agreement.

Five Common Gray Divorce Motives

Divorce, for some, may still be painful and shocking, but it is no longer stigmatized. Every divorce is different, and a myriad of incentives for divorce prevail among the older set. Sometimes a long-term spouse harbors regret for their unfulfilled goals. Other times a spouse has only sustained being in the marriage until their children had grown. With the increase in longevity, some of the following conflicts could provoke a late-in-life divorce.


kane county divorce lawyerMarital agreements such as prenuptial or postnuptial agreements are analogous to insurance policies as they create peace of mind. No longer a contract exclusive to the affluent, obtaining a marital agreement is now a prevailing exercise of due diligence for couples of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Negotiating a marital agreement can sometimes be a contentious and uncomfortable transaction between a couple. With divorce nearing 40 percent, a marital agreement is a practical and beneficial step to alleviate the possibility of future disputes or hefty legal fees in the event of divorce. Even though you may not anticipate a divorce, a divorce attorney can draft a meticulous marital agreement tailored to your needs. 

Five Reasons to Negotiate and Sign a Prenuptial Agreement 

A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract intended to protect each spouse's assets and property rights in the event of divorce. If a contesting party can prove coercion, the court may deem the terms of the contract to be unenforceable. For instance, if a spouse pressured the other to sign a prenuptial agreement without their review and shortly before the wedding, that may be considered coercion. Therefore, it is wise to execute the agreement carefully and identify and detail each couple’s assets and debts with full transparency. The many reasons to attain a prenuptial agreement can include the following:

  1. Akin to a promissory note, this agreement can protect both current and future assets.


kane county divorce lawyerDivorce can be difficult for any child as they are forced to acclimate to their new family circumstances. Dividing time between each parent's home can entail many challenges. Still, it can be even more traumatic when a parent wishes to uproot the child from the family hometown and away from the other parent. Parental relocation requests can cause chaos and stress, and infringe not only the disputing parent's rights but also the child's. On the other hand, relocating the child can lead to a better quality of life for the child and the parent. Sometimes the child is inclined to move with the petitioning parent for various reasons, like better education opportunities. Other times, the child would instead wish to remain with the parent who contests the move.

The best interest of the child is always the court's utmost concern when evaluating a child's welfare. A divorce attorney, proficient in parental relocation matters, can strategize and help facilitate a relocation petition or contest one.  

Facets of the Illinois Parental Relocation Law

Effective January 1, 2022, an amendment to Section 750 ILCS 603.5 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act stipulates parental relocation is permissible temporarily or until the court makes a final judgment. During the interim, the custody decree's parental responsibilities, including parenting time and decision-making, remain valid and unchanged. The temporary relocation decree benefits the petitioner as it eliminates delay and allows a trial run regarding how the child and disputing parent adapt to the relocation. A parent awarded at least 50 percent parenting time is not required to petition the court to relocate as long as the distance adheres to the following criteria. 


Batavia Parenting Time AttorneyWhether you are an unmarried parent or currently going through a divorce, child custody matters are never easy. Parents can disagree about what is best for their children, and these disagreements sometimes escalate into full-blown child custody disputes. If you are currently involved in a child custody case, there is no way to completely eliminate conflict. However, there are some things you can do to promote cooperation and civility.

Tips for Reducing Conflict and Encouraging Cooperation in Your Custody Dispute

First, remember that your children come first. It is important to put their needs above your own and to try to make decisions that are in their best interests. Of course, this is often easier said than done. Parents sometimes get so caught up in their own emotions that they forget what is best for their children. If you find yourself in this situation, take a step back and try to remember why you are doing this in the first place.

Second, be willing to compromise. It may be best to work with your attorney and decide which issues you are and are not willing to compromise on. For example, you may insist that your child stays in a certain school district but would be willing to negotiate the specifics of the parenting time schedule.


Oswego Divorce AttorneyThe choice to separate from your partner can be an emotional one, and the legal steps necessary following this difficult decision can be overwhelming. While the short answer to the question of whether a lawyer is required to proceed with a divorce is no, a lawyer is not required in the state of Illinois. However, there are certain things to consider, if you and your spouse have children together, you own high-value assets, or you and your spouse are having difficulty settling on the separation agreements, a lawyer is beneficial.  

How Do I File for Divorce?

Divorce proceedings differ from state to state. In Illinois, the individual seeking a divorce must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. After the petitioner files the necessary paperwork, their spouse is expected to respond to the petition in order to legally divide child custody, assets, debts, and child support. Those with children will most likely need to file a few additional forms. If the spouse chooses not to respond to the initial petition, there will be a default judgment made by the judge, meaning that property and child custody will be divided without the input of the spouse. 

Seek Legal Guidance

If you are struggling with any of the previously mentioned topics, a lawyer is highly recommended. There’s no need to go through the stress of filing for a divorce on your own, and because these obstacles can be difficult to navigate, legal guidance may even be crucial in receiving the best outcome in your settlement. 


North Aurora Divorce LawyerIf you are divorcing someone with a high-conflict personality, it is important to take steps to protect yourself and your finances. A high-conflict divorce can be emotionally draining. High-conflict spouses may refuse to cooperate with the divorce process, hide assets or lie about finances, and intentionally provoke you. They may use manipulative psychological tactics to try and get what they want. It is important to have a solid support system in place when you divorce someone like this. It is also essential that you work with a lawyer who understands the unique challenges of a high-conflict divorce.

Divorcing a Spouse Who Intentionally Provokes Conflict 

If you are divorcing a high-conflict spouse, there are some things you can do to make the process easier on yourself. First, it is important to understand that a high-conflict divorce will be different from a typical divorce. There will be more conflict, and it will likely be more emotionally charged. It is important to have a solid support system in place before you begin the divorce process. This can include family, friends, or even a therapist.

Second, you need to find a lawyer who understands the unique challenges of a high-conflict divorce. A good lawyer will know how to navigate the often complicated legal landscape of a high-conflict divorce. They will also be able to help you protect your rights.


Kendall County Grandparent Rights LawyerGrandmothers and grandfathers often have a special relationship with their grandchild. Usually grandparents are secondary caregivers in a child’s life but the child’s parents take on the majority of the parental duties. However, in certain situations, grandparents must step in and take on the role of a parent. Sometimes grandparent guardianship is needed because the child’s parents have passed away or are incarcerated. In other cases, substance abuse or mental illness prevent parents from giving a child the care and attention he or she needs. If you are a grandparent and you are interested in becoming your child’s legal guardian, read on to learn more.

Guardianship Laws in Illinois

Illinois law states that an adult may become a child’s legal guardian if the adult:

  • Is of sound mind


Yorkville Child Support AttorneyWhether you are the parent who pays child support or you receive child support payments, you may be interested in modifying your child support order at some point. Illinois law only allows adjustment of the child support order under certain circumstances. If you need help asking the court for a child support modification, do not hesitate to reach out to a family law attorney experienced in child support matters.

Illinois Child Support Modification

If your child support order was established through an administrative process, rather than the courts, you can request a modification through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). By default, Illinois parents with administrative child support orders are eligible for a modification review every three years. If it has been less than three years since the child support order was established or last modified, the parent requesting a modification review will need to justify the request. One of the most common reasons for a modification review request is a change in the financial circumstances of either party. For example, if a parent is laid off from work, he or she may not be able to afford the same level of support as he or she could afford when he or she was working.

Another reason a parent may need to modify child support is a significant increase in the child’s financial needs. For example, if a child is diagnosed with cancer or another serious illness, a parent may be required to pay more support to help cover medical expenses.


Kendall County Divorce LawyerMost divorcing spouses dread the thought of a high-conflict, public divorce trial. However, it can be extremely hard for divorcing couples to reach an agreement regarding asset division, debt division, child custody, spousal support, and other matters. Collaborative divorce is a divorce resolution method that allows couples to avoid a stressful and costly divorce trial while still benefiting from legal representation and support from their respective attorneys.

The foundation of a successful collaborative divorce is the participation agreement or collaborative agreement. Read on to learn about how participation agreements are used in Illinois collaborative divorce cases.

Using Collaborative Law to Resolve Divorce Disputes

When divorcing spouses disagree about one or more of the divorce terms, they have a few different options. In Illinois, spouses have the option to use collaborative law to resolve the divorce. During a collaborative divorce, the spouses each have their own attorney who represents their best interests and advocates on their behalf. However, the spouses and their attorneys work together to find creative solutions to the disputed divorce issues.


aurora divorce lawyerMediation can be a very useful tool during divorce. During mediation, the spouses are given an opportunity to discuss divorce issues like property division, child custody, and spousal maintenance and, ideally, reach an agreement on these issues. A mediator facilitates the discussions and helps the couple negotiate an agreement.

While many divorcing couples find mediation beneficial, there are many situations in which mediation is insufficient. In some cases, depending on mediation alone may even be harmful.

Mediation May Be Insufficient in The Following Situations

During divorce mediation, the spouses explore various divorce solutions, negotiate the terms of their divorce, and work toward a resolution. However, for mediation to work, the spouses must be willing to negotiate in good faith and work cooperatively toward an agreement. If one or both spouses are unable to do this, mediation may not be a good idea.


aurora child custody lawyerCo-parenting is never easy, but co-parenting during and after a high-conflict divorce is especially hard. Some divorcing spouses intentionally draw out the divorce process, refuse to cooperate, and say hurtful things to provoke the other spouse. They fight the other spouse every step of the way.

High-conflict divorce cases involving children can be extremely challenging. If you are getting divorced and you share children with your soon-to-be-ex, you will need to take proactive steps to reduce drama as much as possible.  

Consider a Temporary Child Custody Order

If a divorce case is highly contentious, it will probably take longer to resolve than a typical divorce case. You may want to ask the court for a temporary child custody order during the divorce so that both parents’ expectations and obligations are formalized. The temporary relief order can allocate parental responsibilities, or the right to make decisions about the child, as well as parenting time, or the time each parent spends with the child. However, the court will only enter a temporary order if it is in the child’s best interest.


kendall-county-divorce-lawyer.jpgFinances play a massive role in any divorce case. Divorcing spouses are required to submit a financial affidavit that states their assets and income as part of the divorce process. This information is used during property division negotiations, or if the couple cannot agree on the terms of property division, by the court during a divorce trial. Financial information is also essential to spousal support and child support determinations.

Divorcing spouses may hide property or money or lie about finances during divorce to try and gain an advantage. If you are getting divorced, make sure to be vigilant for this type of financial deception.

Red Flags of Financial Deception During a Divorce

A fair divorce resolution is only possible if spouses are truthful about assets, income, debts, and other financial information. If you are getting divorced, look for signs of financial trickery like:


geneva-il-divorce-lawyer.jpgFacebook, Instagram, and other social media websites can be beneficial in many ways. However, more and more people are starting to recognize that social media can also have major disadvantages. Research shows that social media frequently contributes to marital breakdown. Facebook and other social media websites and applications can also heavily influence divorce cases. In one survey, over 80 percent of divorce lawyers said they had presented social media evidence in court. Two-thirds of the attorneys surveyed said that Facebook is one of their primary sources of evidence in divorces.

Do’s and Do Not’s of Using Facebook During Your Divorce

Social media can influence your life in many different ways. During a divorce, it is important to make sure that social media does not negatively impact your case or your psychological well-being. As you navigate the divorce process, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Do be aware of what you are publishing online – Anything you post on Facebook can become evidence in your divorce case. Consider an example: You post pictures of a lavish tropical vacation you just took with your family members. When you petition the court for spousal maintenance, your spouse tries to block the request by claiming that you clearly have enough money to go on a vacation and therefore do not need alimony.


kendall-county-divorce-attorney.jpgMany people have been through the pain of unemployment and underemployment. Job loss is difficult for anyone, but parents often have an especially hard time dealing with unemployment and underemployment. If you or the other parent are unemployed, read on to learn how this can have an effect on child support obligations.

Child Support Obligations When a Parent Makes Little to No Income

Child support is based on the parents’ incomes. When a parent gets fired or laid off or takes a low-paying job, this can significantly influence child support calculations. Illinois handles unintentional unemployment and underemployment differently than voluntary unemployment and underemployment.

If a parent loses his or her job due to no fault of their own, they may petition the court for a child support modification. If the parent is the paying party or obligor, the court may reduce his or her child support obligation. If the parent is the recipient of child support, the other parent may be required to pay more in support.


b2ap3_thumbnail_aurora-collaborative-divorce-attorney.jpgWhen you share children with your spouse, getting divorced is much more complicated legally, financially, emotionally, and logistically. If you are a parent getting divorced, you may understandably be worried about how the split will affect your kids. You may also have questions about property and debt, child support, and a host of other concerns.

Collaborative law offers divorcing couples an opportunity to resolve divorce issues without resorting to litigation through the courts. For parents, collaborative divorce is a great way to negotiate divorce terms while preserving a decent relationship with the other spouse for co-parenting purposes.

Cooperative Discussions of Divorce Terms

To get divorced, you and your spouse will need to agree on the terms of the divorce. Who will remain in the marital home? Who will keep which vehicle? What about retirement funds? How will you divide parenting time with the children? These are not simple questions to answer. Fortunately, collaborative divorce gives spouses the opportunity to discuss these issues in a non-adversarial way.


st-charles-il-alimony-lawyer.jpgFor some people, meeting a new partner with whom they feel more compatible is a compelling reason to end an unhappy or unfulfilling relationship and try for something better. For couples who got married very young or who have been in a miserable marriage for many years, the light at the end of the tunnel of divorce can make it easy to ignore the fact that having a new partner before your divorce is finalized can have some unintended consequences. 

One of the areas that a new partner can impact is that of spousal support, also known as alimony. If you are thinking about initiating an Illinois divorce and are wondering whether you should ask for spousal support or how spousal support payments are determined, read on and then contact a skilled Kane County attorney who can help. 

When is Spousal Support Awarded? 

Spousal support is not available to every divorcee and, even when it is available, certain circumstances can end it right away. Spouses are encouraged to work together to agree to a mutually acceptable divorce decree, including spousal support payments. When you already have a new partner or your marriage is high-conflict for other reasons, your spouse may be unwilling to negotiate a spousal support agreement that feels fair. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_oswego-divorce-attorney.jpgDivorce presents a complex set of challenges to couples, especially when they have been married for a long time. While spouses usually have their own friends, a couple’s social network is often made up of other couples, church communities, neighborhood friends, and parents of children who are friends with a couple’s children. Dividing these social groups in a divorce may feel inevitable and the loss of friendships can feel like a twisted knife in an already deep wound. If you are going through an Illinois divorce and are looking for strategies to help you maintain important shared friendships, here are three ideas that may help. 

Remember That Your Divorce is Hard For Friends, Too 

In addition to the inherent awkwardness of reconfiguring relationships without your spouse around, your divorce may cause your friends to feel grief and confusion as well. While that may seem unfair, social support groups are intimately connected and friends often rely on each other’s relationships to support their own. Be willing to hear your friends’ perspectives on your situation; it may give you a chance to step away from your own feelings, which can be a relief. 

Avoid Making Your Mutual Friends Your Therapist

If you have a great girl or guy friend whom you trust to keep your secrets confidential, feel free to speak to him or her about your divorce. But for friends you share with your spouse, it is best to avoid getting into the dirty details of your relationship. It puts pressure on friends to take sides and issue judgment against one spouse, which can make them feel uncomfortable and retreat from friendship with either of you. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_kendall-county-divorce-lawyer.jpgWhile couples who get divorced later in life may avoid many of the challenges related to children and divorce, they still face a challenging set of issues that must be resolved before the divorce can be finalized. The question foremost on the minds of many “gray” adults is whether dividing several decades’ of finances will leave both spouses able to live on their own for the rest of their lives. If you are considering divorce and are nearing or past retirement age, here are three financial considerations to keep in mind as you plan your divorce. 

Retirement Accounts Must Be Divided

Any value in a retirement account that was accumulated during a marriage will need to be divided in a divorce. Some spouses do divide their retirement accounts using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, but other spouses avoid literally dividing the account by negotiating the value of other assets. For example, one spouse may wish to keep the entire value of a marital home and live on their Social Security payments while the other spouse wishes to keep the entire value of a substantial retirement fund. As long as both spouses agree to the terms and the division is fair, an Illinois judge will approve the terms of a couple’s asset division agreement. 

Estate Plans Must Be Rewritten

Because a couple’s estate plan is a carefully written instrument intended to pass on a family legacy to children, rewriting an estate plan after divorce can be a difficult or sad experience. However, it is crucial not to delay or avoid rewriting your estate plan as part of your overall divorce process. Failing to promptly address your will could have serious consequences for your estate and can place an undue burden on your executor and beneficiaries. 

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


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

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