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

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Oswego high asset divorce attorney

When you are planning for a divorce and know that you own substantial assets with your spouse, it is important to have an experienced Aurora high-asset divorce attorney on your side who can advocate for your rights from start to finish of your divorce case. To be sure, high asset divorces often give rise to certain complications that do not come up in divorces where the spouses own assets worth significantly less money, or in divorce cases where the spouses earn relatively ordinary incomes. Below are some of the most common issues that arise in Illinois high asset divorces. 

Valuing and Appraising Complex Assets

High value assets in a divorce can be notoriously difficult to value, particularly when the assets are complex or unique. For example, if you and your spouse own an art collection and all or part of the collection will be classified as marital property and subject to division, the market value of the collection likely will shift over time (and potentially significantly), and it may be difficult to determine the market value at the time of the divorce. In such cases, it may be necessary to work with an expert appraiser who can properly assess the market value.

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Geneva divorce attorney hidden assets

When you get a divorce, you and your spouse are tasked with the job of determining how your assets will be distributed between the two of you. In the state of Illinois, the law says that you must distribute any and all marital assets in an equitable manner, which may not always equate to an equal manner. There are a variety of factors that are taken into consideration when making decisions as to how property and debts are allocated, with the main goal to give each spouse the fair amount of the marital estate with all things considered. Unfortunately, this can lead some people to seek drastic measures to keep certain assets from their spouse’s possession. The most common way this is done during a contested divorce is by attempting to conceal these assets during the discovery process.

Taking a Closer Look at Your Finances

When your spouse is hiding assets from you, the allocation of your marital assets and debts is not nearly as equitable as it should be. Some people may not even know or have any suspicion that their spouse is hiding anything from them. For others, they may know of a certain asset that is not being reported or notice something else suspicious in the financial records. Here are the most common ways people attempt to hide their assets:

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DuPage County divorce attorney

In most cases, you might assume that there is really no moment to decide between an amicable divorce and a contested divorce when you and your spouse are ending your marriage. If you are amicable with one another, it will be uncontested; if you are argumentative with one another, it will be contested. However, it may not be that simple if you and your spouse choose to weigh your options and compromise to decide what is best. For instance, if you are following through with a contested divorce, the divorce process can be complicated, complex, and challenging, not to mention expensive. However, amicable divorces are not always perfect either since their uncontested nature might leave major issues unaddressed that could be troublesome later on down the road, whether it involves child custody, property division, or other issues. In that sense, you and your spouse must be very thoughtful and deliberative in your decisions regarding a divorce. Below are some tips for how to approach this important decision.

3 Things to Consider When Determining the Type of Divorce in Illinois

For many people, it will be obvious as to whether an uncontested or contested divorce is the proper pathway to dissolving the marriage, but other couples might find it advantageous to discuss the two options further with each other, reaching a compromise of sorts prior to their Illinois divorce. Here is why:

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North Aurora divorce attorney

Divorce is a difficult subject, no matter your age. Whether you are 3 or 23, watching your parents go through a divorce can be a stressful experience. Many parents tough it out for years or even decades in unhappy marriages for this very reason, thinking they are saving their children from heartache if they wait to get divorced until they are older. Unfortunately, in many situations, staying together for the sake of the children actually tends to do more harm than good. 

Negative Impact of Putting off the Inevitable 

Even though it may seem as if it would be better for your children to grow up with both parents living in the household, the conflict between parents can be more detrimental than splitting time between parents. If you are contemplating getting a separation or divorce and you have children, here are a few of the long-term consequences that staying together for the kids can have:

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North Aurora divorce attorney visitation

When a couple has made the decision that it is time to divorce, it can be a difficult process for the entire family. There are many things that the couple will need to adjust to, but there are also many things that the family members will need to adapt to as well. One of the biggest changes that is often difficult for many families is dealing with change in the day-to-day life of the child. Child custody, now referred to as parenting time, is allocated to each parent, typically in an equal or near-equal manner. In some cases, though not always, individuals other than the child’s parents are able to petition for visitation rights with the child.

Individuals Permitted to File a Petition for Visitation

Not everyone is legally entitled to visitation rights with a child. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), there are only specific people who are able to submit a petition for visitation. These people can include step-parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, or siblings of the child. Visitation will only be given to non-parents if the petitioner can successfully argue that the child’s well-being has been negatively affected by the denial of the visitation and that the child’s mental, physical, or emotional health has suffered because of it. A non-parent can file for visitation if the child’s parent unreasonably denies visitation and at least one of the following situations is true:

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Kane County divorce attorney child support

Just as the famous saying states, “It takes two to tango,” it takes two people to create a child, so it is only fair that those two people are also responsible for financially providing for that child for the next 18 years. The formula that is used to calculate monthly child support payments takes into account a variety of factors, including both parents’ incomes, how much parenting time each parent has, and whether or not either parent has any other spousal support or child support obligations. Monthly child support payments are typically paid from the person with the smaller share of parenting time to the person with the larger share of parenting time and are used to help pay for basic living expenses in raising the child. However, most divorced or unmarried parents know that typical child support payments do not cover all of the expenses that a child can incur each month. 

Expenses Not Included In Monthly Child Support

In Illinois, the parents of a minor child are required to financially provide for the child and ensure he or she has clothing, food, toys, and everything else needed to be healthy and happy. The monthly child support order helps to partially provide these basic necessities, but there are other expenses above and beyond typical support that should be addressed in your support order and parenting plan. These can include but are not limited to the following:

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Oswego divorce attorney

Across the United States, hundreds of thousands of couples get divorced each year, with more than 20,000 divorces being granted to couples who are residents of the state of Illinois. Most of these divorces are not settled in a courtroom, but rather through negotiations between the individuals themselves or their attorneys. However, there are always certain situations in which avoiding the courtroom is impossible for one reason or another. Litigated divorces can become quite contentious and intense, especially if you and your partner disagree on important issues such as child-related concerns and financial matters. If you and your partner end up in front of a judge, you may find that testimony from an expert witness is an effective way of strengthening your case. 

Expert Witnesses and Divorce Litigation

The role of an expert witness in any trial is to help the judge and the jury understand specific information that they otherwise would not be able to understand without a specialized education and/or background. In family law cases, expert testimony is not always needed and is not always permitted, either. If the judge determines that an expert witness is not necessary, he or she will not permit the witness’ testimony to be entered as evidence.

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North Aurora divorce attorney asset division

As society has changed and evolved, so has the divorce landscape changed drastically over the years. In decades prior, it was not unusual at all for a divorcing couple to hash out their issues in a courtroom. Now, divorce negotiations are usually cooperation-based and typically take place outside of the courtroom, often in a lawyer’s office. However, there are still couples who will not be able to work with one another on simple tasks, such as asset division. In Illinois, asset division is done in an equitable manner, meaning both spouses are to receive a portion of the marital property that is determined to be fair and equitable. However, a fair determination of assets requires full cooperation on the part of both partners during the discovery process.

What Is the Discovery Process?

In most divorces, both spouses will be upfront and forthcoming with their financial information and will readily hand over whatever is needed to get the process completed. However, some spouses will still try to withhold information or hide assets to keep them from being divided in the divorce. If a couple’s divorce is contested, it is likely that the attorney will use the discovery stage of the divorce to gather all of the financial information needed to negotiate a settlement.

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North Aurora divorce attorney property division

When you and your spouse reach the point where you are ready to begin allocating property among yourselves, one of the first things you will have to do is determine what is and is not subject to division during your divorce. When a couple goes through a divorce in the state of Illinois, their assets are divided into two categories: marital and non-marital property. Marital property is the only type of property subject to division and consists of any property you or your spouse acquire during the marriage, with a few exceptions. One such exception is for gifts, which can be considered both marital and non-marital property, depending on the circumstances of the situation.

Gifts as Marital Property

Most of the time, the items that you receive as gifts during your marriage will be considered non-marital property. However, there may be circumstances in which your spouse will argue that the gift should be considered marital property and therefore subject to division with your other assets. Here are a few common examples of how gifts can be considered marital property during your divorce:

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Oswego divorce attorney child support

Every child has a right to financial support from their parents, no matter if their parents are together or not. In Illinois, child support is awarded when the parents of a child file for a divorce or are no longer in a relationship with one another. Illinois uses what is called an “income shares” model of calculating child support. This means a variety of factors are taken into consideration when a child support determination is being made. These factors include both of the parents’ incomes, how much time the child spends with each parent, and how many children are being supported. Child support obligations usually end once a child turns 18 years old or when he or she graduates from high school, but Illinois law also provides limited guidance for support obligations for adult children with disabilities whose parents are separating.

Establishing Child Support for an Adult With a Disability

For the most part, child support typically stops when the child reaches the age of 18. However, there are a few different types of non-minor support that exist in Illinois, such as requiring a parent to pay for educational expenses for a non-minor or providing support for an adult with a significant disability. In many cases, adults with physical or mental disabilities need financial support from their caretakers, who are often their parents.

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North Aurora gray divorce attorney

In the United States, the number of people getting divorced later in life has risen dramatically over the past couple of decades. Some sources, such as the Pew Research Center, have reported that the divorce rate nearly doubled among adults over the age of 50 and almost tripled among adults over the age of 65 between 1990 and 2015. These later-in-life divorcees often have many more issues that they must focus their attention on, such as dealing with retirement funds and modifying estate plans, along with all of the typical issues that all divorces carry, like making the typical property decisions and determining spousal support. If you are over the age of 50, there are certain steps you should take to prepare for your Illinois gray divorce.  

Gather Your Financial Information

One of the biggest concerns with divorcing after the age of 50, also known as gray divorce, is the financial side of things. The people going through gray divorces are doing so much later in life than others. This can affect crucial assets, like retirement savings, which they do not have much time left to replenish. This is why it is so important to be on top of your finances when you are getting a gray divorce. You should have copies of all important financial documents pertaining to all of you and your spouse’s assets, liabilities, income, and expenses. 

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Yorkville divorce attorney

When the new year rolls around and everybody is done celebrating, many people often find themselves making resolutions and quitting bad habits. While some people are committed to living a healthier lifestyle or spending less time on their phones, others are looking forward to a much bigger and more significant life change. According to many divorce lawyers and news outlets, January has been dubbed, “divorce month,” because of the increase in the number of divorce cases that are initiated at the beginning of the year. There are several reasons that have been pinpointed as being possible for the spike in the number of divorce cases that are filed during the first few months of the year. These reasons may include:

  • Spending one last holiday season as a family. For many couples, one of the biggest reasons they choose to stay together and wait until January to file for divorce is simply to preserve the magic of the holiday season. This is especially likely for couples who have children, as they will want to prevent any stress or disruptions from spoiling the holidays for the kids. 

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DuPage County divorce attorney parenting time

For some couples, the last step of the divorce equation is finished when the judge signs the divorce decree on the dotted line. You can walk out of that courtroom knowing that will be the last time you ever have to see your former spouse again. However, for parents who get divorced, things are not so easy. Having children with someone creates a relationship that you cannot dissolve with a signature. When you and your ex-spouse do not agree on certain issues, especially core issues such as the allocation of parenting time and decision-making responsibilities, it can be a stressful situation for everyone, including the children. Co-parenting is the default parenting agreement that most parents decide to follow, but parallel parenting can also be utilized in high-conflict situations. Both types of parenting plans have their benefits, but an Illinois child custody lawyer can help you choose the right fit for your family.

Co-Parenting Requires Cooperation Between Parents 

Co-parenting is typically the default option that most parents automatically go to when it is time to determine what their parenting plan will look like. However, the traditional co-parenting model is not for all families. The basis of a successful co-parenting relationship is good communication between the parents and a willingness to cooperate and compromise with one another. If you do not have both of those items, you cannot hope to co-parent successfully.

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Yorkville divorce attorney parenting time

One of the most challenging relationships you may ever have to manage is the co-parenting relationship between you and your child’s other parent. The divorce process can be stressful and tedious, often bringing out the worst in people. Even if you wish you never had to see your ex-spouse again, you will always be somewhat connected for life when you have children together. Working together and compromising with the help of an attorney who is well-versed in divorce issues can go a long way in a successful co-parenting relationship.  

Getting Along for the Children’s Sake

The new year is not only a time for a change in the calendar year, but it is also the perfect time for implementing a change in your habits and behaviors. Making a commitment to improving and maintaining your co-parenting skills is a simple way to set yourself up for co-parenting success in the upcoming year. Here are a few useful co-parenting resolutions to consider making for the upcoming year: 

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Yorkville divorce attorney

Addiction is a destructive disease, both for the person with the disease and for the friends and family members present in their lives. It can be painful for family members, especially a spouse, to watch a loved one grapple with the effects of drug and/or alcohol addiction. For many marriages involving addiction, there is hope for recovery if both spouses are willing to work toward it; however, not all relationships can heal from the damages and issues that addictions can cause. It can be difficult for the non-addicted spouse to make the decision as to when and if it is the right time to divorce. Do you stay and support your spouse out of loyalty and love, or do you divorce him or her so you can place your own mental health as a priority instead of the substance abuse? The following are a few things to ponder if you are contemplating or have decided to divorce an addicted spouse.

Addiction Is Toxic for a Marriage

When a spouse has an addiction, there are many things about that addiction that can cause issues in the marriage. Over time, the addiction eventually causes the very essentials that built the marriage to break down, such as the element of trust. Spouses with an addiction tend to lie to their partners about their usage, how much they may have spent on their addiction, or broken their promises about quitting their addiction.

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Batavia divorce attorney asset and property division

One of the largest and most valuable assets that is often present in a divorce is the family home. For many couples, the house is a highly valued and sought-after possession, both for financial and personal reasons. The decision surrounding the marital home is often one of the most difficult financial decisions you will have to make during your divorce, especially because there are likely to be many emotional ties and sentiments attached to the home. There are always advantages and disadvantages to every situation, especially as it pertains to something as large as selling your family home. 

Advantages of Keeping the Home

For many people, the obvious advantage to keeping the home, rather than selling it, is just that -- keeping the home. If you have found your dream home, the home in which you have raised your children and watched them grow up, you may not want to sell all of those memories. For many parents, children are a major factor in the decision to sell or keep the marital home. Keeping the family home ensures the kids continue attending the same schools, see the same friends, and live in the same house, at least part of the time.

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DuPage County divorce attorney parenting time

Many parents who are divorced or who have never been married often worry about the impact that transitioning between two households has on their children. Some children seem rather unbothered by going from one house to the other, while many kids become frustrated, upset, and stressed. Even months down the road, transition days can be difficult for your children. After all, a day that they are coming to stay with you is a day that they are leaving and saying goodbye to their other parent. These emotions can be difficult for children to deal with and could end up causing issues later in their lives, too. As a parent, there are things you can do to help make transitions between households much easier for your children.

Create a Routine and Stick to It

One of the best things you can do for your children is to find a routine that works for them and stick to it. Kids in general do not do well when their typical routines are disrupted. Once you are settled into a visitation schedule, you should then manage a consistent routine that you can use to help your children adjust to the transitions.

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Geneva divorce attorney parenting time

When you are a parent, one of the greatest joys in life is spending time with your children. The holiday season is a magical time, especially for children, and seeing the happiness on their faces is a pleasure for many parents. When you share parenting time with your children’s other parent, you are also bound to have to share holiday time with them, too. Spending the holidays without your children can be difficult after you have been used to seeing your children on each and every holiday throughout the year. Unfortunately, having to spend holidays apart from your children is often an inevitable reality for many divorced or separated parents. Even though spending what is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year” away from your children does not feel like that at first, it does not have to be as awful as you may think. If this is your first year spending the holidays apart from your kids, here are a few tips to help you through the season:

  • Let yourself experience your emotions. You should not be afraid to grieve the first holiday season without your children. This can be a very emotional time for some parents, but the important thing is recognizing your emotions and allowing yourself to process them. This may include crying or talking to a friend or counselor about your feelings. It is helpful to get them out instead of keeping them bottled up inside, which could lead to resentment and bitterness.

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DuPage County divorce attorney collaborative law

For hundreds of years, or perhaps even longer, the concept of divorce has carried a negative connotation. Even in today’s society, divorce has become more commonplace and many people have no issue with it; however, there are still people who firmly believe that divorce is inherently negative. It is true that divorce can leave lasting negative effects on you and your family, but there are things you can do to mitigate those effects and prevent them from ever happening in the first place. One of the most basic changes to many modern-day divorcees is simply the method by which the divorce is completed. Forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as the collaborative divorce process, have proven to be effective and beneficial, especially for families with children. Unfortunately, not every couple is suited for ADR or the collaborative divorce process, in which case you will need an experienced Illinois divorce attorney to help you.  

Understanding the Collaborative Divorce Process

A collaborative divorce, or any type of ADR, is a viable option that any couple should consider when choosing a method for divorce. Collaborative divorce has been becoming increasingly popular in the past couple of decades, likely because there are many benefits that are especially attractive to families with children. In a collaborative divorce, not only do you and your spouse each have your own divorce attorneys, but you also have a team of various professionals to help you reach an agreement on all pertinent issues while keeping the negotiations out of the courtroom.

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Batavia divorce attorney property division

In any divorce, dividing the marital assets can be a stressful process. Many spouses focus on the large and obvious assets, such as the marital home or the vehicles. Couples may forget that there are numerous other assets that should be considered when coming to an agreement on property division, including bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement funds, and even everything that you own inside your home. Property division can be complicated, but things can become even more complicated when a business is involved. If you are getting a divorce and you are a business owner in Illinois, it is important that you speak with an Illinois divorce attorney about your case.

Considerations to Keep in Mind About Divorce and Your Business

When you are a small business owner, your business is likely one of the most important and valuable assets that you own. As such, you are going to want to be sure that you do everything in your power to ensure a fair distribution of the business. There are also certain things that you should keep in mind about the structure of your business and how day-to-day operations will be run after your divorce is final. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when divorcing as a business owner:

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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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