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

oswego divorce lawyerFor some spouses who decide to get divorced, the final decision is often the hardest part - once that has been made, the divorce process is often amicable and flows fairly smoothly. Spouses who wish each other well may pursue an uncontested divorce in which they agree on all or most issues, believing that is the easiest, most fair, and least expensive of their options. 

Although an uncontested divorce is a great idea for some people, it is still a legal process and has potential pitfalls. If not done correctly, an uncontested divorce can become a drawn-out process that has major impacts on a divorcee’s life down the road. Even if you anticipate agreeing with your spouse on everything, a skilled Illinois divorce attorney is the best person to help you through any type of divorce. 

What are the Benefits of an Uncontested Divorce? 

An uncontested divorce can benefit spouses who can get along and compromise on important issues like parenting time, child support, spousal support, and asset division. It can also be a great choice for spouses who have been married for a short time and who share no children or significant assets. 

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Illinois family law attorneyDivorce is emotionally draining for everyone involved, but for children it can be especially difficult. Parents frequently disagree about how to share parental responsibilities and parenting time, and these conflicts often play out in front of children. 

Divorcing parents who struggle to compromise on issues such as where their child will live, where the child will spend holidays, and who has the right to make major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing may find themselves in divorce court litigating their disagreements in a trial. Unfortunately, when this happens, the child’s best interests may be compromised in light of the parent's conflict and the child may be more involved in the divorce proceedings than the parents had hoped. 

What Happens When Parents Cannot Resolve Custody Issues in Divorce? 

In a perfect world, all families would be able to make the divorce process smooth and amicable using mediation or collaborative divorce. In real life, however, parents who are unable to resolve their differences generally end up having a judge decide the issues for them. 

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aurora divorce lawyerGoing through a divorce in Illinois is not easy and can take a long time to complete. If you are in the final stages of the divorce process, you may want to breathe a sigh of relief. You soon will not have to attend meetings with your lawyer or court dates. However, there are still several things you may have to complete to move on with your life.

What You Should Do After Your Divorce is Finalized

The major obstacles are over in your divorce, but you still may have some finishing touches to take care of. Here are a few steps to take after your divorce is finalized.

  • Change your name. Many women go back to their maiden name after getting divorced. If this is what you want to do, you must update your driver’s license, social security card, insurance policies, and other documents that include your full name.

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 aurora divorce lawyerIf you want to get a divorce and your spouse earns a significantly higher salary than you, you may be able to receive alimony. Also known as spousal support, alimony is intended to help financially support a spouse until he or she has gained the necessary education or training to obtain a higher-paying job. In the majority of cases, alimony is temporary. However, permanent alimony is sometimes awarded. 

Ending Spousal Support Payments in Illinois

In Illinois, the duration of alimony is usually based on the length of the marriage. The longer the marriage, the longer a spouse may recieve maintenance payments. If the couple was married 20 years or longer, the recipient may be permanently entitled to maintenance. However, there are certain circumstances in which spousal maintenance terminates:

  • Cohabitation - If you move in with a romantic partner, your ex-spouse will no longer be obligated to pay you alimony. Living with someone as a platonic roommate is not sufficient enough to stop support payments. The paying spouse will have to contact the court and request a maintenance termination on the basis of cohabitation. 

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 kane county divorce lawyerA divorce does not always get settled easily. There are various factors that can complicate a divorce, such as a family business. If you and your spouse own a business together and plan to get divorced, it is important to understand how it could potentially impact proceedings.

Negotiating a Settlement With Your Spouse

Ideally, divorcing couples will come to a fair agreement on dividing their business. Once you and your spouse have determined the value of your business, try to negotiate a settlement. It is less costly and stressful than letting the process drag out in litigation. For instance, you may decide to buy out the other party or continue to run the business with your spouse after the divorce. Another option is to sell the business and divide the profits with each other. A divorce lawyer with experience handling business assets in a divorce can represent you during property division negotiations and ensure that your rights are protected. 

Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on how your business should be divided, the court will have to make the decision. The first thing a judge will look at is whether the business is marital or nonmarital property. Marital property is acquired during a couple’s marriage, while nonmarital property is acquired before a couple ties the knot. If the business was acquired before your marriage, it will typically go to the partner who owned it first. However, it is possible that a business owned before the marriage may be classified as a marital asset if joint funds were used to grow the business or the other spouse contributed to the business in any way. 

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 aurora child support lawyer Child support is designed to help pay for housing, food, education, and other necessities for children. In Illinois, how much a parent pays for child support is primarily based on the parents’ net incomes. Child support payments are calculated in such a way that parents should be able to afford their monthly payments. However, sometimes parents fall behind on their child support payments for one reason or another. If you can longer afford your child support payments, you might wonder how you should handle the situation.

Consequences for Not Paying Child Support in Illinois

Parents who willfully fail to pay child support can face legal problems in Illinois. Here are several consequences a judge may impose on them:

  • Wage garnishment- If a parent is behind on child support payments, the other parent can contact the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) and ask them to call their employer and have the payments deducted from their paychecks.

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aurora child custody lawyerSubstance abuse is a huge problem in the United States. In fact, nearly 21 million Americans suffer from addiction. Whether it is alcohol, cocaine, prescription pills, or another substance, addiction can negatively impact many areas of a person’s life, including his or her ability to care for children. If you are currently in the middle of a child custody battle and you or the other parent suffer from addiction, a child custody lawyer can help you understand how best to proceed.

Parental Responsibility Restrictions a Judge May Impose

Parents who abuse alcohol and controlled substances may have difficulty taking proper care of a child. In some cases, they may even put the child in danger. However, some parents who suffer from addiction are actively taking steps to keep the addiction under control so it does not affect their parenting. 

The court recognizes has the authority to restrict parenting time if there is evidence that the parent’s substance abuse has negatively affected the child’s physical or mental health.

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kane county child custody lawyerChild custody disputes tend to be difficult for everyone involved. Parents who disagree about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time can sometimes reach an agreement through family law mediation. Others negotiate an agreement through their lawyers. However, some parents simply cannot find a workable solution to child-related disputes. In some cases, avoiding the following mistakes can help you avoid making the situation worse than it already is.

Mistakes Parents Often Make During Child Custody Battles

When you are in the middle of a child custody battle, it is critical to think rationally and not allow your emotions to take over. Otherwise, you could make costly mistakes, like these:

  • Allowing your anger to take over - If you and your ex ended things on bad terms, you may feel a lot of anger and resentment towards him or her. While it is natural to go through these emotions, it is important not to lose your cool. If you get into a heated confrontation with your ex, it may negatively affect your child custody case. 

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Posted on in Annulment


Aurora divorce lawyer for annulmentsWhen a couple gets married and then at some point decided that the marriage was a mistake, the usual course of action they take is to file for divorce. However, there are some circumstances where obtaining an annulment would be more appropriate. While getting a divorce is usually an easier process than getting an annulment, it does not void the marriage out as an annulment does. Knowing the difference between the two actions and speaking to an Aurora divorce attorney can help you decide which option is the best for your situation.

What Is Required in Order to Obtain an Annulment?

In Illinois, an annulment is also referred to as a declaration of invalidity of marriage. There are specific requirements that must be met in order for the marriage to qualify for an annulment. These are:

  • One of the spouses was underage at the time of the marriage and did not obtain the consent of a parent or legal guardian.

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Aurora collaborative divorce lawyerWhen people think of a couple going through a divorce, it is not uncommon for them to imagine the two spouses bitterly fighting over custody of their children, the family home, bank accounts, and all the other items in the marital estate. While that may have historically been the scenario for many divorces, the past few years have seen a change in how some couples approach ending their marriage. Instead of a knock-down, drag-out court battle, they are turning to a collaborative approach, focusing on an amicable and negotiated divorce. If you and your spouse have decided to divorce, a Yorkville, IL divorce lawyer can explain how a collaborative divorce may benefit you.

How Does a Collaborative Divorce Work?

A collaborative divorce is centered on using a dispute-resolution process where the couple, along with their attorneys, work together and negotiate in a cooperative manner – rather than an adversarial one – in order to come up with an equitable divorce settlement. The goal is to avoid going to court and having a traditional divorce trial where a judge decides how issues like child custody, spousal support, marital assets, and marital debts will be addressed.

One of the benefits of collaborative divorce over a traditional divorce is the couple has more control over the decisions that will affect their family’s life. Cost and time are also benefits since collaborative divorce is usually less expensive and often quicker than traditional divorce because there is no need for interrogatories, depositions, and hearings.

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Aurora divorce attorney - Child Tax CreditsWhen a couple with children divorces, that divorce does not end their involvement with each other. While they may no longer live under the same roof, they still need to co-parent in the most cooperative way possible. Unfortunately, there are many issues that can arise where the disagreements are so strong, the couple ends up back in family court.

One area where this often occurs is when it comes to medical decisions for the child. And now that COVID-19 vaccines are available for children 12 years of age and older, the divide between people who are for and those against the vaccine has made its way into parenting decisions.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Several years ago, Illinois lawmakers did a complete revamping of the state’s divorce and child custody laws. One of those changes even involved eliminating the term “child custody” and instead referring to it as the allocation of parental responsibilities. The scope of these parental responsibilities involves both parenting time and significant decision-making on behalf of the child. However, these two elements are treated separately.

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Aurora divorce and finances lawyerOne of the most common causes of divorce in the United States is finances. In fact, almost 40 percent of married or partnered couples say that money causes heavy stress in their relationships. While money problems can contribute to divorce, they can also be one of the reasons why unhappy couples stay together. The thought of going from a two-income household to a one-income household can be daunting, as can the thought of dividing up assets, property, and marital debt.

While divorce can result in some financial issues that an individual may need to adjust to, there are several areas where your financial situation may actually get a boost following a divorce. If you are considering a divorce but are concerned about how you will be financially impacted, a Kane County divorce attorney can help.

Financial Independence

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Aurora divorce attorney - Child Tax CreditsOn July 15, families in Illinois and around the country began receiving direct deposits or checks for advanced child tax credits for the tax year 2021. These payments are part of the American Rescue Plan. While the advanced payments are a welcome financial relief for many families, some parents are wondering how the IRS will ensure that the parent who receives the advanced tax credit funds is the same parent who claims the child as a dependent in situations where the parents are no longer together, and a parenting plan has been established.

American Rescue Plan

In March, President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. The plan was Washington D.C. lawmakers’ response to helping people financially recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. One provision in the plan calls for an increase in the child tax credit. For children between the ages of 6 to 17, the credit will be $3,000. For children under 6, the credit will be $3,600. The provision also calls for parents to receive advance payments of up to half the credit amount they will be entitled to for tax year 2021.

The move was lauded by both family advocates and economists who say that the increase and advanced payments will cut child poverty in half in both Illinois and throughout the country.

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Aurora divorce attorney - COVID 19The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on many areas of our lives. The lockdowns people across the country had to deal with and the inability to visit and spend time with loved ones led to many people re-evaluating their lives and changing what should and should not be priorities. Initially, statistics showed that the divorce rate was dropping during the first several months of the pandemic. It was thought that the forced lockdowns were bringing many couples closer together instead of driving them apart.

Fifteen months later, however, new statistics are showing that may have been a misconception as the divorce rate begins climbing upwards again.

Initial Drop in Divorce

There are many reasons the divorce rate may have dropped during the height of the pandemic and lockdowns. While some couples may have become closer, for others, being isolated at home with a spouse during the pandemic ended up putting a keener focus on marital issues a couple had that they may have been unaware of or chose to ignore.

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Aurora divorce lawyer - how to copeWhen you are going through a divorce, you may experience a wide range of emotions. One day you may be furious with your ex and the next day you may feel depressed about your family falling apart. Unfortunately, being overly emotional may cloud your judgment and cause you to make costly mistakes. 

In an Illinois divorce, divorcing spouses have the opportunity to resolve divorce issues like the division of assets and the allocation of parental responsibilities through an out-of-court agreement. If the couple cannot reach an agreement about these issues, the court may need to step in and make a decision for the spouses. Having a clear head puts you in a better position to negotiate an agreement about these divorce concerns. If your case does advance to litigation, learning how to manage your emotions can make the divorce proceedings less stressful.

Tips to Cope with Your Emotions 

It is understandable that you may feel sadness, anger, and resentment towards your ex. However, you can take steps to cope with these emotions in constructive ways and move on with your life.

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Aurora divorce attorney assisting visitation

After your divorce is finalized, it is still important for your children to have a good relationship with both parents. As such, you should try to make the best out of each visit with your kids. If you make each visit fun and productive, it will benefit everyone. Here are some dos and don'ts of visitation with your children.

Do

  • Arrive on time. While being late every once in a while is one thing, frequently arriving tardy to visits with your children is not good. Show your ex and children that you respect them by coming to your visits on time. If you know you are going to be late, let your ex know immediately.

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Aurora divorce lawyer assisting with Hidden AssetsWhen you file for divorce in Illinois, you are required to disclose all of your assets. However, some people may feel that they deserve a bigger share than their spouse, so they attempt to conceal their assets. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make during the divorce process. If you get caught, you may face legal trouble.

Different Ways Spouses Hide Assets

The division of assets is one of the most difficult battles couples face in divorce court. When people believe that they deserve more than they will actually get, they may try to conceal the assets in several different ways, such as:

  • Pursuing shady business deals - Some individuals who are getting ready to divorce may enlist the help of business partners to conceal their assets. For example, a person may ask a business partner to withhold commissions until the divorce is finalized.

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Naperville divorce lawyer parenting time

When a couple gets divorced, it can affect everyone surrounding them -- not just themselves. The effect of a divorce on the rest of the family can sometimes be the biggest thing holding an unhappy couple back from simply just pulling the trigger and filing for divorce. Fathers, in particular, face additional obstacles during a divorce that the mother does not, especially when dealing with child-related issues. If you are a father who has been contemplating or has filed for divorce, you should speak with an Illinois divorce lawyer to discuss your options.

Helping Fathers Through Divorce

Even though your role as a mother or a father should not affect your standing in the divorce, it often does. In many cases, fathers are the ones who pull the short straw during a divorce. If you are a divorcing father, here are a few things that you should keep in mind during your divorce:

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Aurora divorce Custody jurisdiction Matters

Determining child custody can be a messy experience for many families. This can be especially true when parents live in two different states, or if a parent even lives in a different country. In the first part of this two-part blog series, we looked at how jurisdiction is initially determined for child custody proceedings when parents do not live in the same state using the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA.) In most cases, the custody proceedings which determine parenting time and decision-making responsibilities will take place in the child's home state. However, there are some situations in which the child may not have a home state or another reason may exist why the home state will not hear the child’s case.

Exceptions to the Home State Rule

As previously discussed, the home state rule is typically enough for courts to determine which state has jurisdiction over a child custody case. However, circumstances may exist that make it impossible or imprudent to use the home state rule. In these cases, different rules apply when determining jurisdiction. If the home state rule does not apply, the following rules will apply in order of application:

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Aurora divorce attorney for Jurisdiction Custody MattersWhen two parents get divorced or are no longer in a romantic relationship, it is not uncommon for one or both parents to make other life changes, such as relocating. While a fresh start can be a good change for the parents, this can complicate proceedings for child custody. Any proceeding that concerns parenting time and/or decision-making responsibilities for the child must be filed with the correct court. In this series of blogs, we will discuss the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and how it is used to settle interstate child custody issues. Simply because a parent has moved does not mean that the parent’s new location is the place to file custody proceedings. In most cases that involve parents living in different states, the first thing you will have to do is determine which state has jurisdiction over your case.

Initial Jurisdiction in Illinois

When parents live in two different states, it may not be clear-cut as to which state has jurisdiction over the case. Thankfully, the UCCJEA exists to help clear up any confusion that may exist and to provide guidelines as to how to determine jurisdictional appropriateness. Before a court can make any decisions pertaining to a custody case, they must first determine if the case is being heard in the right jurisdiction. The UCCJEA states that the case can only be heard in Illinois if:

  • Illinois is the home state of the child, meaning the child lived in Illinois for six months immediately prior to the proceedings

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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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