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


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

Yorkville Office By Appointment

Initial Consultations via ZOOM Available

IL divorce lawyerGoing through a divorce can be difficult and can take a toll on you emotionally. Updating your estate plan during this time can make things more complicated. It is essential to examine and validate that your will, trust, power of attorney, and beneficiary designations are accurate for your current situation and that your assets are safeguarded in line with your desires.

Updating Your Estate Plan

One of the most important things you can do is review and update your estate plan while going through a divorce. This process involves evaluating your will, trust, power of attorney, and named beneficiaries to make sure they match your current reality and protect your assets according to your wishes.

Without updating your estate plan, you may find yourself in a situation where your ex-spouse is able to take control of assets that were meant for someone else after your death. This could include inheritances, IRAs, health insurance plans, and more.


IL divorce lawyerDivorce can be challenging, particularly when there are children involved. The difficulty increases when the children have special needs, as they need extra care and resources. With the right resources and knowledge, you can go through a divorce with less overwhelm. Here are some areas you should know about.

Child Custody and Support

When parents with special needs children divorce in Illinois, determining child custody and support is a significant issue. The child’s well-being is the top priority when custody decisions are made. This considers the child’s physical and emotional needs, the parent’s capability to care for the child, and the child’s bond with each parent.

If a special needs child needs more care or support, it can affect how custody is handled. The parent who has been the main caregiver and has a close relationship with the child may be more likely to get primary physical custody. However, joint custody may be a better option if both parents have been equally involved in the child’s care.


IL divorce lawyerGetting divorced can be a challenging time in many people’s lives. It is essential to be prepared for the many difficult aspects of divorce. The more prepared you are the swifter and easier the divorce process will be. It is in your best interest to work alongside an experienced divorce attorney and to have things prepared before you begin the divorce process.

What Kind of Divorce Do You Want?

There are a few different types of divorce processes that couples can go through.In Illinois, divorce is recognized as:

  • Uncontested divorce
  • Contested divorce
  • Mediated divorce
  • Collaborative divorce
  • Joint simplified dissolution

Each divorce process has advantages and disadvantages; depending on a person's circumstances, some divorces will not be available. It is vital to do research before settling on a divorce process.


IL divorce lawyerWhen dividing property during a divorce, it is crucial to begin this process by deciding if the property is marital or separate. Marital property usually entails assets or debts a couple has acquired throughout their marriage. Separate properties are assets or debts that a spouse acquired or owned before marriage.

Separate Property

Separate property is anything that was acquired before the couple married. Gifts and inheritances are separate property, as well. If any of these income-producing properties increase, that income may still be considered separate property, depending on the circumstances. There is no division of separate property during a divorce. A few common examples of separate property include:

  • The property was given to a spouse as a gift or inheritance
  • Property obtained by a spouse in exchange for property a spouse may have acquired before the marriage or by gift or inheritance
  • Property cultivated by a spouse after the marriage has legally ended
  • Any property excluded from the marital estate within a prenuptial agreement
  • Property obtained by judgment and awarded to one spouse from the other
  • Property that was acquired before the marriage

Marital Property

Marital property includes anything that was purchased within the marriage using marital funds. Spouses can change marital property into separate property within a written agreement, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Marital and separate property can also be combined, referred to as “commingling.” Spouses can decide to combine their separate assets. For example, if one spouse owns a home before they are married, but during the marriage, the house can become marital property if both spouses agree to pay the mortgage and other expenses. If during the divorce the couple cannot agree on how their assets and property should be divided, then a judge will decide how the marital estate should be divided.


aurora divorce lawyerAccording to the Illinois Collaborative Process Act (ICPA), “collaborative process” is defined as a “procedure intended to resolve a collaborative process matter without the intervention of the court.” Collaborative divorce involves two parties who are willing to work and respectfully nnegoiate all issues outside the courtroom. A collaborative divorce attorney will represent both parties. The collaborative process consists of multiple meetings in a non-adversarial environment that helps to allow both parties to see eye-to-eye on the looming issues with their divorce, such as the division of assets or parenting time. Collaborative divorce is not for everyone, especially couples who refuse to work together. But, if the parties can work together, a collaborative divorce allows both parties to focus on their needs to move forward into the future. 

What to Expect in a Collaborative Divorce

If the parties decide to go forward with a collaborative divorce, each spouse, along with theirr respective lawyers, will sign a participation agreement. This agreement means that all parties will agree to try and solve all marital issues with respectful negotiation. This process focuses purely on each party’s specific needs and interests. If any children are involved, then their best interests will also be a main focus. Once an agreement has been reached, the collaborative lawyers will draft the necessary paperwork and submit the written agreement to the court for approval. If the parties are unable to find an agreement, then the collaborative process will be terminated. 

Unlike a traditional adversarial divorce, a collaborative divorce can cost less and be settled more quickly. This will depend on how well both parties can participate and navigate their circumstances. 

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


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

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