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


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

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kendall county divorce lawyerEffective January 1, 2016, Illinois transitioned to a no-fault divorce state.  Public Act 99-90 (SB 57) amended the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, 750 ILCS 5/101 et seq., eradicating the at-fault divorce law when spouses could be held accountable for divorce.  If a spouse commits infidelity, mental or physical abuse, or financial fraud, they will not be blamed for the marriage's demise. The benefit of a no-fault divorce state mitigates family trauma as neither spouse is culpable. Divorce is either uncontested or contested. Whether you proceed with an uncontested or contested divorce, retaining a good divorce attorney is imperative.

Ten Essential Steps to an Uncontested Divorce

Even if you are lucky enough to have an uncontested, amicable divorce, each party should still retain counsel. A lawyer can evaluate the spouses’ agreed-upon proposals and accurately draft the divorce decree. Hiring a lawyer to assist with an uncontested divorce is also crucial if the couple has children, has been married for an extended period, has a high net worth, or has high-value assets.  The benefit of an uncontested divorce is that neither party has to appear in court, which renders the process cost-effective, timely, and peaceful. An uncontested divorce usually entails the following steps.

  1. Retain legal counsel


Posted on in Divorce

kendall county annulment lawyerAn annulment, now legally termed "Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage," used to be a more common legal proceeding than it is today. There are now specific criteria that a spouse must prove for a court to declare a marriage invalid. Due to the strict circumstances that qualify for an annulment, along with its statute limitations, a declaration of invalidity of marriage is complex and sometimes difficult to attain. The couple should seek legal separation or divorce if the annulment petition is not filed within the allotted time frame or if the union does not violate Illinois marriage laws. A family law attorney can explain the conditions and proceedings of a divorce and an annulment and help you decide the best option.

Differences and Similarities between Divorce and Annulment (Declaration of Invalidity)

A divorce legally terminates a valid marriage, whereas an annulment legally expunges the marriage, rendering it null and void. An annulment affirms that the marriage was legally invalid, erasing it from records. Like divorces, one party may contest the annulment.

Divorces are typically easier to attain than annulments, which have specific conditions and time limits. Children of parents who get their marriage annulled still retain the same rights, including child support and inheritance. Unlike divorce, an annulment often enables each party to evade lengthy court fees, equitable distribution of property, and spousal maintenance (alimony). IT should also be noted that a civil annulment is entirely unrelated to a religious annulment. 


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 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.

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


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

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