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


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

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Aurora child support enforcement attorneyIn Illinois divorces, it is not uncommon for child support or spousal support to be awarded to the appropriate parties. A support order of either type is a legally binding court order, meaning failure to pay can result in severe consequences. The state of Illinois understands that many families rely on these support payments in order to provide for themselves and their children. Because of this, failure to pay child support or spousal support is taken very seriously.

What Constitutes Failure to Support?

According to the Illinois Non-Support Punishment Act, failure to support can occur in a few different ways. If a person commits any of the following actions, they can be held in contempt of court:

  • Willfully, and without any lawful excuse, refusing to provide for the support or maintenance of his or her spouse, with the knowledge that the spouse is in need of such support or maintenance.


child support, Aurora family law attorneyAn order for child support is often arranged as part of a divorce, marital separation, dissolution of marriage, or annulment and may be used to supplement alimony (spousal support) arrangements.

Mechanics of Child Support

Child support is an financial contribution made by a parent to provide for the needs of his or her child following the end of a marriage or other relationship. Support payments are paid by a the supporting parent, or obligor, to the recipient parent, or obligee for the care of a child of a relationship that has been terminated or, perhaps, never existed. In most cases, the supporting parent has less parental responsibilities and parenting time than the recipient, while the obligee is typically the parent with primary residential responsibilities, other caregiver, a legal guardian, or the state.


collaborative law, Illinois divorce, Aurora Family Law AttorneyGoing through a divorce can be a long, sometimes ugly, process, and, while most cases are eventually settled, the process can often add unnecessary expenses and negatively affect family members, particularly young children. In recent years, many divorcing couples, attorneys, and courts have begun popularizing a resolution method known as “collaborative law,” which focuses intently on cooperative negotiation.

Potential Advantages

Collaborative law attorneys look to offer a civilized alternative to litigation; produce solutions that address the needs of both parties; reduce costs; and increase their clients control over the proceedings. Privacy and confidentiality are also concerns that are better able to be addressed in collaborative law situations. In collaborative law, both parties retain qualified lawyers who exclusively focus on negotiation from the outset of the case. Under a written agreement, all involved parties and legal counsel expressly commit to avoiding litigation. The required personal investment in the process often leads better compliance with and enforcement of the resulting agreement.


bad marriageDivorce may seem a financially daunting undertaking, but there is a degree of financial loss associated with a bad marriage that some couples do not take into consideration. The divorce process does carry both known and unexpected costs, but working with an experienced family law attorney can help you to get the most financially out of your divorce and begin your new life financially solvent.

There is no way to quantify the cost of a bad marriage, but the Huffington Post has some tips to watch for if you suspect that your marriage is headed toward dissolution. If you relate to any of the following aspects of your partnership, divorce may be the cheaper solution for both you and your spouse.

The first major factor that makes a bad marriage expensive, according to the Huffington Post, is a lack of coordination and communication. If you and your spouse are unable to communicate effectively, it can have a serious negative effect on your finances. An obvious example of this is that you both draw from a joint checking account at the same time, incurring overdraft fees and lack of available money for bill-paying and other household expenses. A more extreme example of this would be a failure to effectively coordinate a retirement plan or tax deductions. While marriage counseling is usually advisable to divorce at the beginning of marital problems, drawing out unproductive therapy sessions can be akin to tossing cold hard cash down the drain.


collaborative divorce, mediation, alternative dispute resolution, divorce, Illinois divorce lawyerCan the words “good” and “divorce” inhabit the same sentence? A nasty divorce proceeding can harm children; within that process, they suffer decline in math and social ability, returning to normal skill level only when divorce is final. So, divorce without drama, also known as collaborative divorce, can minimize the negative effect, not to mention the cost savings of avoiding courtroom interaction.

As retired Judge Michele Lowrance presents in her book, “The Good Karma Divorce”, the process is to separate from bargaining from a hard position and to move to interest-based negotiation with a “win-win” outcome. After all, this type of diligence follows logically from the path most take today: 80% of couples now live together before marriage, and 80% have reached the 10-year milestone in wedlock. So, if parting is decided upon, a “conscious uncoupling” using creative problem-solving minimizes confrontation and maximizes a positive feeling for both parents and their children.

Collaboration between spouses avoids the use of children as messengers between parents, and encourages them to love both, regardless of where they may go in life.Per the Collaborative Law Institute, costs average half that of courtroom litigation .The need to work around attorney schedules is totally avoided, and solutions are customized; any strict-guideline judicial decision-making is rendered moot.


child custody, divorce, parenting time, visitation, paternity, evaluator, guardian ad litemIf you are engaged in a divorce case where child custody is being determined, you may have an evaluator appointed for the case. These individuals tend to be appointed in cases where parenting time, paternity, guardianship, or child custody are the primary issues. The court will use evaluators in these scenarios to assist with a final decision.

How you communicate with the evaluator can have an impact on your case, which is why it’s important to be aware of your interaction with this individual. You can be more informed by working with your divorce attorney in advance to understand the purposes of an evaluator appointment and how these meetings typically unfold. Your personal attorney is not involved in the evaluation process, but he or she can present you with important information about preparing for your own meetings with this individual. By knowing what evaluators look for and how they arrive at decision, you will feel more confident about your interaction and be able to work towards your family goals in an effective manner. You may be asked to provide references to an evaluator, for example. Working with your attorney beforehand can help you pinpoint references that could aid in your case so that you have your ducks in a row if the evaluator asks. Being organized and prepared can go a long way towards increasing your confidence and ensuring that your interaction goes smoothly. You should always think carefully before sending emails or making phone calls to an evaluator. Speaking with your attorney about the best way to work with such a professional is a good approach. If you are entering a divorce case or discussing modified parenting time, you need an attorney who can help prepare you for working with an evaluator. Contact an Illinois family law attorney today to learn more.

divorce stigma, life after divorce, single, Illinois divorce lawyer, Aurora family law attorneyFeeling emotions that run the gamut from relieved to ashamed is perfectly normal in divorce, especially since research shows that divorce stigma is still alive and well in the 21st century. Even though prenuptial agreements and fault-free divorce are more common, there’s still a social and individual stigma about getting a divorce.

According to a new survey taken by 1,000 divorced individuals, shame and sadness are two of the most common emotions after marriage dissolution. Nearly half of the surveyed individuals felt that the stigma of divorce affected them, and women were more likely than men to feel shame post-divorce.

Nearly a third of women admitted trying to push off the breakup as long as possible because of their own individual belief that marriage should last forever. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however, because respondents also shared that they felt their life was back on track after a few years. Like any major life change, divorce can take some time to get used to, especially if you were deeply entrenched in the routines and habits of your marriage.


workaholic, reason for divorce, relationship, marriage, Illinois divorce, Chicago attorneyIs your spouse well-known for going the extra mile at work, possibly to the detriment of your family? It’s not just the long hours that workaholics put in, but the physical and mental stress that is carried home. Over the long term, this can influence your marriage and cause you to think about whether legal separation or divorce is the right choice for you.

A study found that workers who put in more than 11 hours each day face a higher risk of depression. Keeping long hours or constantly working overtime can lead to sleep loss, which can cause irritability around the house.

Children, too, can be influenced by having one parent who puts in a significant amount of time and effort and work. With higher levels of tension around the house, there’s a bigger chance of fights breaking out and resentment between spouses.


Posted on in Chicago divorce attorney

gray divorce, baby boomers, lawyer, attorney, marriage, Illinois, divorceHas divorce become another rite of passage for older Americans in the baby boomer generation? New research suggests that Americans over the age of 50 are twice as likely to get divorced as people of that age were two decades ago.

Older individuals might have their own unique challenges in the divorce process: ending a marriage after many years of routines and grown children can be difficult. Family get-togethers with grandchildren might feel uncomfortable or a spouse might have to adjust to managing household finances that they have never done before. For some older people, being lonely is a common feeling reported by gray divorcees.

One of the most common challenges for those considering divorce in the baby boomer generation is the concept of drifting apart. After several decades together, couples might be headed in different directions. As older children leave the house to pursue education or careers, this gap might be more pronounced, leading couples to go their separate ways.


signs of divorceEvery relationship has its ups and downs and marriage is no exception. The person who will file for divorce is often the one that perceives issues in the marriage more deeply. It is important to know the signals of an impending divorce for the spouse that does not see it coming.

A very common sign that a divorce is imminent is a lack of conflict resolution. That might mean that one spouse talks about problems in the marriage yet the other spouse does nothing to fix these concerns. Or it can be that the spouses never developed a way to constructively move through important issues. Not having resolution to problems can lead to resentment and a deteriorating marriage.

Another common warning sign of divorce is a lack of physical intimacy or affection. Part of any marriage is the discussion of feelings for each other that strengthens the bond. The other part is the physical manifestations of love. If you have noticed a decrease in physical closeness, then there is a problem that should be addressed.


happiness of marriageThere is an old maxim about marriage that it is better to be happy than it is to be right. Rather than take that on authority, three doctors in New Zealand decided to run a study to see how true it was.  It turns out that the opposite might be truer.

The general practitioners said that the cause of the study was that they often see patients “who lead unnecessarily stressful lives by wanting to be right rather than happy.”  They contacted a couple to act as a trial.  That particular couple was asked to participate due to the power dynamic of their marriage.  The woman in the relationship preferred to be right all the time whereas the man wanted to be happy.

Each day of the study, both spouses were asked to rate their individual quality of life.  The doctors instructed the husband to always agree with whatever his spouse said, be that a request or an opinion.  It did not matter if she was wrong or right.  The wife was unaware of this aspect of the study.


For most people, the holidays are a time of celebration, and something to look forward to. For some, however the stress of planning get-togethers, buying presents, and the general hustle and bustle of the season can prove to be too much. According to police, domestic violence calls increase dramatically during the holidays.

Each year, nearly 44,000 adults seek relief from domestic violence in Illinois, though only a small percentage is able to receive shelter. The requests for services increase dramatically during and after the holidays. During the holiday season, people feel an immense amount of pressure. Many families suffer financial strain while attempting to buy presents for their children, and when this is combined with close quarters with visiting families and increased alcohol consumption it can lead to a volatile situation. In some cases, physical violence is the result. Many other families report an increase in the amount of emotional abuse that occurs.

According to Sojourn Shelter Chief Executive Officer Angela Bertoni, that may not be the only reason for the increased instances of domestic violence during the holidays, either. In a recent interview with Fox Illinois, she stated that many victims choose to return to their abusers during the holidays because they feel pressured to spend time with family. Shelters cannot refuse victims who want to leave, though they do encourage them not to return to abusive situations.


Divorce is, by definition, a messy process. At worst, you have another human being with close to equal rights to your shared property and your children, one with whom you do not agree and do not get along. But even at best, you have a stressful legal situation, with many unanswered questions and much red tape. Now that the holidays are coming up, how can you focus on Thanksgiving turkey, gift wrap, and alimony all at the same time, and still enjoy the season?

holiday divorce imageThe Huffington Post has some excellent advice for those seeking a divorce over the holidays. If you or anyone you know is contemplating divorce, contact an experienced divorce attorney, then read this.

Being Right with You


A Colorado man, eager to prevent his wife from receiving any funds in their upcoming divorce, went to a rarely, if ever, heard of extreme. The Colorado Springs Gazette recently reported that Earl Ray Jones allegedly converted funds belonging to him and his wife into gold, then threw it all into the trash. The funds, which the Gazette confirms Jones did convert into gold, were in excess of $500,000. While no one saw Jones throw the gold bars and coins, likely weighing around 22 pounds, into the motel dumpster as he claims, the money is nowhere to be found. No garbage collectors reported the money found, nor has it been recovered from the trash dump.

marital asset division imageWhile this is an extreme example of a man concealing marital assets, actively hiding or spending money or disposing of marital property can result in serious problems. In Illinois, it can result in an unequal distribution of marital property and possibly jail time.

From the Beginning: Concealing Assets in the Initial Report


No matter what happens during the life of a relationship, if that relationship involves children, the primary goal of both parents should be to protect the well-being of the kids. While this is not always the case, most adults in America want what is best for their children. But what does that mean for married parents when they begin seriously considering divorce? The conventional wisdom is that divorce is hard on children, and that the children of divorced parents fare worse in life, both when they are young and once they have reached adulthood. However, more recent findings have shown that children raised in single-parent homes with a divorced parent are likely to adjust just as well as children from homes where parents remained married. Further, there are ways to lessen the impact of the divorce and secure a smoother adjustment for the children.

children of divorce imageBehavior Problems in Children

The conventional view of children of divorced parents is sullen, depressed, and angry. However, a recent study from the RAND Corporation shows that this view is exaggerated at best, and that the effects of divorce on the behavior and emotional well-being are marginal. Scholarly articles published before the RAND Corporation’s analysis studied the behavior of children of divorced parents, finding that their overall emotional well-being was less than that of children raised in two-parent households. However, those studies leapt to the conclusion that the divorce itself caused the dip in childhood well-being. They failed to take into consideration the level of conflict between parents preceding the divorce. In some cases, there were statistical findings that some groups of children of divorce exhibited fewer behavior problems than those with married parents. These were selectively downplayed or ignored.


Collaborative Divorce May Be BetterNot all divorces have to be the ugly blow-up they’re stereotyped as. In many cases, even if you’re not on good terms with your soon-to-be ex spouse, it’s possible to make it through the divorce on good terms as the last amicable thing you’ll do together. If you don’t share children this is easier, but it’s possible in any circumstance. This is what’s known as a collaborative divorce. While it may seem too optimistic, many couples opt for collaborative law in an effort to stave off the extreme cost of divorce and keep things simpler and happier. After all, you managed to agree that you both wanted to split. Why not make an effort to agree on the terms of said split?

According to US News and World Report, a collaborative divorce is based on the “concept that you were partners—even if not good ones—throughout your marriage and you should be able to end it together as well.” This applies to all aspects of the divorce, including property division, division of assets, and determining child custody. “Most people can agree that litigation is a terrible process for a family to endure,” one lawyer told US News and World Report. “The collaborative process if one of the most productive ways to divorce when it works.”

Yet the publication is quick to remind readers that even a collaborative divorce doesn’t guarantee a happy one. Chances are, even if you opt for mediation, working together with your spouse in the one last process you’ll undertake together won’t be easy. This could be one reason that the number of people who opt for collaborative divorces is still low. “For instance, according to the Wisconsin Law Journal, Waukesha County had 3,862 divorces from 2010 to 2012; during that period, there were only 62 collaborative divorce cases filed,” reports US News and World Report.


Parents have a responsibility to contribute to the financial support of their children.  Under Illinois law, divorce does not relieve a parent of parental rights and responsibilities, therefore financial support of children continues after a marriage dissolves.

As part of the divorce process, a family court will make determinations regarding child custody and whether one parent must provide the other with child support in Illinois.  Child support payments help to cover basic needs such as shelter, food, and clothing.  In some instances, child support agreements may include contributions to things such as education, medical expenses, child care, or extracurricular activities.  Once a court determines the amount of child support, it will issue a Uniform Order of Support, which sets out amounts, payment schedules, and penalties for missed payments among other things.  Talk to your attorney for help understanding child support in Illinois.

How much child support will I have to pay?

Child support amounts are generally determined based on the paying parent’s net income.  Net income means a person’s income after the deductions of the following:


For many, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement brings visions of greedy men trying to keep their spouses from assets they would have been entitled to if not for the ‘Prenup’.  To others, prenuptial or postnuptial agreements are something that only the ultra-rich or wealthy enter into.  The truth, however, is that divorce is becoming more commonplace and even the ordinary citizens, both men and women, can benefit from thoughtfully conceived and well-drafted prenuptial or postnuptial agreements.

 The linchpin of agreements of this nature is whether you have assets which have been accumulated solely by yourself or through an inheritance and you desire to protect them from becoming jointly held assets upon marriage.  With an agreement of this nature, you and your spouse can even decide during the course of the marriage which assets will be added or subtracted from the agreement to allow for an easier division of assets in the event of a divorce.  In addition, these agreements can establish future obligations in the event of a divorce and allow the spouses to keep their individual debts separate from one another. Prenuptial agreements in particular become more important if an individual is contemplating getting re-married, has children from a previous marriage, and wishes to ensure those assets go to the children.

Because there is often a stigma that surrounds the execution of these agreements, it is important for each spouse to openly discuss their needs and desires in connection with the dissolution of their assets should a divorce or some other untimely event arise.  Spouses should remember to view these agreements as additional estate planning tools that will afford them peace of mind that their loved ones will be protected. These agreements should no longer be viewed as a byzantine effort of men to deceive their spouses, but rather as a protective measure available to both men and women equally.


When filing income tax returns, many taxpayers seek assistance from legal or tax professionals.  Most married couples file joint returns in order to obtain savings they would not receive had they filed separate returns. Couples involved in divorce proceedings should seek legal advice when it comes to their tax filing status, because they may face extra complications. It is important to have the advice of one experienced with federal law on the subject.

 Discuss your decision to file tax returns jointly or separately with your divorce lawyer.Should you File a Separate or Joint Return?  

It is no doubt easier to file a separate tax return or a head of household return when in the midst of a divorce. You can avoid seeing your spouse should you choose to file separately, allowing you to bypass potential confrontations. You and only you are liable for the taxes owed. Moreover, if you are entitled to a refund, it is yours alone. While these are no doubt solid advantages, it could be worth more in the long run financially to find some common ground and work together with your spouse to file a joint return.

It would be wise to discuss with a family law attorney the pros and cons of filing a separate or joint return. As long as you are still married to your spouse when the calendar year comes to an end (December 31st), the tax code allows you to file a joint return should you choose to do so.  While filing a joint return may save you and your spouse money, there are some disadvantages you should discuss with your attorney. For example, if you file a joint return, both spouses are jointly and severally liable for any taxes owed.  So if your spouse does not contribute a share to take care of the taxes due, you may well be on the hook for the balance. A good family law attorney can input information into your Marital Settlement Agreement spelling out how you will deal with taxes owed or tax refunds.  Moreover, other big ticket matters like pension or IRA distributions, stock  transfers, and home sales proceeds may impact your filing decision. The decision to file a joint or separate return is a one time choice.  When your divorce is finalized in a given year, you will no longer have the option to file a joint return. Tax matters can often be very confusing, and this confusion can escalate when you add a divorce proceeding into the mix.  Make certain you select an attorney who is experienced in this area to ensure you take the most appropriate steps to file your return.  Contact our office today to learn how we can assist you.

Rise in Number of Prenuptial Agreements IMAGENo one likes to think about divorce at the beginning of a marriage. Traditionally, prenuptial agreements have been thought to be important among the very rich or the very flaky, but not necessarily relevant for the average American couple. With divorce rates staying high at about 50 percent, this is changing. “According to a new survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML),” and as reported by the Huffington Post, “63 percent of divorce attorneys say they’ve seen an increase in prenuptial agreements during the past three years.” There’s a growing sense in the U.S. that marriage is as much a business arrangement as it is one for love—with the debate around same-sex marriage, financial perks (such as tax breaks) are often brought up as an objective reason for marriage equality. This same feeling could be responsible for the rise in the number of prenuptial agreements.

Alton Abramowitz, president of the AAML, told the Huffington Post that this idea of marriage as a business arrangement could be directly related to the economy. “As the financial and real estate markets continue to improve, there is a greater awareness of risk to possibly sharing these gains in a divorce,” he said. According to a survey conducted by the AAML, lawyers said that the top three items covered in most prenups include “the protection of separate property, alimony/spousal maintenance, and division of property.”

While prenuptial stereotypically initiated by men more often than women, the new research also showed that women are largely responsible for the growth in number of prenuptial agreements. Nearly 50 percent of lawyer polled “noted an increase in the number of women initiating requests for prenups,” according to the Huffington Post.

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


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

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