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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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 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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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

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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Kendall County divorce attorney deposition

Getting a divorce is never enjoyable or simple -- everyone knows that. In a best-case scenario, you and your spouse will be able to settle most of the major issues of your divorce without any conflict or with very little conflict. However, for many couples, this just is not the reality of the situation. In many divorce cases, there will be at least one issue that the couple does not agree upon and that needs a little bit of extra attention to work out. For some, this can be property division or other financial issues, while for others it may be child-related issues, such as allocating parenting time or decision-making responsibilities. If your spouse is less than agreeable, you may end up having to resort to the discovery process to gather information and to ensure you are receiving complete and accurate information. Depositions are just one of the tools available during the divorce proceedings that can help gather information.

What Is a Deposition?

A divorce deposition is similar in many ways to giving a testimony in a court of law. However, in many ways, it is also different from giving testimony. Simply put, a deposition is an oral question-and-answer session conducted between you and your spouse’s attorney. As when you give a testimony, a court reporter is present during the deposition to transcribe the conversation and you must sign an oath stating you are being truthful and are subject to perjury otherwise.

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Geneva divorce attorney division of assetsBeing a doctor can be a rewarding career for many people, but it is also a demanding and stressful job at times. Many physicians work long hours in challenging environments, which can lead to issues at home and can even sometimes lead to a divorce. Just as their profession may have caused conflict during the marriage, it can also end up making things more difficult during the asset division process in a divorce. For most physicians, their practice is their biggest asset and one of their most pressing concerns throughout the divorce process. If you are a doctor and you own your own professional practice, legal guidance from a knowledgeable Illinois divorce attorney can be invaluable when going through a divorce.

Considerations for Divorcing Physicians

When it comes to getting a divorce, there are many issues that must be decided. In all divorce cases, you and your spouse will have to determine what is and is not marital property and then distribute that property between yourselves. In marriages that involve minor children, you and your spouse must also come to an agreement on issues such as parental responsibilities and parenting time allocation. When it comes to physicians getting divorced, there are a few considerations that you should keep in mind:

  1. Determine whether your practice is marital or nonmarital property. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) states that anything either spouse acquires during the marriage is considered to be marital property, except for certain considerations, such as inheritance. If you opened your practice during your marriage, your spouse may be entitled to a portion of its value.

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DuPage County divorce attorney child custody

Many couples can successfully complete a divorce in a cooperative manner, but when children are involved, things can become a bit more complicated. Most parents can agree that the most important issues to deal with during their divorce are those that concern their children. In many contested or complex divorces that require court intervention, the court will likely appoint a child custody evaluator to determine what would be in the child’s best interests, as far as allocating decision-making responsibilities and parenting time. An Illinois child custody lawyer can help you fight for your parental rights and protect your child’s best interests.

What Is Parental Alienation?

The term parental alienation describes a parent’s behavior when he or she attempts to harm the relationship between his or her spouse and their child by turning the child against the parent. The alienating parent typically uses manipulative techniques to achieve this and can even lead the child into believing that the alienated parent is the enemy. Parental alienation is considered by many psychologists and others in the mental health professions as a form of emotional child abuse, which is why it is taken so seriously during child custody proceedings.

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Batavia divorce attorney

During your divorce, everyone in the family is likely feeling the stress and impact of the process, but children often feel it the strongest. It can be shocking and traumatic for kids to feel like everything that they have ever known is changing and falling apart. For many parents, their biggest worry in the divorce is their children and how the divorce process will affect them. While it is true that there is a possibility that your children could be somewhat affected by the divorce, studies show that most children of divorce grow up to be happy, well-adjusted, and balanced adults with relatively few issues during the divorce. However, each child is different and has the possibility of struggling to cope with the reality of the divorce. In some cases, it may even be in everyone’s best interest to hire a child therapist or psychologist to help.

Signs of Emotional Distress in Your Child

For some parents, it can be difficult to gauge when your child is in need of professional help. How moody is too moody? What behavior constitutes moody, anyway? It is normal for your child to experience a wide range of emotions and exhibit a range of behaviors to go with those emotions. However, if you notice emotional responses or behavior from your child that interfere with his or her daily life, it may be time to seek professional help. Examples of these types of behaviors could include:

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Kane County divorce attorney asset division

When you and your spouse make the decision that it is time for you to get a divorce, you will then have to decide how you want to go about obtaining a divorce. In most situations, both you and your spouse will each hire your own divorce attorneys to provide you with legal advice and help you negotiate a fair divorce settlement. Getting a divorce could likely be one of the most significant financial events of your life because the decisions that you make during your divorce could end up impacting your life for years to come. While your divorce lawyer can help you determine an equitable settlement, they may recommend that you hire a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) to ensure you understand the entire financial implications of your divorce.

What Is a CDFA?

A CDFA is a professional who helps both the divorcee and the divorcee’s attorney understand how certain financial decisions made during the divorce would affect the divorcee’s financial health in the future. A CDFA is typically someone who has a background in financial planning, accounting, or legal background, but to become a certified CDFA, he or she must undergo extensive training. A CDFA may also:

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DuPage County divorce attorney

When you first tie the knot, you have this idea of living happily ever after with your new spouse and that a good marriage will come easily and naturally. What many people do not realize, however, is that a strong and happy marriage is the result of years of communication, trust, and a lot of growth. There are arguments and conflict in every relationship; it is not necessarily conflict itself that is the marker of a marriage that will end in divorce. Conflict can be healthy because it can help ensure both you and your spouse’s needs are being met, but that conflict has to be dealt with in a healthy way. Psychologists say that there are four specific behaviors that take place in a matrimonial union that together can be a telltale sign of a broken marriage that is headed toward divorce. 

Criticism

This refers to the act of attacking your spouse’s character, rather than giving him or her feedback on something he or she did that you did not like. For example, your spouse might have a habit of leaving damp towels laying on the floor after showering. Asking, “Why are you so lazy?” rather than telling him or her that it bothers you and asking him or her to hang them up to dry instead is an example of criticism. Calling your spouse lazy is attacking his or her character and not his or her behavior. This can lead to deeper feelings of resentment and contempt, which is one of the four signs that a divorce is imminent. 

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Batavia divorce attorney default judgment

Making the decision to get a divorce is not a small one and should not be taken lightly. In an ideal situation, both spouses would come together to come up with the terms of their divorce agreement so they can bring their marriage to an end peacefully. However, very few situations end up being ideal and most divorces do not involve as much peace and cooperation as the spouses involved in them wish there was. Some divorces are only finalized due to the determination of one spouse because of the unwillingness or unknown whereabouts of the other spouse. In cases such as these, in which your spouse is missing or is unwilling to cooperate with the divorce, it is still possible to get a divorce, but the process will likely be slightly more complicated.

Divorcing an Unwilling Spouse

In most cases, once one spouse brings up the idea of a divorce, the other spouse will follow or at least try to resolve the situation. In some cases, however, the respondent, or the person who is receiving the divorce petition, may shut down or refuse to acknowledge the divorce papers or the other spouse’s desire for a divorce. Once you have filed the divorce petition with the clerk of the circuit court, your spouse has 30 days to respond to the petition and notify the court as to whether or not he or she will be showing up for the initial hearing.

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Geneva divorce attorney parenting time

One of the most serious and unfortunately still prevalent social issues that families face today is domestic violence. Dealing with domestic violence in any situation is never simple, but having to cope with domestic violence during a divorce can make the divorce process a million times more stressful. According to information from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, more than 12 million men and women are affected by acts of domestic violence each year in the United States. Many people believe that domestic violence consists of purely physical acts, such as slapping or choking. However, domestic violence is really about control, rather than pain, so the abuser will often use multiple tactics to control the victim, including other forms of abuse, such as emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or harassment. This is why it is crucial for families experiencing domestic abuse to get help from an experienced Illinois divorce attorney before beginning the process.

Divorce and Child-Related Issues

Like most things during the divorce, issues related to the children are typically settled with an agreement made between the parents. However, in some situations, such as those in which domestic violence is present in the home, the parents may be unable or unwilling to cooperate or come to a consensus with a parenting time plan or allocation of parental responsibilities. This is when a judge will step in and make decisions for the parents in regard to Illinois law and what is in the child’s best interests.

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North Aurora property division attorney business valuation

The United States is known for many things, but one of the things that it is proudly known for is the welcoming and nurturing culture surrounding small businesses. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there were approximately 30.7 million small businesses in the country in 2019. If you are like any of the millions of Americans who own a small business, it is likely your most important and most valuable asset. This can prove to be tricky when it comes to divorce. You must determine what you will do with your company, but before you do, you will have to determine what your business is worth.

Methods for Valuation

The easiest way to deal with a business is to sell it and split the profits with your spouse. This, however, is not typically the desired route since most of the time, the business is the source of income. If you want to keep your business, typically you will pay your spouse a portion of the value of the company, but to do that, you must first determine the actual value of it. There are three basic approaches to valuing a business:

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North Aurora high-conflict divorce attorney

There is always bound to be some disagreement in a divorce, even if the couple is fairly amicable. When a couple has children, arguments can become even more heated, especially when they are arguments on issues concerning the children. Sometimes, one parent thinks that they know what is best for the child, while the other parent also thinks they know what is best, though they disagree on what exactly that is. In other cases, a parent may just be so blindsided by his or her own feelings about the other parent that he or she uses the child as a pawn to get what he or she wants in the divorce settlement. If you are expecting your divorce to be filled with conflict, a skilled attorney can help protect your rights throughout the proceedings. 

Assigning Representation

Just as both parents are entitled to legal representation in a divorce, so are children. Either parent can request that his or her child have his or her own legal representation when dealing with certain issues such as parenting time, allocation of parental responsibilities, education, parentage, or child support. In some cases, a judge might order legal representation to be assigned to a child if the parents cannot come to an agreement on one or more of these issues. There are three different types of child legal representation that are recognized by the court, but one of the most common forms is called a guardian ad litem.

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North Aurora high-conflict divorce attorney

In today’s world, single-parent households are much more common than they were decades ago. According to the United States Census Bureau, more than 25 percent of American children do not live in a household with both of their parents. While not all children living with a single parent have experienced a divorce, many children have and they are typically able to cope with their parent’s divorce. However, the single factor that has been determined to harm children during a divorce is continued conflict between the parents. As stressful as a high-conflict divorce can be to you, it can be even more consequential for your children. 

Conflicted About Their Loyalty

Children are naturally loyal to both of their parents, but this can become conflicting for them during a divorce. When there is a lot of contention and disagreement in a divorce, the kids can feel like they are in the middle and must choose one parent over the other. When the children are with one parent, they miss the other parent and thus may feel guilty about that. The greater the degree of conflict between parents, the greater the loyalty conflict is.

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St. Charles divorce attorney

Everyone has most likely heard these four words together before: “We need to talk.” Even if this phrase has not been related to relationship problems, it is still likely to elicit a few anxious and nervous feelings. Ending a relationship is never easy to do, especially when you have decided to dissolve your marriage and get a divorce. Whether you are the person breaking the news or the person on the receiving end, that conversation will likely be one of the most difficult and painful conversations you will ever have. It may also end up being a discussion that both sets the tone for the divorce and that you and your spouse remember forever. 

Breaking the News

Before you have the divorce conversation with your spouse, it is important to carefully consider his or her feelings, as well as those of your children to make the transition easier. Here are a few things you should keep in mind: 

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North Aurora parenting time attorney

When you created your parenting plan during your divorce, it contained a lot of information. It included what you and your spouse’s parenting time schedules looked like, who your child would spend vacations and school holidays with, and how you and your spouse would settle child-related disputes. What your parenting plan likely did not contain was a game plan for co-parenting during a health crisis, such as the one the world is experiencing with COVID-19. Unprecedented situations may warrant a change in everyone’s routine, so it is important to be flexible and willing to compromise with your ex-spouse while considering your child’s best interests.  

Working Together for Your Child’s Well-Being 

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we go about our daily lives for weeks and in some places, even months. Co-parenting is not an easy task, and it can become even more difficult during a crisis because of the stress and uncertainty that family members are experiencing. Even so, here are a few things you should keep in mind while you navigate co-parenting during this challenging time:

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North Aurora parenting time attorney

Some of the most common issues that arise after a divorce is settled are those related to the child(ren) the couple had together. Specifically, disputes over parenting time (visitation) can occur, and they can lead to a great deal of conflict between the parents. Because the decisions made during divorce are legally binding, a non-compliant parent can face a variety of legal consequences. 

Court-Ordered Parenting Time

When you get a divorce, the state of Illinois requires you to come up with a parenting plan that outlines all relevant issues regarding your child, including how you and your ex-spouse will share parental responsibilities and how parenting time will be split between the two of you. If you cannot come to an arrangement on your own, an Illinois judge will make the decision for you based on a variety of factors in the child’s best interests. Because the parenting time schedule specified in your parenting plan is required, approved, and sometimes even created by the court, this makes it a legally-binding court order. This means both you and your spouse must follow the terms of the order, or you could face being held in contempt of the court.

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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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