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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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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DuPage County asset and property division attorney

Engagement rings are common in today’s society for couples who plan to get married, but they have not always been. The first engagement ring was given in the 1400s, but they did not become popular in the United States until the 1940s when the De Beers Company launched the famous “Diamonds are forever,” campaign. Now, many couples see purchasing an engagement ring as an investment, with the average cost of an engagement ring in the United States being somewhere around $6,324, according to Business Insider. In the state of Illinois, the average cost of an engagement ring is a little higher at $7,110. Along with the wedding band, these can be highly sought items when the property is divided in an Illinois divorce.

Marital and Non-Marital Property

When it comes to property division, Illinois recognizes that there is a difference between marital and non-marital property. Only marital property is subject to division in a divorce. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), all property that is acquired by each spouse during the marriage is considered to be marital property. However, there are exceptions to that rule. For example, property that is obtained by either spouse through “gift, legacy, or descent” or property acquired in exchange for such property is considered to be non-marital property and therefore not subject to division.

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DuPage County, IL family law attorney prenuptial agreementAs times are changing, so are attitudes toward previously taboo topics, such as signing prenuptial agreements before marriage. Over the years, drafting a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot has become more and more popular. One possible reason for the increase in popularity is that people are waiting until later in life to get married the first time. This means more people are entering into marriage with more assets that they want to protect. Prenuptial agreements must be created carefully, or they run the risk of being invalidated if they are contested during a divorce. Here are a few ways your prenuptial agreement may be found invalid:

  1. The Agreement Was Not in the Right Format

In the state of Illinois, prenuptial agreements must be in writing. In other words, you cannot have an oral prenuptial agreement. Both you and your spouse must sign the agreement for it to become valid, and you must file it with the clerk of the circuit court so there is a record of the agreement.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,Even just a decade ago, it was uncommon for fathers to win custody of their children, rather than just having visitation rights. Partial custody was awarded in some cases and full custody was rarely awarded unless the mother was a substance abuser, physically abusive, in jail or somehow otherwise unfit to be a parent. Now, most attorneys, judges and other divorce professionals agree that children do their best when both of their parents play an active role in their children’s lives. Still, fathers may have a more difficult time gaining a majority of or even partial parenting time with their children. Here are a few tips you can use to help you win at a parenting time hearing:

Build a Strong Relationship with Your Child

When judges allocate parenting time, one of their main concerns is what custody situation would be in the child’s best interest. The judge will be examining the relationship that the child has with you and the child’s other parent, so it is important that you ensure your relationship with your child is strong. Keep in touch with your child, even when they are not in your custody. Check in with your child often and make sure that they know you are there for them whenever they need you.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,When you are going through a divorce, it can pretty much turn your life upside down. Though you may experience some stress and anger, there are ways that you can combat that stress and deal with your anger in a healthy way. Unfortunately, this is not what happens in all divorces. In some cases, one parent may have so much hate for the other parent that it overcomes the love that they have for their children. This is when parental alienation usually appears and it can be detrimental to your child’s wellbeing.

What Is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation occurs when one parent tries to turn the children against the other parent. Most of the time, this happens when one parent is so angry at the other parent that they use deprecating comments, false allegations, and bribery to try to get the child to turn against the parent. Both the mother and the father are equally as likely to be the alienated and alienating parent. Typically, parental alienation occurs in families in which one or both parents have a personality disorder, but parental alienation can happen in any family.

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Posted on in Divorce and Holidays

life-divorceMost people have a love or hate relationship with Valentine’s Day. Some people cherish the thought of pink and red hearts, chocolates and flowers. Other people loathe the insincerity of giving presents on a random day to declare your love. For those who are going through a divorce or have recently finalized their divorce, Valentine’s Day can be a giant reminder that you no longer have a significant other. While this can be depressing to some people, you should not let it get you down. Here are five ways you can survive your first Valentine’s Day as a single (or almost single) person:

Do Not Spend the Day Alone

It will help no one if you stay at home and wallow in your sadness all day. Call your friends, spend time with family, volunteer at a homeless shelter or nursing home -- the idea is to surround yourself with people on Valentine’s Day so you do not feel so alone.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, life after divorce,Unsurprisingly, for many people, divorce is very difficult. Not only are you ending your legal relationship with your spouse, but you are also ending a very deep romantic relationship. Many people having feelings of anger, despair, hopelessness or even depression after a divorce. One of the most important and healthiest things you can do after you have gotten a divorce is set your sights on all of the positive aspects of getting a divorce -- and yes, there are positives to this situation. Here are four things you can look forward to after a divorce:

You Have Free Time -- And It Is Yours

After a divorce, you will be single again -- and that means that you will have the schedule of a single person again. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want and you do not have to worry about upsetting or ignoring another person. You can start making time for activities that you like to do, without having to worry about the wants of another person.

You Have the Opportunity to Become a Better Parent

Divorce can be difficult for children, but in the long run, it will make everyone happier and healthier. A divorce can bring many positive effects to your children, especially without all of the constant fighting and tension. You also have the chance to focus solely on being the best parent you can be to your children.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,When you are going through a divorce as a stay-at-home parent, you often have different things to worry about than if you were a working parent. Most of the time, stay-at-home parents sacrificed their careers or education to stay home and take care of the children. This can be problematic for them because stay-at-home parents typically rely on the income of their spouse to support the family. When you get a divorce, you find yourself being put into a situation where you must re-enter the workforce with little or outdated education and large gaps in your employment history. In these situations, spousal maintenance is used as a tool to keep you on your feet. Here are five steps you should take when you are a stay-at-home parent who is getting a divorce.

Gather All of Your Financial Documents

First things first -- you need to have all paperwork on your finances ready to present to a divorce lawyer. These documents can include:

  • Tax returns and W2’s from the previous three to five years;
  • Bank statements, including information on both checking and savings accounts;
  • Mortgage documents;
  • Vehicle titles;
  • Retirement account statements;
  • Credit card statements; and
  • Investment account statements.

Ensure You Have Access to Your Money

Some stay-at-home parents find that they do not have regular access to their family’s funds. If this is the case, you should make sure that you begin saving small amounts of money here and there to build up a reserve. One way around letting your spouse know you are saving money is by asking for cash back when you are at stores. If you have reason to believe your spouse might be hiding money from you, you should tell your lawyer who can help you discover it.

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LauraAccording to a study from the University of Michigan, women in the past have been extremely vulnerable when obtaining a divorce with regard to health insurance benefits. A study found that about 115,000 women lose their private health insurance coverage during a divorce, a statistic that can be extremely troubling for older divorcing couples where neither member is old enough for Medicare. Women who relied on their husbands for health insurance coverage would face serious challenges after a divorce, but changes from the Affordable Care Act may help to close that gap.

Many women who are too young for government sponsored healthcare programs don’t have outside jobs or opportunities to obtain their own health coverage. Many times, former spouses will qualify for post-divorce health benefits through COBRA, but this insurance option is extremely expensive and limited to around 36 months. The high cost of health insurance can be extremely challenging for older women, who typically don’t have as much money in retirement savings plans as men do.

On January 1st, health insurance options for older divorcing women should become more accessible. One of the biggest changes in healthcare that will have positive results for women is that insurance companies will no longer be eligible to deny individuals as a result of pre-existing conditions. This is a major breakthrough for older women who may have suffered from any type of pre-existing or chronic condition. Previously, these women would have struggled to get health insurance coverage at all, going without it (and critical preventive care) until they reached the age for Medicare.

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A study conducted by Kansas State University researchers and reported upon in the Huffington Post has recently made ripples in the divorce community. The study found that “couples who argued about money early in their relationships—regardless of their income, debt or net worth—were at greater risk for divorce.” Sonya Britt, a top researcher on the report, told the Huffington Post that “it doesn’t matter how long ago it was, but when they were first together and already arguing about money, there is a good chance they are going to have poor relationship satisfaction.” This makes sense. Financial arguments have long been pinpointed as a top reason for divorce; arguments that involve both how much money gets spent and what it’s being spent on.

Lisette Chicago divorce attorney

According to The New York Times, a2009 study conducted by Jeffrey Dew at Utah State University found that “couples who reported disagreeing about finance once a week were over 30 percent more likely to get divorced than couples who reported disagreeing about finances a few times a month.” This study considered relationships not just in the beginning stages, such as the one that came out of Kansas State University, but also longer-term marriages. Interestingly, Dew’s study found that “for wives, disagreements over finances and sex were good predictors of divorce, but finance disputes were much stronger predictors. For husbands, financial disagreements were the only type of common disagreement that predicted whether they would get a divorce.”

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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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