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

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Kane-County-family-law-lawyer.jpg-min-1.jpgNot all marriages have a happy ending. In fact, depending on the source you consult, around 40 to 50 percent of all first marriages in the United States end in divorce. If that statistic was not sobering enough, the divorce rate only increases for people who are married Kendall County a second and even a third time, with numbers soaring to somewhere around 60 to 65 percent of marriages ending in divorce. Though the statistics suggest that the odds are against you when it comes to remarriage, everyone deserves to be happy and find a partner with whom they can spend their life. Having a successful second marriage is not impossible; you just need to plan accordingly before you walk down the aisle a second time. Below are a few things you should keep in mind before you get remarried:

Be Truthful

First and foremost, you should be sure that you divulge everything of importance to your future spouse before you are married. You should be open and honest about all of your assets, credit history, debts, and other obligations. If you have obligations to provide child support or spousal maintenance to a child or spouse from a prior marriage, tell your new partner about them. Getting everything out in the open and being honest is the first step to a successful marriage.

Decide How You Want to Keep Your Assets

Second or subsequent marriages often include spouses who are bringing significant property and assets into a marriage. Make a list of each of your major assets and how you would like to use them or how they will be handled after your death. You and your spouse should decide how you want to handle all of your assets going forward. Will you have a joint bank account, or will you both still keep separate bank accounts? Which assets are important to separate?

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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.

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Aurora parenting plan divorce attorneyWith kids getting out of school and the weather warming up, June marks the unofficial start to summer. For many people, this means more time for family bonding and vacations, but for families with divorced parents, it can be a stressful time of adjustment. Having a child and being divorced means there is typically a set schedule specifying when a child will be with which parent, but that same timetable during the school year will not necessarily work over summer break. In order to make your and your child’s summer as carefree as possible, here are a few tips for successful co-parenting during the summertime months:

  1. Plan Ahead and Communicate

The key to minimal conflict is to plan your summer in advance as much as possible and keep your ex-spouse in the loop. Try to talk with your ex beforehand and come up with a plan of how you would like to split parenting time during the summer. If you decide to play it by ear, be sure to let your co-parent know of any vacations that you plan on taking or any other activities in which your child will be participating.

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Illinois custody attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,The idea of leaving your children parentless due to a tragic illness or accident is not a thought on which many like to dwell. However, taking necessary steps now to establish a clear and legal guardianship plan for your children can provide a measure of relief knowing you have prepared for their safekeeping.

What to Do, How to Do It

Preparing for the care of your children in the event of your death can be an easy process if one adheres to established laws and procedures. Ensuring your guardianship plan passes legal muster will prevent others from contesting guardianship, and wresting away custody of your children from those who you want to raise your kids. Before you get started, however, you probably have some questions:

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Child Custody Plans as Part of Your Divorce, divorce, child custody, child support, family law, law office, DuPage County child custody lawyersDuring divorce proceedings that involve custody and parenting rights of minor children, judges and attorneys refer to applicable laws intended to create a mutually-agreeable outcome. As divorce laws in Illinois undergo a multi-year overhaul, changes to laws governing child custody, now referred to as “parental responsibilities,” were enacted a little over one year ago.

While new laws take into consideration the realities of the modern, dual-income household, final custody decisions place the welfare and well-being of the child(ren) as its primary concern and could result in either joint or sole custody orders.

Basic Parental Responsibilities Detailed in a Child Custody Plan

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custody, DuPage County family law attorneyA popular—albeit rather infamous—YouTube personality who goes by the username “DaddyOFive” has lost custody of two of his children. The kids are currently staying with their biological mother. The father gained notoriety on the video sharing site when he started posting videos of interactions between himself, his current wife, and children. The videos contain a number of “pranks” played on the children—acts which many viewers and commenters found to be cruel and even abusive.

Pushing Things Too Far

In one controversial video, a smiling woman appears and explains that her stepson had previously gotten in trouble for spilling ink on the carpet. She tells the camera that she is going to act like the child did it again. The woman sprays disappearing ink onto the carpet, then she and the child’s father call the son into the room. What follows is disturbing to many viewers: The two adults verbally berate the child for the spilled ink, screaming and cursing loudly at him. The child begins crying as he desperately tries to explain that he did not spill the ink. The verbal abuse goes on for an agonizing three full minutes before the parents laughingly tell the child that it was “just a prank.”

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domestic violence, DuPage County family law attorneyFalse accusations of domestic violence are, sadly, all too common in family law cases. Such allegations are problematic for a number of reasons. First, they undermine legitimate efforts by organizations throughout the country to prevent and eliminate the very real problem of domestic abuse that occurs in many families. Of course, false accusations also create serious issues for the person who has been accused. If that person is you, it is important to understand what you can do in family court to defend yourself.

Protective Orders and Temporary Restraining Orders

Victims and purported victims of domestic violence in Illinois are able to apply for an emergency protective order or a temporary restraining order without any advance notice to the alleged abuser. If the court finds that the victim is currently in danger and immediate action is required to keep him or her safe, an order of protection will be issued. Once the order is issued, a law enforcement officer will serve a copy of the order on the alleged abuser.

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property, DuPage County divorce attorneyWhen a couple gets divorced, one of the most contentious aspects of the process involves the identification and division of marital property. For many couples, the marital estate is a physical representation of their life together, making it very difficult for the parties to reach a reasonable resolution.

If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement regarding your property, the issue will be left to the court to decide. Such a situation leads many to assume that the court will simply divide the marital estate into equal halves, and allocate 50 percent of the marital property to one spouse and 50 percent to the other. According to Illinois law, however, this is not exactly the case.

Equitable Distribution

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Posted on in Children of divorce

holidays, DuPage County family law attorneyThe holidays are supposed to be a time of joy to be celebrated with loved ones, but the season can be stressful and difficult, especially for those who are going through a divorce or have divorced. The holiday season can seem lonely and challenging, with divided families and uprooted traditions. If you are divorced, and especially if you have children, it is important to be prepared for the holidays so that they can be pleasant for everyone involved.

Parenting Concerns

If you are divorced with children, yoiur parenting plan will likely dictate what to do during a holiday. In Illinois, parents have the right to spend time with their children unless it would endanger the child’s health or well-being. For many people, holidays are an important time to spend with children and family.

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new partner, DuPage County family law attorneyWhen you are required to pay alimony—also known as spousal maintenance under Illinois law—your payments are intended to help your former spouse alleviate some of the financial impact of the divorce. To a certain extent, maintenance is also used to help an economically disadvantaged spouse retain a semblance of the lifestyle the two of you enjoyed during your marriage. But, what happens when your spouse meets someone new? Could his or her new relationship affect your requirements for continuing spousal support payments?

An order for spousal maintenance is typically set for a specific number of months or years. Alternatively, the payments may be ordered to continue on a permanent basis. “Permanent,” however, only means that there is no date set on which the order will be terminated. It does mean that the payments will continue forever no matter what. There are certain factors or occurrences that could allow you to stop paying maintenance to your ex-spouse despite a permanent award.

Standard of Living

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Posted on in Divorce

divorce, DuPage County divorce lawyerOver the last several decades, American society has become much more accepting of divorce than in previous generations. In fact, one could even argue that it has become too accepted. Many of us now speak of divorce very casually, as if it that is something that happens to just about everyone. The reality is much more painful, however, when you are facing the possibility of your own divorce. It is no longer something that happens all the time; it is a major life event that can have long-term effects on your future and that of your children. If you are considering a divorce, you owe it to yourself, your children, and your spouse to be absolutely certain that you are making the right choice.

The Healing Process

For many individuals faced with a likely divorce, they begin to move on as soon as the process begins. If you definitively tell your spouse that you want a divorce, there is no taking it back. You may change your mind, but if you do, your spouse’s ability to trust your word may be greatly diminished going forward. Do not say you want a divorce until you know it is true. This way, you and your spouse can begin to heal in your own ways, even as the proceedings are ongoing.

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Posted on in Visitation

parenting time, DuPage County family law attorneysThere are many scenarios that could lead to you having significantly less parenting time with your child than the other parent. Perhaps you were not married when your child was born and the court granted the other parent all of the decision-making responsibilities for the child and most of the parenting time. Or, maybe at the time of your divorce, you had serious issues with anger or showed signs of alcohol abuse, leading the court to limit the danger to your child. Whatever the reason may be, if you have precious little time with your child, you want to make the most of it. If the other parent is making it difficult for you to exercise your right to parenting time, a qualified family lawyer can help.

Get Things in Writing

Being denied access to your child can incredibly frustrating, especially if it is being done out of spite or anger. A finding of danger by the court is one thing, but the unsanctioned actions of the other parent are not acceptable. The first thing you should do if your parenting time rights are being unfairly limited is to keep a record of all communication between you and the other parent. Using emails or text messages instead of phone calls or in-person conversations can provide the documentation you may need down the road. If you ask to see your child and the other parent refuses, document his or her response. Failure by the other parent to comply with your court-ordered parenting arrangement could result in serious consequences for him or her.

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family law, DuPage County family law attorneyIn an effort to stay current and updated with regards to the family laws, in early 2016 the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) was updated to reflect some slight, yet useful, changes that are helpful to note.

Previously, the main responsibility of caring for the child was referred to as “custody” of the child. As of January 1, 2016, we now refer to child custody as the “allocation of parenting responsibilities”. With the change in terminology, the state also took the common parenting responsibilities and separated them in order to allocate each responsibility to one or both parents. Another common term, “legal custody” was removed with this update and replaced with “decision-making responsibilities”. This particular term is in reference to religion, education, health, and extracurricular activities.

In this day and age, there are more and more fathers who feel that the laws and regulations surrounding allocation of parenting responsibilities (aka “custody”) and visitation lean heavily in the mother’s favor regardless of which parent would best benefit the child. However, particular aspects regarding these family law changes may take away some concern you have when entering in the decision to battle for visitation and / or custody of your child.

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finances, Aurora family law attorneyIn the United States, an estimated 40 to 50 percent of all first marriages end in divorce. That number jumps to 60 percent for second and subsequent marriages. In survey after survey, one of the top issues that cause major rifts between married couples is finances. Different spending habits, different saving habits, and other differing perspectives on how money should be handled can do a lot of damage in a marriage. For example, one survey revealed that 47 percent of the couples surveyed had completely opposite spending and saving habits, which led to much stress in the marriage.

These statistics make a good argument as to why it is critical for engaged couples to have serious discussions regarding finances before they get married. Knowing how your future spouse handles money can help avoid big surprises after the vows are exchanged.

Future Career Goals

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debt, DuPage County divorce attorneyIn an Illinois divorce, the property and assets of a couple are equitably (fairly) divided. What a lot of couples fail to take into account is that this process of division also applies to their debt. It does not just disappear, after all. Be prepared and protect your financial future. Know how to deal with debt during the divorce process, and how you can effectively protect yourself from debt that should no longer be considered “yours” once everything is completed.

Taking a Proactive Approach to Debt Before the Divorce

All too often, couples wait put off dealing with debt until the last possible minute, assuming it will all just work itself out during the divorce process. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Instead, debt may be wrongly assigned to a party that cannot reasonably afford it. However, even if debt is equitably distributed during the divorce, failure to think ahead can come back to haunt the one who should have been “off the hook.” This can be especially true in situations involving joint debts, such as joint credit cards, mortgages, and other installment loans.

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Posted on in Divorce

facebook, Aurora divorce attorneyMost of us think nothing of posting a funny story, sharing some family photos or liking someone’s status on social media. Nearly 60 percent of Americans are on Facebook, and staying connected to family and friends via the internet has become second nature.  However, what you post on social media sites like Facebook may affect your divorce case more than you would think.

Online Privacy

Although Facebook does have privacy features such as the ability to block someone from seeing your posts, a divorce is a tricky situation when it comes to social media. If a person is or used to be married, chances are that they and their spouse have many mutual friends on these websites. They might be a part of the same groups or organizations.  It is very easy for a party to use these privacy loopholes to spy on the other spouse’s behavior.

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child's wishes, DuPage County family law attorneyWhen a couple with children breaks up or gets divorced, it is often the children who get caught in the middle. Along with the other considerations inherent to the proceedings, the divorcing parents are faced with deciding how to divide parental responsibilities and parenting time. This concept used to be known as child custody in Illinois, but changes to the law have updated the language being used by the courts. Regardless of what it may be called, determining who will be responsible for your child and where he or she will live are serious concerns with many factors to be considered. Some people may be surprised to learn that the child’s wishes are, by law, expected to be part of the equation.

What the Law Says

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a child does have some say in how parental responsibilities and parenting time are allocated by the courts. The court, however, will not base its decision solely on the child’s wishes; they are a part of the bigger picture. Other factors, as one might expect, include each parent’s ability and willingness to provide for the child, allegations or history of abuse, and the relationship each parent has with the child.

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emergency order of protection, DuPage County family lawyerDespite decades of public awareness campaigns, physical violence and other forms of domestic violence continue to plague millions of families throughout the state and around the country. While the state of Illinois no longer recognizes any “at-fault” grounds for divorce, domestic violence still remains a major consideration within family law, as allegations and proven behavior can directly impact a parent’s suitability for parental responsibilities and time with his or her children. Proceedings for allocating parental responsibilities and parenting time, however, may play out over the course of weeks and months, so what can a victimized person do in the meantime? In some situations, an emergency order of protection may be the appropriate first step.

Filing for an Emergency Order of Protection

Sometimes known as a restraining order, an emergency order of protection is a court-issued directive that limits or restricts the behavior of an alleged abuser. An abuser who violates an order of protection is subject criminal prosecution for the violation, in addition to any other illegal actions he or she commits in the process.

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parenting time, Aurora family law attorneyThere is little question about the difficulty of parenting after a divorce, separation, or break-up. If you have been allocated significantly less parenting time than your child’s other parent, maintaining a meaningful relationship with your child can be even more challenging. But what happens if the other parent convinces the court to restrict or limit your parenting time even further? An experienced family law attorney can help you understand what recourse you may have, and work with you in taking the steps to restore your parental rights.

Grounds for the Restriction of Parenting Time

The governing principle of Illinois family law regarding children and parenting responsibilities is always to serve the child’s best interests. In doing so, the court begins with the presumption that active participation by both parents is best for the child, and, therefore, will allocate parenting time to each parent based on the family’s circumstances. Your parenting time cannot be restricted unless the other parent can show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that your behavior or lifestyle seriously endangers your child. These dangers can be to child’s mental, moral, or physical health, as well as to his or her emotional development.

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order modification, Aurora family law attorneyWhen you are responsible for making child support payments, virtually every financial decision you make can affect your ability to meet your obligations. This is especially true if you are considering a job or a career change, as your income is very likely to change. While an increase in your income can be a good thing, a decrease could make it impossible for you to comply with your child support requirements. You may be able to petition the court for an order modification, but depending upon the circumstances of your employment, your request could be denied.

Illinois Law

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, your order for child support may be amended upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances. Losing a job, starting a new one, a significant promotion or demotion, and a complete career change could all create a significant difference in your monthly and annual income. The law recognizes a change in employment status as one of the possible causes of a substantial change in circumstances for the purposes of pursuing an order modification.

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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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