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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Geneva divorce attorney parenting plan

Perhaps one of the most difficult and challenging parts of the divorce process for parents is creating a parenting plan for their children after their divorce is finalized. The parenting plan will act as a blueprint for how most things related to parenting and the children should be handled. No two parenting plans are the same, as each family has different needs and situations. There are many factors that can affect your parenting plan, but one of the biggest factors can be your child’s age. Creating a parenting plan around infants, especially, can seem daunting, but it is not impossible. If you have a baby and you need to create a parenting plan, the following are a few things to keep in mind.

Frequent Visits Are Important

There are many different types of visitation schedules you can create for your children, but when it comes to parenting time with an infant, the more frequently it occurs, the better. Infants do not yet have the ability to create the best memories, so frequent interactions with both parents will ensure that the baby is able to form a bond with both of them and recognize they are important people in their life as they grow older.  

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Oswego divorce attorney child custody

We have all likely heard the famous saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The sentiment can also be said for divorce. In many situations, it is not just you and your spouse’s attorneys who work on the divorce. In many cases, there are other professionals that you hire or consult with throughout the process. Even your divorce attorney may recommend that you hire certain professionals for specific aspects of the divorce, especially if you need them to testify for you in court. Having the right team together can greatly reduce your stress and uncertainty and make the entire process much easier for everyone involved.

CPA and/or Forensic Accountant

For most divorces, a certified public accountant (CPA) is sufficient enough to help you get your finances together and help you gain a clear understanding of your assets and liabilities. A CPA will use your tax returns, loan documents, mortgage information, income, and expenses to give you an accurate representation of what your financial situation actually looks like. In more complex financial situations, such as ones in which a spouse tries to hide assets, a forensic accountant may be necessary. A forensic accountant will be able to investigate and delve deeper into your finances than a CPA would and uncover and discrepancies that exist.

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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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Geneva parenting time attorney

When you have children, and you get a divorce, the state of Illinois requires you to decide on and make arrangements for your children’s affairs after the divorce is over. Not only do you have to determine how parenting time will be split between you and your spouse, but you also have to decide on other issues, such as how major life decisions will be made for the kids. The law states that every decision concerning the children in an Illinois divorce should be made in the children’s best interests, but parents may not always agree on these issues. In some cases, the court will intervene and often order an evaluation to be completed before any determinations regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) are made.

What Happens During the Evaluation?

If divorcing parents tell the judge that they cannot come to an agreement on any of the child-related issues, the judge will typically order a trained professional to conduct an evaluation to help determine what would be in the children’s best interests. These often include mental health professionals, such as psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, and counselors who have experience dealing with family disputes.

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Kendall County parenting time attorney

The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we go about our daily lives in almost every aspect. Many states across the country have closed non-essential businesses, which include dining rooms for restaurants, movie theaters, non-essential retail businesses such as malls and clothing stores, and even many office buildings. These measures have been put into place to try to stop the spread of this new virus, also known as COVID-19. At the time of this writing, the United States has surpassed every other country in the world with the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. In Illinois alone, there have been more nearly 6,000 confirmed cases, with 99 deaths reported. Many people have been wondering how this pandemic will affect their family situations, such as parenting time, especially those parents who are divorced with kids who are splitting time between different households.

Understanding Illinois’ Stay-At-Home Order

In an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, many states have also enacted “stay-at-home” orders that prohibit citizens from gathering with other people who are not household members. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a statewide stay-at-home order that started on March 21, stating that individuals should only leave their homes for essential or life-sustaining services. Illinoisians are still permitted to leave their homes for things such as outdoor exercise, going grocery shopping, attending doctor’s appointments, and going to work at an approved essential business.

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Batavia parenting time attorney

When you get a divorce and you have children, it can feel like the proceedings will never end. Even after all is said and done, and the divorce decree has been issued, the drama can still continue for years. As parents, you will never truly be separated from one another, and the two of you will always be connected by your children. Because of this, it is no surprise that co-parenting can be one of the biggest sources of stress for divorced couples after their marriage has ended. Most couples want to make co-parenting as beneficial to the children as possible, which is why more and more couples are using technological solutions to help manage child custody concerns. Below are some of the most useful and popular apps and websites that can help take some of the worries out of co-parenting.

Google Calendar

One of the most popular ways co-parents stay in touch is by using a shared Google Calendar. This is accessible through a website or an app, and it allows both parents to keep tabs on different events and shared commitments that involve the children. Parents can even use the calendar to keep track of other events that might require a change in schedule.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,Getting a divorce -- or dissolution of marriage, as it is called in Illinois -- means the marriage between you and your spouse will be legally terminated. One your divorce case is approved by a judge and he or she has given you a Judgement of Dissolution of Marriage, both you and your former spouse will be free to remarry and can resume your former name, if applicable. Getting a divorce can be a very long and complicated legal process, so it is important to understand the basics before you begin the process.

Filing the Petition

To officially begin the divorce process, you must first file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the circuit court of the county in which either you or your spouse resides. To file this petition, either you or your spouse must be a resident of Illinois for at least 90 days and you must be able to prove that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences. Once the petition is filed, a copy of the petition will be served to your spouse.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,Making the decision to get divorced is not one that comes easily to most people. A marriage does not break down overnight -- it takes months or even years to reach the point of no return for most divorcing couples. Once you have made the decision to get a divorce, the first step in what is often a long process is figuring out how you will go about the divorce and which divorce lawyer is right for you. Shopping for a divorce lawyer is a lot like shopping for a car -- they are not cheap, so it is important that you make your decision with care and thorough knowledge. If you are beginning the process of finding a divorce lawyer that would be a good fit for your family, here are a few tips that can help guide you:

Determine What You Need

Before you even contact any lawyers, you should figure out what exactly you are looking for in a divorce attorney. Which specific needs do you have? Is your divorce contested or is it straightforward? Do you need an attorney who especially experienced in certain parts of family law, such as child custody? Are you looking for an attorney with experience dealing with collaborative divorces, mediation or traditional divorces? Determining your needs can help determine what kind of lawyer you need.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,Parenting is a full-time job and it is never really easy. Co-parenting can be even more difficult after a divorce, especially if your divorce was particularly heated and contentious. You may wish that you never have to see or talk to your ex-spouse ever again, but the truth is when you have children, you will never truly be completely separate from your spouse. Your children are the most important aspects of your life and for their sake, you should learn how to co-parent peacefully with your spouse. Here are a few tips you can use to help form a successful co-parenting relationship with your ex: Put Your Emotions on the Backburner Co-parenting is almost never easy. You may feel emotions like anger, disappointment, sadness, rage, and even hatred, but you must try to put these feelings aside and work with your ex, rather than against them. Never allow your feelings to put your kids in the middle of your problems with your ex. You can argue with your ex all you want, just do not do it in front of your child. Work to Communicate Effectively When it comes to successful parenting and co-parenting, communication is key. Though you may not want to communicate with your ex, you will have to in order to co-parent effectively. Try keeping conversations with your ex centered around your children rather than yourselves and try to keep the tone of the conversation formal and business-like. Be Consistent Consistency is key with children. They thrive off of routine and it can even help them to cope with the divorce by not adding more stress and different expectations at each home. Try to keep their schedules as similar as possible at both homes, like having the same bedtime at each home. Make Decisions Together Your child’s well-being is your number one priority. Decisions about your child should be made by both you and your ex -- not just one of you. When it comes to decisions about your child’s education, medical care, and other important life issues, you should always include your spouse in the decision-making process. Hire a DuPage County Child Custody Attorney Today

Before you are able to finalize your divorce, you will have to submit to the court a completed parenting plan that you and your spouse both have signed and agreed upon. Though it may be difficult, it is in everyone’s best interest to come to an agreement on child custody and parenting time on your own, rather than having a judge tell you what you will do. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we can help you and your ex come to an agreement about these issues and more. Our skilled Aurora, IL child custody lawyers know what it takes to create a solid parenting plan and will help you formulate a plan that works for your family. Call our office today at 630-409-8184 to set up a consultation.

 

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child support lawyer,A common outcome of divorce when you have children and you are their primary caregiver is child support. Many families depend on these support payments each month from the other parent to ensure that the children are fed, clothed and have everything that they need. Once a child support order is entered, it cannot be modified or reviewed for at least three years -- unless there is a significant and substantial change in circumstances. A significant change in the family’s circumstances is actually the most common reason why a child support modification may be granted, although they can also be modified if the child support orders do not address healthcare for the child or if the child support orders deviate from the support guidelines.

What Constitutes a Significant Change in Circumstances?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act has guidelines for almost any issue that may arise during an Illinois divorce. In the section about child support, the Act defines what the courts would consider to be a significant change in circumstances. In Illinois child support modification cases, a significant change in circumstances can include:

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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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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), there are around 44 million people who experience a mental illness in any given year and around 10 million adults live with a chronic mental illness. Mental illness can include a vast variety of diseases, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder, though the most common mental illnesses in the United States are depression and anxiety disorders. Going through a divorce can affect those with a mental illness more than the average person, emotionally and mentally. While it is not a major and definite factor in deciding parenting time and responsibilities in Illinois, it can play a factor.

Making Decisions Involving Children in a Divorce

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, when a judge is making decisions involving children in a divorce, he or she must make those decisions in consideration of the child’s best interests. Many factors are taken into consideration when determining the child’s best interests and some of these factors include:

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois guardian ad litemIn divorce cases that are less-than-amicable, things can get heated and they usually get heated quickly. While most divorce cases involve children, those cases can often be the most stressful to deal with. Each parent truly wants what is best for their child, but because of the situation, thoughts on what is best for the child may become skewed or muddied with all of the other feelings that the parent may be feeling toward their spouse. In situations like these, the judge or either of the parents is allowed to request a guardian ad litem (GAL) to be a part of any child-related decisions.

What Is a Guardian ad Litem?

In Latin, guardian ad litem literally translates to “guardian for the lawsuit.” In modern-day divorce cases, a guardian ad litem is typically assigned to cases when they are ordered by the judge, but either spouse of the divorce can request a guardian ad litem for their child. The guardian ad litem is a guardian appointed to your specific case and is tasked with the role of protecting the interests of the child.

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holidaysDivorce is hard - that is no secret. But divorce is even harder during the holiday season. The holidays are all about spending quality time with your family, but when your family is split up, you have to find other ways to celebrate and make the season special. When you are divorced with children, you typically have a parenting plan that outlines where your child will be during certain times of the year and which holidays the child will spend with which parent. One of the hard truths that you must come to realize is that you will not always spend every single holiday with your children. While it can be difficult, it is something you must get used to. Here are a few tips you can follow to survive the holidays without your children

Do What You Want to Do

One of the best things you can do during the holiday season without your kids is whatever you want to do. If that means that you want to stay home, decorate your house for the holidays and host a big holiday party, then do it. Maybe you might want to take that warm beach vacation for the holidays but never wanted to make your children sacrifice holiday traditions. A year without your children during the holidays is a perfect time to do whatever your heart desires.

Practice Self-Care

Any time you know there will be outside factors affecting your mental health, it is always a good idea to make sure you are practicing self-care and keeping yourself in tip-top shape. Make sure that you are eating well and drinking plenty of water, along with getting plenty of sleep and exercise. You should also make sure you are taking care of your emotional health. If you are not spending holidays with your children, make sure you are spending it surrounded by your side of the family or with your friends.

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parenting time, DuPage County family law attorneysWhen it comes to children of divorce, Illinois courts are not really concerned with either of the parents. The courts’ first and foremost concern is the children themselves and their well being. It is of the opinion of Illinois courts and Illinois law that children are best off having a close and loving relationship with both of their parents. This is why the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that “it is presumed that both parents are fit and the court shall not place any restrictions on parenting time.” But because the courts’ primary concern is the children, they will, in fact, place restrictions on parenting time if they find that the child’s overall well being would be endangered by spending time with one or both of his or her parents.

Getting the Court to Place Restrictions on Parenting Time

It is the court’s assumption that the child will benefit the most from spending time with both parents. Sometimes, if one parent has the majority of parenting time (sometimes called the “custodial parent”) he or she will petition to have the other parent’s parenting time restricted or revoked altogether. A court will only grant a restriction on parenting time if, after a hearing is conducted, it finds that the child’s mental, emotional, physical or moral health would be endangered by spending time with the parent.

The court does not care if the “custodial” parent does not like the behavior or actions of the other parent - unless they can prove that the other parent’s behavior or actions are damaging to the child, the child will be able to spend time with that parent.

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divorceWhen it comes to divorce, there can be a lot of confusion around how it works, the legalities of it and how it affects you in the long run. Some of this confusion can be attributed to the difference in laws between states, some can be contributed to the portrayal of divorce in movies and television, but much of the confusion surrounding divorce is because no two divorces are the same. Stories that you hear about other people and their divorces can be misleading because much like people, no two divorces are the same. Allowing yourself to be consumed by divorce myths can be detrimental to your divorce success. Here are four common divorce myths and the realities behind them.

If You Cheat, You Will Suffer in the Divorce

The notion that adulterers lose in a divorce is an antiquated one. While cheating brings about many types of issues and can be emotionally damaging, Illinois does not recognize cheating as grounds for making decisions about divorce-related matters. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that one of the purposes of the Act was to “eliminate the consideration of marital misconduct in the adjudication of rights and duties incident to dissolution of marriage.”

Mothers Always Get Custody of the Children

This myth is also antiquated. In Illinois divorces, the mother does not automatically get custody of the children. Courts prefer children to be raised by both parents and will usually only award the majority or all parenting responsibilities when it would not be pertinent or in the best interest of the children to award parenting responsibilities to both parents.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer,Among all of the things that you must take care of when you are going through a divorce is your children. In Illinois, you are required to create a parenting plan that outlines parenting time, parental responsibilities, where the child spends certain holidays and when the child will be moving between homes. Illinois courts prefer you and your ex-spouse to come to an agreement before you go to court, but in the event that you cannot, the court will decide your parenting plan in a proceeding.

This realm of divorce can be confusing because Illinois has adopted the terms “parenting time” in place of “physical custody” and “parental responsibilities” in place of “legal custody.” Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about parenting plans in Illinois:

How Is Parenting Time Determined?

In Illinois, parenting time is urged to be decided by the parents of the child, but if the parents cannot come to an agreement, the court will intervene and make decisions about parenting time that are in the child’s best interest. The court will examine a variety of factors when making a determination, including:

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer,There could be many reasons why you would want to petition to move out of the area with your child after a divorce - you could be moving for your job, to be closer to family or maybe you just want a change of scenery. Whatever the reason is, as long as you have the majority of parenting time or equal parenting time allocated to you, you can petition to relocate with your child. Typically, relocating with your child requires a change in your existing parenting plan. Though the process to make the change in your parenting plan can be stressful and time-consuming, it is not impossible.

Steps You Must Take

In Illinois, there typically must be a significant change in circumstances before you can change your parenting plan.  A relocation constitutes a significant change. If you plan on relocating with your child, you are required to submit a written notice of relocation to your child’s other parent within 60 days of relocating. If you do not provide notice, the court can use that as a factor in considering whether or not the relocation is in good faith.

Deciding Factors the Court Uses

If the other parent agrees to the relocation, then the relocation will be granted. If the other parent disagrees with the relocation, the court can modify the parenting plan and will use the following factors to make the decision:

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer, comprehensive parenting plan, In addition to dividing property, savings accounts, and retirement funds, many divorcing couples also have children that they must make arrangements for. Divorce is hard on everyone in the family, but it is arguably the hardest on the children. By creating a comprehensive parenting plan that encompasses as many issues pertaining to the children as possible, you can help eliminate some of the trepidation and mystery that a divorce brings.

Parenting Plan Is Required by Law

Under Illinois law, all couples who are divorcing and have children together must submit a parenting plan that covers a certain set of issues. These parenting plans help the court decide what the proper course of action is when awarding parenting responsibility and parenting time. If a couple does not have a comprehensive parenting plan to submit to the courts, they will be required to attend mediation to come up with a parenting plan that is agreeable to both parents.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child support lawyer,When you are going through divorce proceedings, one of the many facets that you will come across is issues pertaining to your children. In Illinois, physical child custody and visitation are called parenting time and legal custody is called parenting responsibility. When making decisions about these things, the court is always taking into consideration the best interests of the child. The majority of parents are concerned with their child’s best interests, but their views of what is best for the child can sometimes be clouded by everything else surrounding the divorce. Understanding what the court considers best for the child can help you anticipate what decisions the court will make with your case. What Is the “Best Interest” of the Child? In legal terms, the best interest of the child is used in most cases involving decisions made about children. This means that the judge presiding over the case will base his or her decision about parenting time and responsibilities on a number of factors to best suit the child’s individual needs. All states have some sort of standards set in place to determine what is in the child’s best interests. Determining Factors in Illinois

The Illinois Juvenile Court Act of 1987 set into place specific factors judges take into consideration when a “best interest” determination is required. The child’s age and developmental needs are taken into consideration, along with:

  • The physical safety and welfare of the child, including basic needs;
  • The development of the child’s identity;
  • The child’s background and familial, cultural and religious ties;
  • The child’s sense of attachments, including where the child feels love, their sense of security and familiarity;
  • The child’s wishes;
  • The child’s community ties, such as church, school, and friends;
  • The child’s need for permanence and stability;
  • The uniqueness of every family and child; and
  • The preference of the parents.
Contact A DuPage County Parental Responsibility Lawyer

Divorce proceedings can get messy pretty quickly and parents can lose sight of what is important - their children. Everything a parent does should be in the best interests of their children and Illinois courts want to make sure of that. If you are going through a divorce with children, you should get the help of an Aurora divorce attorney who can focus on your divorce so you can focus on your children. Contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. to see how they can help you with your case. Call the office at 630-409-8184 to set up a consultation.

 

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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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