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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North Aurora family law attorney child custody

Even under the best of circumstances, divorce is difficult and stressful. While it is true that going through a divorce with an agreeable spouse can be much less taxing, both emotionally and financially, any divorce has the potential to become a high-conflict divorce. This is especially true when domestic violence is involved in a divorce, which is, unfortunately, not all that uncommon. Exposure to domestic violence and abusive behaviors have been proven to negatively impact children and even increase the chances that the children will exhibit abusive behaviors in adulthood. Because of this, Illinois takes accusations of domestic violence very seriously, especially as the situation pertains to child-related issues such as parenting time.

Determining Parenting Time With an Abusive Spouse 

Every decision a judge makes in Illinois is done after carefully considering all factors pertaining to the child’s best interest. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), the judge assigned to a case will make decisions about parenting time based on the presumption that spending time with both parents is in the child’s best interest. If there is abuse or domestic violence present in the household, you need to be sure to bring that to the judge’s attention so the court can address the issue appropriately.

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Oswego divorce attorney child custody

Most people will agree that when it comes to a child’s best interests, his or her parents typically know what would best fit the child, better than anyone else. However, when parents get divorced, it is not always feasible to expect them to work together and come up with a parenting plan that they both agree on. Many times, marriages have deteriorated to the point that the parents are unable to effectively or respectfully communicate with one another, even for the sake of their children. As stressful and difficult as the divorce process is for you, it is just as, if not more stressful for your children. Child custody disputes are not uncommon, especially in high-conflict divorces. However, exposure to the conflict has been shown to be detrimental to children. If you anticipate difficulty from your spouse when it comes time to negotiate your parenting time and parental decision-making responsibilities, there are certain things you should try to spare your children from.

Do Not Speak Unkindly to One Another

Even though you may feel less than friendly toward your soon-to-be ex, that is still your child’s other parent. They still love both of their parents and do not want to hear either parent saying mean or negative comments about the other, as it can be hurtful to them too.

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North Aurora family law attorney child support

When a child’s parents are not in a relationship with one another, it is very likely that some form of parenting agreement has been created to lay down the terms of the co-parenting relationship. In many cases, the parenting agreement will also include the terms of child support that the parent with the least amount of parenting time is required to pay to the other parent. However, not all parenting agreements contain information about child support orders. Whatever the reason for the absence of the child support order at the time the parents split, some people may not know that the state of Illinois allows parents to collect retroactive child support in some situations.

Retroactive and Back Child Support

Once entered, child support orders are enforceable by law, meaning you face consequences if you do not obey the order. If a parent does not make the required monthly payments, this means they have become delinquent on their order. They still are required to make the scheduled monthly payments, in addition to making back payments for any support payments they missed.

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St. Charles parenting time attorney

Whether you are going through a divorce in DuPage County and have minor children from your marriage, or you share minor children with a partner and you have decided to separate, you will need to learn more about how Illinois law handles child custody issues. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), Illinois courts no longer award child custody to one or both parents. Further, courts no longer use the terms legal custody and physical custody to describe the relationship between a parent and a minor child. Instead, courts allocate parental responsibilities.

According to the IMDMA, there are two different types of parental responsibilities: significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time. What is the difference between them, and how do courts allocate them? 

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Yorkville divorce attorney parental relocation

For many divorcees who are parents, one of the biggest disappointments they face is how little time they feel they have to spend with their children after all is said and done. In Illinois divorces, both parents must come to an agreement as to how parenting time will be split among the two of them, often leaving at least one parent feeling as if they are lacking. The idea of one parent moving and taking the child with them can be extremely distressing to the other parent, especially if they are concerned about protecting their parenting rights. In this situation, a knowledgeable family law lawyer can help you understand the procedure and rules that must be followed when a parent wants to relocate with a child, as well as how those laws apply to your situation.

When the Other Parent Must Notify You

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), there are certain rules that a parent must follow if they are relocating with their child. A parent who has equal parenting time with the other parent or the majority of parenting time can move with the child and must provide notice to the non-moving parent if the move is considered a “relocation.” In Illinois, a move is considered a relocation if the new residence is more than:

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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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DuPage County divorce attorney child custody

When parents of a child get a divorce in Illinois, they are required to make certain custody decisions for their child. Before they can finalize their divorce, they must come to an agreement on their own or a decision will be made by a judge on issues such as parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities. In most cases, the choices that are made during this period are long-term, life-altering choices that could come with unfavorable consequences. In some cases, concerns about a parent’s mental health may have been brought forward by the other parent or another individual involved or familiar with the case. In these situations, the parent whose mental health is in question will likely be required to undergo some sort of psychological test or mental health evaluation.

Determining the Need for an Evaluation

Not every child custody case will involve mental health evaluations. In cases in which the parents agree on parenting time and parental responsibilities, there is likely no need for a psychological evaluation. However, all decisions made pertaining to the child are based on the child’s best interests. If anyone has concerns about protecting the child’s physical, moral, emotional, or mental well-being, then they can ask the court to require the parent to submit to a psychological evaluation.

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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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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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