The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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Batavia child support attorney

The “standard” for American families has changed over the years. Even just 20 years ago, the “normal” U.S. family consisted of a mother, a father, and one or two children. Now, families come in all sizes and configurations. According to data from the Pew Research Center, an estimated 18 million U.S. children are living with a single parent. Being a parent can be difficult even when you have another partner, but being a single parent is especially challenging. Here are a few tips you can use to help ease yourself into single parenthood after a divorce:

Get Your Finances in Order

It is no secret that raising a child comes with a rather large price tag. Most married parents have two incomes at their disposal to help pay for some of the expenses associated with raising a child, but after a divorce, you may only have your own income to rely on. This is when child support is typically awarded to ensure that the parent with the greatest share of parenting time will be able to provide for children's daily needs. In some cases, spousal support may also be awarded. It can also help to create a budget for you and your child so you can plan what your monthly expenses will be and relieve some of the worries.


DuPage County child support attorney

Both parents have an obligation to financially support their children, even if one parent is considered “custodial” while the other parent is “non-custodial.” Because of this, child support exists in the majority of cases that involve parents who are divorced, legally separated, or who were never married in the first place. Child support is intended to be used to help pay for the child’s necessities, such as food, clothing, and shelter. If a parent is subject to a child support order, he or she is legally obligated to make the stated monthly child support payments; otherwise, serious consequences could result. When a parent does not abide by child support orders, it can put a financial strain on the custodial parent, but fortunately, there are steps you can take for enforcement if your child’s other parent has failed to make child support payments.

Defining Failure of Support

If a parent is having a bad month financially, and child support payments are late or delayed, typically no action will need to be taken, as long as the paying parent is able to pay the amount due within a reasonable time period. However, if non-payment has become a pattern, and the parent has not made multiple payments, legal action may need to be taken. A parent is considered to have committed failure to support if he or she does any of the following:


Geneva order of protection attorney

Divorce can be an extremely stressful life event. In fact, it is widely known that divorce or separation is the second most painful transition for a person to experience, only behind the death of a loved one. Even if you and your spouse are on the same page about the split, it still involves quite a bit of emotional and legal stress, which can manifest in different ways. In many cases, however, divorce is not completely mutual, and one spouse can be very opposed to the divorce. In these situations, things can elevate to the point that a person feels that he or she or his or her children are in danger based on the other spouse’s actions. When this happens, it may be appropriate to file an order of protection to feel safe.

What Is an Order of Protection?

An order of protection is a legal document that can help you and your family if you are experiencing abuse or threats of violence from a family or household member. According to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, a family or household member can include:


North Aurora uncontested divorce attorney

Many people’s idea of what a divorce entails is entirely formed by the experiences of people around them and what they see in movies and television shows. When you think of a divorce, you might remember how your aunt and uncle went head to head in a divorce case that lasted for two years, or you might recall television shows such as Divorce Court and how argumentative the divorcing couples could be. In reality, many divorcing couples are not as contentious as you might expect. Some couples are able to put their differences aside and complete their divorce in a peaceful and relatively simple manner. In situations like these, you may be able to file for an uncontested divorce. However, an uncontested divorce may not be for everyone.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

In the simplest terms, an uncontested divorce occurs when both spouses can resolve the marital issues of their divorce without taking their case to court. Most divorces involve major issues such as:


DuPage County divorce decree attorneyMost people have heard of a divorce decree, but they may not know what it actually is. If you are going through a divorce, you probably know that getting your divorce decree is the last step in finalizing the process. There can be a lot of paperwork and forms involved in a divorce, but the divorce decree is perhaps the most important legal document of all. It is, therefore, best to have a skilled Illinois divorce lawyer guide you through the process to avoid any mistakes that could impact your future.

What Is a Divorce Decree?

A divorce decree is a legal document that formally declares and finalizes a divorce. The divorce decree contains information pertaining to the marital issues that have been decided on in the divorce. The contents of the divorce decree will vary depending on the couple, but most divorce decrees typically address the following topics:

DuPage County high-asset divorce attorneyAll divorces have the potential to be complex, but when a couple has a high net worth, the proceedings tend to be even more complicated than normal. For couples who have an abundance of property or assets that are worth a lot of money, the divorce process will involve more decisions. Issues such as property division, spousal maintenance, and child support may be handled differently. People who have a high net worth can greatly benefit from a skilled divorce attorney who has experience dealing with high-value assets to help them figure out the best options for their situation. If you are involved in a high-net-worth divorce, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

  1. High-Net-Worth Divorces Are Often More Contentious

When it comes to divorces that deal with high-value assets, it is much more likely for couples to be combative, especially when dealing with property division. When spouses have many assets, especially assets that are expensive, it can be even more difficult to figure out who gets what. It may be necessary to hire an appraiser to determine the value of any large assets or property such as real estate, businesses, vehicles, boats, jewelry, artwork, or other expensive items.

  1. High-Value Divorces Are More Likely to Be Long and Expensive

When divorces are contested, or there are a lot of issues to settle, it is likely that the proceedings will be long and drawn out, which can get expensive quickly. Although nobody wants a lengthy divorce, couples in high-asset divorces may also be better equipped with the funds to pay for divorces that require a lot of negotiating and help from lawyers.


DuPage County, IL spousal support attorneyA divorce is never an easy decision, and for many, it can turn their entire lives upside down. Years ago, spousal maintenance (then known as alimony) was a rather common thing that was typically awarded to women who were getting divorced. Now, with more women in the workforce, the number of women receiving spousal maintenance has dropped, while the number of men receiving spousal maintenance has slightly increased. Spousal maintenance is still a rather common issue during Illinois divorces that must be decided before the divorce can be finalized.

Calculating the Amount for Maintenance Payments

If the judge determines that a maintenance award is, in fact, appropriate, he or she will use the maintenance guidelines to determine the amount of spousal maintenance to be paid. The Illinois maintenance guidelines apply to any couple whose combined annual income is less than $500,000 and when the payor does not have any other obligations to pay child support and/or spousal maintenance from a previous marriage.

The amount of maintenance to be paid is determined by taking a portion of the payor’s income and subtracting a portion of the receiver’s income from it. The formula for calculating the maintenance amount is as follows: 33.3% of payor’s income minus 25% of the receiver’s income equals the yearly spousal maintenance amount. To determine the monthly amount for maintenance payments, you would simply take the amount for yearly maintenance payments and divide it by 12.


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.


Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child support lawyer,So you have gone through all of the steps and jumped through all of the hoops to request and receive child support. But now you have a substantial change in your life, which will require a change in your child’s support. Though it is not impossible to make a modification to the child support orders, it can be a tedious process due to the requirements that need to be met before you can have the modifications granted.

Can I Ask for a Child Support Modification?

Once a child support order is issued, the non-custodial parent must pay child support until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. Existing child support orders can go through the modification review process if:

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child support lawyer, Typically in the state of Illinois, when you get divorced and you and your spouse have a child together, one spouse will pay child support to the spouse who has the majority of parenting time allocated to them. The monetary amount that is paid in child support depends on a number of factors that can change depending on your circumstances and sometimes the child support payment needs to be increased or decreased. Navigating child support modifications can be a tricky and lengthy process unless you have the help from an experienced attorney. Factors Used to Determine Child Support Payments

There are a multitude of factors that are used when determining if child support is needed and what the amount will be. These factors include:

  • The needs of the child;
  • The financial resources of the parents;
  • The standard of living the child is used to; and
  • The physical and emotional condition of the child.
Can I Modify My Support Orders?

One child support orders are put into effect, they are not necessarily set in stone. You can petition to have them changed if you can prove that there was a substantial change in circumstances. These types of changes can include:

  • A significant change in income, generally a 10 percent difference;
  • A change in expenses;
  • A change in location;
  • Increase or decrease in health insurance rates; and
  • A need to provide for health care needs of the child.
Steps to Modifying Existing Child Support Orders If you have an existing child support order that you wish to modify, there are certain steps that you must take to achieve the modification. 1. Fill out and file a petition with the circuit court of the county in which you reside. The petition is the formal document that asks the judge to oversee your case. 2. Tell the other parent about the request you have submitted for a modification to the existing support. You should send a copy of the petition to the other parent and then file a certificate of mailing in the court to certify that you have made an attempt to notify the other parent. 3. Once you select or have a hearing date selected for you, you must also mail a copy of the hearing date to the other parent. 4. When you attend your hearing, you should tell the judge:
  • The existing child support amount;
  • Why you think a modification needs to be made;
  • What you think the new child support amount should be.
If the judge grants your request for modification, he or she will sign the Order Modifying Child Support and the Uniform Order of Support, copies of which should be mailed to the other parent if they were not present. Get Help From an Experienced Child Support Modification Attorney

Divorce is stressful and it gets even more so when there are children involved. When your child support orders were created, they may have been fine, but as time goes on, circumstances change and the orders may need to be modified. If you believe that your child support orders should be amended, you should contact a skilled DuPage County child support lawyer to help you with the details. Contact the Law Offices of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. to discuss your case. Call 630-409-8184 to schedule a consultation.


Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer, attorney fees,When it comes to divorce, the laws pertaining to alimony, asset, and property division, child custody and support and other related issues can vary from state to state. The differences between one state and the other might be enough for some to take their divorce on a road trip.

Facts About Divorce in Illinois

While divorce laws tend to vary from state to state, it is important to know the laws that oversee such matters here in Illinois. Here is a quick summary of some of the basics.


Posted on in Debt
Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce laws,Even if a person has spent hours considering their various options and weighing its impact on their future, the decision to divorce can still elicit heightened emotions of fear. Unfortunately, it happens that some spouses may attempt to influence how the other proceeds with the divorce by issuing threats that play upon those fears.

Responding to Threats

It is not unusual to want your divorce to end in a way that is mutually agreeable. It is even acceptable to think the final settlement should favor you if the marriage included some egregious acts by your spouse. However, when threats are issued it is important to respond in an appropriate and legally measured manner. Doing otherwise can result in negative repercussion and even severe sanctions. However, in most cases, the threats can be best categorized as empty bluster.
  • “You’ll never get a dime unless you do this my way.” This just is not true. Community property states lay out exactly how marital assets are divided. In other states, a judge has the final say.
  • “I’d rather go to jail than pay you a single dime.” If a spouse fails to live up to court-ordered support payments, you can take steps to garnish their wages. In most cases, when faced with going to jail for defying a court order, the offending party usually opts to pay voluntarily.
  • “I’d rather quit my job than make any payments to you.” This one can be a little more difficult to fight. Try to record this threat or get a witness. A judge can order them to continue making payments.
  • “I will reconcile with you if we put everything in my name.” This is less a threat and more an attempt to dupe you into signing away future claims to marital property. Never let anyone have full financial control over your life.

Rely on the Knowledge of an Experienced Aurora Divorce Attorney

The divorce process can be a very emotional experience, leaving some people feeling vulnerable and even frightened. Matters do not improve if one spouse attempts to take advantage of the situation by issuing threats. Working with an experienced Kendall County divorce lawyer can offer one great relief and support.

Illinois child support attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,Even after a divorce is final, custody agreements are settled and support payments ordered, the adults and children who lived through the experience can still live through periods of uncertainty. This is especially true if a custodial parent stops receiving the child support payments they count on for monthly expenses related to raising their children.

Illinois Laws Push for Payment

For years custodial parents felt they had no recourse if their ex-spouse suddenly stopped or refused paying agreed upon monthly child support payments. To help custodial parents pursue that money, and encourage continued payment, the state of Illinois enacted a series of enforcement programs. These laws apply to both deadbeat dads and moms:
  • Income Withholding: All Illinois employers are required to file a report of all new hires with the state. Reports are shared with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, and Orders to Withhold Income for Child Support are submitted to the employer if it is found that a  new employee is delinquent in their child support payments.
  • Drivers License Suspension: The Illinois Secretary of State’s office can suspend the driver’s license of anyone who is more than 90 days late in child support payments.
  • Jail Time: If a judge finds the non-custodial parent is intentionally withholding child support payments they can be found in contempt of court and ordered to make the payment. If they fail to comply with the judge’s order, they can be sent to jail.
  • Publication of Debt: Delinquent child support payments can be added to a non-custodial parent’s credit report, making it difficult to buy a car, secure a loan or conduct other financial transactions.
  • As of 1997, custodial parents have up to 20 years after their child’s 18th birthday to pursue and collect past due child support payments.
Non-custodial parents long felt that the division of expenses was unfair, and placed on them a larger burden of the cost of raising children after a divorce. A new Illinois law that went into effect this past July now takes a broader look at all income sources of both parents in an effort to create a more equitable child support plan.

Pursue Owed Monies with Help of an Experienced Aurora Child Support Lawyer

It is important to know that there are steps you can take if your ex-spouse is delinquent in their payments of court-ordered child support. By working with a knowledgeable and aggressive Illinois divorce and child support attorney, you can pursue the payments due you and your children. Contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. to schedule an initial consultation and discuss your options.


Posted on in Divorce

Divorce Affects Dads Too, divorce, child custody, child support, visitation, DuPage County divorce attorneyMuch is written about divorce and the impact it has on the parties involved. A husband and wife who thought their marriage would last forever suddenly find themselves splitting marital assets, and creating schedules to see their children. It seems there is no shortage of articles addressing how wives and children are affected by divorce, and rightly. Just as important are the adjustments and coping skills the husband/dad must apply to his new, post-divorce life.

Tips and Tools for the Divorced Dad

Divorced dads must now navigate new and uncharted territory; helping raise children under very unique circumstances and with a whole new set of rules. While the divorce decree may establish certain details about support and visitation, there are things the divorced dad must come to realize on his own.


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


Calculating Child Support When the Paying Parent Has Multiple Court Orders, family law, child support, divorce, calculation child supportWhile sometimes determining child support is a straightforward matter, other cases present difficulties and gray areas. In these situations, an attorney is often required to assess the financial situation of the parents and determine how much is owed for the support of the child or children at issue.

One such complicating factor is if a parent has more than one child support obligation. For example, if a father has children with two different mothers, there may be more than one child support order, which may affect the obligations owed.

Child Support Law in Illinois


Posted on in Divorce

The Cost of Divorce, divorce, child custody, child support, collaborative divorce, mediation, property divisionGetting a divorce can be very emotionally taxing. Divorce can also be monumentally expensive. There are seemingly cost that come out of nowhere, especially in cases where the divorce is contested, or there are children involved. More and more people are trending towards collaborative law as a means to keep the financial burden of getting a divorce minimized.

How Expensive Can Divorce Be?

That depends largely on the type of issues that need to be resolved. There is no universal cost for a contested or uncontested divorce. The average divorce in Illinois cost roughly $13,800. More than half of that figure will likely be allocated towards fees for your lawyer. The average hourly rate for a divorce attorney is $260.


Posted on in Child Support

Child Support Overhaul, child support, family law, divorce, spousal maintenance, DuPage County child support attorneyChild support is often a contentious part of a divorce. A massive change to the way that child support is calculated is set to take effect this July. It updates and streamlines an outdated method of calculating child support.

Under current Illinois law, child support is calculated using a fixed formula that requires a non-residential parent to pay a fixed percentage of their income. This was problematic because the one size fits all formula produced results that did not satisfy the needs of the child nor were the calculations developed to address the best interest of any children involved.

How Will Child Support Be Calculated Under the New Law?


college, Aurora family law attorneyIf you are a divorced parent, you understand how difficult it can be to fulfill all of your parental obligations while maintaining a close relationship with your child. In addition to being an involved parent and a positive influence in the child’s life, you may also be required to pay child support, at least until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. Depending on the circumstances of your situation and the terms of your divorce agreement, however, your support obligation may continue as your child heads to college, but such considerations are often much more complex.

Child Support Basics

Every child has the right to expect financial support from both parents. This idea is the basis of child support laws in every state, including Illinois. While child support payments are typically made by one parent to the other, the right such support is considered to belong to the child. A parent does not have the authority to waive that right on the child’s behalf, and a court may order child support even the parent with primary custodial responsibilities insists that he or she does not need it.


child support, DuPage County child support lawyersVery few parents would argue that they do not have a responsibility to provide financially for their children—at least to a certain extent. Raising a child costs real money, and generating that money should be the concern of both parents, regardless of their relationship with one another. Under the law in Illinois, a family court may order child support payments from either or both parent to ensure that the child’s needs are properly met. How such payments are calculated, however, has become a subject of controversy in recent years, which we will address in this post and at least one other upcoming post.

Income Guidelines

The first thing that you need to know about child support calculations in Illinois is that a family court is guided by a formula and considerations listed in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). The IMDMA provides a fairly straightforward method for calculating child support payments that relies primarily on just two factors: the number of children being supported and the paying parent’s net income. A parent supporting one child can expect to pay 20 percent of his or her net income as support, 28 percent for two children, 32 percent for three children, and so on, up to 50 percent for six or more children.

The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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