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

630-409-8184

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

Yorkville Office By Appointment

Initial Consultations via ZOOM Available

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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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North Aurora divorce attorney

Divorce is a difficult subject, no matter your age. Whether you are 3 or 23, watching your parents go through a divorce can be a stressful experience. Many parents tough it out for years or even decades in unhappy marriages for this very reason, thinking they are saving their children from heartache if they wait to get divorced until they are older. Unfortunately, in many situations, staying together for the sake of the children actually tends to do more harm than good. 

Negative Impact of Putting off the Inevitable 

Even though it may seem as if it would be better for your children to grow up with both parents living in the household, the conflict between parents can be more detrimental than splitting time between parents. If you are contemplating getting a separation or divorce and you have children, here are a few of the long-term consequences that staying together for the kids can have:

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Yorkville divorce attorney

When the new year rolls around and everybody is done celebrating, many people often find themselves making resolutions and quitting bad habits. While some people are committed to living a healthier lifestyle or spending less time on their phones, others are looking forward to a much bigger and more significant life change. According to many divorce lawyers and news outlets, January has been dubbed, “divorce month,” because of the increase in the number of divorce cases that are initiated at the beginning of the year. There are several reasons that have been pinpointed as being possible for the spike in the number of divorce cases that are filed during the first few months of the year. These reasons may include:

  • Spending one last holiday season as a family. For many couples, one of the biggest reasons they choose to stay together and wait until January to file for divorce is simply to preserve the magic of the holiday season. This is especially likely for couples who have children, as they will want to prevent any stress or disruptions from spoiling the holidays for the kids. 

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Yorkville divorce attorney

Addiction is a destructive disease, both for the person with the disease and for the friends and family members present in their lives. It can be painful for family members, especially a spouse, to watch a loved one grapple with the effects of drug and/or alcohol addiction. For many marriages involving addiction, there is hope for recovery if both spouses are willing to work toward it; however, not all relationships can heal from the damages and issues that addictions can cause. It can be difficult for the non-addicted spouse to make the decision as to when and if it is the right time to divorce. Do you stay and support your spouse out of loyalty and love, or do you divorce him or her so you can place your own mental health as a priority instead of the substance abuse? The following are a few things to ponder if you are contemplating or have decided to divorce an addicted spouse.

Addiction Is Toxic for a Marriage

When a spouse has an addiction, there are many things about that addiction that can cause issues in the marriage. Over time, the addiction eventually causes the very essentials that built the marriage to break down, such as the element of trust. Spouses with an addiction tend to lie to their partners about their usage, how much they may have spent on their addiction, or broken their promises about quitting their addiction.

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DuPage County divorce attorney parenting time

Many parents who are divorced or who have never been married often worry about the impact that transitioning between two households has on their children. Some children seem rather unbothered by going from one house to the other, while many kids become frustrated, upset, and stressed. Even months down the road, transition days can be difficult for your children. After all, a day that they are coming to stay with you is a day that they are leaving and saying goodbye to their other parent. These emotions can be difficult for children to deal with and could end up causing issues later in their lives, too. As a parent, there are things you can do to help make transitions between households much easier for your children.

Create a Routine and Stick to It

One of the best things you can do for your children is to find a routine that works for them and stick to it. Kids in general do not do well when their typical routines are disrupted. Once you are settled into a visitation schedule, you should then manage a consistent routine that you can use to help your children adjust to the transitions.

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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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North Aurora divorce attorney property division

When a marriage breaks down, it is rare that the two spouses still want to live in the same home together, let alone spend time in the same room with one another. However, many couples still try to reside under one roof while their divorce is underway, especially if there are children involved. However, this can become difficult if things turn sour or if you and your spouse are not on good terms when you begin the divorce. Unless you and your spouse qualify and file for a simplified dissolution and agree on all issues, you will have to negotiate the terms of your divorce. This process can be extremely stressful for couples who do not communicate well or who cannot cooperate with one another. In extreme cases, either spouse can petition to have exclusive possession of the marital home. 

What Does Being Granted “Exclusive Possession” of the Marital Home Mean?

During your divorce, you and your spouse both have the right to request to have exclusive possession of your marital home, but only until the divorce is finalized and only under certain circumstances. Typically, these circumstances have to be extreme. You must be able to prove that either you or your children's’ physical or mental well-being is in jeopardy by having both you and your spouse live there. The court will then conduct a hearing to determine the best course of action. In some cases, entering into a temporary eviction from the marital residence for one of the spouses can be a solution to the issues in the household. The spouse who is temporarily evicted is not always the spouse who keeps the home, as property division is an entirely different process.

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Kane County divorce attorney order of protectionIt is completely normal to feel strong emotions during your divorce. After all, you are ending your relationship with the person with whom you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life. Most people are able to control the emotions that they feel during the divorce, but others are unable to handle their emotions in a healthy manner. Rather than finding healthy and appropriate ways to cope with the feelings they may be experiencing, they instead stoop to bitter and spiteful actions. When this behavior includes harassment or stalking, it puts even more stress on your plate and is actually illegal in some situations. Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family from this type of danger during your divorce.

What Counts as Harassment?

In the state of Illinois, harassment is defined as actions taken knowingly with no legitimate purpose that would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress and that actually does cause you emotional distress. There are many different types of behavior that could qualify as acts of harassment, including:

  • Constantly calling, leaving voicemails, or sending text messages or emails to you, your children, or any other family members

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North Aurora divorce attorney

If you are going through something as complex and stressful as a divorce, there are so many issues you must come to an agreement with your spouse to settle, such as how you will divide your property, what your parenting time schedule will look like, and whether or not you will receive spousal support. Something like your tax obligation to the government is likely not even an item that is on your list of concerns, but it is something that should be on your radar. There are certain things that you should be aware of before you go to file your taxes for the first time after your divorce

Which Status Should You Use?

When you are married, you have the option of filing your income tax returns jointly or separately, though the vast majority of couples who can file jointly do so. The filing status that you use depends on when your divorce was finalized. If your divorce was finalized on or before December 31, then you are considered to have been unmarried for the entire year and you cannot file a joint tax return. However, if your divorce extended into the next year, you were considered to be married for the entire tax year.

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Geneva divorce attorney property division

In an ideal world, getting a divorce would only affect you and your spouse. However, getting a divorce impacts everyone in your family, especially your children if you have any. Throughout your divorce, you will face many issues relating to your kids that must be settled, such as parenting time, allocation of decision-making responsibilities, and even child support. What you may not realize is that your children may also influence other areas of your divorce as well, such as property division. If you are going through a divorce, an Illinois divorce lawyer can help you determine your best scenario for asset and property division.

Considering Your Kids’ Feelings When Dividing Assets and Property

When you go through a divorce, you and your spouse are required to divide all marital property equitably among yourselves before you are able to finalize the divorce. While you may think that your children have nothing to do with those decisions, they may influence those decisions more than you think. Here are a few ways your children can influence your property division decisions:

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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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St. Charles divorce attorney

Everyone has most likely heard these four words together before: “We need to talk.” Even if this phrase has not been related to relationship problems, it is still likely to elicit a few anxious and nervous feelings. Ending a relationship is never easy to do, especially when you have decided to dissolve your marriage and get a divorce. Whether you are the person breaking the news or the person on the receiving end, that conversation will likely be one of the most difficult and painful conversations you will ever have. It may also end up being a discussion that both sets the tone for the divorce and that you and your spouse remember forever. 

Breaking the News

Before you have the divorce conversation with your spouse, it is important to carefully consider his or her feelings, as well as those of your children to make the transition easier. Here are a few things you should keep in mind: 

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North Aurora child custody attorney

Sharing children with another person is one of life’s greatest pleasures, but it can also make for some difficult situations. In particular, if you and your spouse decide to get a divorce, you will always be connected, since you are both still parents to your kids. Although this may be comforting to some, it can be intimidating for others, especially if you do not get along with your ex. It can be challenging to co-parent with your ex-spouse after a divorce, but it is crucial to do so for the sake of your children.

Things You Should Do

Achieving successful co-parenting with your spouse depends on how well you and your spouse are willing to work together and how committed you are to your children. To achieve successful co-parenting, you should:

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North Aurora child support attorney order modification

The state of Illinois believes that both parents have the responsibility to financially support their child, even if a parent does not necessarily have an active relationship with him or her. This is why child support exists. In Illinois, child support is ordered in most divorce cases, but it can also apply to situations where the parents of a child are not married. Child support is determined using a formula and a set of rules that take into consideration the number of children you have, both parents' income, and how much it costs to cover the child’s necessities. Typically, child support orders are entered during the divorce process or if the parents are unmarried when the couple splits. Life is unpredictable, and sometimes circumstances change from what they were when the child support orders were first created. In situations such as this, you may find yourself asking, “Can I change the support order?”

Eligibility for Modification

When a child support order is entered, you are required to pay child support until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. If you wish to modify the amount of child support you pay each month, you have to meet certain requirements. Before your child support orders can be amended, one of the following must be true:

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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:

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Batavia parenting plan attorney

Divorce is filled with issues to settle and decisions to make, which can pose a challenge for some couples, especially if they are not on the best of terms. All couples argue about things from time to time, but divorcing couples have often reached the point where disagreements become heated very quickly and can elevate to all-out wars. When it comes to decisions involving the children, these arguments can become even more hostile, and resolving them can be a very emotional process. If your divorce reaches the point where you have to go to court to come to a resolution on matters related to the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, you will need to convince the judge that you will be able to provide for your children's best interests. There are certain things that you should avoid doing when you are fighting for a favorable parenting plan:

Resist the Urge to Complain on Social Media

Social media is present in many peoples’ lives these days. In divorce cases, it can become a tool in your ex’s arsenal to use against you if you are posting the wrong type of things on your timeline. Even if you are just sharing a photo of yourself and your new partner, your ex could use it in a negative way, perhaps by claiming that you are more focused on your new relationship than on your children's best interests. Be extremely cautious of what you post online during your divorce proceedings, and above all, do not post anything directly pertaining to your case.

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DuPage County divorce lawyer

Making the decision to end a relationship is never easy. Coming to the conclusion that a divorce is the only option typically takes months, if not years, and the possible end of your marriage can be a very stressful time of your life. It has often been said that marriages do not just break -- they deteriorate over time. If you are unhappy in your marriage, you may be wondering if it is time to call it quits, but it can be difficult to be certain that it is the right choice. Often, there are red flags throughout the marriage that you should be aware of that may indicate your marriage is not working. While there is no magic answer as to whether you should get a divorce or not, below are some warning signs that could indicate that it may be best to end your marriage.

One (or Neither) of You is Putting in the Effort

Successful marriages do not just happen. For you and your spouse to be happy in a relationship together, you have to want it. You have to get up every day and work for the marriage that you want and need. When one or both partners get to the point where they do not want to work on the marriage anymore, it could be a sign that the marriage is beyond saving.

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Batavia co-parenting attorneyGetting divorced when you have children brings about a wide variety of issues, worries, and concerns. Not only do you have to figure out how you will share parental responsibilities and how you will divide parenting time, but many parents also worry about how their children will be affected emotionally by the divorce. Statistics on this topic can be difficult to analyze; some sources say that divorce is detrimental to the mental and emotional health of children. While this can be true in some situations, a majority of experts agree that your children can grow up happy and healthy as long as they are able to experience a healthy co-parenting relationship between their parents. Co-parenting can be trying, even for parents who are amicable, but a peaceful relationship is not impossible.

Successful Co-Parenting Depends on Collaboration

You have heard it before, and you will most likely hear it many times during and after your divorce — cooperation and communication are key to success after divorce with children. You cannot hope to have a healthy co-parenting relationship with your ex if you do not know how to compromise or talk with each other effectively. Make it a habit to keep in regular touch with your ex about your child’s life, and always include him or her in important decisions.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

There are dozens of apps and websites available that were created to help people in your exact situation. So much of the success of your co-parenting relationship is dependent on communication, which also happens to be one of the hardest aspects of co-parenting. Using technology can help you and your ex discuss child-related issues. Websites such as Google Calendar can help you keep track of appointments and events for your child. Other companies such as Our Family Wizard have websites and apps to manage almost everything involved in co-parenting, such as parenting time schedules and expenses.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time lawyer,When you get a divorce and you have children, chances are there will be some sort of child support involved. In Illinois, child support ends when the child turns 18 or until the child graduates from high school -- whichever comes later. Even though your child has graduated from high school, that does not mean that your support for the child has ended. If your child decides to pursue some type of post-secondary education, you are responsible for contributing to their education. This type of support is considered to be “non-minor support” and lasts until the child turns 23. It is best if you and your spouse come to an agreement as to how college expenses will be handled, but a judge can allocate college expenses if need be.

Covered Expenses

The main thing most people think about when discussing college expenses is tuition. While that is typically the most expensive expense, it is not the only expense that is covered under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Other expenses that you may be responsible for include:

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time lawyer, Although a divorce may be exactly what you wanted, your children may not think that a divorce is a good thing. Divorce can be extremely tough on families -- especially on kids. Changes in the home, daily routines and living situations can be a big stressor to children, who very much thrive off of routine. All children react to divorce and cope with the stress of divorce differently. While some children may act out by misbehaving in school, other children may act out by reverting to habits of younger children. Divorce is difficult for everyone, but here are a few ways you can help your children cope with the inevitable stress of divorce:

Be Honest with Your Children

Especially when telling your children about the divorce, you should strive to be as honest as is appropriate. Your children deserve to know why you are getting a divorce, but you should adjust the level of detail to suit the age of your child. Younger children need simple, concise answers, while teenagers may need more detail.

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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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