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 grandparent visitation lawyerDivorce can be a troubling time for all families, whether they are a tight-knit family or not. When a family is close to one another, going through a divorce can be even more difficult. If a divorce is especially contentious or heated, relationships between family members can break down, and children can be used as tools to hurt other relatives. Illinois agrees that all parents have an inherent right to spend time with their children; however, this is not the case for grandparents. Thankfully, there are certain non-parents -- including grandparents -- who do have the right to petition for visitation in certain circumstances.

Who Can File a Petition for Visitation?

Only certain people are permitted to file a petition for visitation in Illinois. According to Illinois law, only grandparents, great-grandparents, step-parents, or siblings can file a petition to be granted visitation time. The petition can only be filed if the parent of the child has unreasonably denied visitation, and if at least one of the following is true:

  • The other parent is deceased or has been declared a missing person for at least 90 days.

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DuPage County parenting time lawyerMost parents will agree that the most important aspect of a divorce is making sure the children are okay. However, many parents worry about how a divorce will affect their children. Therefore, a lot of couples are currently in unhappy marriages in an attempt to spare their children the stress of divorce. It is important to remember that a divorce is the result of an unhealthy relationship between two spouses -- it has nothing to do with their children. While you cannot protect your children from all of the stresses and changes a divorce can cause, you can take steps to make sure your children are protected from the arguments and other negative effects that a divorce can trigger.

Take Care of Yourself

Although it may seem selfish, one of the best things you can do for your children during your divorce is to make sure you take care of yourself before you focus on them. A divorce can be traumatizing and can take its toll on you after a while. You should practice self-care by eating healthy foods, exercising, getting enough sleep, and talking to people in your support system. When you are emotionally stable, you are better able to guide your children through this major life transition.

Do Not Talk Negatively About Your Spouse

You should avoid criticizing or putting down your ex-spouse when your children can hear. Though you may have an issue with your former partner, your children do not. They deserve to have a relationship with both parents that is not clouded by negative opinions from one parent.

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DuPage County divorce child issues lawyerIf you think your divorce is stressful for you, it can be even more taxing on your children. For kids, their parents' divorce is a very confusing and tumultuous time. While it is completely normal for children to be sad, uncertain, or even angry when their parents are going through a divorce, it is important for you to understand that there are things you can do to make the change somewhat easier. Divorce is a process, not only for you but also for your children. Your job as a parent is to help your children through this process so they are able to come out on the other side stronger and more well-rounded individuals.

Breaking the News

Many parents do not know how to talk to their children about divorce, much less how to break the news to them. The way you first tell your kids about your divorce can set the tone for the entire healing process. You should tailor your conversation to your children; if they are younger, it is best to keep the message simple and sweet. If you have older children, you can provide a little more detail, but it is still important to only share the information they need to know.

Helping Them Grieve

For children, a divorce can be a big emotional loss. Your job as a parent is to help your children work through their emotions and go through the grieving process. You should listen to what your children have to say and the worries that they share with you. Acknowledge and validate their feelings by letting them be open and honest with you. Reassure your kids that you and their other parent still love them and will always be there for them, even though you are no longer together as a couple.

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DuPage County allocation of parental responsibilities lawyerNow known as the allocation of parental responsibilities, child custody can be one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. Even if you and your spouse agree on how you want to divide your property and debts, you may clash when it comes to deciding how parenting time and significant decision-making responsibilities will be allocated. Although you and your spouse may never want to speak to each other again, you will always share a common bond--your child. Determining how your child will spend time with each parent and what decision-making rights each parent will have for the child can be a daunting task. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois.

How Will Decisions About Parental Responsibilities Be Made?

Illinois courts recognize the benefit of both parents agreeing on certain issues, especially child-related issues. Because of this, the courts will encourage parents to come to an agreement about parental responsibility on their own. If they are unable to come to a  resolution, the court will make these decisions for them based on what is in the best interests of the child.

What Factors Will Be Used to Determine the Best Interests of the Child?

When a judge must make any decision involving the child in a divorce case, he or she will use specific factors to determine what is in the child’s best interest. These factors can include but are not limited to:

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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.

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DuPage County divorce lawyerDivorce is stressful for many reasons. Not only do you have various emotions running through your head, but you also have to deal with the financial aspect of the divorce. It has been estimated that a typical divorce can cost anywhere from $8,500 up to $100,000. The actual cost of your divorce will depend on a variety of factors, with some of the most influential factors being where you live, whether or not you have children, and your attorney’s hourly rate. With a price tag of at least a couple thousand dollars, it is not uncommon for some couples to have sticker shock when it comes to paying for their divorce. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce the cost of your Illinois divorce.

Figure Out Which Process You Want to Use

Before you even begin, you should know which type of divorce you want to use. Contrary to what many people may believe, traditional litigation is not the only way to get a divorce. You can also choose to go with a mediated divorce or a collaborative divorce. Each method of divorce has its advantages and disadvantages, but depending on your situation, a mediated or collaborative divorce may be able to save you both time and money.

Be Prepared With Organized Financial Records

Before you meet with your attorney to begin dividing your marital property, you should be sure you have all of your financial records organized and ready to go. Make sure your records are in order so your legal team can better understand your financial picture. Organizing your records yourself before a meeting saves you precious time for more important matters.

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Aurora, IL family law attorneyThere is no one definition that is used when you talk about the “best interests of the child” during divorce cases. What may be right for one child is not always right for another child. Illinois courts understand this, which is why when it comes to child-related issues, a variety of factors are used to determine the best course of action. During divorce cases, decisions must be made about parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities, which are both child-centered issues. The main goal of the courts is to ensure that the child’s safety and overall well-being is placed at the top of the list of priorities.

Factors Used in Deciding the Child’s Well-Being

In many Illinois divorce cases, parents can lose sight of what is truly best for their child. This is when a judge may step in and help parents decide certain issues. Each divorce, family, situation, and child is unique. When judges are making these decisions, they base their determinations on the child’s age and needs, along with these factors:

  • The physical safety and well-being of the child, including the child’s access to food, shelter, clothing, and healthcare

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Aurora, IL divorce attorneyA common saying is “When one door closes, another door opens.” This is true in most life events, even divorce. Although a divorce is the end of a marriage, it can also be a fresh start in life, providing the opportunity to find someone new and date again. The time between those doors can differ for everyone, but most people will eventually be open to another relationship after they divorce.

Dating again can be exciting, but it can also be stressful for your children. Depending on their age and level of maturity, they may or may not be able to understand why their parent has decided to start dating. Sometimes, new relationships can put stress on a family, but following the below guidelines can help you reduce anxiety and enjoy this next chapter in your life.

Do:

  • Talk with your ex before you introduce your partner to your children. Not only is this respectful, but it can also help keep the peace between all involved. Your ex has a right to know who will be spending time with your children. Be sure your ex is comfortable with the idea of introducing your children to your new partner. Sometimes, introducing your ex and your new partner can ease some of the tension everyone may be feeling.

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Aurora, IL parental relocation attorneyThere are many reasons why a person may want to move after a divorce. Some may want to be closer to family members, others may move for a new job or simply a fresh start. Whatever the reason, moving can be problematic for a divorced parent who wants to take his or her child with him or her.

In Illinois, moving out of state, moving more than 50 miles away from the current residence within the state, or moving more than 25 miles away if the current residence is in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will County is considered relocation, and a parent will be required to obtain permission from the court. If the other parent does not agree to the relocation, a person still may be able to relocate, but the issue will need to be settled within the court system.

Notice of Relocation

Illinois law states that a person wishing to relocate with his or her child must notify the other parent in writing at least 60 days prior to the intended relocation. The notice should inform the other parent of the date of relocation, the new address, and whether or not the relocation is permanent. If the other parent signs the notice, and the notice is filed with the court, then the relocation will be granted, as long as the family court judge believes that the move would be in the child's best interests. If the other parent objects to the relocation or does not sign the notice, or if the parents cannot come to an agreement on a modified parenting plan, the relocating parent must file a petition to relocate.

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Aurora divorce lawyer GAL child representativeAlmost anything that happens in the Illinois legal system that has to do with children revolves around what is in the child’s best interests. In the majority of divorce cases, at least one, but sometimes both of the parents, understand what would be in the child’s best interest. In some divorce cases, parents can become so blind with hate that the best interests of the child are lost, which is when a child representative steps in. Cases involving child support, the allocation of parental responsibilities, parentage, allocation of parenting time, relocation with the child, or even just the child’s general welfare can all be assigned representation for the child.

Types of Representation

The state of Illinois provides for three options when it comes to the representation of the child:

  • An attorney for the child

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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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Illinois custody attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,The social and emotional effects of divorce on children are often discussed in reference to those in high school or younger. However, a divorce can have a very unsettling impact on college-age students who themselves are adults.

Away at School Does Not Mean Less Stress

It is difficult enough when children experience the divorce of their parents while everyone is living under the same roof. However, the anxiety and uncertainty can be magnified when a child learns of the divorce while living away at college.  Questions and issues about the divorce can compound a student’s anxiety about being away from home and the academic pressures of college life.
  • The student left home that will have been dramatically altered the next time they return from school. It is not uncommon for the student to feel a sense of loss or not belonging to any one household after the parents split.
  • When a divorce occurs after the student leaves for school they may question whether or not parents stayed together as long as they did just for them.
  • A student may be bothered by questions about whether or not the divorce of their parents will have a negative effect on the ability to pay for school.
  • Encourage your student(s) to seek help from campus healthcare professionals. Colleges and universities offer access to counselors who can help students deal with a variety of obstacles they may encounter during their time on campus, including a divorce of their parents taking place hundreds of miles away.
If one is looking to discover a silver lining in all this, there may be one in the form of financial relief for the college student. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) requires income information only from the custodial parent - the parent with whom the student resides more than 50 percent of the time. If the student lives with the parent who reports the lowest income, they may be entitled to more federal grant money with which to apply toward tuition, fees, and housing expenses.

Work with an Experienced and Resourceful DuPage County Divorce Attorney

The effects of a divorce send ripples throughout a family, frequently causing stress that has a negative impact on other areas of their life. Seek assistance from a knowledgeable Illinois divorce attorney who understands how divorce impacts every member of the family. The Law Offices of Matthew M. William, P.C., provide a thorough review of all relevant issues and create a strategy for delivering a favorable divorce decree with as little anxiety as possible. Contact our offices at 630-409-8184 to schedule an initial consultation.

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Posted on in Children of divorce

Illinois custody attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,The effects of divorce can ripple outward and impact family members, not just in their personal lives, but in every aspect of their daily routine. The consequences of a divorce on children are widely accepted, and behavior and performance at school are among those concerns. Knowing some strategies to deal with school-related issues can allow a parent to help their child(ren) when it is needed most.

How Can a Divorced Parent Help Their Child at School?

After a divorce your life is different, and you are dealing with issues that perhaps were handled previously by your spouse. One of the areas you may need to become more involved in the educational experience of your child. Here are some ideas you may find helpful.

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religion, DuPage County divorce attorneyWhile the rate of divorce has been on the decline for the last several years—at least according to most estimates—there was a period between the late 1970s and early 1980s at which the divorce rate reached its peak. About half of all of the marriages that took place during that time eventually ended in divorce. The children who were born during that same period largely comprise the generation collectively known as millennials. Much has been written about the differences millennials and the generations which preceded them—Generation X and the Baby Boomers—with one of the most glaring being millennials’ approach to religion. Today, one in four Americans—and nearly 40 percent of millennials—do not associate themselves with any particular faith or religion, a drastic increase from the 5 percent in 1972.

Religion and Divorce

A recent study suggests that there may, in fact, be a connection between the increase in divorce rate and the decrease in religious participation. According to research conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, children of divorced parents are much more likely to have no religious affiliation as adults. The study found that 35 percent of those whose parents were divorced during their childhood identify as non-religious, compared to 23 percent of those whose parents were together during most of their childhood.

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children, DuPage County divorce attorneyNo family ever plans to split in divorce, but sometimes situations arise in a marriage that make divorce the best and healthiest decision for everyone involved. Breaking the news to children that you and your spouse will be ending your marriage is tough – there is no way around it. However, there are steps you can take to make the process of telling your children about the divorce less painful than it has to be.

  • Keep conversations age-appropriate: Obviously, the conversation about splitting up will be different with a four-year-old and a 16-year-old. It is important to use age-appropriate language with a small child when explaining how their lives will change. A very small child will not understand words like “divorce,” “separation,” and “shared custody.”  On the other hand, an older child can understand more about how his or her life will change and will understand concepts like living in two households or court appearances.
  • Do not give more detail than is necessary: Children do not need to know details regarding why the marriage is ending – especially if the marriage ended from a sexual indiscretion or another dramatic event. Stick to the facts of how the family is changing and the timeline for these changes.
  • Refrain from blaming or vilifying your spouse in front of the children: As tempting as it is to assign blame, your main priority is reassuring the children that both of their parents still love them.  Affirm that the children that they are in no way responsible for the marriage ending.
  •  Share the logistics of how their lives will change:  Explain to the children how their living situation will change. Is one of the parents moving out? Will the children be attending a different school in the future? What is the timeline for implementation of these changes? Kids may need to be reminded of these changes in the future as well.
  • Allow the children to ask questions and listen to their concerns:  Kids all react differently to big news.  Some will want to ask questions and talk about the situation immediately; others will need space to be alone before they are ready to talk. However long it takes, it is important to remember to allow children to express themselves in their own time and to react with patience and compassion to their questions and concerns.

An Attorney Can Help

If you have questions about the divorce process and how to explain it to your children, contact an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney. Call 630-409-8184 to schedule a confidential consultation at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today.

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children, DuPage County divorce lawyerActress Katherine Hepburn was once quoted as saying, “Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.” It seems wherever there is a marriage, be it between a man and a woman or a same-sex marriage, there will inevitably be trials and challenges. Human beings are such a complicated composite of thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, and baggage from past experiences. When two human beings decide to join their messy lives in marriage, problems and arguments will almost certainly arise.

Many couples stay in marriages full of deceit and conflict because they have children. Couples who were once happy and planned on a life raising their kids together often cannot imagine putting those same children through the pain of a divorce. Still, how should a couple decide when enough is enough? When do the arguments and fights reach a level that makes it unhealthy for the marriage to continue, especially when children are involved?

Unhealthy Marriage May Lead to Unhealthy Children

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guidelines, Aurora divorce lawyerThroughout the state of Illinois, guidelines regarding visitation and child custody—now called parental responsibilities—have been established for divorcing parents who are in the process of making new parenting time transitions. These transitions affect the entire family. Not only do they impact the child’s lifestyle as a whole, but they also have the power to seriously alter the child’s perception of the separation. A smooth transition can mean the difference between a calm, positive experience for your child and an emotionally turbulent, traumatic one.

Your Role as Parent

As a parent undergoing a divorce, it is understandable to struggle with the many changes that come with such a big lifestyle shift. It is not uncommon for parents to experience conflict in front of their children, especially when it comes time to make parenting time (visitation) arrangements and address the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody). This is why state and county guidelines exist: to protect the well-being and the best interest of the children. The advantages of these guidelines are twofold. In addition to reducing the emotional toll on the children, parents also benefit by learning better communication and conflict resolution skills, often allowing them to mitigate much of their own stress as well.

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children, Aurora family law attorneyIt is widely accepted that going through a divorce is one of the most frustrating and stressful events a person can experience. Feelings of anger, guilt, regret and annoyance are common. Children can complicate the divorce process even more.  Parents may feel threatened that they will not receive the custody agreement they want or that the other parent will try to turn the children against them. As stressful as the experience for the adults who are ending their marriage, the situation can be even more frightening and confusing for the children in the middle of it. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make the transition from married to not married easier for the smallest members of your family.

There Are No Winners in a Divorce

Mark Baer, collaborative law attorney and co-author of  Putting Kids First in Divorce: How to Reduce Conflict, Preserve Relationships and Protect Children During and After Divorce says that the first step is to have the right mindset about the divorce. Often, those going through a divorce have unresolved anger toward their spouse. He or she may have been cheated on or lied to, causing serious issues regarding trust. The memory of screaming matches or harsh words may still be fresh. Sometimes this means that the temptation to “get back” at a spouse can be strong.

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children, divorce, DuPage County family lawyerDivorce is stressful for everyone involved. Children, however, often have the most difficulty adjusting to all of the changes. A divorce can also affect a child for years after the final decree is entered. There are several things you can do as a parent can help your child cope with the divorce.

Listen to Their Problems and Worries

Children, just like adults, feel loved and cared for when they know you are listening to them. This is more than just hearing what they have to say. Listening requires you to both be active in showing you understand what they are worried about while also withholding any judgments or solutions until after the child is done sharing. In fact, resolving their concerns in the moment is less important than encouraging your children to express their feelings honestly.

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children of divorce, health study, DuPage County family law attorneyWhile most parents who are considering divorce give a great deal of thought to how their children may be affected, they may not think about actual the health impact such a decision could have. Parents and experts tend to consider the psychological and behavioral effects primarily, but research is beginning to emerge that suggest that physiological health may also be impacted years into the future.

Longitudinal Research

A recent study conducted by researchers from Penn State University and the University of Louisville looked at long-term data nearly 15,000 men and women born in the United Kingdom in 1958. Published in the journal Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, the study sought to analyze the health impact of parental divorce at different stages in a child’s life.

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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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