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 divorce attorney

Anyone who has ever been through a divorce can tell you that even under ideal circumstances where both spouses agree on your divorce issues, the process of separation is still rather difficult. Although it is not impossible for you and your spouse to agree on every single one of your divorce issues, it is highly unlikely that this will happen. It can be likely, though, that you only disagree on one or a couple of issues, which can make your divorce go much more smoothly. Another issue that can greatly decrease the difficulty of your divorce is being properly prepared before you begin the process. There are so many facets to the divorce process, which is why it is important that you hire an Illinois divorce lawyer who can help you with as much of the prior preparation as possible. 

Top Tips for Beginning a New Chapter

A divorce can be overwhelming for many reasons, so that is why it is critical that you take your time and seek out the advice of a legal professional. If you are thinking about getting a divorce, here are five helpful tips to keep in mind before you initiate the proceedings to dissolve your marriage:

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Aurora divorce attorney parenting plan

Most of the time, the biggest worry that couples have when they are getting a divorce is how it will affect their children. For the most part, children are fairly resilient and will eventually bounce back from the stress and transition of the divorce. Children with special needs may not be as resilient, however, and may need special considerations of their own. Before you are able to finalize your divorce, you are required to file a parenting plan with the court that outlines your parenting time schedule and how you have allocated your significant decision-making responsibilities. If you and your spouse are the parents of a child with special needs, there are certain things that you should keep in mind to ensure your child gets what he or she needs.

Things to Keep in Mind for Your Parenting Plan

When you get a divorce and a child with special needs is involved, the process is inherently going to be more complex. 

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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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DuPage County divorce attorney

When you think of a witness being used in a legal case, you are probably like most people who picture a person who is called to the witness stand in a criminal case, or perhaps a personal injury case. Subpoenas can actually be used in a variety of court cases, including divorce cases, if they are necessary. Many times, contested divorces can make subpoenas necessary to retrieve important financial information. This can play a crucial part in ensuring both spouses receive their fair share of the marital estate. 

Types of Subpoenas in Illinois Divorce Cases

In Illinois divorce cases, there are two types of subpoenas that can be used. The first type of subpoena, called a subpoena ad testificandum, is a request for a person to appear to testify. Often, this type of subpoena is issued if the person in question possesses important knowledge about the case. These types of subpoenas are rare, though not impossible in a divorce case.

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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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Batavia divorce attorney

During your divorce, everyone in the family is likely feeling the stress and impact of the process, but children often feel it the strongest. It can be shocking and traumatic for kids to feel like everything that they have ever known is changing and falling apart. For many parents, their biggest worry in the divorce is their children and how the divorce process will affect them. While it is true that there is a possibility that your children could be somewhat affected by the divorce, studies show that most children of divorce grow up to be happy, well-adjusted, and balanced adults with relatively few issues during the divorce. However, each child is different and has the possibility of struggling to cope with the reality of the divorce. In some cases, it may even be in everyone’s best interest to hire a child therapist or psychologist to help.

Signs of Emotional Distress in Your Child

For some parents, it can be difficult to gauge when your child is in need of professional help. How moody is too moody? What behavior constitutes moody, anyway? It is normal for your child to experience a wide range of emotions and exhibit a range of behaviors to go with those emotions. However, if you notice emotional responses or behavior from your child that interfere with his or her daily life, it may be time to seek professional help. Examples of these types of behaviors could include:

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Kane County divorce attorney asset division

When you and your spouse make the decision that it is time for you to get a divorce, you will then have to decide how you want to go about obtaining a divorce. In most situations, both you and your spouse will each hire your own divorce attorneys to provide you with legal advice and help you negotiate a fair divorce settlement. Getting a divorce could likely be one of the most significant financial events of your life because the decisions that you make during your divorce could end up impacting your life for years to come. While your divorce lawyer can help you determine an equitable settlement, they may recommend that you hire a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) to ensure you understand the entire financial implications of your divorce.

What Is a CDFA?

A CDFA is a professional who helps both the divorcee and the divorcee’s attorney understand how certain financial decisions made during the divorce would affect the divorcee’s financial health in the future. A CDFA is typically someone who has a background in financial planning, accounting, or legal background, but to become a certified CDFA, he or she must undergo extensive training. A CDFA may also:

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North Aurora divorce attorney

A couple can disagree about many issues during a divorce, but it is no surprise that financial matters are one of them. The decisions that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse make during your divorce are extremely important because they are decisions that will end up affecting you for quite a long time afterward. When it comes to finances, the decisions that are made could quite possibly affect you for the rest of your life, which is why you want to be sure to protect your assets at all costs. One such way to do this is through the use of a temporary financial restraining order, which can protect your assets from being misused or wasted by your spouse.

What Is a Temporary Financial Restraining Order?

When most people hear the words “restraining order,” they think of an order protecting a person from physical violence. However, a financial restraining order functions along those same lines by protecting your marital assets from being transferred, misused, borrowed against, destroyed, or spent by your spouse during your divorce. Temporary financial restraining orders are a common tool utilized by spouses going through contentious high-asset divorces, but any couple could benefit from the order.

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Oswego military divorce attorney

Being a military spouse is no easy task. Depending on your spouse’s position in the military, he or she may have served time overseas, leaving you to run the household on your own for months at a time. All of the stress and uncertainty that the military life can bring can begin to take a toll on your marriage after a while. The most common question military spouses have when they file for a divorce is, “Will I get to keep my benefits?” These benefits include things such as access to the military base and its facilities, the base commissary and exchange, and eligibility for Tricare, which is healthcare available only to military members and their dependents. If you are a military spouse and you are thinking about getting a divorce, an Illinois divorce attorney will be able to help you figure out what benefits you may be eligible for after a divorce.

Understanding the 20/20/20 Rule

In some cases, if you are divorcing a spouse who was or is in the military, you may be eligible and entitled to certain benefits if you meet the right criteria. Over the years, there have been various rules that have been created to protect the rights of service members while also protecting the rights of their family members. One such rule has been dubbed the “20/20/20 rule.”

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DuPage County divorce attorney

When you first tie the knot, you have this idea of living happily ever after with your new spouse and that a good marriage will come easily and naturally. What many people do not realize, however, is that a strong and happy marriage is the result of years of communication, trust, and a lot of growth. There are arguments and conflict in every relationship; it is not necessarily conflict itself that is the marker of a marriage that will end in divorce. Conflict can be healthy because it can help ensure both you and your spouse’s needs are being met, but that conflict has to be dealt with in a healthy way. Psychologists say that there are four specific behaviors that take place in a matrimonial union that together can be a telltale sign of a broken marriage that is headed toward divorce. 

Criticism

This refers to the act of attacking your spouse’s character, rather than giving him or her feedback on something he or she did that you did not like. For example, your spouse might have a habit of leaving damp towels laying on the floor after showering. Asking, “Why are you so lazy?” rather than telling him or her that it bothers you and asking him or her to hang them up to dry instead is an example of criticism. Calling your spouse lazy is attacking his or her character and not his or her behavior. This can lead to deeper feelings of resentment and contempt, which is one of the four signs that a divorce is imminent. 

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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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Yorkville divorce attorney

Getting a divorce can seem like you are on an emotionally fueled rollercoaster. One moment you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are in an ugly argument and you are full of anger and the next thing you know, you are remembering all of the memories you made together and the family you created and you are filled with a sense of grief. It is normal to feel a wide range of emotions during the divorce process, but maintaining a sense of stability is important when working toward a healthy divorce. It is not impossible to have a minimally contentious and agreeable divorce, but there are steps that you can take to make sure your divorce is as healthy as possible. 

Begin the Process With a Negotiating Mindset

Throughout the divorce process, there will be many decisions that will need to be made. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will have to determine who will keep the family home or how you will divide the value of it and other assets, what you will do with your retirement accounts, how you will construct your parenting plan, whether or not you will receive spousal maintenance payments, and the list goes on. You should be prepared to greet each and every one of these decisions with an open mind and a willingness to cooperate.

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Batavia divorce attorney default judgment

Making the decision to get a divorce is not a small one and should not be taken lightly. In an ideal situation, both spouses would come together to come up with the terms of their divorce agreement so they can bring their marriage to an end peacefully. However, very few situations end up being ideal and most divorces do not involve as much peace and cooperation as the spouses involved in them wish there was. Some divorces are only finalized due to the determination of one spouse because of the unwillingness or unknown whereabouts of the other spouse. In cases such as these, in which your spouse is missing or is unwilling to cooperate with the divorce, it is still possible to get a divorce, but the process will likely be slightly more complicated.

Divorcing an Unwilling Spouse

In most cases, once one spouse brings up the idea of a divorce, the other spouse will follow or at least try to resolve the situation. In some cases, however, the respondent, or the person who is receiving the divorce petition, may shut down or refuse to acknowledge the divorce papers or the other spouse’s desire for a divorce. Once you have filed the divorce petition with the clerk of the circuit court, your spouse has 30 days to respond to the petition and notify the court as to whether or not he or she will be showing up for the initial hearing.

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Geneva divorce attorney parenting time

One of the most serious and unfortunately still prevalent social issues that families face today is domestic violence. Dealing with domestic violence in any situation is never simple, but having to cope with domestic violence during a divorce can make the divorce process a million times more stressful. According to information from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, more than 12 million men and women are affected by acts of domestic violence each year in the United States. Many people believe that domestic violence consists of purely physical acts, such as slapping or choking. However, domestic violence is really about control, rather than pain, so the abuser will often use multiple tactics to control the victim, including other forms of abuse, such as emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or harassment. This is why it is crucial for families experiencing domestic abuse to get help from an experienced Illinois divorce attorney before beginning the process.

Divorce and Child-Related Issues

Like most things during the divorce, issues related to the children are typically settled with an agreement made between the parents. However, in some situations, such as those in which domestic violence is present in the home, the parents may be unable or unwilling to cooperate or come to a consensus with a parenting time plan or allocation of parental responsibilities. This is when a judge will step in and make decisions for the parents in regard to Illinois law and what is in the child’s best interests.

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Geneva divorce attorney

The coronavirus pandemic has changed life as we knew it forever. Even the simplest of everyday tasks that we used to take for granted, like going to the grocery store or attending school have become too risky for some. After the lockdown in mid-March, the country has since been slowly opening back up, causing much stress and frustration by many. For those who are going through a divorce or who are thinking about getting a divorce, you may be concerned with how the pandemic will affect your divorce case. Illinois court operations were significantly reduced for the past couple of months, but the caseload has been increasing by the day, with all Illinois courthouses now open. Although your divorce may look a little different than what you were expecting, it is still possible to legally end your marriage during the pandemic. 

New Court Procedures

In response to the pandemic, the Kane County courts have developed a set of health and safety protocols to follow. These rules were created and put into place to allow the courts of the 16th Judicial Circuit to reopen and include:

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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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North Aurora divorce attorney asset division

When it comes to divorce, there are many different topics that must be covered to complete the process. One of the most important topics is the asset and property division process, which is notorious for being stressful for some couples. During the division process, you and your spouse will have to determine how you will divide everything from the value of your home, the money in your retirement accounts, all the way down to the vehicles in your garage. Dividing your assets is an important process, which is why legal guidance from an experienced Illinois divorce lawyer can be beneficial.

Factors to Consider

Before you get down to business about how to divide your vehicles, you should be sure to consider all relevant information. These factors can include:

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Batavia divorce attorney parenting plan

For many parents, the most difficult part of the divorce is the children. How will they react to the news of the divorce? How much time will I get to spend with them each day? Who will pay child support to whom? These are some of the things that may be running through your mind as you go through a divorce as a parent. The good news is that many, if not most of your questions will be answered once you and your spouse come to an agreement on a parenting plan for your children. In Illinois, you are required to file a parenting plan that outlines certain issues before you can finalize your divorce. Your parenting plan can also be a valuable tool to utilize when you set out to co-parent with your spouse after the divorce.

Provisions to Consider Adding

Co-parenting is never easy, even when you are doing it with your spouse when you are married. Co-parenting with an ex can be especially stressful and emotionally taxing, but a clear-cut parenting plan can help take some of the uncertainty out of what the expectations of each parent are. Illinois courts require certain elements to be present in a parenting plan for it to be valid, such as a parenting time schedule and an allocation of parental responsibilities. You may want to consider adding other provisions such as:

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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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