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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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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Oswego gray divorce attorney

When talking about divorce, most people are familiar with the commonly cited fact that around half of all U.S. marriages ultimately fail. According to the Pew Research Center, the general divorce rate in the United States has actually been decreasing since 1990. When you look at adults who are over the age of 50, however, the divorce rate has actually increased. Ten out of every 1,000 couples over the age of 50 got divorced in 2015, which doubled from 1990. Among those who were age 65 and older, the divorce rate actually tripled between 1990 and 2015. Getting divorced when you are over the age of 50, which is also referred to as gray divorce, can be a complicated process, and that is why hiring a knowledgeable attorney is so important.

Attitudes About Divorce Are Changing

Even just 30 years ago in 1990, there was more of a negative stigma surrounding divorce than what exists in today’s world. If you got divorced back then or even longer ago, it was scandalous and wrong. Now, getting a divorce is seen by many as the right thing to do if you find yourself in a loveless or unsatisfying marriage. Gray divorces could be more prevalent because of this shift in public attitude.

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Yorkville divorce attorney parenting time

Two of the most contentious topics in marriage and divorce are finances and children. Tensions often run high when it comes to determining things such as allocating parental responsibilities and parenting time. After all, it is only natural for both parents to want to spend as much time with the child as possible, but after a divorce, it is unlikely that either parent will get as much time with the child as he or she wants. The general consensus is that it is in the child’s best interest to have a relationship with both parents, which is why the default decision for the court is to award parenting time to both parents. However, in some cases, there may be factors present that could cause the courts to restrict parenting time or order supervised visitation. 

What Is Supervised Parenting Time?

In most cases, parenting time is restricted because one parent expressed concern about the well-being of his or her child while under the care of the other parent. The court will order supervised parenting time if it finds evidence to prove that spending time alone with the parent would endanger the child’s physical or mental health or impede the child’s emotional well-being. Supervised parenting time means that a third party “supervisor” must be present during all parenting time. This supervisor can be a professional, such as a social worker or a behavioral specialist, or it can be a friend or a family member. Whoever the supervisor is, the court must approve the person chosen in the parenting time order. The order can also include other requirements such as:

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Yorkville divorce attorney spousal support order

When you see divorces take place in movies or TV shows, they only seem to take a day or two to complete. In reality, getting a divorce could take months or even years, depending on the circumstances of your specific situation. The divorce process can be rather tolling, both emotionally and financially. For some, it can feel like a burden has been lifted once the judge approves the divorce agreement and signs the decree. However, this does not mean that you will never have to look at this piece of paper again, especially if you have a child together or you get remarried. Your divorce agreement will also contain information about your child support terms and about spousal maintenance terms if you have them.

How Will Remarriage Affect Spousal Maintenance?

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), a person is no longer obligated to pay spousal maintenance payments if the person receiving the payments gets remarried or moves in with another person on a continuing and conjugal basis. As per the IMDMA, that person must also notify the paying party within 30 days or at least 72 hours of the intended marriage or cohabitation, the date of which the support obligation ends. The court can order the receiving party to reimburse the paying party if it was found that advance notice was not given or overpayment was made. On the other hand, if the person making the maintenance payments moves in with a significant other or remarries, the maintenance payments would not stop.

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Kendall County divorce attorney

There are dozens of reasons why couples get divorced. Perhaps it was due to infidelity, which broke the trust they had built over many years. In other situations, one spouse may have simply decided that he or she was no longer content and did not want to be tied down. Whatever the reason, many divorcing couples share a similar trait -- poor communication with one another. While it may seem counterintuitive to want to improve communication with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, this can actually benefit you and your entire family in the long run by helping to keep things calm and less contentious. Below are a few things you can do to easily keep the lines of communication open with your spouse during your Illinois divorce.

Do Not Fight Over Everything

It has often been said that you should pick and choose your battles, and that can be true when it comes to divorce. If your spouse is known to bring up certain issues just to get a rise out of you, ignore these comments to avoid becoming agitated. Keep your focus on the issues that are most important to you and work on negotiating, rather than arguing about them.

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Oswego divorce attorney child custody

We have all likely heard the famous saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The sentiment can also be said for divorce. In many situations, it is not just you and your spouse’s attorneys who work on the divorce. In many cases, there are other professionals that you hire or consult with throughout the process. Even your divorce attorney may recommend that you hire certain professionals for specific aspects of the divorce, especially if you need them to testify for you in court. Having the right team together can greatly reduce your stress and uncertainty and make the entire process much easier for everyone involved.

CPA and/or Forensic Accountant

For most divorces, a certified public accountant (CPA) is sufficient enough to help you get your finances together and help you gain a clear understanding of your assets and liabilities. A CPA will use your tax returns, loan documents, mortgage information, income, and expenses to give you an accurate representation of what your financial situation actually looks like. In more complex financial situations, such as ones in which a spouse tries to hide assets, a forensic accountant may be necessary. A forensic accountant will be able to investigate and delve deeper into your finances than a CPA would and uncover and discrepancies that exist.

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North Aurora property division attorney business valuation

The United States is known for many things, but one of the things that it is proudly known for is the welcoming and nurturing culture surrounding small businesses. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there were approximately 30.7 million small businesses in the country in 2019. If you are like any of the millions of Americans who own a small business, it is likely your most important and most valuable asset. This can prove to be tricky when it comes to divorce. You must determine what you will do with your company, but before you do, you will have to determine what your business is worth.

Methods for Valuation

The easiest way to deal with a business is to sell it and split the profits with your spouse. This, however, is not typically the desired route since most of the time, the business is the source of income. If you want to keep your business, typically you will pay your spouse a portion of the value of the company, but to do that, you must first determine the actual value of it. There are three basic approaches to valuing a business:

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Batavia divorce attorney child support

In situations where the parents of a child are divorced or no longer in a relationship, child support orders are often entered to ensure that the financial responsibility of raising a child is not left up to only one parent. In Illinois, child support is typically paid by the parent who has a smaller portion of the parenting time. The amount of child support that is paid each month is determined by a formula that takes into consideration each parents’ income, parenting time, how many children you are supporting, and how much supporting your children should cost.

Paying your child support obligation is extremely important, not only for the well-being of your children but also so you can avoid any repercussions for nonpayment. If you do not make your payment, you could face significant consequences such as driver’s license suspension, wage garnishment, tax refund interception, and more. The state of Illinois offers various options for paying your child support so there is a confirmation that you are in compliance with the order and a record for the payment exists.

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North Aurora divorce attorney order enforcement

There are many steps in the divorce process, but the one that nearly everyone looks forward to is the final step -- the prove-up. If you and your ex-spouse were able to keep your divorce out of the courtroom, this is the only time you will have actually appeared before a judge. Even if you had to settle your divorce in court, either way, your divorce is finalized once the judge signs the decree. This can be a huge weight lifted off of your shoulders, but in some high-conflict divorces, the feeling of relief may be short-lived. It can be extremely frustrating if your spouse does not adhere to the terms of the decree after you spent so much time hashing things out. Fortunately, if your former spouse is wilfully disobeying your divorce decree, there are things you can do to rectify the situation.

Determining if There Is a Violation

Before you do anything, you should first make sure that your ex is indeed in violation of your divorce decree. For your ex-spouse to be considered in contempt of court, you must have a valid and current court order. Your ex must also be willfully in contempt of a court order, rather than non-willful contempt. This means that your ex must be knowingly and meaningfully violating the order.

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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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North Aurora divorce attorney parenting plan

When you have children, you typically envision the life you want to give them, one full of love and happiness from both parents. Making the decision to separate or get a divorce is difficult when you have children for that very reason. Suddenly, your vision is no longer the same loving image of a happy family and that can be devastating for everyone involved. Emotions play a big role in divorce, whether you would like to admit it or not. Sometimes, those emotions can be so overwhelming that it feels as if you cannot even be in the same room with your spouse anymore. If you have children, you do not have that option, especially when you are in the process of getting the divorce and you do not yet have any final plans in place. Parenting while you go through this process can seem unmanageable at times, but an Illinois divorce attorney can help you navigate this new normal.

Request Temporary Orders

During your divorce, negotiations will take place to form final orders for things such as child support, parenting time, and decision-making responsibilities. Once your divorce is finalized, those orders will also be finalized and will become effective. Until that happens, however, you can request temporary orders from the court to be effective until more permanent ones come along. This can be immensely helpful for couples who have a great deal of conflict because it can reduce some of the uncertainty about the children’s schedule. Temporary orders for parenting time and child support can both be issued to last during the divorce.

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North Aurora parenting plan attorney

One of the biggest concerns that people have about divorce is how it affects the children who are stuck in the middle of these situations. Multiple studies have been conducted on the effect of divorce on kids throughout their lives and while research is always ongoing, these studies have shown that the divorce itself is not what affects children -- it is the conflict to which they are exposed. Some children who have divorced parents grow up to be successful and well-adjusted adults, while some have more trouble. The children who grew up to be successful tended to be from families in which the divorce was fairly peaceful, while the ones who experienced issues were usually from families that had a lot of conflict and stress because of the divorce. When you have children, you do not get to simply forget about your child’s other parent and never see him or her again. The reality is, you must be willing to compromise and communicate with your child’s other parent for child-rearing. Unfortunately, some couples simply cannot seem to make co-parenting work. The good news is that there are alternatives to co-parenting, with the most popular option being parallel parenting.

What Is Parallel Parenting?

In many ways, parallel parenting is much like co-parenting. In both instances, you and your ex still both have parenting time with your children. However, in a parallel parenting situation, you and your ex are much more disengaged from one another, unlike in a co-parenting relationship. It helps to think of its namesake -- parallel lines. They always run in the same direction but angled in such a way that they never collide. For example, in a parallel parenting agreement, the parents may communicate or even see each other only to make a decision about the children’s medical care or schooling, but then make day-to-day decisions on their own while the kids are in their care.

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Yorkville parenting plan attorney

Even when a divorce is friendly and parents are amicable with one another, co-parenting is not easy work. Co-parenting takes a lot of effort, communication, and a willingness to work together to be successful. In an ideal situation, both parents would be willing to put their own feelings and hurt aside to come together as a parental unit for their children. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Sometimes, a parent can get so caught up in their own emotions and personal vendettas that they lose sight of what is best for their children. The following advice can help you and your ex-spouse work together for the sake of your kids.

Making Co-Parenting Easier

Cooperative co-parenting is what every parent aims for after divorce from their children’s other parent. While it may seem difficult, effective co-parenting is not impossible. It simply takes a little bit of time and effort to make it work. If you are at odds with how to cope with an uncooperative co-parent, here are a few tips that can make things a little easier:

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Kane County parenting time modification attorney

When making divorce arrangements, the idea is that the terms will last a lifetime. While this may work for some of the areas in a divorce, such as property division, parenting plan arrangements may not last the test of time. There are a number of reasons why someone may want to modify a parenting plan, but the court will only allow it if it is in the best interest of the child. What a parent thinks is best for the child and what the court sees as best for the child can be extremely different. That is why it is important to work with an experienced divorce attorney to determine what circumstances warrant these adjustments.

Danger Is a Possibility

The primary instance in which a parenting plan agreement is modified is if a child is in harm’s way. If domestic violence is present in either of the child’s assigned homes, a court will immediately take action to protect the child. If the custodial parent is showing signs of abuse toward his or her child, the agreement may be modified so that the child no longer lives in that household. If the non-custodial parent is suspected of abuse, he or she may be required to have supervised visitation with the child or may lose visitation rights altogether.

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North Aurora high-conflict divorce attorney

In today’s world, single-parent households are much more common than they were decades ago. According to the United States Census Bureau, more than 25 percent of American children do not live in a household with both of their parents. While not all children living with a single parent have experienced a divorce, many children have and they are typically able to cope with their parent’s divorce. However, the single factor that has been determined to harm children during a divorce is continued conflict between the parents. As stressful as a high-conflict divorce can be to you, it can be even more consequential for your children. 

Conflicted About Their Loyalty

Children are naturally loyal to both of their parents, but this can become conflicting for them during a divorce. When there is a lot of contention and disagreement in a divorce, the kids can feel like they are in the middle and must choose one parent over the other. When the children are with one parent, they miss the other parent and thus may feel guilty about that. The greater the degree of conflict between parents, the greater the loyalty conflict is.

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Geneva divorce attorney

The difficulty level of your divorce depends on a variety of factors, but perhaps one of the most important aspects is how much you and your spouse are willing to cooperate with one another throughout the process. If you and your spouse agree to be amicable, your divorce will be much less stressful. It can be frustrating when you are trying to facilitate cooperation while your spouse has made it clear that he or she is refusing to compromise. Dealing with a combative spouse can not only make your divorce much more taxing, but it can also bring about issues that are not typically found in amicable or uncontested divorces. If you are facing a contentious divorce, you may want to take the following steps to ensure that you can resolve your disputes effectively:

Know What Your End Goal Is

In most modern divorces, rather than going to court, many spouses work together with the help of their respective attorneys to settle their divorce issues. However, some couples who simply cannot come to an agreement may end up having to go to court so a judge can make decisions on their behalf. However, it is often best to try to avoid a divorce trial if possible. Even though you and your spouse may not see eye to eye on every issue, resolving your disputes outside the courtroom can save a great deal of time, expense, and emotional anguish.

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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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