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

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Posted on in Divorce
Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce laws,Anyone who has experienced divorce or is in a relationship headed for divorce understands it is an emotional and volatile period. Advice and guidance come from well-meaning friends and family members, but the complexities of a contested divorce require a greater understanding of the issues and family law.

How a Lawyer Can Help

Even if you have been through a previous divorce, it is very likely that every breakdown of a marriage contains element and issues unique to the people involved. It is for these and many other reasons why the counsel of a practice legal professional may prove to be the best decision a person makes when they have the resolve to pursue a divorce decree. In addition to handling all the key research and filings, a divorce attorney can help a person keep track of other related details.
  • Avoid letting emotions guide your financial decisions. Often times acting out of spite or anger could damage your own financial future.
  • Even if you have assets in your own name, your spouse can of after them. Everything is fair game once divorce proceedings begin.
  • Thinking about buying a new car? Purchase it before beginning the divorce process because most states will issue orders prohibiting new or large purchases.
  • While watching your own budget, keep track of your spouse’s spending habits. Sudden large expenditures or loans to friends could signal an attempt to hide funds.
  • Take pictures of assets, make copies of bank statements and gather up other key documents before you leave.
  • If you own property, have it appraised by an independent professional before you file.
  • Even if you suspect your spouse is doing the same, DO NOT attempt to hide assets. If found, your actions will have negative consequences.
  • If you are ordered to pay alimony, you can deduct those payments from your taxes.
  • If you receive, you must report that as income on your tax returns.
  • Update beneficiary designation information on your life insurance, pension plans or other investments.

Find a Knowledgeable Aurora Divorce Attorney

Even when you know that pursuing a divorce is your only remaining option, the emotion and stress attached to such a decision can cloud your judgment and negatively impact your behavior. To ensure you follow the law and receive fair treatment, secure representation from an experienced Illinois divorce attorney. The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. provides thorough research and review of all relevant details to ensure a stable custody agreement, fair division of assets, and appropriate support payments. To schedule a consultation, contact our offices today at 630-409-8184.

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Posted on in Divorce

divorce, divorce apps, divorce trends, DuPage County divorce attorney, divorce lawyerEven for couples who see it coming and accept its inevitable result, a divorce is not an easy experience. Divorcing spouses need all the help they can get and, in addition to the support of family, friends and a competent divorce attorney, software developers have created applications or “apps” for personal devices to help individuals manage certain aspects of divorced life.

Find an App That Meets Your Needs

When it comes to meticulous and thorough representation, there is no substitute for an experienced divorce lawyer. During the divorce process, issues such as alimony, child custody, visitation and other details can be settled as part of the final divorce decree. However, certain apps are available for

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date, DuPage County divorce lawyerDo you know a couple who intentionally chose to get married on a particular date based on how the month, day, and year coincided—January 2, 2003, for example, often written as 1/2/03? Or perhaps you know a couple who plan to get married on Valentine’s Day. While such choices are often seen as quirky or romantic, new research suggests that couples who marry on dates that may be considered gimmicky could be at a higher risk for divorce than those who choose more traditional dates.

Australian Study

Economists at the University of Melbourne in Australia were interested in learning more about the impact that a couple’s wedding day could have on the future of the marriage. The team cited previous research suggesting that expensive weddings and pricey engagement rings increased the risk of divorce while well-attended weddings with formal ceremonies decreased such risks. Looking to expand these ideas, the Australian team looked at more than one million Dutch marriages from 1999-2013 and examined how the choice of a wedding date fared for couples on average.

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Posted on in Divorce

divorce, Aurora family law attorneyRegardless of how you may have reached the decision to end your marriage, doing so is merely the first step in a process that could last for months and present many challenges. Once you have decided to pursue a divorce, it is crucial to begin preparations immediately. Going into your divorce proceedings without a solid grasp on your situation can have disastrous results.

Whether you are about to file your petition for divorce or have recently filed, you should begin to:

Save Money

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parenting time, Aurora family law attorneyIf you are divorced or separated from your child’s other parent, you may face a number of challenges related to exercising your parental rights. It is often difficult for couples who have gone their separate ways to see eye-to-eye regarding their children, but that does not mean one parent is any less important than the other. Under Illinois law, you have a number of legal rights involving your child that cannot be taken from you without due process.

Parental Responsibilities

The Illinois legislature recently overhauled the understanding of child custody in the state, refocusing the law on the allocation of parental responsibilities rather than statuses and titles. Parents are no longer awarded sole or joint custody, and neither party assumes the title of custodial or non-custodial parent. Instead, each parent is assigned authority for specific responsibilities, which are divided into two primary considerations. The first is significant decision-making regarding the child, which includes education, health care, religious training, and extracurricular activities. The other involves each parent’s allocated parenting time, previously called visitation.

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Aurora family law, Illinois child custody attorney, divorce effect on children, Many studies have been done that prove a negative psychological effect of divorce on children. Most of these studies do not address the physical health issues of the children. However, a recent study reveals that children of divorce may experience negative physical effects to their health when their parents split. The study found that physical struggles children of divorce may deal with include excessive weight gain, leading to more physical problems later in life.

The study, conducted among 3,000 children in Norway, found that boys whose parents divorced were especially susceptible to excessive weight gain in the wake of their parents’ split. The research team found that boys had a 63 percent increased risk of being overweight or obese than boys whose parents' marriages stayed intact.

While researchers did find an association between obese children and parents’ divorce, they cautioned that divorce was not pinpointed as an absolute cause of weight gain. It is far more likely that the lifestyle changes that accompany divorce resulted in the weight gain. The study also did not consider factors such as diet, exercise, and living arrangements.

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gray divorceMarital dissolution can be daunting for anyone, but if you have been married for several decades, the idea can be even more terrifying. Not only are there emotional issues to resolve that come with the idea of splitting with a spouse who has inevitably become an extension of oneself, there are also more practical issues such as finances, living arrangements, and issues of long-term care during the aging process. According to the Huffington Post, while addressing these issues is crucial for finding peace of mind after divorce that follows a multi-decade marriage, divorce may still be the best option. If you are not happy in your marriage, the best bet is to separate, regardless of how old you are or how long you have been married.

The first major issue to resolve in a long-term marriage divorce is that of finances. When you begin divorce talks, not only will you need to discuss the issues of property division, but also those surrounding pensions, Social Security, and insurance coverage. If you will be required to pay spousal maintenance, this is also an important issue to consider, especially if you are nearing retirement age. Seeking the counsel of a legal professional who has experience with later-in-life divorce is crucial, as finances are likely more limited nearing retirement age than they were in years past.

While in most cases of marital dissolution selling the marital home is a good idea, it could leave both parties worse for ware in a long-term marriage divorce. If selling the home does not make financial sense, determining which spouse will remain in the house can be difficult for both parties. In some cases, especially those in which you have several years left on the mortgage, it could make more sense to hold on to the house.

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bad marriageDivorce may seem a financially daunting undertaking, but there is a degree of financial loss associated with a bad marriage that some couples do not take into consideration. The divorce process does carry both known and unexpected costs, but working with an experienced family law attorney can help you to get the most financially out of your divorce and begin your new life financially solvent.

There is no way to quantify the cost of a bad marriage, but the Huffington Post has some tips to watch for if you suspect that your marriage is headed toward dissolution. If you relate to any of the following aspects of your partnership, divorce may be the cheaper solution for both you and your spouse.

The first major factor that makes a bad marriage expensive, according to the Huffington Post, is a lack of coordination and communication. If you and your spouse are unable to communicate effectively, it can have a serious negative effect on your finances. An obvious example of this is that you both draw from a joint checking account at the same time, incurring overdraft fees and lack of available money for bill-paying and other household expenses. A more extreme example of this would be a failure to effectively coordinate a retirement plan or tax deductions. While marriage counseling is usually advisable to divorce at the beginning of marital problems, drawing out unproductive therapy sessions can be akin to tossing cold hard cash down the drain.

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spousal maintenanceAlimony, or spousal maintenance, as it is called in Illinois, is a court-mandated support payment paid from one spouse to the other in a divorce. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAMA), there are three types of maintenance that may be ordered by the court for one spouse to pay after a divorce. The first is temporary, which is paid until the divorce is finalized. Rehabilitative maintenance is awarded in the event that the supported spouse is capable for finding work or another source of income, until he or she is able to do so. Reviewable maintenance is awarded to the supported spouse and reviewed after a court-mandated period of time to determine if the maintenance is still necessary to be paid the supported spouse.

According to the AAMA, there are several factors that the court uses to determine whether or not a divorcing party qualifies for maintenance. The length of the marriage is one of the top deciding factors, as is the disparity in the earnings of the divorcing parties. Health, age, and social factors (including the ability of either party to secure income after the divorce) are also taken into consideration. To determine whether or not you will likely have to pay or be awarded spousal maintenance after a divorce, it is imperative to consult with a family law attorney.

While it may seem a good thing, according to Time, there are several things wrong with the system of spousal maintenance, regardless of what state the divorce is taking place. According to Time, maintenance is one of the most contentious issues in a divorce, and nearly 80 percent “of divorce cases involve a request for modification of alimony.”

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collaborative divorce, mediation, alternative dispute resolution, divorce, Illinois divorce lawyerCan the words “good” and “divorce” inhabit the same sentence? A nasty divorce proceeding can harm children; within that process, they suffer decline in math and social ability, returning to normal skill level only when divorce is final. So, divorce without drama, also known as collaborative divorce, can minimize the negative effect, not to mention the cost savings of avoiding courtroom interaction.

As retired Judge Michele Lowrance presents in her book, “The Good Karma Divorce”, the process is to separate from bargaining from a hard position and to move to interest-based negotiation with a “win-win” outcome. After all, this type of diligence follows logically from the path most take today: 80% of couples now live together before marriage, and 80% have reached the 10-year milestone in wedlock. So, if parting is decided upon, a “conscious uncoupling” using creative problem-solving minimizes confrontation and maximizes a positive feeling for both parents and their children.

Collaboration between spouses avoids the use of children as messengers between parents, and encourages them to love both, regardless of where they may go in life.Per the Collaborative Law Institute, costs average half that of courtroom litigation .The need to work around attorney schedules is totally avoided, and solutions are customized; any strict-guideline judicial decision-making is rendered moot.

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divorce stigma, life after divorce, single, Illinois divorce lawyer, Aurora family law attorneyFeeling emotions that run the gamut from relieved to ashamed is perfectly normal in divorce, especially since research shows that divorce stigma is still alive and well in the 21st century. Even though prenuptial agreements and fault-free divorce are more common, there’s still a social and individual stigma about getting a divorce.

According to a new survey taken by 1,000 divorced individuals, shame and sadness are two of the most common emotions after marriage dissolution. Nearly half of the surveyed individuals felt that the stigma of divorce affected them, and women were more likely than men to feel shame post-divorce.

Nearly a third of women admitted trying to push off the breakup as long as possible because of their own individual belief that marriage should last forever. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however, because respondents also shared that they felt their life was back on track after a few years. Like any major life change, divorce can take some time to get used to, especially if you were deeply entrenched in the routines and habits of your marriage.

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Valentine's Day Divorce IMAGE“Roses are red, violets are blue… I made a mistake in marrying you!” The Huffington Post reports that despite the fact that February is usually hailed as the most romantic month, a time for lovers to present roses and cards and sweet nothings, there are more divorces in February than any other month. “Perhaps this is because seeing other couples express their Valentines’ affection serves as a wake up call that our hearts are no longer in it,” the Huffington Post suggests. It could also be the cold weather and the withdraw of holiday warmth” that leaves us frigid in January and ready to act by the following month.

With more than half of all marriages in America ending in divorce, it seems a common and easy occurrence. Yet according to the Huffington Post, “if you think buying flowers and chocolates is expensive, try getting divorced. The process gets longer and more expensive every year.” Because of this, the importance of having a family law attorney on your side cannot be overstated. Hiring the right attorney can help you to mitigate costs and unnecessary delays. Having an attorney who works for you can save you heartache, time, and cold hard cash.

Avvo.com, according to CNN Money, reports seeing a 40 percent increase in the number of people “seeking information and advice about divorce in the period right after Valentine’s Day.” CNN Money also reports that the number of divorce filings during February is 18 percent higher than in the average month. But “February has factors other than the holiday that could lead to an increase in divorces`,” reports CNN Money, among them the fact that January is the busiest month for bankruptcies. Couples could realize the financial problems that divide them, for example.

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 relationship with parents IMAGEIf you had a bad relationship with your parents as a teenager, chances are you could be headed for (or already in) a bad romantic relationship. According to a University of Alberta study headed by associate professor Matt Johnson, there is “a direct link between participants’ relationship with their parents and the quality of their current love lives,” reports the Huffington Post. The study found that participants who had positive parent-teen relationships were more likely to have “higher quality intimate relationships as adults. Teenagers who experienced rocky relationships with their parents had more romantic problems later in life,” according to the Huffington Post.

This is not to say that parents are solely responsible for their children’s bad romantic lives, of course. Yet Johnson told the Huffington Post that “people tend to compartmentalize their relationships,” meaning that they usually fail to see how one affects the other. “Understanding your contribution to the relationship with your parents would be important to recognizing any tendency to replicate behavior—positive or negative—in an intimate relationship,” Johnson told the Huffington Post.

It is not just a personal relationship with one’s parents that affects the likelihood of a bad relationship, either. A Cambridge University Press study reported upon by The Daily Beast states that “if your parents were divorced you’re at least 40 percent more likely to get divorced than if they weren’t. If your parents married others after divorcing, you are 91 percent more likely to get divorced.” Divorce Magazine publisher Dan Couvrette told The Daily Beast that this could be because “witnessing our parents’ divorces reinforces our ambivalence about commitment in a ‘disposable society.’”

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Mistakes Men Making During DivorceStereotypically, it is the woman in a divorce that ends up with the short end of the stick. For years, common property distribution laws unintentionally favored men, who were more likely to have been the primary earner in a marriage. Illinois, along with most other states in the U.S., is now an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital property is split evenly between the couple, no matter whose name is on the official title. This is just one example of how the tables have turned. According to the Chicago Tribune, men are more likely these days to make serious blunders in their divorces that end up having devastating consequences.

One of the most serious blunders a man makes during divorce is to present sloppy financial records. “You might have to pay a little more on the front end in attorney fees,” reports the Tribune, “but at the end of the day, not being attentive to these financial records can be one of the costliest mistakes” a man can make. Another serious mistake men make is to move out of the house before the divorce proceedings are initiated. If there are children involved, maintaining that daily contact with the kids will help your custody arguments down the road. Withholding compromising information is yet another mistake men are prone to make—“your lawyer needs to know anything and everything your wife might say about you to hurt you or your case,” reports the Tribune.

Men, however, still seem to fare better after the divorce is finalized than women. According to an Australian study and as reported by Jezebel, “men’s incomes go up an average of 20 percent in the four years following divorce, while women go down 2 percent.” This could have to do with child raising responsibilities—it has nothing to do with emotional response. Women, in fact, are said to fare better emotionally following divorce than men. Nearly 50 percent of divorced men reported feeling lonely a year after the divorce was finalized, compared to less than 40 percent of women.

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If you are facing divorce, it could be one of the most difficult battles in your life. Marital dissolution is more than just the end of a relationship—it’s the end of a partnership, both emotionally AND financially. Knowing what to expect going into it is invaluable for how smooth of a process it’s going to be. Whether your divorce is contested or not, there are some simple considerations to make beforehand, according to the Huffington Post. Consulting with a qualified family law attorney is, of course, invaluable, and should not be replaced with self-evaluation. Do-it-yourself divorces are never simple and often end up costing people more money in the long run than traditional legal fees. According to the Huffington Post, things to consider before divorce include financial concerns, issues of both child and spousal support, visitation and custody requirements, and what documentation will be necessary. divorce costs IMAGE

The first is to be mindful of what the divorce will cost you. Regardless whether your divorce is high-asset or not, it could get costly. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams we work hard to keep your costs low and provide cost-effective solutions for any divorce proceeding. We will discuss with you all the possible facets of your case so that you can financially remain in control. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can keep it civil, undergoing an uncontested divorce will likely save you big.

If you are going to be providing either child support or spousal support, you need to factor it into your costs of divorce immediately. Do not wait until the proceeding is halfway through to realize that you haven’t yet laid parameters for what type of support you’ll be expected to pay. The same goes go custody and visitation arrangements. If you are going through a particularly nasty separation, there’s a good chance the custody hearing will be the first time you see your spouse during the proceeding. In Illinois, you must complete a mediation hearing before a custody battle.

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You suspect your husband or wife of cheating. Maybe you pieced together a series of small irregularities: a late night at the office, followed by a cleared internet search history. It could just be a chill in the relationship. Or maybe you just got a feeling. For whatever reason, you believe that the marriage might be over, and you want to know what to do. Aside from consulting an experienced divorce lawyer, there is not much you can do. There is, however, one thing you should not do in seeking a divorce, and that is hiring a private investigator.

  no fault divorce imagePrivate Investigators

The classic noir films are full of images of the hard-boiled private eye, clad in a trench coat and fedora, smoking a cigarette while peering through binoculars, watching someone’s husband in the throes of passion with someone not his wife, all the while taking notes for a soon-to-be-heartbroken client. While these images make for good movies, the reality of the situation is far less romantic, and far less important in divorce today.

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Collaborative Divorce May Be BetterNot all divorces have to be the ugly blow-up they’re stereotyped as. In many cases, even if you’re not on good terms with your soon-to-be ex spouse, it’s possible to make it through the divorce on good terms as the last amicable thing you’ll do together. If you don’t share children this is easier, but it’s possible in any circumstance. This is what’s known as a collaborative divorce. While it may seem too optimistic, many couples opt for collaborative law in an effort to stave off the extreme cost of divorce and keep things simpler and happier. After all, you managed to agree that you both wanted to split. Why not make an effort to agree on the terms of said split?

According to US News and World Report, a collaborative divorce is based on the “concept that you were partners—even if not good ones—throughout your marriage and you should be able to end it together as well.” This applies to all aspects of the divorce, including property division, division of assets, and determining child custody. “Most people can agree that litigation is a terrible process for a family to endure,” one lawyer told US News and World Report. “The collaborative process if one of the most productive ways to divorce when it works.”

Yet the publication is quick to remind readers that even a collaborative divorce doesn’t guarantee a happy one. Chances are, even if you opt for mediation, working together with your spouse in the one last process you’ll undertake together won’t be easy. This could be one reason that the number of people who opt for collaborative divorces is still low. “For instance, according to the Wisconsin Law Journal, Waukesha County had 3,862 divorces from 2010 to 2012; during that period, there were only 62 collaborative divorce cases filed,” reports US News and World Report.

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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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