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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Naperville divorce attorney for asset division

Financial planning is always a smart decision, but during a divorce, financial planning can become critical. Developing a financial plan can become an extremely important piece of ensuring your financial health after the divorce. You have likely heard of the old adage that “knowledge is power,” but that is especially true when it comes to a divorce. 

Understanding the “In Spouse” and “Out Spouse”

In many cohabiting couples, there is usually a spouse who is more financially savvy and knowledgeable about the household’s finances than the other. This spouse is typically referred to as the “in spouse” because they are the ones who are in the financial loop. The other spouse, referred to as the “out spouse,” usually has little to no knowledge of how the household’s finances are handled. The “in spouse” may handle every aspect of the finances, such as paying the bills every month, keeping track of bank accounts, making investments, and creating and maintaining a budget. Naturally, the “in spouse” would have a bit of an advantage over the “out spouse,” who has not really been involved in the monetary aspect of the divorce. In some cases, the “in spouse” may be controlling or secretive about the family’s finances, making it difficult for the “out spouse” to get an accurate understanding of what they are working with. 

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Oswego divorce attorney child custody

Most people will agree that when it comes to a child’s best interests, his or her parents typically know what would best fit the child, better than anyone else. However, when parents get divorced, it is not always feasible to expect them to work together and come up with a parenting plan that they both agree on. Many times, marriages have deteriorated to the point that the parents are unable to effectively or respectfully communicate with one another, even for the sake of their children. As stressful and difficult as the divorce process is for you, it is just as, if not more stressful for your children. Child custody disputes are not uncommon, especially in high-conflict divorces. However, exposure to the conflict has been shown to be detrimental to children. If you anticipate difficulty from your spouse when it comes time to negotiate your parenting time and parental decision-making responsibilities, there are certain things you should try to spare your children from.

Do Not Speak Unkindly to One Another

Even though you may feel less than friendly toward your soon-to-be ex, that is still your child’s other parent. They still love both of their parents and do not want to hear either parent saying mean or negative comments about the other, as it can be hurtful to them too.

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Oswego high asset divorce attorney

When you are planning for a divorce and know that you own substantial assets with your spouse, it is important to have an experienced Aurora high-asset divorce attorney on your side who can advocate for your rights from start to finish of your divorce case. To be sure, high asset divorces often give rise to certain complications that do not come up in divorces where the spouses own assets worth significantly less money, or in divorce cases where the spouses earn relatively ordinary incomes. Below are some of the most common issues that arise in Illinois high asset divorces. 

Valuing and Appraising Complex Assets

High value assets in a divorce can be notoriously difficult to value, particularly when the assets are complex or unique. For example, if you and your spouse own an art collection and all or part of the collection will be classified as marital property and subject to division, the market value of the collection likely will shift over time (and potentially significantly), and it may be difficult to determine the market value at the time of the divorce. In such cases, it may be necessary to work with an expert appraiser who can properly assess the market value.

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Geneva divorce attorney hidden assets

When you get a divorce, you and your spouse are tasked with the job of determining how your assets will be distributed between the two of you. In the state of Illinois, the law says that you must distribute any and all marital assets in an equitable manner, which may not always equate to an equal manner. There are a variety of factors that are taken into consideration when making decisions as to how property and debts are allocated, with the main goal to give each spouse the fair amount of the marital estate with all things considered. Unfortunately, this can lead some people to seek drastic measures to keep certain assets from their spouse’s possession. The most common way this is done during a contested divorce is by attempting to conceal these assets during the discovery process.

Taking a Closer Look at Your Finances

When your spouse is hiding assets from you, the allocation of your marital assets and debts is not nearly as equitable as it should be. Some people may not even know or have any suspicion that their spouse is hiding anything from them. For others, they may know of a certain asset that is not being reported or notice something else suspicious in the financial records. Here are the most common ways people attempt to hide their assets:

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North Aurora divorce attorney visitation

When a couple has made the decision that it is time to divorce, it can be a difficult process for the entire family. There are many things that the couple will need to adjust to, but there are also many things that the family members will need to adapt to as well. One of the biggest changes that is often difficult for many families is dealing with change in the day-to-day life of the child. Child custody, now referred to as parenting time, is allocated to each parent, typically in an equal or near-equal manner. In some cases, though not always, individuals other than the child’s parents are able to petition for visitation rights with the child.

Individuals Permitted to File a Petition for Visitation

Not everyone is legally entitled to visitation rights with a child. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), there are only specific people who are able to submit a petition for visitation. These people can include step-parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, or siblings of the child. Visitation will only be given to non-parents if the petitioner can successfully argue that the child’s well-being has been negatively affected by the denial of the visitation and that the child’s mental, physical, or emotional health has suffered because of it. A non-parent can file for visitation if the child’s parent unreasonably denies visitation and at least one of the following situations is true:

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Kane County divorce attorney child support

Just as the famous saying states, “It takes two to tango,” it takes two people to create a child, so it is only fair that those two people are also responsible for financially providing for that child for the next 18 years. The formula that is used to calculate monthly child support payments takes into account a variety of factors, including both parents’ incomes, how much parenting time each parent has, and whether or not either parent has any other spousal support or child support obligations. Monthly child support payments are typically paid from the person with the smaller share of parenting time to the person with the larger share of parenting time and are used to help pay for basic living expenses in raising the child. However, most divorced or unmarried parents know that typical child support payments do not cover all of the expenses that a child can incur each month. 

Expenses Not Included In Monthly Child Support

In Illinois, the parents of a minor child are required to financially provide for the child and ensure he or she has clothing, food, toys, and everything else needed to be healthy and happy. The monthly child support order helps to partially provide these basic necessities, but there are other expenses above and beyond typical support that should be addressed in your support order and parenting plan. These can include but are not limited to the following:

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Oswego divorce attorney child support

Every child has a right to financial support from their parents, no matter if their parents are together or not. In Illinois, child support is awarded when the parents of a child file for a divorce or are no longer in a relationship with one another. Illinois uses what is called an “income shares” model of calculating child support. This means a variety of factors are taken into consideration when a child support determination is being made. These factors include both of the parents’ incomes, how much time the child spends with each parent, and how many children are being supported. Child support obligations usually end once a child turns 18 years old or when he or she graduates from high school, but Illinois law also provides limited guidance for support obligations for adult children with disabilities whose parents are separating.

Establishing Child Support for an Adult With a Disability

For the most part, child support typically stops when the child reaches the age of 18. However, there are a few different types of non-minor support that exist in Illinois, such as requiring a parent to pay for educational expenses for a non-minor or providing support for an adult with a significant disability. In many cases, adults with physical or mental disabilities need financial support from their caretakers, who are often their parents.

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North Aurora gray divorce attorney

In the United States, the number of people getting divorced later in life has risen dramatically over the past couple of decades. Some sources, such as the Pew Research Center, have reported that the divorce rate nearly doubled among adults over the age of 50 and almost tripled among adults over the age of 65 between 1990 and 2015. These later-in-life divorcees often have many more issues that they must focus their attention on, such as dealing with retirement funds and modifying estate plans, along with all of the typical issues that all divorces carry, like making the typical property decisions and determining spousal support. If you are over the age of 50, there are certain steps you should take to prepare for your Illinois gray divorce.  

Gather Your Financial Information

One of the biggest concerns with divorcing after the age of 50, also known as gray divorce, is the financial side of things. The people going through gray divorces are doing so much later in life than others. This can affect crucial assets, like retirement savings, which they do not have much time left to replenish. This is why it is so important to be on top of your finances when you are getting a gray divorce. You should have copies of all important financial documents pertaining to all of you and your spouse’s assets, liabilities, income, and expenses. 

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Yorkville divorce attorney parenting time

One of the most challenging relationships you may ever have to manage is the co-parenting relationship between you and your child’s other parent. The divorce process can be stressful and tedious, often bringing out the worst in people. Even if you wish you never had to see your ex-spouse again, you will always be somewhat connected for life when you have children together. Working together and compromising with the help of an attorney who is well-versed in divorce issues can go a long way in a successful co-parenting relationship.  

Getting Along for the Children’s Sake

The new year is not only a time for a change in the calendar year, but it is also the perfect time for implementing a change in your habits and behaviors. Making a commitment to improving and maintaining your co-parenting skills is a simple way to set yourself up for co-parenting success in the upcoming year. Here are a few useful co-parenting resolutions to consider making for the upcoming year: 

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Batavia divorce attorney asset and property division

One of the largest and most valuable assets that is often present in a divorce is the family home. For many couples, the house is a highly valued and sought-after possession, both for financial and personal reasons. The decision surrounding the marital home is often one of the most difficult financial decisions you will have to make during your divorce, especially because there are likely to be many emotional ties and sentiments attached to the home. There are always advantages and disadvantages to every situation, especially as it pertains to something as large as selling your family home. 

Advantages of Keeping the Home

For many people, the obvious advantage to keeping the home, rather than selling it, is just that -- keeping the home. If you have found your dream home, the home in which you have raised your children and watched them grow up, you may not want to sell all of those memories. For many parents, children are a major factor in the decision to sell or keep the marital home. Keeping the family home ensures the kids continue attending the same schools, see the same friends, and live in the same house, at least part of the time.

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DuPage County divorce attorney parenting time

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

Create a Routine and Stick to It

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

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DuPage County divorce attorney collaborative law

For hundreds of years, or perhaps even longer, the concept of divorce has carried a negative connotation. Even in today’s society, divorce has become more commonplace and many people have no issue with it; however, there are still people who firmly believe that divorce is inherently negative. It is true that divorce can leave lasting negative effects on you and your family, but there are things you can do to mitigate those effects and prevent them from ever happening in the first place. One of the most basic changes to many modern-day divorcees is simply the method by which the divorce is completed. Forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as the collaborative divorce process, have proven to be effective and beneficial, especially for families with children. Unfortunately, not every couple is suited for ADR or the collaborative divorce process, in which case you will need an experienced Illinois divorce attorney to help you.  

Understanding the Collaborative Divorce Process

A collaborative divorce, or any type of ADR, is a viable option that any couple should consider when choosing a method for divorce. Collaborative divorce has been becoming increasingly popular in the past couple of decades, likely because there are many benefits that are especially attractive to families with children. In a collaborative divorce, not only do you and your spouse each have your own divorce attorneys, but you also have a team of various professionals to help you reach an agreement on all pertinent issues while keeping the negotiations out of the courtroom.

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Yorkville divorce attorney division of assets

If you are in the process of going through a divorce, you are already aware of the plethora of issues that you must negotiate with your spouse. You are likely sick of hearing about the pages-long list of issues, such as allocating your marital property and determining whether or not spousal support is necessary, which all need to be reconciled with your spouse before you can finalize your divorce. With so many other issues at the forefront of your concerns, many people end up forgetting about one very important aspect that should be taken care of during the divorce -- your estate plan. If you ever had a will or you and your spouse ever started to plan for the future, you will want to be sure to update your estate plan accordingly before your divorce is finalized. Here are a few things you should keep in mind about your estate plan when getting a divorce:

  • Understand what documents you currently have in place. The first thing you should do is to understand what type of estate plan you have in place already. Every estate plan is different and tailored to each person’s specific needs, so you should familiarize yourself with your current estate plan if you are not familiar with it already. You may already have estate planning documents, such as:

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Batavia divorce attorney

Getting a divorce is a complicated legal process that is further complicated by the stressful and emotional nature of the issues at hand. Even so, many people believe that they can file for divorce by filling out the court forms and representing themselves in court, saving time and money. This is often referred to as a do it yourself (DIY) divorce. However, many people also fail to realize just how confusing and troublesome it can be to actually have to be in control of your divorce case. For most people, their best interests are served when they hire a divorce attorney who can help them navigate through this difficult period in their life. The following are four benefits of hiring a reputable divorce lawyer instead of representing yourself during your divorce.

An Attorney Has Valuable Experience

When you file for divorce, it only makes sense to hire a person who has experience with the legalities of divorce cases to help you through your own. Handling various divorce cases at varying stages is what a divorce lawyer does all day, every day. Just like you go to the doctor when you are sick, you should hire a divorce attorney when you want to legally dissolve your marriage. 

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Yorkville divorce attorney parental relocation

For many divorcees who are parents, one of the biggest disappointments they face is how little time they feel they have to spend with their children after all is said and done. In Illinois divorces, both parents must come to an agreement as to how parenting time will be split among the two of them, often leaving at least one parent feeling as if they are lacking. The idea of one parent moving and taking the child with them can be extremely distressing to the other parent, especially if they are concerned about protecting their parenting rights. In this situation, a knowledgeable family law lawyer can help you understand the procedure and rules that must be followed when a parent wants to relocate with a child, as well as how those laws apply to your situation.

When the Other Parent Must Notify You

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), there are certain rules that a parent must follow if they are relocating with their child. A parent who has equal parenting time with the other parent or the majority of parenting time can move with the child and must provide notice to the non-moving parent if the move is considered a “relocation.” In Illinois, a move is considered a relocation if the new residence is more than:

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Batavia divorce attorney spousal maintenance

In many marriages, it is not uncommon for one spouse to have a higher income than the other spouse. In these situations, the lesser-earning spouse relies on the higher-earning spouse to facilitate and maintain the way of life they are used to. In some cases, the lesser-earning spouse may not even be employed and may have been a homemaker and contributed to the household that way. When couples who have a significant imbalance in income get a divorce, the lesser-earning spouse is often awarded spousal support in Illinois, which is also known as spousal maintenance or alimony.

Receiving Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance is never guaranteed in any divorce. However, some people are still required to pay spousal support because of a previously entered marital agreement. If you and your spouse have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the court will examine these documents to ensure that they are valid. If they are found to be valid, you will have to abide by the terms of the agreement you agreed to prior. If your agreement is deemed invalid or you did not have an agreement, the court will determine whether or not spousal maintenance is appropriate by looking at a variety of factors. These elements can include things such as you and your spouse’s age, health, occupation, education, work history, contribution to the marriage, and more.

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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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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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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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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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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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