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

How Will Decisions About Parental Responsibilities Be Made?

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

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

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

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DuPage County high-asset divorce attorneyAll divorces have the potential to be complex, but when a couple has a high net worth, the proceedings tend to be even more complicated than normal. For couples who have an abundance of property or assets that are worth a lot of money, the divorce process will involve more decisions. Issues such as property division, spousal maintenance, and child support may be handled differently. People who have a high net worth can greatly benefit from a skilled divorce attorney who has experience dealing with high-value assets to help them figure out the best options for their situation. If you are involved in a high-net-worth divorce, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

  1. High-Net-Worth Divorces Are Often More Contentious

When it comes to divorces that deal with high-value assets, it is much more likely for couples to be combative, especially when dealing with property division. When spouses have many assets, especially assets that are expensive, it can be even more difficult to figure out who gets what. It may be necessary to hire an appraiser to determine the value of any large assets or property such as real estate, businesses, vehicles, boats, jewelry, artwork, or other expensive items.

  1. High-Value Divorces Are More Likely to Be Long and Expensive

When divorces are contested, or there are a lot of issues to settle, it is likely that the proceedings will be long and drawn out, which can get expensive quickly. Although nobody wants a lengthy divorce, couples in high-asset divorces may also be better equipped with the funds to pay for divorces that require a lot of negotiating and help from lawyers.

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DuPage County divorce lawyer for financial issuesDivorces are difficult for some families, especially when it concerns financial matters. Splitting your marital finances during your divorce can be challenging, but it can also be disastrous for a couple. With two separate households comes increased financial obligations. Some people may be prepared for the increase, while others may struggle. While divorce in itself will not lower your credit score directly, certain actions and events that take place during the divorce can affect the score in negative ways. The following are a few situations that could potentially impact your credit score when going through a divorce:

You Have to Refinance Your Home

One of the biggest assets you may have to deal with in your divorce is the family home. If one spouse is planning on keeping the marital home, it is best to make sure the home is in that person’s name only. To do this, you may have to refinance your mortgage. Refinancing means you will have to go through a comprehensive credit inquiry, which can affect your credit score.

Your Spouse Still Has Access to Your Accounts

When you are married, most of your financial accounts are probably joint accounts, meaning you and your spouse both have ownership over them. When you get divorced, the process of splitting those accounts and/or taking your spouse’s name off of them can take a while. If your spouse still has access to accounts such as your credit card account, he or she can rack up charges, which can affect your credit score in a negative way.

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DuPage County collaborative divorce attorneyIn recent years, divorcing by means of alternative dispute resolution has become rather popular. Both mediated and collaborative divorces have been the choice of many couples who are looking to get a divorce, rather than using the traditional litigation process. While each type of divorce has its advantages and disadvantages, collaborative divorce can be the answer to many people’s problems when it comes to settling issues and getting the results they want out of the divorce.

What Is a Collaborative Divorce?

The idea of collaborative divorce has existed since the 1980s, although it was only practiced in Illinois beginning around 2002. The Collaborative Process Act was signed into law in Illinois in 2018, and this formally recognized the collaborative process as a means to divorce. When a couple begins the collaborative process, they agree to cooperate in order to resolve the outstanding issues in their divorce. The collaborative divorce process takes place outside of the courtroom, in multiple private meetings. Avoiding litigation is one of the main goals of this process, and a collaborative divorce will often follow several methodical steps:

  1. Make a commitment to avoid litigation. In order to proceed with a collaborative divorce, you must first find a lawyer who is certified to practice collaborative law. That attorney will answer any questions you might have and prepare you for the collaborative divorce process. Once you and your ex-spouse have each found a collaborative divorce lawyer, you will sign an agreement stating that you will do everything in your power to settle any issues outside of the courtroom. This agreement will also state that you will provide each other with a full disclosure of financial information, and you will answer any queries or requests honestly and completely. If you are unable to complete the collaborative process successfully, your respective attorneys will withdraw from representing you, and each party will need to find new counsel to represent them in court.

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

Figure Out Which Process You Want to Use

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

Be Prepared With Organized Financial Records

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

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

Factors Used in Deciding the Child’s Well-Being

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

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

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

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

Do:

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

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

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

Notice of Relocation

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

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DuPage County, IL spousal support attorneyA divorce is never an easy decision, and for many, it can turn their entire lives upside down. Years ago, spousal maintenance (then known as alimony) was a rather common thing that was typically awarded to women who were getting divorced. Now, with more women in the workforce, the number of women receiving spousal maintenance has dropped, while the number of men receiving spousal maintenance has slightly increased. Spousal maintenance is still a rather common issue during Illinois divorces that must be decided before the divorce can be finalized.

Calculating the Amount of Maintenance Payments

If the judge determines that a maintenance award is, in fact, appropriate, he or she will use the maintenance guidelines to determine the amount of spousal maintenance to be paid. The Illinois maintenance guidelines apply to any couple whose combined annual income is less than $500,000 and when the payor does not have any other obligations to pay child support and/or spousal maintenance from a previous marriage.

The amount of maintenance to be paid is determined by taking a portion of the payor’s income and subtracting a portion of the receiver’s income from it. The formula for calculating the maintenance amount is as follows: 33.3% of payor’s income minus 25% of receiver’s income equals the yearly spousal maintenance amount. To determine the monthly amount for maintenance payments, you would simply take the amount for yearly maintenance payments and divide it by 12.

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DuPage County, IL family law attorney prenuptial agreementAs times are changing, so are attitudes toward previously taboo topics, such as signing prenuptial agreements before marriage. Over the years, drafting a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot has become more and more popular. One possible reason for the increase in popularity is that people are waiting until later in life to get married the first time. This means more people are entering into marriage with more assets that they want to protect. Prenuptial agreements must be created carefully, or they run the risk of being invalidated if they are contested during a divorce. Here are a few ways your prenuptial agreement may be found invalid:

  1. The Agreement Was Not in the Right Format

In the state of Illinois, prenuptial agreements must be in writing. In other words, you cannot have an oral prenuptial agreement. Both you and your spouse must sign the agreement for it to become valid, and you must file it with the clerk of the circuit court so there is a record of the agreement.

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Aurora, IL family law attorneyThe divorce process is complex. It affects almost every area of your life, including your financial well-being, your emotional health, and even your living situation and retirement plans. Since divorce is such a monumental event, it is essential that you find a good divorce lawyer to guide you through the legal process. Who you hire to represent you is arguably one of the most important decisions you will make regarding your divorce. It can be confusing choosing a lawyer, but by using the following tips, you can ensure that your attorney is the best choice for your situation and circumstances.

Keep Your Goals in Mind

Before you even begin meeting with divorce attorneys, you should figure out what you want out of the divorce. What issues are most important to you? If you have a feeling that your soon-to-be ex-spouse will become contentious over the parenting time and parental responsibility arrangements, you should try to find a lawyer who is skilled in handling child-related issues. If you have reason to believe your spouse may be hiding assets from you, you will want to seek a lawyer who has experience in investigating financial matters. Attorney Matthew M. Williams has dealt with cases involving both parenting time and parenting responsibility allocation. He also has worked with forensic accountants and other financial experts in cases in which spouses are not transparent with their assets.

Ask the Right Questions

Once you have a selection of lawyers who may be good matches for you, you should begin setting up consultations to meet with them in person. This will allow you and your potential attorney to get to know each other before you commit to working with him or her. During your consultation, you will want to ask a few questions about his or her qualifications and how the firm can help your case overall. During this time, you can ask what the attorney’s opinion is on your case and how he or she would proceed with handling it. When consulting with Attorney Matthew M. Williams, his 15 years of family law experience will be apparent while you discuss your case with him.

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

Types of Representation

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

  • An attorney for the child

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Dupage County asset dissipation lawyerIn a perfect world, couples who decide to end their marriage would do so amicably and without any ill feelings. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, and divorcing couples are often much less than amicable. In some divorces, feelings of anger, resentment, greed, and spite are driving factors in decisions made by one or both spouses. In cases such as these, it is not uncommon for one spouse to do anything he or she can to keep the other spouse from receiving his or her fair share of the marital estate. The most common way of doing this is to waste the marital assets, also known as “dissipation.”

How Is Dissipation Defined in Illinois?

According to the Illinois Supreme Court, dissipation refers to the “use of marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown.” In other words, dissipation occurs when one spouse wastes, destroys, or spends marital property during the breakdown of the marriage for the purpose of depriving the other spouse of the property.

Examples of dissipation of marital property can include:

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Aurora child support enforcement attorneyIn Illinois divorces, it is not uncommon for child support or spousal support to be awarded to the appropriate parties. A support order of either type is a legally binding court order, meaning failure to pay can result in severe consequences. The state of Illinois understands that many families rely on these support payments in order to provide for themselves and their children. Because of this, failure to pay child support or spousal support is taken very seriously.

What Constitutes Failure to Support?

According to the Illinois Non-Support Punishment Act, failure to support can occur in a few different ways. If a person commits any of the following actions, they can be held in contempt of court:

  • Willfully, and without any lawful excuse, refusing to provide for the support or maintenance of his or her spouse, with the knowledge that the spouse is in need of such support or maintenance.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child support lawyer,The process of allocating assets during a divorce is often one of the most contentious issues between couples. The state of Illinois practices equitable distribution of assets and liabilities, rather than equal distribution. This means that there is nothing saying a judge has to assign half of the marital estate to each spouse -- one spouse could end up walking away from the divorce with more money or more debt. Because of this, some spouses may be tempted to cover up assets so they may keep them for themselves. Illinois courts strongly recommend that couples try to come to an agreement on property distribution on their own, but this is not always possible, especially if both spouses are not willing to be truthful with each other.

This is often the step of the divorce process in which “discovery” comes into play. Discovery is the exchange of information between the two spouses and their attorneys. During this step, both spouses are required by law to be fully and completely transparent about the issue at hand. This means each spouse must disclose any and all assets, including both marital and non-marital assets.

The Role of a Forensic Accountant

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,Divorce is already stressful enough for the entire family. When you are dealing with a spouse who has it out for you, it can become even more difficult and it can make dealing with even the smallest issues a lengthy process. Adding children into the mix makes everything even more difficult, especially when your spouse insists on settling things in the courtroom when they could just as easily be settled outside of the courtroom. Dealing with a toxic spouse is emotionally draining, so here are a few tricks you can use to cope with your spouse during your divorce:

Make Sure You Document Everything

When it comes to toxic spouses, they will often bend the truth, change what they said previously or lie altogether. Do not allow your spouse to make you rethink events that happened in the past. You should not have to question your own memories, so making sure you document everything is key. If you communicate about something important, make sure you either record the conversation or get it in writing, that way you have hard evidence of the conversation that actually took place.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, life after divorce,Unsurprisingly, for many people, divorce is very difficult. Not only are you ending your legal relationship with your spouse, but you are also ending a very deep romantic relationship. Many people having feelings of anger, despair, hopelessness or even depression after a divorce. One of the most important and healthiest things you can do after you have gotten a divorce is set your sights on all of the positive aspects of getting a divorce -- and yes, there are positives to this situation. Here are four things you can look forward to after a divorce:

You Have Free Time -- And It Is Yours

After a divorce, you will be single again -- and that means that you will have the schedule of a single person again. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want and you do not have to worry about upsetting or ignoring another person. You can start making time for activities that you like to do, without having to worry about the wants of another person.

You Have the Opportunity to Become a Better Parent

Divorce can be difficult for children, but in the long run, it will make everyone happier and healthier. A divorce can bring many positive effects to your children, especially without all of the constant fighting and tension. You also have the chance to focus solely on being the best parent you can be to your children.

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Posted on in Divorce

divorceIt has often been said that marriages do not just break - they get weaker and weaker over time and eventually just fall apart. Issues can arise when one spouse begins to notice problems with the marriage, while the other spouse is blissfully unaware of the troubles. You have two choices when it comes to this - either mutually agree to work on your problems together or call it quits and get a divorce.

Making that decision can be one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life, which is why it is so stressful. Many times, the signs that your marriage is eroding away are not always obvious and can seem normal. Here are four signs that you should be looking for if you think it might be time for a divorce:

You (or They) Are Not Willing to Work on the Marriage

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mediationWhen you think of divorce, you might think of litigation in a courtroom with a judge handing down decisions, or a couple in a lawyer’s office arguing with each other, voices raised, about who gets to keep the family home. While popular culture would lead you to believe this is how divorce is, in reality, it does not have to be that way. When you think of getting a divorce, you do not have to go the traditional litigated route - you have options. One of those options is to go with a collaborative divorce, or one in which you both work together to settle your disputes outside of the courtroom. This has turned out to be beneficial for many couples for many reasons. Here are a couple of reasons why you should consider going with a collaborative divorce: The Process Can Be More Affordable Because you are settling issues in various meetings, rather than in the courtroom, you are not having to pay court costs and fees every time you try to settle something. Rather, you can make it a point to come to a decision about certain things during each meeting, cutting down on the number of meetings you will actually need to have. You Have More Control Over Your Outcomes One of the main benefits of collaborative divorce is the ability to actually control what happens to you and your family’s futures. In a collaborative divorce, both you and your spouse work with your separate attorneys to come to a decision on certain topics that will most benefit your family. In a litigated divorce, the judge will make decisions for you in accordance with state laws if you and your spouse cannot come to a decision on your own. Often times, the decision that the judge makes is not necessarily in you or your family’s best interest. Collaborative divorce allows you to do what is best for your situation. You Can Choose How Long the Divorce Process Is In a collaborative divorce, you are not relying on the availability of judges and the court’s schedule. You get to settle issues on your own time, meaning you have the power to make the divorce process as long or as short as you would like it to be. Instead of waiting months between court hearings, you can schedule meetings as frequently as you want, meaning your divorce could possibly be over within a year. Get in Touch With a DuPage County Collaborative Divorce Attorney

While most divorces will have some sort of conflict when hashing out specifics and certainly no divorce will be easy, a collaborative divorce might be your best option for a minimally stressful divorce. With help from a trained Aurora collaborative divorce lawyer, you can have peace of mind knowing you and your family’s futures are in good hands. Contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. at 630-409-8184 to begin your collaborative divorce process.

 

Sources:

https://www.familycircle.com/family-fun/relationships/collaborative-divorce-benefits/

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child support lawyer,When you are getting a divorce, you must come to an agreement with your spouse about how your assets will be divided. If you cannot come to an agreement, you will have to go to court and the judge will decide what is fair. Either way, dividing your assets can be a big headache, especially if you have large assets such as a house, cars, retirement or pension plans, stocks, brokerage accounts or businesses. It can be difficult to determine what is fair when it comes to distribution of your assets, but when it comes to Illinois law, there are certain criteria that judges use to make these decisions. Determining Marital Property vs. Non-Marital Property

The first thing a judge will do in a division of assets proceeding is determine which property and assets are marital property and which are not subject to division. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act outlines the types of assets and property that are considered marital and non-marital property. According to the act, marital property is any property, including debts and other obligations, acquired by either spouse during the marriage, except:

  • Property acquired by gift, legacy or descent and any property acquired in exchange for this property;
  • Property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage;
  • Property acquired by a spouse after a legal separation; and
  • Property excluded by a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Equitable Distribution of Marital Property

When a judge is left to decide which spouse gets which property, they must consider certain factors that are outlined in the act. These factors include:

  • Each spouse’s contribution to the acquisition or increase or decrease in value of the property;
  • The contribution of a spouse as a homemaker to the family;
  • The dissipation of the marital property by each spouse;
  • The value of the property;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • Relevant economic factors of each spouse;
  • Any obligations from a prior marriage;
  • Any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements;
  • The age, health, occupation, income, skills, employability, liabilities and needs of each spouse;
  • The custodial provisions for any children;
  • The prevalence of any spousal maintenance;
  • The opportunity of each spouse for future assets or income; and
  • The tax consequences of the division of property.
The act also specifies that property and assets are divided without regard to any marital misconduct. Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

If you are going through a divorce, you probably know about the stress and difficulty that comes with dividing your assets. Though dividing your marital assets can be troublesome, it does not have to be--with the help of an Aurora divorce attorney, your assets can be divided equitably and in your favor. Contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. to begin discussing your case. Call 630-409-8184 to schedule a consultation.

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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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