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


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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Batavia family law attorney paternity

When you are not married and you have a child in Illinois, establishing the paternity of your child can be more complicated than it is for a couple who is married. When a couple is married at the time the child is born, the man to whom the mother is married is presumed to be the child’s legal father. When a couple is not married, there are extra steps that must be taken to establish the paternity of their child. For many people, establishing the paternity of their child is a sentimental act, but it also carries many legal benefits for everyone, including the mother and father. For instance, fathers in Illinois do not have any rights to parenting time or parental decision-making responsibilities unless their paternity has been established to their child. Paternity cases can become complicated, but an experienced Illinois paternity lawyer can guide you through the process.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

When you establish the paternity of a child, this change can affect not only the child but also the mother and father, too. In many cases, parents may not think of some of the benefits of making the legal connection between the child and his or her father. Here are some of the biggest benefits that establishing paternity provides:

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer,There is no one answer for how children of any age will react to their parents’ divorce, but there are common reactions that have been observed in children of different age groups. These common reactions can give you things to look for in your children when you are going through a divorce and can help you plan how to deal with these reactions.

Infants (Ages 0 to 18 Months): At this time in their lives, the child knows only the love that their parents give them by holding them and spending time with them. A divorce can impact the amount of time that a parent spends with the child, which can have negative effects on the baby. Infants can sense a lot more tension in the home than you think they can. Possible reactions to the tension can be:

  • Nervousness around new people;
  • Loss of appetite or change in eating habits;
  • Frequent outbursts or tantrums; and
  • An uneasy stomach.

Toddlers (Ages 18 Months to 3 Years): When children are toddlers, their main interactions are still with their parents, or siblings if they have them. For toddlers, change can be difficult for them. Toddlers thrive off of routine and predictability, so when their routines are changed or interrupted, they can have negative reactions. These reactions can include:

  • An increase in crying or tantrums;
  • Wanting more attention than normal;
  • Trouble sleeping; and
  • Feelings of anger.

Preschoolers (Ages 3 to 5 Years): A preschoolers are exposed more to the outside world, their level of thinking becomes more complex and their world is expanded. These children are trying to make sense of the world that they do not yet understand, so when they are in a family in which parents are going through a divorce, they probably do not understand why mommy and daddy are no longer together. Reactions during this stage can include:

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer,Divorce is not an easy concept for many children to grasp. Even if they understand the basics of what a divorce means, many children still cling to the hope that their parents might get back together. Introducing your children to your new partner is a task that can be daunting and requires a certain level of prudence. Your children should be at the forefront of your concerns, so dating after your divorce should be as unobtrusive to your children as possible until both you and they are ready to open their minds and arms to a new way of life. Timing Is Everything If you introduce your new partner to your children before they have had time to mourn the dissipation of their family unit, results could be less-than-desirable. Some experts say it takes at least a year before children are comfortable with their new life and have settled into their new routine of having divorced parents. You should also give the new relationship time so that you can evaluate the potential of the relationship. When children have new people in their lives, they tend to get attached to them. If that person is suddenly not there anymore, they will have to go through the break up just like you. While there are no guarantees that any relationship is long term, you should be sure that your new partner understands your concerns that you have about introducing them to your children. Be Honest with Your Children Though this is an age-sensitive topic, you should be as honest as is appropriate with your children. You can tell younger children that your new partner is your new friend and that you would like him or her to become friends with each other. With older children or teenagers, they might be more curious as to the status of the relationship. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can tell teenagers that you are dating and that your new partner is your new boyfriend or girlfriend. Get Help From a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

For some people, dating after a divorce can be an exciting and fun time in their life. You are able to explore your feelings for other people and enjoy the freedom from your ex, but you should also take into consideration how new relationships will affect your children. Going through divorce can be tough on children, but with the help of an Aurora divorce lawyer, you can help your children avoid the stress of a divorce. Contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. at 630-409-8184 to set up a consultation.



Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer,“I think we should get a divorce.” Whether those words came as a total and complete shock or it was only a matter of time until they were uttered, it is never easy to hear that your marriage is falling apart. Divorce is an emotionally draining process, but it can also put a strain on your finances. Luckily, you can alleviate some of that strain by making sure you are well prepared before you even begin the divorce process. Making sure your finances are in order before you begin can save you some stress and a headache or two in the long run. Gather Your Records

Your first step in preparing yourself and your finances for divorce is by gathering all of your financial records and making copies of them. You should make sure that you have copies of your:

  • Bank account statements from the past year, including checking and savings;
  • Current retirement account statements;
  • Documents pertaining to your mortgage, car loans and any personal loans;
  • Credit card statements from the past year;
  • Recent pay stubs; and
  • Your tax returns from the past couple years.
Open New Bank Accounts (and Start Saving) As soon as you are legally separated from your spouse, you should open new checking and savings accounts, but in your name only. This will ensure that your money is not going to be a part of your marital property, which is subject to division during a divorce. You should also make sure that you are putting away a little bit of your income each month. Transitioning from living with two incomes to only your own income can be challenging, so making sure you have some sort of a safety net is good. Take Record of What You Own When you begin dividing your marital property, you should know what you own, what you are entitled to and what cannot be subject to division by state law. Make lists of both marital and nonmarital property, including everything from retirement accounts to your collection of antique postage stamps. You should also try to estimate what each item is worth, that way you can make sure both you and your spouse are getting equitable shares of your marital estate. Create a Budget Write down all of your sources of income for each month and all of your expenses, taking into account that you will only be working with your own income from now on. Before your divorce, weekly trips to the nail salon might have been doable, but can you still afford them after you are divorced. Try to cut back on your spending and using that money to build your new savings account. Speak with a Knowledgeable DuPage County Divorce Attorney

There are many things that will stress you out during your divorce, but your finances do not have to be one of them. Speaking with an Aurora divorce attorney can help you get your financial affairs in order, figure out which property you are entitled to and plan for the long term. Contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. to begin preparing for your divorce today. To schedule a consultation, call the office at 630-409-8184.



Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child support lawyer,When you are going through divorce proceedings, one of the many facets that you will come across is issues pertaining to your children. In Illinois, physical child custody and visitation are called parenting time and legal custody is called parenting responsibility. When making decisions about these things, the court is always taking into consideration the best interests of the child. The majority of parents are concerned with their child’s best interests, but their views of what is best for the child can sometimes be clouded by everything else surrounding the divorce. Understanding what the court considers best for the child can help you anticipate what decisions the court will make with your case. What Is the “Best Interest” of the Child? In legal terms, the best interest of the child is used in most cases involving decisions made about children. This means that the judge presiding over the case will base his or her decision about parenting time and responsibilities on a number of factors to best suit the child’s individual needs. All states have some sort of standards set in place to determine what is in the child’s best interests. Determining Factors in Illinois

The Illinois Juvenile Court Act of 1987 set into place specific factors judges take into consideration when a “best interest” determination is required. The child’s age and developmental needs are taken into consideration, along with:

  • The physical safety and welfare of the child, including basic needs;
  • The development of the child’s identity;
  • The child’s background and familial, cultural and religious ties;
  • The child’s sense of attachments, including where the child feels love, their sense of security and familiarity;
  • The child’s wishes;
  • The child’s community ties, such as church, school, and friends;
  • The child’s need for permanence and stability;
  • The uniqueness of every family and child; and
  • The preference of the parents.
Contact A DuPage County Parental Responsibility Lawyer

Divorce proceedings can get messy pretty quickly and parents can lose sight of what is important - their children. Everything a parent does should be in the best interests of their children and Illinois courts want to make sure of that. If you are going through a divorce with children, you should get the help of an Aurora divorce attorney who can focus on your divorce so you can focus on your children. Contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. to see how they can help you with your case. Call the office at 630-409-8184 to set up a consultation.




Posted on in Paternity

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child support lawyer,When a child is born, it is automatically known who the child’s mother is--this is not the case for the child’s father. In Illinois, if a couple is not married or in a civil union when the child is born, the father is not legally considered the father of the child and his name cannot be added to the birth certificate until paternity is established. The only time there is a legal presumption of paternity is if the mother and the father of the child were married or in a civil union at the time of the child’s birth, or were married within 300 days before the child was born. Establishing paternity is important for both the parents of the child and the child itself.

The Importance of Determining Paternity

When a child’s paternity is in question, the father does not have any legal rights when it comes to the child. In order for a father to have rights to parenting time or parenting decisions, like decisions about the child’s healthcare or education, paternity must be established for the child.


Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child support lawyer,For many people, divorce is one of the most emotionally demanding and stressful situations they will go through. Not only do you have to deal with the long and demanding legal divorce process, but you also have to figure out how to cope with the fact that you are ending a major relationship in your life, which can bring about a myriad of emotions. In order to come out of the divorce right side up, you have to figure out how to cope with these emotions and work your way through this emotional process.

Allow Yourself to Grieve the Loss of the Relationship

If you are going through a divorce, one feeling you will probably come across is grief. Grief is a natural response to the loss of something, in this situation, the loss of your relationship. It is important that you allow yourself to feel the emotions that come with grief, such as anger, sadness, fear, and confusion. The sooner you can emotionally accept that the relationship is over, the sooner you can begin your process of self-healing.


Illinois custody attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,The idea of leaving your children parentless due to a tragic illness or accident is not a thought on which many like to dwell. However, taking necessary steps now to establish a clear and legal guardianship plan for your children can provide a measure of relief knowing you have prepared for their safekeeping.

What to Do, How to Do It

Preparing for the care of your children in the event of your death can be an easy process if one adheres to established laws and procedures. Ensuring your guardianship plan passes legal muster will prevent others from contesting guardianship, and wresting away custody of your children from those who you want to raise your kids. Before you get started, however, you probably have some questions:


Posted on in Divorce

Illinois custody attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,When a couple splits everyone immediately wants to know who is to blame. Surely one of the spouses or other did something so egregious that is resulted in divorce. In some cases, the couple who is splitting up feels the need to blame their partner for the divorce in order to relieve some of their own guilt.

The Blame Game

Even though most states offer the option of a no-fault divorce, blame still plays a big part in the reasons leading up to and the process of a divorce. Many times it is not even those who are seeking a divorce that place blame, as friends and family have been known to choose sides and blame the other for the end of the marriage. Some common thoughts on blame and divorce include:


Illinois custody attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,The divorce process may be one of the most emotionally traumatic experiences of your life, as the relationship you once thought would last forever has ended. Dealing with the aftermath of your divorce while navigating the winter holidays can increase the stress and anxiety of rebuilding your life.

The Holidays Are Stressful Enough

Crowds at the mall, parking lots filled to capacity, family get-togethers and office parties are just some of the things that make this time of the year very stressful. The after-effects of a divorce can increase that stress level, but if you have some idea of what to expect then perhaps you can take steps to avoid adding to your anxiety.

Illinois child support attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,Even after a divorce is final, custody agreements are settled and support payments ordered, the adults and children who lived through the experience can still live through periods of uncertainty. This is especially true if a custodial parent stops receiving the child support payments they count on for monthly expenses related to raising their children.

Illinois Laws Push for Payment

For years custodial parents felt they had no recourse if their ex-spouse suddenly stopped or refused paying agreed upon monthly child support payments. To help custodial parents pursue that money, and encourage continued payment, the state of Illinois enacted a series of enforcement programs. These laws apply to both deadbeat dads and moms:
  • Income Withholding: All Illinois employers are required to file a report of all new hires with the state. Reports are shared with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, and Orders to Withhold Income for Child Support are submitted to the employer if it is found that a  new employee is delinquent in their child support payments.
  • Drivers License Suspension: The Illinois Secretary of State’s office can suspend the driver’s license of anyone who is more than 90 days late in child support payments.
  • Jail Time: If a judge finds the non-custodial parent is intentionally withholding child support payments they can be found in contempt of court and ordered to make the payment. If they fail to comply with the judge’s order, they can be sent to jail.
  • Publication of Debt: Delinquent child support payments can be added to a non-custodial parent’s credit report, making it difficult to buy a car, secure a loan or conduct other financial transactions.
  • As of 1997, custodial parents have up to 20 years after their child’s 18th birthday to pursue and collect past due child support payments.
Non-custodial parents long felt that the division of expenses was unfair, and placed on them a larger burden of the cost of raising children after a divorce. A new Illinois law that went into effect this past July now takes a broader look at all income sources of both parents in an effort to create a more equitable child support plan.

Pursue Owed Monies with Help of an Experienced Aurora Child Support Lawyer

It is important to know that there are steps you can take if your ex-spouse is delinquent in their payments of court-ordered child support. By working with a knowledgeable and aggressive Illinois divorce and child support attorney, you can pursue the payments due you and your children. Contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. to schedule an initial consultation and discuss your options.


relocation, DuPage County family law attorneyWhen you share parenting responsibilities for your child with your former partner, making decisions for your own life may not be as simple as it once was. Moving to a new city or state, for example, to pursue new opportunities is much more difficult for a parent subject to a child custody order—now called the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois. The difficulties are increased even further if the parent looking to move is the one who was granted primary residential responsibilities for the child and has the majority of the parenting time. If you are thinking about moving with your child, there are some things that you need to keep in mind.

What is a Relocation?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act recognizes that not every move by a parent is considered a relocation. Instead, a relocation is defined as a move by a parent with at least half of the parenting time with the child that is:


Posted on in Child Custody

evaluator, Aurora family law attorneyWhen you are involved in a dispute regarding parental responsibilities or parenting time, it can difficult for the court to determine an ideal resolution. While judges and attorneys are well-versed in the law, they may not have such a clear picture of your family’s unique situation. The documents and evidence that you and the other parent present during the proceedings can provide a glimpse into your life, but are often not enough, especially if one or both of you are not being totally honest. In such cases, the court may order a professional evaluator to review your family’s circumstances.

What Will an Evaluator Do?

An appointed custody evaluator may be utilized to help the court develop an understanding of how each of you is equipped to provide for your child. The evaluator may visit interview each parent and the child, visit each parent’s home, and gather information that will help the court in making a decision regarding the child’s best interests. He or she is required by law to prepare a comprehensive report documenting the data collected as well as his or her conclusions and recommendations about how the court should decide.


relocation, Aurora family law attorneyNobody likes the idea of feeling trapped. If you are like most people, you want the freedom to seek new adventures and new opportunities. Of course, certain responsibilities in life may limit your ability to enjoy such liberties, but that does not mean they are completely out of reach. If you currently share parental responsibilities with your child’s other parent, you may feel that you are no longer free to pursue your personal goals, especially if they involve moving to another part of the state or out of Illinois altogether. Getting permission from the court for a relocation, however, may be possible, and there are some things to think about before you make a decision.

Legal Requirements

When you are the parent with primary parental responsibilities and half or more of the parenting time with your child, you must obtain permission from the other parent before relocating with the child. If the other parent refuses, you can seek permission from the court for the move. You only need approval if your new residence would be within Illinois and more than 25 miles from a current home in the metro Chicago area, or more than 50 miles from a current home anywhere else in the state. An out-of-state move requires approval if it is more than 25 miles from a current home anywhere in Illinois.


maintenance, Aurora family law attorneyFinancial and property considerations can be very complicated parts of the divorce process. It is often difficult to determine who should get what, and how much is fair based on the specific circumstances of the case. For many couples, the concepts of dividing marital assets and spousal maintenance represent two, very separate ideas. In reality, however, they are often very closely related, and in many cases, decisions regarding one directly affects the other.

Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance, or alimony as it is sometimes called, is intended to help a financially-disadvantaged spouse alleviate some of the economic impact of a divorce and a post-divorce life. To determine if maintenance is needed, in the absence of an agreement between the spouses, the court must take into account a number of factors regarding the marriage and divorce. These include each spouse’s income and needs, the contributions to the marriage and toward the earning capacity of the other, as well as the length of the marriage and the established standard of living.


order modification, review, Illinois family law attorneyAs 2015 draws to a close, now is a good time to take a fresh look at the orders in place related to your divorce. Most commonly, these include arrangements for child custody or parental responsibilities, child support, and spousal maintenance. Life moves very quickly, and it is important to be sure that your court-ordered rights and responsibilities continue to appropriately match your situation.

Order Modifications

With very few exceptions, any family law order entered by the court is subject review and modification should such changes be warranted. The laws governing order modification typically require the person seeking a modification to demonstrate the need for reconsideration due to a significant change in circumstances. This type of change may include a dramatic increase or decrease in income, a remarriage, death of a family member, and any other event that could directly impact the appropriateness of an existing order.


holidays, parenting time, Illinois family law attorneyWith Thanksgiving about a week away, and the winter holidays just around the corner, it is time to begin making plans. In most families, such plans may include which family member is bringing what dessert, and who is hosting dinner this year. For divorced or unmarried parents subject to a custody or parenting time agreement, however, the preparation process often includes some additional elements. If your child splits his or her time between your home and that of the other parent, the holiday season probably requires a level of cooperation, but with reasonable communication, the experience can be positive for all involved.

Check Your Agreement

Your parenting agreement may already include provisions regarding the holidays. Parenting time orders are often customized based on the traditions and priorities of each family, and there are variety of ways to make such a schedule. For example, your order may indicate that this year, your child spends Thanksgiving with you and Christmas with the other parent, and then next year, the opposite occurs. Alternatively, it may specify that your child spends the morning with you on designated holidays and the afternoon with other parent. If a particular holiday is not traditionally observed by one parent or the other, the agreement may permit the child to stay with parent who does celebrate it for the entire day.


fixed-term maintenance, alimony, DuPage County family law attorneyWhen a divorce leaves one spouse economically disadvantaged, courts in Illinois are granted the discretion to award spousal maintenance, or alimony, for a period of time following the dissolution of marriage. The purpose of such an award is to provide an opportunity for the spouse receiving maintenance to regain financial independence, if possible, or, if not, to help maintain some semblance of the lifestyle to which he or she was accustomed during the marriage.

Making a Maintenance Determination

In deciding whether or not maintenance is needed or appropriate in a given situation, the court must look at a number of relevant factors regarding the marriage. According the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, these considerations include, but are not limited to:

Consider Paying Off Debt before Divorce

Every year, thousands of couples in Illinois decide to end their marriages. For many of these couples, dividing assets and debts can be extremely complicated and often becomes contentious. If you find yourself in a deteriorating marriage and divorce seems to be on the horizon, you may want to consider paying off some of your marital debt prior to beginning the divorce process.

Marital Debt

Like marital assets, any debt incurred by either spouse during the course of a marriage is generally considered to be marital debt. As such, marital debt must be considered during the division of property proceedings in divorce. Based on factors prescribed in Illinois law, marital assets and debt are to be equitably distributed between the divorcing parties. For couples with few assets and limited debt, the process is often relatively simple. Those with more property and complicated debt, however, may face increased difficulty.

Liquidate Assets and Pay Debt

Depending on your specific situation, satisfying marital debt before filing for divorce can significantly streamline the property division process. By doing so, you may be able to reduce or eliminate the need for complex calculations to offset assets and obligations.

prepaid legal services, Illinois divorce lawyer, alternative dispute resolution, Illinois divorcePrepaid legal services are becoming more popular as benefits offered to employees.  More than 70 million Americans have these prepaid legal services. In these packages, a small amount is paid each month in return for some future assistance on a legal issue. While most of the legal help available is minimal through these programs, some people are still attempting to use them for an uncontested divorce. In these situations, you are likely better off with an attorney.

Many prepaid plans cover basic services and won’t get involved in more complex legal issues, like criminal defense.

If you and your spouse don’t have much to argue over, you might consider using these services for an uncontested divorce. The way the prepaid services work is that as you make payments into the plan, supposedly the amount of “work” you’re eligible to receive from an attorney grows. Once you “max out” these plans, however, you could find that you have to pay for representation anyways.

If your uncontested divorce takes longer than you imagined, or the attorney has to spend a lot of time reviewing facts and materials, you’re going to lose out in the long run by having to hire more of that attorney’s time- at whatever rate he or she wants to charge. You end up trapped if this individual has already completed some work on your case, because you may then feel obligated to pay them to finish it.

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


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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