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


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

Yorkville Office By Appointment

Initial Consultations via ZOOM Available

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North Aurora Parental Rights Attorney

When a child is born to parents in Illinois, the mother automatically receives her parental rights. The father, however, is a different story if the parents were not married when the child was born. Paternity must be established for a child if the father wants parental rights. This can be done in a variety of ways, though the most common way is for a couple to fill out a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity (VAP) form in the hospital. In some cases, however, a parent may wish to relinquish their parental rights to a child. In other cases, a parent may wish to terminate the other parent’s parental rights. Either way, this can be done under certain circumstances in Illinois.

Proving the Parent to Be Unfit

In order to proceed with petitioning the court to terminate a parent’s parental rights, you must first have proof that the parent is indeed unfit. During the hearing, which is bound to happen, the judge will determine whether or not there is enough evidence pointing toward the parent that would declare him unfit. According to Illinois law, a parent can be considered unfit if:


North Aurora Family Law Attorney

Many couples who are having marital issues often turn to divorce as a solution. However, divorce is a process that should only be used after a couple has given it plenty of thought and they feel as if they have exhausted all of their other options. In some cases, couples may not even realize that there are options other than filing for divorce right away. The state of Illinois also allows couples to file for legal separation instead of divorce if they wish. Many people are unaware of the process and benefits that a legal separation can have, especially for couples who are not yet ready to make the permanent step into divorce. It can be confusing for many couples to determine whether or not they should file for a legal separation. Here are some of the most common questions that couples have about legal separation in Illinois:

What is the Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce?

In many ways, legal separation and divorce are very similar. Both processes require spouses to come to agreements about various issues, such as property and debt division and child custody if there are minor children from the marriage. Other important issues, such as spousal maintenance and child support are also addressed during a legal separation, just as they are during a divorce. The main difference between a legal separation and a divorce is the outcome of the process. At the end of a legal separation, you and your spouse will still be married, even if you are separated. At the end of the divorce process, you and your spouse will no longer be legally tied to one another.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Legal Separation?

Though it is not a requirement that you retain an attorney to get a legal separation, it is highly recommended that you do so. Creating a marital separation agreement can be just as complicated and time-consuming as creating a divorce agreement, which is why it can be easier with assistance from a lawyer.

Are There Benefits to Getting a Legal Separation?

For some couples, getting a legal separation can have great benefits, especially when compared to getting a divorce. For many couples, a legal separation is a useful stepping stone to divorce, especially if they are unsure that a divorce is what they truly want. A legal separation can be a way for some people to gain the clarity that they need to make informed decisions about their marriage. Other couples may see a legal separation as a good alternative to divorce for other reasons, such as being able to stay on a spouse’s health insurance plan or to get full Social Security benefits.


North Aurora guardianship attorney

When you think of guardianships, you may think of a person who is legally appointed to care for a child when that child’s parents are unable to do so. While this definition is accurate, that is not the only form of guardianship. Some adults are also in need of guardians. In the state of Illinois, the probate court is entirely responsible for granting guardianships to adults in need. Illinois has some of the most progressive and protective laws concerning adult guardianship. Rather than deeming a disabled adult “incompetent,” as was necessary prior to 1979, the needs of adults are measured through a clinical report put together by the court, and their guardianship will be tailored to meet their needs.

Who Can Have a Guardian Appointed to Them?

Like other states, Illinois law presumes that those who are over the age of 18 are able to handle their own affairs. In some situations, however, a person may be incapable of making important decisions or taking care of themselves for various reasons. Illinois law may grant guardianships to people who are disabled because of:


b2ap3_thumbnail_Kane-County-family-law-lawyer.jpg-min-1.jpgNot all marriages have a happy ending. In fact, depending on the source you consult, around 40 to 50 percent of all first marriages in the United States end in divorce. If that statistic was not sobering enough, the divorce rate only increases for people who are married Kendall County a second and even a third time, with numbers soaring to somewhere around 60 to 65 percent of marriages ending in divorce. Though the statistics suggest that the odds are against you when it comes to remarriage, everyone deserves to be happy and find a partner with whom they can spend their life. Having a successful second marriage is not impossible; you just need to plan accordingly before you walk down the aisle a second time. Below are a few things you should keep in mind before you get remarried:

Be Truthful

First and foremost, you should be sure that you divulge everything of importance to your future spouse before you are married. You should be open and honest about all of your assets, credit history, debts, and other obligations. If you have obligations to provide child support or spousal maintenance to a child or spouse from a prior marriage, tell your new partner about them. Getting everything out in the open and being honest is the first step to a successful marriage.

Decide How You Want to Keep Your Assets

Second or subsequent marriages often include spouses who are bringing significant property and assets into a marriage. Make a list of each of your major assets and how you would like to use them or how they will be handled after your death. You and your spouse should decide how you want to handle all of your assets going forward. Will you have a joint bank account, or will you both still keep separate bank accounts? Which assets are important to separate?


DuPage County legal separation lawyerThere are many reasons why couples get divorced, but often it takes a lot of time and contemplation to get to that point. Before it is decided that divorce is the best option, couples often go through a period of uncertainty about whether or not they actually want to legally terminate their marriage or if they just want to “call it quits” for a while. During this time, some couples choose to separate themselves by living apart and also being financially independent of each other. These are the basics of an Illinois legal separation, though it is not enough to just say that you are separated. You and your spouse must take several steps before the state will view your separation as legal.

Requirements for a Legal Separation

If you are considering obtaining a legal separation in Illinois, there are a few requirements that you must meet. First, you or your spouse must have been a resident of Illinois for at least 90 days. Then you will have to file a petition with the court in the county in which either you or your spouse lives or the county in which you and your spouse last lived together. In the petition, you must be able to prove that you and your spouse live separately from each other.

Why Choose Legal Separation?

A legal separation is similar to a divorce in many ways. When the court declares you separated, it will also address issues such as spousal maintenance, as well as child-related issues such as parenting time and child support. For some people, a legal separation is a chance to reconcile after some time apart because it is not permanent. For others, legal separation is a way to protect their finances during a long and contentious divorce. A legal separation is also an option for those who cannot get a divorce because of cultural or religious reasons.


The Difference Between a No-Fault and an Uncontested Divorce, divorce, family law, uncontested divorce, child custody, no-fault, Aurora child supportTo many people, the thought of a divorce conjures up images of nasty courtroom battles, accusations of wrongdoing, and drawn out negotiations over the division of marital assets. While lingering acrimony might not be avoided completely, use of No Fault or Uncontested divorce options provide an opportunity to avoid some of the unpleasantness that often accompanies the end of a marriage.

To understand the benefits of each, it is important to know how the state defines each term.

  • An “uncontested divorce” results when both parties are in full agreement of all the terms related to the divorce including, but not limited to alimony, child support, child custody, visitation, and division of property.
  • A “no fault divorce” is a decree of divorce issued when neither party admits to marital misconduct. This is frequently referred to “irreconcilable differences.”

Basic Elements of No Fault and Uncontested Divorces


Holiday Child Visitation and Stress after a Divorce, family law, child custody, law office, divorce, holiday visitationEvery year the holidays arrive, bringing with them joy, togetherness, and stress. The stress of the holidays is felt more by some than others, but for divorced couples and their children, holiday stress may rise to new levels. The question of where the children will spend the holidays is often the source of much anxiety.

Holiday Scheduling Strategies

Sometimes during the course of divorce proceedings, parents may wish to include an annual holiday visitation schedule as part of a custody plan. However, sometimes scheduling visitation for the holidays is left to the parents. Here are few ideas that may help.


Posted on in Divorce

Signs a Divorce May Be Imminent, divorce, signs of divorce, family law, DuPage County Divorce Lawyer, divorce processThe realization that a marriage is coming to an end and a divorce is likely may catch many people by surprise. It is understandable to fight the reality that your marriage, which you vowed would last forever, just isn’t working.

No one goes into a marriage believing it could one day result in meetings with divorce lawyers, and discussions of alimony, child support or custody agreements. However, there are some signs that a divorce may be likely.

What are Some of the Signals of Divorce?


Make Sure Your Prenuptial Agreement is Valid, divorce, family law, marital assets, Prenuptial Agreement, Aurora divorce attorneyWhen the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act went into effect it applied to all premarital agreements executed on or after January 1, 1990. So while premarital agreements, also called prenuptial agreements or “prenups,” have been in use for more than 25 years, every year a number of these contracts are voided for a variety of reasons.

Without the help of an experienced lawyer who focuses their practice on matters of prenuptial agreements, you could watch as your spouse walks off with a lion’s share of the marital assets. Understanding the basics is a good start toward protecting yourself in the event of a divorce.

What Might Invalidate Your Prenup?


Helping Your Children Survive a Divorce, family law, divorce, children and divorce, child support, emotional healthWhile any divorce can be a stressful time for the adults experiencing it, adults generally possess the coping skills and access to resources that allow them to manage the anxiety that accompanies such an event. Children, however, react to the divorce of their parents in many different ways depending on age, gender, personality, and the circumstances surrounding the divorce.

A number of published studies indicate that children of divorce tend to experience physical, emotional and spiritual consequences as a result of their parent’s divorce. Typical among these are:

  • Poor academic performance
  • Diminished emotional well-being
  • Changes in social habits and/or behavior
  • Increased aggression or isolation
  • Changes in appetite and physical care

In some cases, children of divorce may go through their daily routine pretending that nothing is bothering them and everything is normal. While that may seem ideal, bottling up one’s emotions about a subject as volatile as divorce can be just as harmful as drastic changes in mood or behavior.


Posted on in Divorce
Kendall County child custody attorneys, Divorce, family law, marriage maintenance, Kendall County, divorce lawyers

Divorce. Once that word is uttered by your spouse, you are left wondering how your relationship unraveled so quickly. While many believe that divorce is caused by significant issues such as cheating or abuse, there are minuscule behaviors within a marriage that can also derail it.

How you Can Improve your Relationship with your Spouse

However, identifying—and then changing—behaviors that may be hurting your relationship can help you avoid derailing your marriage:


How your Social Media Practices Can Damage your Child Custody Case, family law, divorce, child custody, social media, aurora child custody lawyersOn May 3, 2017, YouTube stars Michael and Heather Martin lost custody of their two children as a result of a video they posted on YouTube. In the video, Michael and Heather Martin spilled invisible ink on the carpet in one of the children’s rooms. They then blamed their children for ruining the carpet, and the children cried as their parents yelled and cursed at them. Finally, Heather and Michael Martin laughed and told their children it was a prank. As seen in the video, the children were not amused.

The video of the prank went viral and prompted the creation of an online petition calling on Child Protective Services (C.P.S.) to remove the children from Michael and Heather Martin’s home. C.P.S. took the children in and Rose Hall, the children’s biological mother, was granted emergency custody.

This situation highlights the impact social media can have in situations like child custody. Your use of social media should be even more stringent if you are going through a child custody battle. Electronic evidence in the form of social media posts and pictures can be used in court if the evidence meets a certain criterion.


What Is Worse: Getting Fired or Getting a Divorce, divorce, family law, grief, law office, after divorce“I think we should part ways.”

Who would you rather hear these words from? Your employer or your significant other?

Last week, What Works Center for Wellbeing and the University of East Anglia found in a study that men and women who are terminated do not fully recover emotionally. However, the researchers saw that people who are divorced do completely heal at some point in their life.


Posted on in Divorce

divorce, DuPage County divorce attorney, Modifying Orders in Divorce,child support, child custody, family lawDivorce settlements and orders should always be drafted to address the future. The reason is because the decisions made during a divorce many times controls how your family grows after a divorce. Even in cases where careful planning and consideration is used in drafting an order in a divorce, life changes may dictate that the order may need to be modified at a later date.

What Can Modified?

In order to modify an order handed down in a divorce proceeding the very first thing you must do is petition the court. This is where the help of a dauntless DuPage County family lawyer will be able to help. The types of orders that one can petition the court to modify include:


Posted on in Child Custody

Visitation and Child Abuse, family law, child abuse, child custody, divorce, law officeGoing through a divorce can be an emotionally draining ordeal with many unanswered questions that are often fought over. Decisions must be made inside of an emotional space that often drives spouses to treat every decision like a zero-sum game. Spouses may try to punish each other or hide assets. However, there are legitimate concerns regarding visitation or what is referred to as parenting time when one parent is physically or emotionally abusive.

Proving Abuse

Abuse can manifest itself in many ways. The most obvious form of abuse is physical abuse. In instances where physical abuse exist there are physical marks that a victim or spouse can point to as reasons why the abusive spouse should not have unsupervised or any visitation rights. It is important that you hire a fearless and knowledgeable DuPage County divorce lawyer to assist you through this difficult process. That lawyer will be able to present compelling evidence and arguments to the court that explain the extent and severity of the physical abuse and why the abuse is cause to terminate a parent's visitation rights.


The Difference Between Marriage and a Civil Union,family law, illinois civil union, marriage, division of property, child custodySpending a lifetime with our loved ones is a beautiful thought. Thinking about what kind of house you are going to buy, if you are going to have children, maybe even pets can bring warm and fuzzy feelings into your heart. Many people consider marriage as a way to solidify their connection with their loved one. However, that is not the only option. Civil Unions are a less common way to create a binding union between loved ones.

What is a Civil Union?

A civil union is a legal status much like a marriage. Civil unions provide many of the same legal protections that marriage does. One key difference, however, is the legal protections exist at the state level. Federal protections like tax breaks and Social Security benefits are not built into a civil union the way they are a marriage.


Posted on in Child Support

Child Support Overhaul, child support, family law, divorce, spousal maintenance, DuPage County child support attorneyChild support is often a contentious part of a divorce. A massive change to the way that child support is calculated is set to take effect this July. It updates and streamlines an outdated method of calculating child support.

Under current Illinois law, child support is calculated using a fixed formula that requires a non-residential parent to pay a fixed percentage of their income. This was problematic because the one size fits all formula produced results that did not satisfy the needs of the child nor were the calculations developed to address the best interest of any children involved.

How Will Child Support Be Calculated Under the New Law?


grandparents, DuPage County family law attorneyAllocating parental responsibilities often involves more than just parents and children. Grandparents and other family members often play a critical role in a child's life. For this reason, Illinois low allows grandparents to seek court-ordered visitation rights with a child.

It is important to understand that the law presumes that a parent is fit to make decisions regarding their child. This includes where and when to let a grandparent visit. If, however, the grandparent can prove to the court that the parent's denial of access is both unreasonable and harmful to the child's “mental, physical, or emotional health,” a judge can override the parent after considering a number of factors.

Court Holds Oral Visitation Agreement Unenforceable in Illinois


Posted on in Divorce

domestic violence, DuPage County divorce attorneyThere are many reasons why a dissolution of marriage becomes necessary. Spouses grow apart, partners fall out of love, and individuals change their life goals. Occasionally, divorce becomes necessary for safety reasons if one spouse is abusive. Although Illinois is a no-fault state and anyone can divorce, it is important to understand how domestic abuse in a marriage can affect the outcome of the divorce proceedings.

Married Without Children

Any type of abuse that occurs between romantic partners or spouses is considered domestic violence or abuse. The law defines domestic abuse as:


divorce, DuPage County divorce lawyerIf you have reached the point in your marriage where divorce is becoming more and more of a possibility, it is time to start gathering information about the process. Ending a marriage is going to be challenging, even in the most amicable of situations. You may be able to alleviate some of the difficult by becoming familiar with a few basic concepts that pertain to divorce in Illinois.

Grounds for Divorce

For many generations, a married person could seek a divorce on the basis—or grounds—that his or her spouse engaged in certain behaviors, including adultery, repeated mental and physical cruelty, patterns of substance abuse, and abandonment. Beginning in 2016, however, this is no longer the case in Illinois. Today, a divorce will only be granted on the grounds the irreconcilable differences have led to the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

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


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

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