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DuPage County family law attorney divorce

Getting a divorce can feel like you are running a marathon with hurdles and other obstacles in your way the entire time. Even those who are the most prepared going into a divorce can come out on the other side feeling drained in nearly every way -- emotionally, financially, and physically. It can come as a sigh of relief once the judge finally signs on the dotted line of your divorce decree, but that does not mean that your work is done. Now that you and your spouse are legally divorced, the work of ensuring that the terms of the divorce judgment go into effect begins. 

Update Documents if Your Name Has Changed

For many people, women especially, taking their partner’s last name is a symbolic way to show the creation of their family and their commitment to their spouse. However, many people choose to change their last name back to what it was prior to the marriage after their divorce. If you have changed your name, you should be sure to update all of your important documents and request official copies of them, such as your driver’s license, credit cards, medical insurance, and more.


DuPage County divorce attorney

When you first tie the knot, you have this idea of living happily ever after with your new spouse and that a good marriage will come easily and naturally. What many people do not realize, however, is that a strong and happy marriage is the result of years of communication, trust, and a lot of growth. There are arguments and conflict in every relationship; it is not necessarily conflict itself that is the marker of a marriage that will end in divorce. Conflict can be healthy because it can help ensure both you and your spouse’s needs are being met, but that conflict has to be dealt with in a healthy way. Psychologists say that there are four specific behaviors that take place in a matrimonial union that together can be a telltale sign of a broken marriage that is headed toward divorce. 


This refers to the act of attacking your spouse’s character, rather than giving him or her feedback on something he or she did that you did not like. For example, your spouse might have a habit of leaving damp towels laying on the floor after showering. Asking, “Why are you so lazy?” rather than telling him or her that it bothers you and asking him or her to hang them up to dry instead is an example of criticism. Calling your spouse lazy is attacking his or her character and not his or her behavior. This can lead to deeper feelings of resentment and contempt, which is one of the four signs that a divorce is imminent. 


Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,Divorce is always complicated, no matter how you look at it. There are many issues you must settle before you can finalize your divorce, one of those being the issue of alimony or spousal maintenance. In Illinois divorce cases, spousal maintenance is never guaranteed -- some people will ask for maintenance and not receive it, some will never even bring the issue up and some are actually awarded maintenance when they seek it. For some people, maintenance is a necessity to help them survive, at least for the first couple of months after the divorce. Illinois spousal maintenance laws changed starting January 1, 2019. These laws affect the way spousal maintenance is calculated, so it is important that you understand the changes if you have not yet finalized your divorce.

Old Maintenance Laws

Prior to 2019, spousal maintenance was calculated by taking 30 percent of the payer’s income and subtracting 20 percent of the receiver’s income. This was a valid calculation for any couple whose combined annual income was less than $500,000, though the total maintenance awarded was not able to be more than 40 percent of the couple’s combined income when adding the payment to the receiver’s income.


Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,When you have children and you are getting a divorce, there are many things you must worry about. Before you can finalize your Illinois divorce, you and your spouse must come to an agreement on a parenting plan, you must determine who gets child support and how much that support will be and you also have to figure out how the children will spend time between you and your spouse. Most of the time, parents will have similar parenting time schedules, as long as there are no extenuating circumstances that would require the children to spend more time with one parent. Parenting time exchanges can be stressful for both you and your children, but they can be easier with a little effort. Here are a few ways you can help your parenting time exchanges go by a little smoother. Make a Visible Schedule for Your Children Sometimes, it can be difficult for children to adjust to changes, especially when they are happening in their family. Making a visible schedule for your children to look at can help ease some of the stress and anxiety that your children may be feeling. Communicate with Your Ex-Spouse You should make sure you keep an open line of communication with your ex-spouse when you have children. Though you and your spouse’s romantic relationship is over, you will always have a connection to each other through your children. In order to avoid any uncertainties or confusion, keep in contact with your child’s other parent. Meet in a Neutral Place If you and your spouse have had a hostile relationship, it could be beneficial for everyone involved to meet in a public place to exchange the children. Meeting on neutral territory can help deter any arguments or altercations that may take place. Try to Be on Time It happens -- sometimes you are just late, no matter how hard you try to be on time. As soon as you realize that you are running behind schedule, let the other parent know so they do not think you are just being inconsiderate of their time. Hire a Skilled DuPage County Parenting Time Lawyer

Divorces can be tough on children, especially if they spend time with both parents and switch between them often. By getting into contact with an Aurora, IL parenting time attorney, you can be reassured that you have a solid parenting plan in place to minimize any conflicts you and your spouse may have. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we understand the difficulty that divorce can bring to a family. Let us help your family find peace after your Illinois divorce. Call our office today to set up a consultation.



Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,One of the biggest stressors that many divorcing couples have during -- and after -- their divorce is the children. Many parents worry that a divorce will put too much of a strain on their children, while other parents worry about having enough time with their children. While it is true that a divorce can be difficult for the entire family, children can be more flexible and adaptable than adults. It is generally understood that children do best after a divorce when both of their parents are present and active in their lives. While this is true, many divorced families find that they do not come out of the divorce with the parenting plan they wanted. A new bill, called the “Equal Parenting Time” bill was introduced in Illinois recently, which aims to make it so that more parents have equal parenting time with their children after an Illinois divorce. Current Parenting Time Guidelines

Under the current section in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, parenting time is determined by first encouraging parents to try to come to an agreement on a parenting plan. If both parents do not submit a mutually-agreeable plan to the court, then the court allocates parenting time in accordance with the child’s best interests. When making this decision, the judge looks at a number of factors including, but not limited to:

  • The wishes of each parent;
  • The wishes of the child;
  • The amount of time each parent has performed caretaking functions for the child in the past two years;
  • The mental and physical health of both the parents and the child;
  • The needs of the child;
  • The willingness of each parent to facilitate a relationship between the child and the other parent; and
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to put the child’s needs before their own needs.

Proposed Changes to Guidelines The proposed bill would change a few things about the allocation of parenting time in Illinois. There would be added language which states that, “it is in the child’s best interests to award equal time to each parent.” This means that both parents will be presumed to be fit parents. The court will begin with the presumption that each parent is awarded equal parenting time and then reduce or add time as needed upon findings that conflict with the child’s best interest. Contact a Skilled DuPage County Parenting Time Attorney


Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, life after divorce,Marriage is not easy. It takes a lot of work, effort, and persistence to make a marriage work, but sometimes it does not matter how hard you try -- you are destined to divorce. According to the National Survey of Family Growth, more than 20 percent of first marriages end in divorce within the first five years and 48 percent of marriages end before they hit 20 years. Divorce is an emotionally stressful and trying process, but sometimes it is one of the best things you can do for you and your spouse. Instead of making life as difficult as possible for both you and your soon-to-be ex, you should try focusing on making your split as healthy and smooth as possible.

Cooperate and Communicate

When you begin the divorce process, you will probably feel a flood of emotions, like anger, grief, and depression. When emotions are running this high, it is easy for you to do and say things that can negatively affect the divorce process. Remember, your emotions are valid, but how you handle them is important. Make sure you maintain an open line of communication with your spouse and remember that cooperation is key.


resolutionWe all know how most New Year’s resolutions work -- you come up with grandiose ideas about how you will change and be different, you follow them for about a month and then you go back to your same old routines. While keeping resolutions can be difficult, there is no better time to take a look at your life and do a little introspection and self-reflection than the beginning of a new year, especially if you are recently divorced or you are looking to begin the divorce process. Divorces can be messy and difficult, but keep these few New Year’s resolutions in mind and you could come out of your divorce on top. Let Go of Your Anger and Make a Point to Be Happy A divorce can cause you to feel many emotions, including anger, fury, contempt, and hate. It can be one of the hardest things to do, but once you let go of your anger, you will find that you will be much more relaxed and that it will be easier for you to be happy. Instead of taking your anger out on your ex, release your anger and forgive your ex for anything they might have done. It will be in your family’s best interest for you to move on. Focus on Improving Communication with Your Ex You have probably heard it many times before, but communication is key, especially when it comes to co-parenting. Being a single parent is tough, but being a single parent who has to coordinate with an ex who they do not get along with is even tougher. Your kids (and you) will have an easier time with custody transitions if you and your ex can communicate effectively. Make a Point to Spend Quality Time with Your Children Though you may have your kids a majority of the time or even the same amount of time as your ex, it is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Making time for your children is extremely important after a divorce because now every moment you spend with them is more precious than ever. Focus on your children and make sure that they feel loved and accepted -- more than they ever have before. Hire an Aurora, IL Divorce Attorney to Help You Through Your Divorce

Divorces can be confusing and messy, both of which are not traits you want to associate with your new life. Whether you are just starting to think about a divorce, you want to begin the divorce process or you are in the middle of the divorce process, at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we can help you with all aspects of the divorce. Keeping New Year’s resolutions can be tough, but with help from our knowledgeable DuPage County divorce lawyers, sticking to your resolutions will be a breeze. Call our office today at 630-409-8184 to set up a consultation.



Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,When you are married for a long period of time -- even if it is just for a few years -- you are bound to have many shared assets that you have accumulated over time. Dividing your assets during a divorce can be messy and complicated, especially if both of you want the same things. Illinois courts prefer for couples to try to divide up their assets on their own before the responsibility goes to a judge, but sometimes a judge is very much needed to settle disputes. When they say everything must be split up, they mean everything -- even unusual assets that you may not think about much.

Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

Before you can divide anything in your marriage, you must first determine what property must be divided. In Illinois, only marital property is subject to division. Non-marital property remains with the spouse whose property it is. Marital property is any property, including debts and other types of obligations, that either spouse acquires during the marriage. The exception to that rule is non-marital property, which includes:

  • Property acquired by gift, descent or legacy;
  • Property acquired in exchange for property acquired before the marriage;
  • Property acquired by a spouse after a legal judgment of separation; and
  • Property excluded by a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Physical Property

Property that is a real object and can be touched is physical property, which is probably what you think of when you think of property division. Physical property that is subject to division can include:


Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer,Among all of the things that you must take care of when you are going through a divorce is your children. In Illinois, you are required to create a parenting plan that outlines parenting time, parental responsibilities, where the child spends certain holidays and when the child will be moving between homes. Illinois courts prefer you and your ex-spouse to come to an agreement before you go to court, but in the event that you cannot, the court will decide your parenting plan in a proceeding.

This realm of divorce can be confusing because Illinois has adopted the terms “parenting time” in place of “physical custody” and “parental responsibilities” in place of “legal custody.” Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about parenting plans in Illinois:

How Is Parenting Time Determined?

In Illinois, parenting time is urged to be decided by the parents of the child, but if the parents cannot come to an agreement, the court will intervene and make decisions about parenting time that are in the child’s best interest. The court will examine a variety of factors when making a determination, including:


Posted on in Divorce
Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer,Getting a divorce is a time-consuming, stressful and frustrating process. Not only are you legally separating yourself from your ex, but you are also emotionally cutting them out of your life - a divorce is a loss and it should be treated like one. There are many considerations you must make when you get a divorce and that are a lot of ways you can make mistakes, but an Illinois divorce attorney who has experience in successful divorce cases can help you make the right decisions for your family. From issues with finances to issues with your emotional wellbeing, here are five mistakes that you should avoid making during your divorce: Not Being Prepared and Informed The thing that is going to help you most during your divorce is being prepared with all of the information that you are going to need and being informed about your financial situation. Prior to beginning a divorce, make sure you have enough money set aside for legal fees, court costs and other costs you may incur. You should also have copies of all important financial documents and records including bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, property deeds, vehicle titles and registrations, wills and trusts and any other pertinent information. Not Considering All of Your Options Many people think that their only option when it comes to divorce is the traditional divorce litigation. Now, there are many forms of alternative dispute resolution to choose from when you want to divorce, including mediation, collaborative law, and simplified dissolution. You should talk with an attorney to discuss all of your options before you choose one. Not Putting Your Children First With everything that you are thinking about and dealing with during a divorce, your children can be unintentionally put on the backburner. You should always have your children at the forefront of the decisions that you are making. Make sure you have a parenting plan created when you get a divorce so that you and your children know what will happen once the separation is final. Letting Your Emotions Take Over Though it may seem impossible, letting your emotions get the best of you during your divorce is not good for anyone. You may have feelings of anger, sadness, grief, and resentment boiling in your mind, but you cannot let those feelings fuel your decisions that will affect you for the rest of your life. Seeing a counselor or therapist can help you sort out these emotions during this troubling time. Not Hiring a Knowledgeable DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

One of your biggest mistakes can be not hiring competent legal representation. You should always have some sort of legal counsel with you when you are negotiating terms of your divorce settlement so that you can be informed about the decisions you are making and how they will impact you later. By hiring a well-versed Aurora divorce lawyer, you can be sure that all of your needs are being taken care of. The attorneys at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. will advocate for you and guide you every step of the way through your divorce. Call the office at 630-409-8184 to schedule an appointment.




Posted on in Divorce

divorce, DuPage County divorce attorneySome divorces can take years to resolve, which can lead to many unfavorable consequences for both parties. However, many divorces can be resolved on a quicker timeline and with fewer attorney’s fees.

To streamline your divorce proceedings, consider the following tips:

1. Agree with your soon-to-be ex-spouse as much as possible.


hidden asset, DuPage County family law attorneyA divorce is rarely an easy undertaking and, in some cases, can be extremely complex, especially if you fear that your spouse is not being honest about his or her financial situation. Hidden assets can prevent the court from putting together an accurate assessment of the marital estate, which could affect not only the property division process but issues related to spousal and child support as well.

What is a Hidden Asset?

While it is possible for a spouse to hide assets while living in the marital home during the marriage, it becomes even easier to hide assets following a separation. If you and your spouse are living apart, he or she could have opened secret accounts, started working under the table, received gifts from friends, or made undisclosed investments. Hidden assets may also take the form of physical items like jewelry, furniture, artwork, and real estate.


collaborative law, Kane County divorce attorneyPeople consistently envision the divorce process as an adversarial affair that pits parties against one another, which culminates with the ultimate goal of walking away with more than the other side. Divorces of this type do exist, but every divorce is not destined to be a series of contentious exchanges. Another approach is available that allows couples to maintain civil, working relationships so they have the ability to remain in contact once the divorce is finalized.

Collaborative divorce is an alternative method of navigating the end of a marriage that is conducted in a supportive environment and puts the parties in control of the outcome. Parties wishing to co-parent or retain a family business following divorce could benefit from this resolution process. Understanding that an alternative exists to traditional litigation grants divorcing parties greater freedom in working out conflict, which often leads to more cooperation.

What Is Collaborative Divorce?


Posted on in Divorce

divorce, DuPage County divorce attorneyWhen a marriage has reached a certain point, each spouse is at a crossroads of their own. You and your partner have the ability to decide whether to work together on improving the relationship or to admit that nothing more can be done to save the marriage. Obviously, the decision to work on reviving the marriage requires both of you to be on the same page and pulling in the same direction overall. If both of you choose to end the marriage, the divorce process can begin without delay. What happens, however, if you are ready for a divorce but your spouse wants to keep fighting for the relationship?

Be Absolutely Sure

Before you tell your spouse that you are ready for the marriage to be over, you need to be completely certain that is what you want. A divorce is a life-changing event that can lead to serious emotional reactions and psychological effect for years to come. When ending a marriage is necessary, such challenges are an accepted part of seeking new, post-divorce life, but it is not fair to you or your spouse for you to be casual about your decision. Talk to a counselor or a spiritual advisor become making your decision. Remember, if fixing your marriage does not work, divorce will always be an option, but the same is not true in reverse.


confessing, Aurora family law attorneyAs most people are aware, somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of all marriages today will eventually end in divorce. While this number has declined in recent years, a 60-70 percent success rate for marriage is still not all that encouraging. Marriages can break down for any number of reasons, and, in most cases, divorce is the result of a combination of many factors, some within the spouses’ control and some not.

A Challenging Journey

The process of divorce, however, can be extremely difficult with many decisions to be made and arrangements to be negotiated. This does not even take into account the emotional and psychological struggle that many divorcing individuals go through as the process goes along. The cumulative effect of all of the difficulties can be overwhelming at times, but some experts suggest that there may be a way to ease your mind a little and to provide emotional relief to your spouse at the same time. Confessing, or taking responsibility for wrongs you may have committed, can go a long way in making the divorce process much smoother for the both of you.


stonewalling, DuPage County divorce lawyerWhen you are involved in a long-term committed relationship or a marriage—communication is one of the most important keys to happiness. Those who are able to communicate tend to enjoy higher levels of marital satisfaction and a better understanding of one another. Those who cannot or who only speak to one another superficially are likely to find their marriage spiraling quickly toward divorce.

The Concept of Stonewalling

Spouses can easily become frustrated with each other for any number of reasons. The stresses of day-to-day life can begin to drive a wedge between marital partners. Careless behavior, bad habits, and other minor annoyances start to become major issues if and when communication breaks down.


children, DuPage County divorce attorneyNo family ever plans to split in divorce, but sometimes situations arise in a marriage that make divorce the best and healthiest decision for everyone involved. Breaking the news to children that you and your spouse will be ending your marriage is tough – there is no way around it. However, there are steps you can take to make the process of telling your children about the divorce less painful than it has to be.

  • Keep conversations age-appropriate: Obviously, the conversation about splitting up will be different with a four-year-old and a 16-year-old. It is important to use age-appropriate language with a small child when explaining how their lives will change. A very small child will not understand words like “divorce,” “separation,” and “shared custody.”  On the other hand, an older child can understand more about how his or her life will change and will understand concepts like living in two households or court appearances.
  • Do not give more detail than is necessary: Children do not need to know details regarding why the marriage is ending – especially if the marriage ended from a sexual indiscretion or another dramatic event. Stick to the facts of how the family is changing and the timeline for these changes.
  • Refrain from blaming or vilifying your spouse in front of the children: As tempting as it is to assign blame, your main priority is reassuring the children that both of their parents still love them.  Affirm that the children that they are in no way responsible for the marriage ending.
  •  Share the logistics of how their lives will change:  Explain to the children how their living situation will change. Is one of the parents moving out? Will the children be attending a different school in the future? What is the timeline for implementation of these changes? Kids may need to be reminded of these changes in the future as well.
  • Allow the children to ask questions and listen to their concerns:  Kids all react differently to big news.  Some will want to ask questions and talk about the situation immediately; others will need space to be alone before they are ready to talk. However long it takes, it is important to remember to allow children to express themselves in their own time and to react with patience and compassion to their questions and concerns.

An Attorney Can Help

If you have questions about the divorce process and how to explain it to your children, contact an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney. Call 630-409-8184 to schedule a confidential consultation at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today.


debt, DuPage County divorce attorneyIn an Illinois divorce, the property and assets of a couple are equitably (fairly) divided. What a lot of couples fail to take into account is that this process of division also applies to their debt. It does not just disappear, after all. Be prepared and protect your financial future. Know how to deal with debt during the divorce process, and how you can effectively protect yourself from debt that should no longer be considered “yours” once everything is completed.

Taking a Proactive Approach to Debt Before the Divorce

All too often, couples wait put off dealing with debt until the last possible minute, assuming it will all just work itself out during the divorce process. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Instead, debt may be wrongly assigned to a party that cannot reasonably afford it. However, even if debt is equitably distributed during the divorce, failure to think ahead can come back to haunt the one who should have been “off the hook.” This can be especially true in situations involving joint debts, such as joint credit cards, mortgages, and other installment loans.


pets, Illinois divorce attorneyIn millions of homes around the country, dogs and cats are simply part of the family. It never even occurs to many couples that a divorce could impact the relationship they have with their furry friends. There are, of course, pages and pages of laws that deal with how the best interests of children are protected when their parents get divorced, but what about companion animals? It may come as a surprise to many, but, as of now, statutory law is relatively silent regarding household pets and how they should be handled in divorce.

No Mention of Pets

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) contains virtually all of the legislative provisions applicable to an Illinois divorce. Despite the prevalence of household pets around the state, the law does not make a single reference to animals, pets, dogs or cats. This has essentially forced divorce courts to treat companion animals as property. Historically, the responsibility for the care of household pets has been allocated based on when the animal was acquired and which spouse provided for its care during the marriage. While such decisions are not always ideal for pet lovers, there is no basis for a court to determine otherwise.


Posted on in Divorce

faster divorce, Aurora family law attorneyDivorces, like marriages, are as unique as the individuals involved. Some approach the process looking to extract a measure of revenge against a spouse who wronged them, while others just want the proceedings to be as smooth as possible. Regardless of what a person is looking to accomplish in divorce, virtually nobody wants the process to drag on for months. Once you have made the decision to end your marriage, there are some things you can do to help facilitate faster divorce proceedings.

Be Prepared

Before you file for divorce, it is important to get yourself organized. Inventory what you have, including furniture, investments, and any other property. Preparing a comprehensive list of what you have will allow you to develop a better understanding of what you want following the divorce. Deciding what you want includes more than physical property and cash; you also need to establish whether you should ask for spousal maintenance or primary parenting responsibilities for your children.

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


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

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