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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cheating, divorce, divorce attorney, divorce trends, DuPage County divorce attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorney, marriage, women cheat, infidelity, reasons for cheatingA new study reported by The Huffington Post has discovered that women who cheat on their husbands are not necessarily dissatisfied with their emotional relationships. The study, conducted using data from the spousal cheating site AshleyMadison.com, observed 100 women between the ages of 35 and 45. The collected data revealed that cheating women often had little desire to end their marriages. What they were looking for, however, was sex and renewed passion.

Eric Anderson, a British professor and chief science officer at AshleyMadison.com, noted how sexual monotony is likely the reason that cheating women seek sexual satisfaction outside of their marriage. Emotions had less to do with it. “This is because we get used to and bored of the same body,” noted Anderson.

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Aurora family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorney, no-fault divorce, irreconcilable differences, marriage breakdown, Illinois no-fault divorce

In Illinois, according to the Illinois General Assembly, various grounds for divorce include: adultery; the absence of one spouse for at least one year, willfully; habitual drunkenness (or drug use) for at least two consecutive years; being convicted of a felony or other “infamous crime”; attempted murder; bigamy; and impotence.

Illinois, however, is also a no-fault divorce state. This means that a couple can still be legally divorced, even if neither spouse is necessarily found at fault.

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uncontested divorce, contested divorce, Illinois divorce lawyer, divorce settlementA contested divorce is a divorce case in which you and your spouse are unable to reach agreement terms. Your divorce will be contested if your spouse disagrees about property division, doesn’t want a divorce, or disagrees about child custody, child support, or alimony. If you and your spouse can’t reach an agreement on these major issues, you’ll need to go through the legal process for a contested divorce. If you and your spouse agree, however, you may be able to significantly reduce your costs and investment of time by opting for uncontested divorce.

In an uncontested divorce, you may be able to work with an Illinois divorce attorney who accepts a flat fee for handling your case. This gives you knowledge upfront about what to expect, whereas litigation fees and costs can spiral out of control quickly for a lengthy contested case. The flat fee for an uncontested divorce include paperwork drafting and a review. If you decide that an uncontested divorce is best for you, you will retain the majority of the decision-making power. The only role of judge in an uncontested case is to approve the paperwork detailing the terms of your agreement. Since you can frequently get these papers drafted and accepted quickly, you’ll be able to move on with your life sooner rather than later. There is no need to go through traditional litigation if you and your spouse are able to agree on the major issues in the divorce. Save time, money, and headaches by working with an Illinois divorce lawyer who specializes in uncontested divorce. There’s no need to drag out the time period for receiving your divorce decree. If you and your spouse have been able to reach an agreement on child custody, alimony, child support, and property division, you can benefit from hiring an Illinois uncontested divorce attorney today.

marital strain of autism, divorce rate, divorce trend, Illinois divorce lawyerParents helping a child cope with autism may feel the strain on their own relationship. Although much about autism is still unknown, research indicates that married couples might face higher rates of divorce when they have a child affected by autism.

A longitudinal study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison was one of the first major projects to explore marital history of parents for those families with an autistic child. The study found that while parents of an autistic child don’t face a higher divorce rate while the child is young, adolescent children with autism were linked with higher numbers of divorced parents. Many of the marriages in the study ultimately did survive.

The study looked at 391 couples made up of parents of adolescent and adult children with autism, drawing data from the National Survey of Midlife in the United States. For younger children, the divorce rate for parents of autistic children was very similar to parents of disabled children, at least until the child reached the age of eight. At that point, the divorce rate for parents of disabled children starts to go down, but it actually increases for parents of autistic children.

Although many couples reported staying together throughout the challenges of raising an autistic child, the research does point to vulnerability for those marriage couples. The high demands of raising an autistic child at all ages can strain a relationship and lead to arguments. Autism is known as a condition that can vary dramatically between different individuals, meaning that many families have to adapt behaviors and strategies for helping their specific child. Little research has focused on best practices for raising autistic children, making it difficult for parents to work together and create their own approach. If you are struggling with your marriage and would like to discuss legal separation or divorce, contact an Illinois family lawyer today.

imsis574-027More couples are choosing to live together before getting married, but that does not necessarily mean that they face a higher chance of divorce. New research out of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro found that there’s no correlation between cohabitation and divorce except when two individuals cohabitate at a young age.

This is not surprising, because settling down at a young age has already been linked to divorce in past studies. The research considered data from thousands of women from 1995, 2002, and between 2006 and 2010, and the results were published in the Journal of Marriage and Family. Lead researcher April Kuperberg says that this is an indication that all past research connecting cohabitation and divorce was the result of incorrect measurements.

Moving in with your significant other can be a difficult adjustment period, but it can also help clue you in to whether or not the relationship should move forward. Different habits in the household can cause couples to erupt into fights. Combining finances for the ease of paying bills can also clue significant others into the spending habits of their partners. Money, in fact, can be a significant factor that influences disagreements between partners.

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Posted on in Chicago divorce attorney

gray divorce, baby boomers, lawyer, attorney, marriage, Illinois, divorceHas divorce become another rite of passage for older Americans in the baby boomer generation? New research suggests that Americans over the age of 50 are twice as likely to get divorced as people of that age were two decades ago.

Older individuals might have their own unique challenges in the divorce process: ending a marriage after many years of routines and grown children can be difficult. Family get-togethers with grandchildren might feel uncomfortable or a spouse might have to adjust to managing household finances that they have never done before. For some older people, being lonely is a common feeling reported by gray divorcees.

One of the most common challenges for those considering divorce in the baby boomer generation is the concept of drifting apart. After several decades together, couples might be headed in different directions. As older children leave the house to pursue education or careers, this gap might be more pronounced, leading couples to go their separate ways.

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parenting family, children, child support, child custody, children of divorceTrying to manage a busy household gets more challenging when a baby arrives. There’s nothing quite like a child to change the routines and habits of a married couple, and sometimes those challenges are simply too much for the marriage to succeed. Couples that struggle to adapt might be facing relationship problems, and could even be contemplating divorce.

Since a baby can change the landscape of a marriage so much, more mental health professionals are encouraging couples to head into pre-baby counseling to discuss some of the most pertinent issues related to having a child. Hospitals, too, are incorporating more of these relationship skills alongside basic parenting education. This is happening because professionals believe that couples spend too much time on the “fun” aspects of pre-baby arrival preparation, like decorating a nursery, and too little time on preparing for the relationship adjustments.

According to the Relationship Research Institute in Seattle, nearly two-thirds of couples note that their relationship quality declines within three years after a child is born. Men and women report adjusting differently: women note the decline in their marriage right away, while it takes men several months to notice a deterioration.

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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.

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divorce rate IMAGERecent research seems to suggest that couples on the verge of breaking up might have waited until the recession cleared before moving forward with their divorce plans. A study upcoming in the Population Research and Policy Review points to the drop in divorce rates for women between 2008 and 2009 and correlates with an increase between 2010 and 2011.

Sociologists say this isn’t a new phenomenon. According to sociologist Andrew Cherlin at Johns Hopkins University, divorce rates decreased during the Great Depression despite the stress that many families were over. Once the families regained a sense of financial control, divorce rates spiked again. Researchers believe that concern over affording divorce is the main reason why couples who are contemplating it hold off until their financial situation improves.

If you are already in a marriage on the rocks, financial distress can only serve to make arguments more frequent or vicious. It can be difficult to manage a tense household on limited resources, but if you are concerned about affording a divorce, you might be thinking about waiting until your situation improves. Divorce is a complex decision to make and one that has many factors, so it’s a good step to really think through your options on your own and even to consult with an attorney about divorce planning. Knowing what to expect can remove a lot of the anxiety and questions you have surrounding the divorce process and ultimately give you peace of mind about whether moving forward is the right step for you.

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It has become a common habit to air our day-to-day successes and frustrations to the public audience on social media websites like Twitter and Facebook. As users of these social media websites, we very rarely think about the long-term effect that our published words have on our readers, and more specifically, our friends and families.

 non-disparagement clause IMAGEDivorce can be an extremely difficult time for not only the couple involved, but the friends, relatives, and more importantly, the children of the couple who watch as their family unit splits. Social media networks can serve as a diary, where we let our friends and family know about our positive and negative feelings throughout the day; we find solace by discussing our hardships, and receive affirmation and support from our readers. Though social media may be a useful tool in the healing process by providing our loved ones a venue to send their support through emails, texts, and messages, it can also be a prime forum for hurt, anger, and the revelation of confidential, marital secrets. As a result, social media has the possibility to create irrevocable harm, emotional and legal, if we do not utilize great responsibility in the words that we publish, post, and reveal to the masses.  Agreeing to Be Nice

In July 2013,NBA basketball player Steve Nash’s divorce brought to light the issue of the use of non-disparagement clauses in divorce agreements and an individual’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech. The Arizona Court of Appeals upheld the non-disparagement clause in the joint custody agreement between Steve Nash, and his former wife, Alejandra Amarilla Menrath, requiring that any remarks made by either Nash or Menrath must be respectful and non-disparaging.

 The purpose of the clause was to protect their three children from any mudslinging between the parents and attempt to make the divorce between Nash and Menrath as easy and constructive as possible. However, after the joint custody agreement was signed, Menrath allegedly tweeted disparaging comments made about Nash, which led to a court fight. The Maricopa County Superior Court issued an order barring either party from publishing disparaging comments on social media websites. Menrath claimed that the order violated her first Amendment rights. The Arizona Appellate Court affirmed the order, arguing that both Nash and Menrath entered into the joint custody agreement voluntarily, and therefore the non-disparagement clause was not a violation of their First Amendment rights. This noteworthy case, among others involving the use of non-disparagement clauses, reflect on whether or not these types of clauses included in a divorce settlement can have the intended positive effect or limit a spouse’s right to open and free expression regarding any aspect of the divorce.

The Benefits of Social Media During Times of Divorce

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Collaborative DivorcePerhaps you’re having nightmares or anxiety over your impending divorce. Maybe you and your soon to be ex-spouse are on decent terms, but you’re worried about how that might change in the courtroom, and possibly even how that might affect your children. The typical legal approach to divorce is not always the best one for your situation, and collaborative divorce is a new avenue that couples are using to resolve the pressing divorce issues without any of the disadvantages of going to court.

Collaborative family law can be thought of like a problem-solving process: divorcing individuals and their lawyers work together to create an effective strategy for resolving issues outside of court. This involves a pledge not to go to court, a promise to exchange information promptly and in good faith without formal discovery, and a commitment to stay focused on reaching a solution that is best for the parties and their children.

To get started with a collaborative divorce, you need to identify an attorney who is experienced in this field of the law. Lawyers who practice collaborative law are future-focused: rather than getting involved in legal arguments over what happened in the past, collaborative attorneys are committed to creating workable solutions for the future.

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post traumatic stress IMAGEAlthough many divorces can produce emotional challenges for one or both spouses, those who have an abusive spouse or mentally ill spouse might face additional difficulties during and after a divorce. If you are contemplating getting a divorce and these situations apply to you, you will really want to invest time and energy in selecting the right Illinois family law attorney to handle your case. Attorneys with experience and understanding can really make a difference.

Whether mental illness was present throughout the relationship prior to marriage or whether the symptoms manifested during the marriage, many devoted spouses will attempt to make things work or to get the help they think their spouse might need. In many cases, this is very admirable. It’s difficult to sometimes see the impact that this can have on you. For example, women who have lived with spouses suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder or physical abuse might develop coping mechanisms for the duration of their marriage. When divorce occurs, they have to adjust to a new way of life, sometimes with the battle scars from their marriage.

Moving on after a difficult marriage can mean dealing with post traumatic stress disorder. "Post-traumatic stress disorder is a normal emotional and psychological reaction to trauma (a painful or shocking experience)", which can include a bad marriage, and/or a divorce.

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It’s not uncommon to be concerned about the negative aspects of getting divorced in court, which is why some people start investigating alternatives for dissolving their marriage. One such approach is mediation, where divorcing couples meet with a mediator to discuss issues and come to resolution. This solution can be much less expensive and take less time, but it’s not always the most appropriate avenue for your divorce.

The American Bar Association publishes guidelines for mediators in the field of divorce, stipulating that mediators should increase self-determination among participants to help improve communication, promote the best interests of the children (the same standards judges use to determine child custody), and to decrease both the emotional and economic costs of dispute resolution.  In less contentious divorces, this course may fit the bill well by allowing two spouses to discuss the primary issues in their divorce (such as property division and child custody) without having to go through litigation.

In other situations, however, mediation might not be the best choice. For example, in situations where domestic violence is an issue, mediation might not promote the best interests of the children or reduce the emotional costs associated with dispute resolution. In divorces where the two spouses are at a communication stalemate, talking through their problems with a mediator might not resolve anything- in fact, it could make things worse.

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Posted on in Chicago divorce attorney

A new study out of the University of Buffalo’s Department of Community Health and Health Behavior found that couples in which one spouse was a heavier drinker than another spouse had a higher divorce rate than couples in which both spouses drank roughly an equal amount. Kenneth Leonard, lead author for the study, found that drinking becomes a problem not from the act of drinking alcohol itself, but rather when there is a disparity in amounts consumed between the partners. A video of Leonard explaining the study can be found here.

  alcohol and divorce IMAGEHeavy Drinking Not a Cause Although it may seem likely that divorce rates would be higher when one spouse excessively drinks alcohol while another spouse does not, it may be surprising to some readers that the study showed the divorce rate for two heavy drinkers was roughly equal to that of two light drinkers. Leonard and his team also discovered that divorce rates were slightly higher when the heavy drinker was the wife, as opposed to the husband. The team was cautious to note that the study was limited in size and scope, and the difference in divorce rates between male and female heavy-drinkers could be attributed to classic notions of gender roles.  Not the First Study Done The University of Buffalo’s study on drinking alcohol and its effects on marriage is not the only one in existence. An article in the Huffington Post explains that researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health studied data from roughly 20,000 married couples and came to similar conclusions: spouses who consumed roughly the same amount of alcohol had a decreased chance of divorcing from those that drank different amounts. Additionally, the American Sociological Association examined marriage in relation to alcohol consumption and discovered that long-term marriage decreased men’s drinking habits, and slightly increased the amount of alcohol consumed among women. The study argued that this could be because many women lived with men who had higher levels of alcohol consumption. After a divorce, the study claimed, men were more likely to turn to increased levels of drinking than their female counterparts. If you or someone you know is considering divorcing a spouse because of a substance abuse problem, or simply because your life-styles do not match, remember that you are not alone. As these studies show, there are many other couples exactly like you.  If you are considering a divorce contact an experienced DuPage divorce attorney today.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court decided a case that shows just how important it is to update legal documents and financial portfolios after a divorce. In Hillman v. Maretta, a man’s ex-wife remained the beneficiary on his life insurance policy despite the fact that he had been divorced from her for over nine years and married to his second wife for roughly six. Up until that point, Virginia law held that spouses could no longer remain as beneficiaries upon divorce. The ex-wife maintained, however, that because the benefits were from a federal life insurance policy, she should remain the beneficiary despite Virginia’s law. The Supreme Court ruled in her favor. Because the ex-wife was the named beneficiary, she was entitled to the benefits.

divorce finances With this in mind, there are a number of documents that you need to remember to update after a divorce. The list below is not exhaustive, and should only serve as an example of the types of documents that need to be updated after this life-changing event. First, it is clear from Hillman that all designations of your former spouse as your beneficiary should be updated. This includes life insurance, bank accounts, and all other money saved with such designations. Second, do not forget to change your will. Although some states change your will upon divorce as a matter of law, many do not. To make sure that your former spouse does not inherit something you wish to go elsewhere, edit your will after leaving your partner. Finally, there is a litany of other documents that may cause you legal or financial trouble in the future if you are not careful, as well as systematic, about changing all of the records associated with you and your ex-husband or wife. These can include credit cards, passports, property titles, and even names that you have written down as your ‘emergency contact’ in places that you regularly visit, like your place of employment or the gym. Divorce is a complex process with many moving pieces. With emotions on both sides running high, and trying to ensure that a divorce moves as quickly as possible, sometimes things like updating legal documents can go overlooked. Experienced DuPage divorce attorneys can help sort everything out. If you are seeking a divorce, contact our law office today.We provide help to residents of Aurora, Oswego, Naperville, Yorkville, and other nearby cities.

Divorce is, by definition, a messy process. At worst, you have another human being with close to equal rights to your shared property and your children, one with whom you do not agree and do not get along. But even at best, you have a stressful legal situation, with many unanswered questions and much red tape. Now that the holidays are coming up, how can you focus on Thanksgiving turkey, gift wrap, and alimony all at the same time, and still enjoy the season?

holiday divorce imageThe Huffington Post has some excellent advice for those seeking a divorce over the holidays. If you or anyone you know is contemplating divorce, contact an experienced divorce attorney, then read this.

Being Right with You

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No matter what happens during the life of a relationship, if that relationship involves children, the primary goal of both parents should be to protect the well-being of the kids. While this is not always the case, most adults in America want what is best for their children. But what does that mean for married parents when they begin seriously considering divorce? The conventional wisdom is that divorce is hard on children, and that the children of divorced parents fare worse in life, both when they are young and once they have reached adulthood. However, more recent findings have shown that children raised in single-parent homes with a divorced parent are likely to adjust just as well as children from homes where parents remained married. Further, there are ways to lessen the impact of the divorce and secure a smoother adjustment for the children.

children of divorce imageBehavior Problems in Children

The conventional view of children of divorced parents is sullen, depressed, and angry. However, a recent study from the RAND Corporation shows that this view is exaggerated at best, and that the effects of divorce on the behavior and emotional well-being are marginal. Scholarly articles published before the RAND Corporation’s analysis studied the behavior of children of divorced parents, finding that their overall emotional well-being was less than that of children raised in two-parent households. However, those studies leapt to the conclusion that the divorce itself caused the dip in childhood well-being. They failed to take into consideration the level of conflict between parents preceding the divorce. In some cases, there were statistical findings that some groups of children of divorce exhibited fewer behavior problems than those with married parents. These were selectively downplayed or ignored.

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When filing income tax returns, many taxpayers seek assistance from legal or tax professionals.  Most married couples file joint returns in order to obtain savings they would not receive had they filed separate returns. Couples involved in divorce proceedings should seek legal advice when it comes to their tax filing status, because they may face extra complications. It is important to have the advice of one experienced with federal law on the subject.

 Discuss your decision to file tax returns jointly or separately with your divorce lawyer.Should you File a Separate or Joint Return?  

It is no doubt easier to file a separate tax return or a head of household return when in the midst of a divorce. You can avoid seeing your spouse should you choose to file separately, allowing you to bypass potential confrontations. You and only you are liable for the taxes owed. Moreover, if you are entitled to a refund, it is yours alone. While these are no doubt solid advantages, it could be worth more in the long run financially to find some common ground and work together with your spouse to file a joint return.

It would be wise to discuss with a family law attorney the pros and cons of filing a separate or joint return. As long as you are still married to your spouse when the calendar year comes to an end (December 31st), the tax code allows you to file a joint return should you choose to do so.  While filing a joint return may save you and your spouse money, there are some disadvantages you should discuss with your attorney. For example, if you file a joint return, both spouses are jointly and severally liable for any taxes owed.  So if your spouse does not contribute a share to take care of the taxes due, you may well be on the hook for the balance. A good family law attorney can input information into your Marital Settlement Agreement spelling out how you will deal with taxes owed or tax refunds.  Moreover, other big ticket matters like pension or IRA distributions, stock  transfers, and home sales proceeds may impact your filing decision. The decision to file a joint or separate return is a one time choice.  When your divorce is finalized in a given year, you will no longer have the option to file a joint return. Tax matters can often be very confusing, and this confusion can escalate when you add a divorce proceeding into the mix.  Make certain you select an attorney who is experienced in this area to ensure you take the most appropriate steps to file your return.  Contact our office today to learn how we can assist you.

Divorce is inevitable for many couples. With the divorce rate hovering at just about 50 percent in America, it’s no surprise that almost everyone knows someone who has been divorced. The stigma traditionally ascribed to the dissolution of a marriage is fading as divorce continues to become more commonplace. All this goes to say that many couples that might have otherwise sought a solution to their unhappy union other than divorce may instead be opting to seek the counsel of a divorce attorney. If you’re interested in saving your marriage, however, the Huffington Post has a few ideas to help.

Saving Your Marriage Before Divorce IMAGE According to the Huffington Post, the most important thing to keep a marriage healthy is to remember to say “thank you” to your spouse. This simple gesture can help keep a marriage happy because your spouse feels appreciated where he or she otherwise would not. “It doesn’t take much to authentically thank you spouse, even for little things like feeding the dog or doing the dishes,” says the Huffington Post. But the small gesture can go a long way.

Anther important tip to remember if you’re trying to avoid divorce even in an unhappy relationship is to try not to turn “a single subject disagreement into the kitchen sink of disagreements.” It’s common for married couples to hash out years of arguments and shortcomings if just one small disagreement surfaces. This, says the Huffington Post, “is unproductive and exhausting.” In the same vein, make time to work on your marriage. “Treat your marriage like a garden that must be cultivated, watered, and cared for regularly,” reports the Huffington Post. One shouldn’t be surprised if her marriage is falling apart and she’s done nothing over the years to cultivate it.

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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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