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

630-409-8184

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

Yorkville Office By Appointment

Initial Consultations via ZOOM Available

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Aurora divorce attorney for Jurisdiction Custody MattersWhen two parents get divorced or are no longer in a romantic relationship, it is not uncommon for one or both parents to make other life changes, such as relocating. While a fresh start can be a good change for the parents, this can complicate proceedings for child custody. Any proceeding that concerns parenting time and/or decision-making responsibilities for the child must be filed with the correct court. In this series of blogs, we will discuss the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and how it is used to settle interstate child custody issues. Simply because a parent has moved does not mean that the parent’s new location is the place to file custody proceedings. In most cases that involve parents living in different states, the first thing you will have to do is determine which state has jurisdiction over your case.

Initial Jurisdiction in Illinois

When parents live in two different states, it may not be clear-cut as to which state has jurisdiction over the case. Thankfully, the UCCJEA exists to help clear up any confusion that may exist and to provide guidelines as to how to determine jurisdictional appropriateness. Before a court can make any decisions pertaining to a custody case, they must first determine if the case is being heard in the right jurisdiction. The UCCJEA states that the case can only be heard in Illinois if:

  • Illinois is the home state of the child, meaning the child lived in Illinois for six months immediately prior to the proceedings

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Aurora divorce attorney assisting with Financial AffidavitWhen a couple cannot come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce, the first step is to attend mediation services. If they are also unable to come to an agreement through mediation or if mediation did not make sense for the situation, then the case is usually sent to be heard before a judge who will make the final decisions. One of the first pieces of information that the judge will require from both spouses is a financial affidavit. These documents will enable the judge to have a better understanding of the couple’s financial situation before he or she makes any decisions about property division, spousal support, or even child support.

What Information is in a Financial Affidavit?

A financial affidavit is a document that details nearly every aspect of a person’s finances. The affidavit will contain information such as how much each spouse makes, how much they spend each month, what assets they own, and what debts they have. In the state of Illinois, information included in the affidavit includes:

  • Personal contact information

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DuPage County attorney for high asset divorce

No two divorces are alike. Each family has their own unique situation that may come with unique challenges. However, couples who have a high net worth may face more challenges than the average divorcing couple. High net worth divorces have a higher tendency to involve some sort of disagreement between the spouses, especially when it comes to the couple’s finances. In some cases, one spouse may not even know much about the family’s finances, making the situation even more daunting. High net worth divorces involving children can also be highly contested, which is why retaining an attorney who has experience with high-value assets and couples with high net worth is essential to a successful divorce.

Avoid These Things During Divorce

Divorce can be confusing and nerve-wracking for anyone, but things can be especially difficult with a high net worth divorce. To avoid the stress and confusion that can often come along with divorce, here are a few things to avoid when going through your high net worth divorce:

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DuPage County family contested divorce attorney

Going through any type of divorce can be exhausting, both emotionally and financially. When a divorce is contested, meaning you and your spouse do not agree on the issues pertaining to your divorce, it can greatly add to the stress of the divorce. Even though it is important for anyone going through a divorce to practice self-care, it is especially important for those going through a contentious divorce to take time to manage their stress so it does not take a toll on their health. If you are going through a contentious divorce, there are certain things you can do to prepare yourself and help make the divorce process go smoother. Here are a few tips to help you cope with the stress of a contentious divorce:

  • Try to find common ground. Your divorce process will be much easier if you and your spouse can find at least one goal in common. Finding a common goal can help you and your spouse stay on track when negotiating and working together to find solutions to your issues.

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North Aurora divorce attorney

In many divorces, there is some level of contention or resistance between the spouses. In some cases, this can manifest in the form of simple disagreements during negotiations. In other cases, this contention stems from a combative and in some cases, potentially even narcissistic spouse. High-conflict divorces are not only stressful for the entire family, but they also turn into legal marathons that require a lot of time and can end up costing quite a bit of money. If you are contemplating divorce and you suspect your spouse may be difficult during the divorce process, there are things that you can do to try to keep your divorce as amicable as possible.

Is Your Spouse a High-Conflict Person?

Before you even begin the divorce process, you should have a good idea of whether or not your spouse is going to be agreeable during the divorce. In most cases, the spouses who act the worst during divorce already have underlying personality or mood disorders, such as narcissistic personality disorder. Classic signs and symptoms of a high-conflict personality include:

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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.

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Batavia uncontested divorce attorney

It can feel like you have gotten over a giant hurdle once you have finally made the decision to tell your spouse that you want a divorce. Now that you have made that decision, you must begin to make even more difficult decisions throughout the process. One of the first decisions you will be required to make during your Illinois divorce is whether or not your divorce will be contested or uncontested. Both types of divorces have their place, but an uncontested divorce can offer benefits that a traditional litigated divorce cannot.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

In the simplest terms, an uncontested divorce is any divorce that takes place between two spouses who agree on all or most issues pertaining to their divorce. During a divorce, there are various issues that need to be discussed and settled, which can include issues such as dividing and allocating your marital debt and property, determining if spousal support is needed and if so, how much and for how long. If there are children, issues such as designating parenting time, allocating decision-making responsibilities, and calculating child support must all be addressed. 

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St. Charles divorce attorney

Anyone who has ever been through a divorce can tell you that even under ideal circumstances where both spouses agree on your divorce issues, the process of separation is still rather difficult. Although it is not impossible for you and your spouse to agree on every single one of your divorce issues, it is highly unlikely that this will happen. It can be likely, though, that you only disagree on one or a couple of issues, which can make your divorce go much more smoothly. Another issue that can greatly decrease the difficulty of your divorce is being properly prepared before you begin the process. There are so many facets to the divorce process, which is why it is important that you hire an Illinois divorce lawyer who can help you with as much of the prior preparation as possible. 

Top Tips for Beginning a New Chapter

A divorce can be overwhelming for many reasons, so that is why it is critical that you take your time and seek out the advice of a legal professional. If you are thinking about getting a divorce, here are five helpful tips to keep in mind before you initiate the proceedings to dissolve your marriage:

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North Aurora divorce attorney order enforcement

There are many steps in the divorce process, but the one that nearly everyone looks forward to is the final step -- the prove-up. If you and your ex-spouse were able to keep your divorce out of the courtroom, this is the only time you will have actually appeared before a judge. Even if you had to settle your divorce in court, either way, your divorce is finalized once the judge signs the decree. This can be a huge weight lifted off of your shoulders, but in some high-conflict divorces, the feeling of relief may be short-lived. It can be extremely frustrating if your spouse does not adhere to the terms of the decree after you spent so much time hashing things out. Fortunately, if your former spouse is wilfully disobeying your divorce decree, there are things you can do to rectify the situation.

Determining if There Is a Violation

Before you do anything, you should first make sure that your ex is indeed in violation of your divorce decree. For your ex-spouse to be considered in contempt of court, you must have a valid and current court order. Your ex must also be willfully in contempt of a court order, rather than non-willful contempt. This means that your ex must be knowingly and meaningfully violating the order.

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North Aurora parenting plan attorney

In the United States, healthcare can be an extremely complicated topic, especially for children. After a divorce, many parents find that managing the medical care of their children may be wrought with arguments, tension, and stress. Although there is no guarantee that you can eliminate all issues down the road, planning for your child’s healthcare before your divorce is finalized is a good idea. Some children may need more managed, targeted medical treatment, while other children may only need a yearly checkup. Every family is different, so putting your child’s medical plan in writing can help save you from future disputes.

Managing Your Child’s Health Insurance

Part of the child support obligation that parents share is intended to cover some basic medical expenses, but the court will likely also require you to have medical insurance for your child. Either parent can opt to include the child on medical insurance coverage that he or she has through an employer. The cost of the health insurance premium for the child is typically added to the monthly support amount and split between the parents.

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St. Charles divorce attorney

For centuries, women have been taking the surnames of their husbands after they walk down the aisle. While in the old days, this was for purposes of man and woman “becoming one,” many modern women also take their husband’s surname because it follows tradition and further solidifies the creation of a family. This can be one of the reasons why some women may want to switch back to their maiden name after a divorce. Similar to the process you went through when you initially changed your maiden name to your husband’s last name, the name change process is a legal procedure that can require a significant amount of paperwork and patience. 

Keep Things Simple

With everything that comes along with divorce, going through court proceedings to change your married last name back to your maiden name can seem cumbersome. This is why the state of Illinois also allows you to include name change information in your divorce decree. This is the easiest way to reinstate your maiden name, because there is no extra legwork involved in this. You can use your divorce decree as proof of your name change. If you do not include your name change in your divorce decree, it can still be changed, but you will just have to go through a few extra steps.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Aurora-divorce-attorney.jpg-min.jpgSocial media is a large part of many people’s everyday lives. With the invention of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, it has become easier than ever to keep in touch with the people you care about and connect with new people all over the world. Although social media has its perks, it can also be a nuisance in some people’s lives, especially in delicate situations such as divorce. During your divorce, how you use social media can make or break you. You do not necessarily have to stop using social media completely during your divorce, but you should be very aware of what you post online. Here are a few social media mistakes that you should avoid making at all costs during your divorce:

Do Not Reveal Too Much About Your Life

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to overshare on social media. During a divorce, there are several things that you and your spouse must agree upon, including property division, spousal support, and parenting time. These things can all be negatively impacted if you share contradicting or concerning information on social media during divorce negotiations.

For example, if you claim you need spousal support to survive after your divorce, but you are posting photos of you taking lavish vacations or buying expensive items, your claim could be questioned in court. Posting photos showing you performing illegal or inappropriate acts could cause the court to question your fitness as a parent or could serve as evidence that your spouse could use against you.

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DuPage County high-conflict divorce attorneyFor some couples, the idea of a peaceful divorce is laughable. Divorce can bring out the worst in people and can cause them to do things and act in ways that are unlike themselves. In some situations, divorce can exacerbate a person’s behavior and cause him or her to become even more combative and argumentative, typically at no surprise to the soon-to-be ex-spouse. Emotions can get out of control during a divorce, making the entire process more difficult and stressful than it needs to be for everyone involved. If you know that your spouse will be combative during your divorce, there are a few things you can do to survive your high-conflict divorce:

Distance Yourself From Your Spouse

High-conflict people thrive off of arguments and getting a rise out of others. The best thing to do when you realize that your spouse is going to be antagonistic, manipulative, or argumentative during your divorce is to try to create as much distance between the two of you as possible. You should do this by minimizing contact with him or her unless you absolutely need to discuss an important matter. If you must communicate with each other, remember that it is not worth your time or effort to argue.

Record Everything You Can

A high-conflict spouse will often try to use your own words against you or manipulate you. If you have to talk with your spouse, you should try to do so via text or email. Both of those options give you the ability to have a transcript of exactly what was said during the conversation. If you have proof of what the exchange entailed, your spouse cannot twist it to benefit him or herself or try to lie about you saying something that you did not say.

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DuPage County parenting time lawyer for right of first refusalThe relationship between a child and his or her parents is something that is crucial to the healthy emotional development of the child. The majority of parents want to be there for their child’s special moments and spend as much time with them as possible during their childhood. When parents are going through a divorce, the time spent with their child often becomes a highly contested issue upon which many parents cannot easily agree. Studies show that children do best when they form a bond with both their mother and father, which is why Illinois encourages parents to have shared parenting time. Something that is known as the right of first refusal (ROFR) can be a bonus for parents who split parenting time with their ex-spouses.

Illinois Parenting Time

In Illinois, the court strongly encourages parents to come to an agreement on parenting time schedules on their own. When parents both draft a personalized timetable and agree to it, they are more likely to adhere to the schedule. If they are unable to come up with a parenting plan, the court will make a decision as to how parenting time is allocated. Unless there is evidence that dual parenting time would be harmful to the child, the court will award visitation time to both parents.

What Is the Right of First Refusal?

If the court allocates parenting time, it will also determine whether or not to award the right of first refusal to either parent. The right of first refusal means that if one parent cannot care for the child during his or her designated parenting time, that parent must first offer the other parent the right to care for the child during that time. This right would apply in instances when the parent would seek substitute childcare for a significant period of time.

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

How Will Decisions About Parental Responsibilities Be Made?

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

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

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

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

You Have to Refinance Your Home

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

Your Spouse Still Has Access to Your Accounts

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

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,For some people who are going through a divorce, they may wish that their marriage never happened. Unlike a divorce, which is the process of legally separating yourself from your former spouse, a marriage annulment is a declaration of the invalidity of a marriage. In a sense, a marriage annulment is as if the marriage never took place -- your legal relationship status is basically reset. While the idea of erasing a marriage may be favorable, the option is not available to all Illinois couples. There are certain circumstances that must be present before a marriage annulment will be granted.

Factors for Annulment

To begin the annulment process, a petition must be taken to the court. Once you petition the court for an annulment, you must provide evidence pertaining to the particular reason you are asking for an annulment. There are only a few specific reasons that a marriage annulment would be granted. These include:

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,There was a time in the United State’s history when most families comprised of a mother, a father and their biological children. Now, the “typical” American family has become somewhat of a thing of the past. With more Americans remarrying and same-sex marriage being legalized throughout the country, the “typical” American family is not so predictable anymore. According to the United States Census Bureau, more than half of American families were divorced and remarried or recoupled in 2010. The Bureau also reported that nearly four million children were living in a blended family or stepfamily in 2010.

Blended families face their own unique challenges and can prove to be difficult for some children to adjust to. Here are a few tips you can use to help ensure the success of your blended family:

Plan Your New Family

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It’s November, which means the holidays are just around the corner. Celebrating the holidays post-divorce can be one of the scariest challenges you’ll have to surmount in your new single life. Nostalgia surrounding the holidays, an influx of family visitors, the excitement of children—all these aspects of the “happiest time of the year” can make it one of the most unhappy times of the year for the newly-divorced or those beginning divorce proceedings. In addition to helping you wade through the complicated legalese surrounding your divorce, an experienced family law attorney can help you sort through more personal aspects of divorce as well—such as what to do with the kids during the holidays. A legal professional on your side ensures that you’ll always have a third-party person with whom you can bounce ideas and emotions off of—an invaluable resource during a divorce. safe and happy

If you do have children, determining how to spend your holidays after divorce can be especially daunting. “Ideally,” according to the Huffington Post, “you would both be cool enough to split holidays evenly or even (gasp!) share them together.” This, of course, is highly optimistic in most marital splits. Instead of insisting that the holiday happens only on the day when the calendar deems it so, the Huffington Post suggests, instead, “any day can be a holiday. All you have to do is make it so.”

There’s something to be said for celebrating a holiday when the rest of the country is celebrating. But holidays are really all about family togetherness, ritual, and tradition. “What if you did all these things exactly the same except you did it on Sunday November 24?” the Huffington Post asks. “It’s just family getting together for a crazy meal, watching football, and giving thanks! You can take pictures too!”

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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.

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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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