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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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 high-asset divorce attorneyAll divorces have the potential to be complex, but when a couple has a high net worth, the proceedings tend to be even more complicated than normal. For couples who have an abundance of property or assets that are worth a lot of money, the divorce process will involve more decisions. Issues such as property division, spousal maintenance, and child support may be handled differently. People who have a high net worth can greatly benefit from a skilled divorce attorney who has experience dealing with high-value assets to help them figure out the best options for their situation. If you are involved in a high-net-worth divorce, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

  1. High-Net-Worth Divorces Are Often More Contentious

When it comes to divorces that deal with high-value assets, it is much more likely for couples to be combative, especially when dealing with property division. When spouses have many assets, especially assets that are expensive, it can be even more difficult to figure out who gets what. It may be necessary to hire an appraiser to determine the value of any large assets or property such as real estate, businesses, vehicles, boats, jewelry, artwork, or other expensive items.

  1. High-Value Divorces Are More Likely to Be Long and Expensive

When divorces are contested, or there are a lot of issues to settle, it is likely that the proceedings will be long and drawn out, which can get expensive quickly. Although nobody wants a lengthy divorce, couples in high-asset divorces may also be better equipped with the funds to pay for divorces that require a lot of negotiating and help from lawyers.

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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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DuPage County collaborative divorce attorneyIn recent years, divorcing by means of alternative dispute resolution has become rather popular. Both mediated and collaborative divorces have been the choice of many couples who are looking to get a divorce, rather than using the traditional litigation process. While each type of divorce has its advantages and disadvantages, collaborative divorce can be the answer to many people’s problems when it comes to settling issues and getting the results they want out of the divorce.

What Is a Collaborative Divorce?

The idea of collaborative divorce has existed since the 1980s, although it was only practiced in Illinois beginning around 2002. The Collaborative Process Act was signed into law in Illinois in 2018, and this formally recognized the collaborative process as a means to divorce. When a couple begins the collaborative process, they agree to cooperate in order to resolve the outstanding issues in their divorce. The collaborative divorce process takes place outside of the courtroom, in multiple private meetings. Avoiding litigation is one of the main goals of this process, and a collaborative divorce will often follow several methodical steps:

  1. Make a commitment to avoid litigation. In order to proceed with a collaborative divorce, you must first find a lawyer who is certified to practice collaborative law. That attorney will answer any questions you might have and prepare you for the collaborative divorce process. Once you and your ex-spouse have each found a collaborative divorce lawyer, you will sign an agreement stating that you will do everything in your power to settle any issues outside of the courtroom. This agreement will also state that you will provide each other with a full disclosure of financial information, and you will answer any queries or requests honestly and completely. If you are unable to complete the collaborative process successfully, your respective attorneys will withdraw from representing you, and each party will need to find new counsel to represent them in court.

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Aurora, IL family law attorneyThere is no one definition that is used when you talk about the “best interests of the child” during divorce cases. What may be right for one child is not always right for another child. Illinois courts understand this, which is why when it comes to child-related issues, a variety of factors are used to determine the best course of action. During divorce cases, decisions must be made about parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities, which are both child-centered issues. The main goal of the courts is to ensure that the child’s safety and overall well-being is placed at the top of the list of priorities.

Factors Used in Deciding the Child’s Well-Being

In many Illinois divorce cases, parents can lose sight of what is truly best for their child. This is when a judge may step in and help parents decide certain issues. Each divorce, family, situation, and child is unique. When judges are making these decisions, they base their determinations on the child’s age and needs, along with these factors:

  • The physical safety and well-being of the child, including the child’s access to food, shelter, clothing, and healthcare

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Aurora, IL divorce attorneyA common saying is “When one door closes, another door opens.” This is true in most life events, even divorce. Although a divorce is the end of a marriage, it can also be a fresh start in life, providing the opportunity to find someone new and date again. The time between those doors can differ for everyone, but most people will eventually be open to another relationship after they divorce.

Dating again can be exciting, but it can also be stressful for your children. Depending on their age and level of maturity, they may or may not be able to understand why their parent has decided to start dating. Sometimes, new relationships can put stress on a family, but following the below guidelines can help you reduce anxiety and enjoy this next chapter in your life.

Do:

  • Talk with your ex before you introduce your partner to your children. Not only is this respectful, but it can also help keep the peace between all involved. Your ex has a right to know who will be spending time with your children. Be sure your ex is comfortable with the idea of introducing your children to your new partner. Sometimes, introducing your ex and your new partner can ease some of the tension everyone may be feeling.

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Aurora, IL parental relocation attorneyThere are many reasons why a person may want to move after a divorce. Some may want to be closer to family members, others may move for a new job or simply a fresh start. Whatever the reason, moving can be problematic for a divorced parent who wants to take his or her child with him or her.

In Illinois, moving out of state, moving more than 50 miles away from the current residence within the state, or moving more than 25 miles away if the current residence is in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will County is considered relocation, and a parent will be required to obtain permission from the court. If the other parent does not agree to the relocation, a person still may be able to relocate, but the issue will need to be settled within the court system.

Notice of Relocation

Illinois law states that a person wishing to relocate with his or her child must notify the other parent in writing at least 60 days prior to the intended relocation. The notice should inform the other parent of the date of relocation, the new address, and whether or not the relocation is permanent. If the other parent signs the notice, and the notice is filed with the court, then the relocation will be granted, as long as the family court judge believes that the move would be in the child's best interests. If the other parent objects to the relocation or does not sign the notice, or if the parents cannot come to an agreement on a modified parenting plan, the relocating parent must file a petition to relocate.

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DuPage County fathers' rights attorneyIn today’s world, most people would agree that a father plays just as an important role in raising a child as a mother. Many people also believe that a child deserves to have both parents present in his or her life. For some people, this can be difficult, especially if the child’s parents were not married when the child was born. In cases such as these, it is up to either the mother or father to petition to establish the paternity of the child, which can be done a few different ways. Establishing the paternity of the child creates a legal relationship between the child and his or her father. Until paternity is established, there is no legal relationship between the two, even if they are biologically related.

Presumed Paternity

In the state of Illinois, a man is presumed to be the father of a child if he was married or in a civil union with the child’s mother at the time the child was born. A man is also presumed to be a child’s father if he was married to the mother at any point within 300 days before the child was born. If the parents were not married or in a civil union during either of these times, the man has no legal presumption to the paternity of the child, and either parent must go about establishing paternity through signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity or through genetic testing and a court or administrative order.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

There are quite a few reasons why a mother or father would want to establish paternity for his or her child. In most cases, establishing the paternity of the child gives both the child and the father rights they would not otherwise have. Benefits of establishing paternity include:

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Illinois divorce attorneyIn today’s world, there is more than one way to do almost everything, including getting a divorce. Historically, most divorces were litigated, meaning they were settled in court by a judge, rather than between the parties themselves. These days, more and more couples are choosing mediation and alternative forms of dispute resolution when it comes to divorces. One such alternative is a collaborative divorce, which brings many benefits to the table, but this type of divorce only applies to some situations. If you are considering a collaborative divorce, here are a few things you should know:

  1. You and Your Spouse Have to Agree to Settle Outside of Court

Before you even begin the divorce process, you, your spouse, and both of your attorneys must agree to settle the divorce in a respectful, honest manner outside of the traditional court system. You will create an sign a document called a Participation Agreement, and this is a legally binding contract. If you fail to settle the divorce through collaboration, you and your spouse will both have to find new counsel and go the traditional litigated route.

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DuPage County divorce lawyerSocial media has been one of the defining topics of the 20th century. According to Hootsuite, a social media management platform, there were nearly 3.5 billion people around the world actively using social media at the beginning of 2019. With so many people connected on the Internet through websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, people are sharing their personal lives with each other more than ever before. While this can be a good thing, it can be detrimental if you are going through a divorce. Sharing parts of your personal life online can create evidence that can be used against you that can affect the outcome of issues such as spousal maintenance, property division, and even child-centered issues such as parenting time and decision-making responsibilities.

Using Social Media Posts in Your Favor

Social media is easy to use, which allows people to post photos and comments without having to think too much about what they are doing. In some situations, these kinds of posts can leave clues for the other spouse about issues such as hidden assets or whether or not the ex-spouse has a true need for spousal maintenance. For example, your ex might be petitioning to receive spousal maintenance due to claims he or she will not be able to enjoy the same standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage. However, if he or she posts photos of a vacation with friends, you may be able to use those posts as evidence that he or she was not being completely honest about his or her financial situation.

Social Media as Evidence in Court

In the state of Illinois, using information obtained from social media is a legitimate form of evidence. This means that anything you or your spouse post on social media could be used against you in court, as long as the information was not obtained illegally or fraudulently. You cannot open fake social media accounts with the intention of posing as another person to gain information. You also cannot “hack” into your spouse’s account with the intention of gaining information. As a general rule of thumb, if the information you are using was posted publicly and available to users with an account, it is typically admissible as evidence in court.

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child support, Aurora family law attorneyAn order for child support is often arranged as part of a divorce, marital separation, dissolution of marriage, or annulment and may be used to supplement alimony (spousal support) arrangements.

Mechanics of Child Support

Child support is an financial contribution made by a parent to provide for the needs of his or her child following the end of a marriage or other relationship. Support payments are paid by a the supporting parent, or obligor, to the recipient parent, or obligee for the care of a child of a relationship that has been terminated or, perhaps, never existed. In most cases, the supporting parent has less parental responsibilities and parenting time than the recipient, while the obligee is typically the parent with primary residential responsibilities, other caregiver, a legal guardian, or the state.

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attorney, divorce attorney, DuPage County family lawyerWhen you and your spouse have decided that your marriage is over and that divorce is the best option, you may be tempted to handle the situation on your own. You are both reasonably intelligent people and the process is pretty straightforward, right?  While you and your spouse may be intelligent, such an assumption is flawed for several reasons. First, the laws surrounding divorce and related concerns are not always as clear as they may seem, and, more importantly, it is impossible to predict all of the potential obstacles and roadblocks that may arise before the divorce is finalized.

By hiring a divorce attorney, even it is only to review your pre-negotiated agreement, you can experience a number of possible benefits. Consider:

  • Ongoing training: Most family law attorneys take advantage of continuing education programs and seminars to keep abreast of the latest updates to and interpretations of the law. For example, major changes to divorce and matrimonial law were passed by the Illinois legislature this year, but a quick Google search cannot explain to you how courts will apply the new laws;
  • Objectivity: You and your spouse are in the process of ending a very intense, very personal relationship. No matter who you are, that is going to present challenges along the way. A divorce lawyer, however, is capable of stepping back and seeing the big picture without emotional entanglements. He or she can help you identify potential problems that may have been obscured by emotional influences;
  • Experience: A divorce attorney will tell you that every situation is unique, and, while that may be true, your divorce may have similarities to one or more that he or she has handled in the past. Your lawyer can potentially use this to your advantage by suggesting creative solutions and compromises that you may never have realized were possible;
  • Potential cost savings: One of the most commonly-cited reasons for not hiring a divorce attorney is the cost. Yes, a divorce lawyer costs money. In the long run, however, the legal counsel he or she provides may lead to realized savings, as making a mistake during your divorce, especially in property division or spousal maintenance considerations, could end up costing you thousands of dollars.

For more information on how hiring a divorce lawyer can be beneficial to your situation, contact an experienced DuPage family law attorney. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we are committed to helping divorcing couples reach an agreeable resolution quickly, and without unnecessary stress and anxiety. Call 630-409-8184 to schedule a consultation today.

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collaborative law, Illinois divorce, Aurora Family Law AttorneyGoing through a divorce can be a long, sometimes ugly, process, and, while most cases are eventually settled, the process can often add unnecessary expenses and negatively affect family members, particularly young children. In recent years, many divorcing couples, attorneys, and courts have begun popularizing a resolution method known as “collaborative law,” which focuses intently on cooperative negotiation.

Potential Advantages

Collaborative law attorneys look to offer a civilized alternative to litigation; produce solutions that address the needs of both parties; reduce costs; and increase their clients control over the proceedings. Privacy and confidentiality are also concerns that are better able to be addressed in collaborative law situations. In collaborative law, both parties retain qualified lawyers who exclusively focus on negotiation from the outset of the case. Under a written agreement, all involved parties and legal counsel expressly commit to avoiding litigation. The required personal investment in the process often leads better compliance with and enforcement of the resulting agreement.

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collaborative divorce, mediation, alternative dispute resolution, divorce, Illinois divorce lawyerCan the words “good” and “divorce” inhabit the same sentence? A nasty divorce proceeding can harm children; within that process, they suffer decline in math and social ability, returning to normal skill level only when divorce is final. So, divorce without drama, also known as collaborative divorce, can minimize the negative effect, not to mention the cost savings of avoiding courtroom interaction.

As retired Judge Michele Lowrance presents in her book, “The Good Karma Divorce”, the process is to separate from bargaining from a hard position and to move to interest-based negotiation with a “win-win” outcome. After all, this type of diligence follows logically from the path most take today: 80% of couples now live together before marriage, and 80% have reached the 10-year milestone in wedlock. So, if parting is decided upon, a “conscious uncoupling” using creative problem-solving minimizes confrontation and maximizes a positive feeling for both parents and their children.

Collaboration between spouses avoids the use of children as messengers between parents, and encourages them to love both, regardless of where they may go in life.Per the Collaborative Law Institute, costs average half that of courtroom litigation .The need to work around attorney schedules is totally avoided, and solutions are customized; any strict-guideline judicial decision-making is rendered moot.

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divorce stigma, life after divorce, single, Illinois divorce lawyer, Aurora family law attorneyFeeling emotions that run the gamut from relieved to ashamed is perfectly normal in divorce, especially since research shows that divorce stigma is still alive and well in the 21st century. Even though prenuptial agreements and fault-free divorce are more common, there’s still a social and individual stigma about getting a divorce.

According to a new survey taken by 1,000 divorced individuals, shame and sadness are two of the most common emotions after marriage dissolution. Nearly half of the surveyed individuals felt that the stigma of divorce affected them, and women were more likely than men to feel shame post-divorce.

Nearly a third of women admitted trying to push off the breakup as long as possible because of their own individual belief that marriage should last forever. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however, because respondents also shared that they felt their life was back on track after a few years. Like any major life change, divorce can take some time to get used to, especially if you were deeply entrenched in the routines and habits of your marriage.

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workaholic, reason for divorce, relationship, marriage, Illinois divorce, Chicago attorneyIs your spouse well-known for going the extra mile at work, possibly to the detriment of your family? It’s not just the long hours that workaholics put in, but the physical and mental stress that is carried home. Over the long term, this can influence your marriage and cause you to think about whether legal separation or divorce is the right choice for you.

A study found that workers who put in more than 11 hours each day face a higher risk of depression. Keeping long hours or constantly working overtime can lead to sleep loss, which can cause irritability around the house.

Children, too, can be influenced by having one parent who puts in a significant amount of time and effort and work. With higher levels of tension around the house, there’s a bigger chance of fights breaking out and resentment between spouses.

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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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The holidays can be an especially difficult time of the year for divorced children and their parents. According to CNN, the United States Census Bureau estimates that nearly four million parents are faced with the challenge of helping their children through the holidays after a divorce. If you have recently filed or are considering filing for divorce, we have assembled a simple guide for helping your children adjust to the change.

 holidays after divorceMix Old and New Traditions

Routine and ritual are very important to children. If you have recently divorced, do not be too tempted to throw out all of your old traditions in favor of new ones now that you and your partner have separated. Instead, keep a few of the old favorites, and attempt to work in one or two new traditions as well, particularly when some of the old ones are no longer possible.

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For most people, the holidays are a time of celebration, and something to look forward to. For some, however the stress of planning get-togethers, buying presents, and the general hustle and bustle of the season can prove to be too much. According to police, domestic violence calls increase dramatically during the holidays.

Each year, nearly 44,000 adults seek relief from domestic violence in Illinois, though only a small percentage is able to receive shelter. The requests for services increase dramatically during and after the holidays. During the holiday season, people feel an immense amount of pressure. Many families suffer financial strain while attempting to buy presents for their children, and when this is combined with close quarters with visiting families and increased alcohol consumption it can lead to a volatile situation. In some cases, physical violence is the result. Many other families report an increase in the amount of emotional abuse that occurs.

According to Sojourn Shelter Chief Executive Officer Angela Bertoni, that may not be the only reason for the increased instances of domestic violence during the holidays, either. In a recent interview with Fox Illinois, she stated that many victims choose to return to their abusers during the holidays because they feel pressured to spend time with family. Shelters cannot refuse victims who want to leave, though they do encourage them not to return to abusive situations.

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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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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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