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

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

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

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

How you Can Improve your Relationship with your Spouse

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

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

What is a Civil Union?

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

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Posted on in Divorce

marriage, Aurora divorce attorney“Should I leave or should I stay? What about the kids? What will my friends and family think if I leave? Is my marriage salvageable?” If these or similar thoughts have been running through your mind recently, you are probably in the arduous indecision stage of a struggling marriage. Trying to decide if a marriage is truly over or not is one of the hardest decisions you will ever make. Only you can choose what is right for your situation, but experts do have some advice for those contemplating a divorce.

Ask Yourself These Questions

There is no one-size-fits-all checklist of dealbreakers in a marriage, and everyone’s circumstances are unique. However, asking yourself the following questions may help you decide if it is time to consider ending your marriage:

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common law marriage, Aurora In a number jurisdictions throughout the United States, a couple may be considered married without ever having the official “walk down the aisle.” Couples who wish to marry but do not want the pomp and circumstance of a large wedding and reception often file the documentation and are legally married. In a few states, there is another option known as common law marriage and skips both the paperwork and the ceremony. When such a marriage is recognized by the appropriate jurisdiction, the law regarding common law marriage offers the same rights of marriage to two individuals that have been together for a set number of years and are presenting themselves as married. Ending a recognized common law marriage is equivalent to a divorce, so it is important to know how Illinois law treats common law marriage.

Is Common Law Marriage Universally Recognized?

The answer is no. Most states—including Illinois—do not recognize common law marriage. The practice was outlawed in Illinois effective June 30, 1905. A few states that do recognize such marriages include:

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Posted on in Divorce

divorce, DuPage County divorce lawyerOver the last several decades, American society has become much more accepting of divorce than in previous generations. In fact, one could even argue that it has become too accepted. Many of us now speak of divorce very casually, as if it that is something that happens to just about everyone. The reality is much more painful, however, when you are facing the possibility of your own divorce. It is no longer something that happens all the time; it is a major life event that can have long-term effects on your future and that of your children. If you are considering a divorce, you owe it to yourself, your children, and your spouse to be absolutely certain that you are making the right choice.

The Healing Process

For many individuals faced with a likely divorce, they begin to move on as soon as the process begins. If you definitively tell your spouse that you want a divorce, there is no taking it back. You may change your mind, but if you do, your spouse’s ability to trust your word may be greatly diminished going forward. Do not say you want a divorce until you know it is true. This way, you and your spouse can begin to heal in your own ways, even as the proceedings are ongoing.

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Posted on in Divorce

cheat, DuPage County divorce lawyerWhile it can no longer be formally cited as grounds for divorce in Illinois, infidelity is still a major problem for many married couples. But, what causes cheating? How can so many people make such a choice when they know that their actions will hurt their partners? As you might expect, those who cheat tend to do so for a variety of reasons, and understanding what they are may help prevent unexpected surprises in your relationship.

Personal Reasons

For some people, the inclination to cheat may be almost hard-wired. Gender, personality, and individual values may make an individual more inclined to be unfaithful. Men are more likely to cheat than women, while those with strong conservative religious and political beliefs are often less likely to commit acts of infidelity.

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finances, Aurora family law attorneyIn the United States, an estimated 40 to 50 percent of all first marriages end in divorce. That number jumps to 60 percent for second and subsequent marriages. In survey after survey, one of the top issues that cause major rifts between married couples is finances. Different spending habits, different saving habits, and other differing perspectives on how money should be handled can do a lot of damage in a marriage. For example, one survey revealed that 47 percent of the couples surveyed had completely opposite spending and saving habits, which led to much stress in the marriage.

These statistics make a good argument as to why it is critical for engaged couples to have serious discussions regarding finances before they get married. Knowing how your future spouse handles money can help avoid big surprises after the vows are exchanged.

Future Career Goals

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prenuptial agreement, DuPage County family law attorneyNobody likes to anticipate the end of their marriage, especially couples who are planning their wedding or are just about to get married. We all want to believe in true love, in a fairy tale happy ever after ending, and a perfect relationship. Many marriages are successful, but statistics paint a less pretty picture than we would like to imagine. Recent statistics reveal that in the United States, 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce, 67 percent of second marriages end in divorce, and 74 percent of third marriages end in divorce. In the unfortunate case of a divorce, lifelong assets collected by both spouses must be assessed and divided. If you are about to get married, but are concerned about potentially having to divide your assets if the marriage ends badly, a prenuptial agreement can provide you peace of mind. Below are a few major reasons to consider a prenuptial agreement.

They Can Keep Your Assets Separated

If you and your future spouse are planning to keep your assets separated, it is best to put those plans in writing. A prenuptial agreement can ensure that you and your spouse keep your assets separated, and this applies to real estate, inheritances, and investments too.

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cohabitation, DuPage County divorce lawyerOver time, society’s opinions are constantly evolving. Some ideas that were controversial in previous generations may be less so today, while other commonly-held beliefs from decades ago are no longer quite so acceptable. Divorce is a good example. Prior to the 1970’s, divorce was largely viewed as a last resort, and carried a significant social stigma. Since then, public opinion has dramatically shifted, and divorce has become a more socially-acceptable solution for many couples. A new study, however, suggests that the pendulum has begun to swing the other direction regarding how most people view divorce, paired with a new view on the practice of unmarried cohabitation.

Direct Questioning

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), a sub-agency of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has released a report that examined public attitudes regarding marriage, divorce, sex, and related subjects, and how they have changed over the last several decades. The survey was conducted at intervals between 2002 and 2013, and the sample size, while varied at each interval, always included at least 10,000 adult participants. Participants were presented with a number of statements and asked whether they agreed or disagreed with each statement, using a system that allowed them to “strongly agree,” “agree,” “disagree,” or “strongly disagree.”

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Posted on in Divorce

questions, Aurora divorce attorneyFor most couples who have been divorced, there was probably not a single moment that suddenly clarified their decision to end the marriage. It, more likely, was the combination of many factors that ultimately led to the split. In many cases, spouses begin to think about divorce long before it ever becomes a reality, and often ask themselves similar questions.

Before contacting a divorce attorney, you should be able to clearly address, at least in your own mind:

Do You Want a Better Marriage?

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alternatives to divorce, Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorneyDivorce is a frightening and heartbreaking concept, but it is a reality for many Americans. It is often the realization that the hopes and wishes of what was intended to be a happy and satisfying marriage have failed.

Whether a relatively young couple is coming to terms with the fact that their marriage is not working, or an older couple is realizing that they are no longer happier together, divorce is never easy. Added on top of the emotional troubles is the grinding legal work that is a part of the process. When children or large amounts of property are involved, divorce can become even more complicated. Facing these realities leads some couples to wonder if there are any divorce alternatives.

If it seems like divorce is a very real possibility, one of the first options available to couples is to consult with a family lawyer. Divorce is a legal termination of an agreement, so it makes sense to review the details with a professional—especially since it can impact one's financial life greatly. Every case is unique, so having an attorney review a case can offer some critical insight. It also helps to have legal representation, according to a recent report—especially if the divorce becomes a fierce legal battle.

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bad marriageDivorce may seem a financially daunting undertaking, but there is a degree of financial loss associated with a bad marriage that some couples do not take into consideration. The divorce process does carry both known and unexpected costs, but working with an experienced family law attorney can help you to get the most financially out of your divorce and begin your new life financially solvent.

There is no way to quantify the cost of a bad marriage, but the Huffington Post has some tips to watch for if you suspect that your marriage is headed toward dissolution. If you relate to any of the following aspects of your partnership, divorce may be the cheaper solution for both you and your spouse.

The first major factor that makes a bad marriage expensive, according to the Huffington Post, is a lack of coordination and communication. If you and your spouse are unable to communicate effectively, it can have a serious negative effect on your finances. An obvious example of this is that you both draw from a joint checking account at the same time, incurring overdraft fees and lack of available money for bill-paying and other household expenses. A more extreme example of this would be a failure to effectively coordinate a retirement plan or tax deductions. While marriage counseling is usually advisable to divorce at the beginning of marital problems, drawing out unproductive therapy sessions can be akin to tossing cold hard cash down the drain.

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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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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.

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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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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Rise in Number of Prenuptial Agreements IMAGENo one likes to think about divorce at the beginning of a marriage. Traditionally, prenuptial agreements have been thought to be important among the very rich or the very flaky, but not necessarily relevant for the average American couple. With divorce rates staying high at about 50 percent, this is changing. “According to a new survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML),” and as reported by the Huffington Post, “63 percent of divorce attorneys say they’ve seen an increase in prenuptial agreements during the past three years.” There’s a growing sense in the U.S. that marriage is as much a business arrangement as it is one for love—with the debate around same-sex marriage, financial perks (such as tax breaks) are often brought up as an objective reason for marriage equality. This same feeling could be responsible for the rise in the number of prenuptial agreements.

Alton Abramowitz, president of the AAML, told the Huffington Post that this idea of marriage as a business arrangement could be directly related to the economy. “As the financial and real estate markets continue to improve, there is a greater awareness of risk to possibly sharing these gains in a divorce,” he said. According to a survey conducted by the AAML, lawyers said that the top three items covered in most prenups include “the protection of separate property, alimony/spousal maintenance, and division of property.”

While prenuptial stereotypically initiated by men more often than women, the new research also showed that women are largely responsible for the growth in number of prenuptial agreements. Nearly 50 percent of lawyer polled “noted an increase in the number of women initiating requests for prenups,” according to the Huffington Post.

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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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