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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Oswego divorce attorney child custody

Most people will agree that when it comes to a child’s best interests, his or her parents typically know what would best fit the child, better than anyone else. However, when parents get divorced, it is not always feasible to expect them to work together and come up with a parenting plan that they both agree on. Many times, marriages have deteriorated to the point that the parents are unable to effectively or respectfully communicate with one another, even for the sake of their children. As stressful and difficult as the divorce process is for you, it is just as, if not more stressful for your children. Child custody disputes are not uncommon, especially in high-conflict divorces. However, exposure to the conflict has been shown to be detrimental to children. If you anticipate difficulty from your spouse when it comes time to negotiate your parenting time and parental decision-making responsibilities, there are certain things you should try to spare your children from.

Do Not Speak Unkindly to One Another

Even though you may feel less than friendly toward your soon-to-be ex, that is still your child’s other parent. They still love both of their parents and do not want to hear either parent saying mean or negative comments about the other, as it can be hurtful to them too.

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St. Charles parenting time attorney

Whether you are going through a divorce in DuPage County and have minor children from your marriage, or you share minor children with a partner and you have decided to separate, you will need to learn more about how Illinois law handles child custody issues. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), Illinois courts no longer award child custody to one or both parents. Further, courts no longer use the terms legal custody and physical custody to describe the relationship between a parent and a minor child. Instead, courts allocate parental responsibilities.

According to the IMDMA, there are two different types of parental responsibilities: significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time. What is the difference between them, and how do courts allocate them? 

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North Aurora divorce attorney visitation

When a couple has made the decision that it is time to divorce, it can be a difficult process for the entire family. There are many things that the couple will need to adjust to, but there are also many things that the family members will need to adapt to as well. One of the biggest changes that is often difficult for many families is dealing with change in the day-to-day life of the child. Child custody, now referred to as parenting time, is allocated to each parent, typically in an equal or near-equal manner. In some cases, though not always, individuals other than the child’s parents are able to petition for visitation rights with the child.

Individuals Permitted to File a Petition for Visitation

Not everyone is legally entitled to visitation rights with a child. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), there are only specific people who are able to submit a petition for visitation. These people can include step-parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, or siblings of the child. Visitation will only be given to non-parents if the petitioner can successfully argue that the child’s well-being has been negatively affected by the denial of the visitation and that the child’s mental, physical, or emotional health has suffered because of it. A non-parent can file for visitation if the child’s parent unreasonably denies visitation and at least one of the following situations is true:

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Kane County divorce attorney child support

Just as the famous saying states, “It takes two to tango,” it takes two people to create a child, so it is only fair that those two people are also responsible for financially providing for that child for the next 18 years. The formula that is used to calculate monthly child support payments takes into account a variety of factors, including both parents’ incomes, how much parenting time each parent has, and whether or not either parent has any other spousal support or child support obligations. Monthly child support payments are typically paid from the person with the smaller share of parenting time to the person with the larger share of parenting time and are used to help pay for basic living expenses in raising the child. However, most divorced or unmarried parents know that typical child support payments do not cover all of the expenses that a child can incur each month. 

Expenses Not Included In Monthly Child Support

In Illinois, the parents of a minor child are required to financially provide for the child and ensure he or she has clothing, food, toys, and everything else needed to be healthy and happy. The monthly child support order helps to partially provide these basic necessities, but there are other expenses above and beyond typical support that should be addressed in your support order and parenting plan. These can include but are not limited to the following:

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Oswego divorce attorney

Across the United States, hundreds of thousands of couples get divorced each year, with more than 20,000 divorces being granted to couples who are residents of the state of Illinois. Most of these divorces are not settled in a courtroom, but rather through negotiations between the individuals themselves or their attorneys. However, there are always certain situations in which avoiding the courtroom is impossible for one reason or another. Litigated divorces can become quite contentious and intense, especially if you and your partner disagree on important issues such as child-related concerns and financial matters. If you and your partner end up in front of a judge, you may find that testimony from an expert witness is an effective way of strengthening your case. 

Expert Witnesses and Divorce Litigation

The role of an expert witness in any trial is to help the judge and the jury understand specific information that they otherwise would not be able to understand without a specialized education and/or background. In family law cases, expert testimony is not always needed and is not always permitted, either. If the judge determines that an expert witness is not necessary, he or she will not permit the witness’ testimony to be entered as evidence.

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DuPage County divorce attorney parenting time

Many parents who are divorced or who have never been married often worry about the impact that transitioning between two households has on their children. Some children seem rather unbothered by going from one house to the other, while many kids become frustrated, upset, and stressed. Even months down the road, transition days can be difficult for your children. After all, a day that they are coming to stay with you is a day that they are leaving and saying goodbye to their other parent. These emotions can be difficult for children to deal with and could end up causing issues later in their lives, too. As a parent, there are things you can do to help make transitions between households much easier for your children.

Create a Routine and Stick to It

One of the best things you can do for your children is to find a routine that works for them and stick to it. Kids in general do not do well when their typical routines are disrupted. Once you are settled into a visitation schedule, you should then manage a consistent routine that you can use to help your children adjust to the transitions.

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Geneva divorce attorney parenting time

When you are a parent, one of the greatest joys in life is spending time with your children. The holiday season is a magical time, especially for children, and seeing the happiness on their faces is a pleasure for many parents. When you share parenting time with your children’s other parent, you are also bound to have to share holiday time with them, too. Spending the holidays without your children can be difficult after you have been used to seeing your children on each and every holiday throughout the year. Unfortunately, having to spend holidays apart from your children is often an inevitable reality for many divorced or separated parents. Even though spending what is supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year” away from your children does not feel like that at first, it does not have to be as awful as you may think. If this is your first year spending the holidays apart from your kids, here are a few tips to help you through the season:

  • Let yourself experience your emotions. You should not be afraid to grieve the first holiday season without your children. This can be a very emotional time for some parents, but the important thing is recognizing your emotions and allowing yourself to process them. This may include crying or talking to a friend or counselor about your feelings. It is helpful to get them out instead of keeping them bottled up inside, which could lead to resentment and bitterness.

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Kendall County divorce attorney

After Thanksgiving, the holiday season is officially in full swing, but with the “most wonderful time of the year” comes what can also be considered the most stressful time of the year. When you are going through the divorce process or have just freshly finalized your divorce, there are many changes to which you and your family must adapt. The stress of these changes can be exacerbated during the holiday season, especially the first year after your divorce. With the holidays being so family-oriented, it can be difficult to cope, especially for your children. However, there are things that you can do to help your children have a happy and peaceful holiday season.

Discuss Your Parenting Time Situation in Advance

A good rule of thumb about holiday parenting time is to plan for it well in advance. Do not wait until the week before the holidays to begin discussing how you want to split the time with your co-parent. Many parents already have holiday parenting time schedules built into their parenting plans, but not all. You should be sure to communicate with your co-parent ahead of time so as not to spring plans on him or her at the last second.

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Kendall County divorce attorney deposition

Getting a divorce is never enjoyable or simple -- everyone knows that. In a best-case scenario, you and your spouse will be able to settle most of the major issues of your divorce without any conflict or with very little conflict. However, for many couples, this just is not the reality of the situation. In many divorce cases, there will be at least one issue that the couple does not agree upon and that needs a little bit of extra attention to work out. For some, this can be property division or other financial issues, while for others it may be child-related issues, such as allocating parenting time or decision-making responsibilities. If your spouse is less than agreeable, you may end up having to resort to the discovery process to gather information and to ensure you are receiving complete and accurate information. Depositions are just one of the tools available during the divorce proceedings that can help gather information.

What Is a Deposition?

A divorce deposition is similar in many ways to giving a testimony in a court of law. However, in many ways, it is also different from giving testimony. Simply put, a deposition is an oral question-and-answer session conducted between you and your spouse’s attorney. As when you give a testimony, a court reporter is present during the deposition to transcribe the conversation and you must sign an oath stating you are being truthful and are subject to perjury otherwise.

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Geneva divorce attorney division of assetsBeing a doctor can be a rewarding career for many people, but it is also a demanding and stressful job at times. Many physicians work long hours in challenging environments, which can lead to issues at home and can even sometimes lead to a divorce. Just as their profession may have caused conflict during the marriage, it can also end up making things more difficult during the asset division process in a divorce. For most physicians, their practice is their biggest asset and one of their most pressing concerns throughout the divorce process. If you are a doctor and you own your own professional practice, legal guidance from a knowledgeable Illinois divorce attorney can be invaluable when going through a divorce.

Considerations for Divorcing Physicians

When it comes to getting a divorce, there are many issues that must be decided. In all divorce cases, you and your spouse will have to determine what is and is not marital property and then distribute that property between yourselves. In marriages that involve minor children, you and your spouse must also come to an agreement on issues such as parental responsibilities and parenting time allocation. When it comes to physicians getting divorced, there are a few considerations that you should keep in mind:

  1. Determine whether your practice is marital or nonmarital property. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) states that anything either spouse acquires during the marriage is considered to be marital property, except for certain considerations, such as inheritance. If you opened your practice during your marriage, your spouse may be entitled to a portion of its value.

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DuPage County divorce attorney child custody

Many couples can successfully complete a divorce in a cooperative manner, but when children are involved, things can become a bit more complicated. Most parents can agree that the most important issues to deal with during their divorce are those that concern their children. In many contested or complex divorces that require court intervention, the court will likely appoint a child custody evaluator to determine what would be in the child’s best interests, as far as allocating decision-making responsibilities and parenting time. An Illinois child custody lawyer can help you fight for your parental rights and protect your child’s best interests.

What Is Parental Alienation?

The term parental alienation describes a parent’s behavior when he or she attempts to harm the relationship between his or her spouse and their child by turning the child against the parent. The alienating parent typically uses manipulative techniques to achieve this and can even lead the child into believing that the alienated parent is the enemy. Parental alienation is considered by many psychologists and others in the mental health professions as a form of emotional child abuse, which is why it is taken so seriously during child custody proceedings.

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Aurora divorce attorney parenting plan

Most of the time, the biggest worry that couples have when they are getting a divorce is how it will affect their children. For the most part, children are fairly resilient and will eventually bounce back from the stress and transition of the divorce. Children with special needs may not be as resilient, however, and may need special considerations of their own. Before you are able to finalize your divorce, you are required to file a parenting plan with the court that outlines your parenting time schedule and how you have allocated your significant decision-making responsibilities. If you and your spouse are the parents of a child with special needs, there are certain things that you should keep in mind to ensure your child gets what he or she needs.

Things to Keep in Mind for Your Parenting Plan

When you get a divorce and a child with special needs is involved, the process is inherently going to be more complex. 

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DuPage County divorce attorney child custody

When parents of a child get a divorce in Illinois, they are required to make certain custody decisions for their child. Before they can finalize their divorce, they must come to an agreement on their own or a decision will be made by a judge on issues such as parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities. In most cases, the choices that are made during this period are long-term, life-altering choices that could come with unfavorable consequences. In some cases, concerns about a parent’s mental health may have been brought forward by the other parent or another individual involved or familiar with the case. In these situations, the parent whose mental health is in question will likely be required to undergo some sort of psychological test or mental health evaluation.

Determining the Need for an Evaluation

Not every child custody case will involve mental health evaluations. In cases in which the parents agree on parenting time and parental responsibilities, there is likely no need for a psychological evaluation. However, all decisions made pertaining to the child are based on the child’s best interests. If anyone has concerns about protecting the child’s physical, moral, emotional, or mental well-being, then they can ask the court to require the parent to submit to a psychological evaluation.

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Geneva divorce attorney parenting time

One of the most serious and unfortunately still prevalent social issues that families face today is domestic violence. Dealing with domestic violence in any situation is never simple, but having to cope with domestic violence during a divorce can make the divorce process a million times more stressful. According to information from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, more than 12 million men and women are affected by acts of domestic violence each year in the United States. Many people believe that domestic violence consists of purely physical acts, such as slapping or choking. However, domestic violence is really about control, rather than pain, so the abuser will often use multiple tactics to control the victim, including other forms of abuse, such as emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or harassment. This is why it is crucial for families experiencing domestic abuse to get help from an experienced Illinois divorce attorney before beginning the process.

Divorce and Child-Related Issues

Like most things during the divorce, issues related to the children are typically settled with an agreement made between the parents. However, in some situations, such as those in which domestic violence is present in the home, the parents may be unable or unwilling to cooperate or come to a consensus with a parenting time plan or allocation of parental responsibilities. This is when a judge will step in and make decisions for the parents in regard to Illinois law and what is in the child’s best interests.

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Geneva divorce attorney parenting plan

Perhaps one of the most difficult and challenging parts of the divorce process for parents is creating a parenting plan for their children after their divorce is finalized. The parenting plan will act as a blueprint for how most things related to parenting and the children should be handled. No two parenting plans are the same, as each family has different needs and situations. There are many factors that can affect your parenting plan, but one of the biggest factors can be your child’s age. Creating a parenting plan around infants, especially, can seem daunting, but it is not impossible. If you have a baby and you need to create a parenting plan, the following are a few things to keep in mind.

Frequent Visits Are Important

There are many different types of visitation schedules you can create for your children, but when it comes to parenting time with an infant, the more frequently it occurs, the better. Infants do not yet have the ability to create the best memories, so frequent interactions with both parents will ensure that the baby is able to form a bond with both of them and recognize they are important people in their life as they grow older.  

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Batavia divorce attorney parenting plan

For many parents, the most difficult part of the divorce is the children. How will they react to the news of the divorce? How much time will I get to spend with them each day? Who will pay child support to whom? These are some of the things that may be running through your mind as you go through a divorce as a parent. The good news is that many, if not most of your questions will be answered once you and your spouse come to an agreement on a parenting plan for your children. In Illinois, you are required to file a parenting plan that outlines certain issues before you can finalize your divorce. Your parenting plan can also be a valuable tool to utilize when you set out to co-parent with your spouse after the divorce.

Provisions to Consider Adding

Co-parenting is never easy, even when you are doing it with your spouse when you are married. Co-parenting with an ex can be especially stressful and emotionally taxing, but a clear-cut parenting plan can help take some of the uncertainty out of what the expectations of each parent are. Illinois courts require certain elements to be present in a parenting plan for it to be valid, such as a parenting time schedule and an allocation of parental responsibilities. You may want to consider adding other provisions such as:

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Yorkville divorce attorney parenting time

Two of the most contentious topics in marriage and divorce are finances and children. Tensions often run high when it comes to determining things such as allocating parental responsibilities and parenting time. After all, it is only natural for both parents to want to spend as much time with the child as possible, but after a divorce, it is unlikely that either parent will get as much time with the child as he or she wants. The general consensus is that it is in the child’s best interest to have a relationship with both parents, which is why the default decision for the court is to award parenting time to both parents. However, in some cases, there may be factors present that could cause the courts to restrict parenting time or order supervised visitation. 

What Is Supervised Parenting Time?

In most cases, parenting time is restricted because one parent expressed concern about the well-being of his or her child while under the care of the other parent. The court will order supervised parenting time if it finds evidence to prove that spending time alone with the parent would endanger the child’s physical or mental health or impede the child’s emotional well-being. Supervised parenting time means that a third party “supervisor” must be present during all parenting time. This supervisor can be a professional, such as a social worker or a behavioral specialist, or it can be a friend or a family member. Whoever the supervisor is, the court must approve the person chosen in the parenting time order. The order can also include other requirements such as:

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Batavia divorce attorney child support

In situations where the parents of a child are divorced or no longer in a relationship, child support orders are often entered to ensure that the financial responsibility of raising a child is not left up to only one parent. In Illinois, child support is typically paid by the parent who has a smaller portion of the parenting time. The amount of child support that is paid each month is determined by a formula that takes into consideration each parents’ income, parenting time, how many children you are supporting, and how much supporting your children should cost.

Paying your child support obligation is extremely important, not only for the well-being of your children but also so you can avoid any repercussions for nonpayment. If you do not make your payment, you could face significant consequences such as driver’s license suspension, wage garnishment, tax refund interception, and more. The state of Illinois offers various options for paying your child support so there is a confirmation that you are in compliance with the order and a record for the payment exists.

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Kane County parenting time modification attorney

When making divorce arrangements, the idea is that the terms will last a lifetime. While this may work for some of the areas in a divorce, such as property division, parenting plan arrangements may not last the test of time. There are a number of reasons why someone may want to modify a parenting plan, but the court will only allow it if it is in the best interest of the child. What a parent thinks is best for the child and what the court sees as best for the child can be extremely different. That is why it is important to work with an experienced divorce attorney to determine what circumstances warrant these adjustments.

Danger Is a Possibility

The primary instance in which a parenting plan agreement is modified is if a child is in harm’s way. If domestic violence is present in either of the child’s assigned homes, a court will immediately take action to protect the child. If the custodial parent is showing signs of abuse toward his or her child, the agreement may be modified so that the child no longer lives in that household. If the non-custodial parent is suspected of abuse, he or she may be required to have supervised visitation with the child or may lose visitation rights altogether.

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Aurora parenting time attorney

Depending on where you are in your divorce proceedings, you may not have given much thought about what will happen after everything is said and done. The divorce process usually consumes all of your attention and energy, leaving you little to none to devote to focusing on the future. Most people who file for divorce have a general idea of how the process works, but what they do not know is what happens after everything is over. Life after divorce can be intimidating, but you should also think of it as the beginning of the rest of your life. You may be surprised at what the next chapter holds. 

Expect the Unexpected 

Going through a divorce under any circumstances can be life-changing, but may also be a fresh start. Here are a few things that you may not be expecting after your Illinois divorce:

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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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