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


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

Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in visitation
holidaysDivorce is hard - that is no secret. But divorce is even harder during the holiday season. The holidays are all about spending quality time with your family, but when your family is split up, you have to find other ways to celebrate and make the season special. When you are divorced with children, you typically have a parenting plan that outlines where your child will be during certain times of the year and which holidays the child will spend with which parent. One of the hard truths that you must come to realize is that you will not always spend every single holiday with your children. While it can be difficult, it is something you must get used to. Here are a few tips you can follow to survive the holidays without your children

Do What You Want to Do

One of the best things you can do during the holiday season without your kids is whatever you want to do. If that means that you want to stay home, decorate your house for the holidays and host a big holiday party, then do it. Maybe you might want to take that warm beach vacation for the holidays but never wanted to make your children sacrifice holiday traditions. A year without your children during the holidays is a perfect time to do whatever your heart desires.

Practice Self-Care

Any time you know there will be outside factors affecting your mental health, it is always a good idea to make sure you are practicing self-care and keeping yourself in tip-top shape. Make sure that you are eating well and drinking plenty of water, along with getting plenty of sleep and exercise. You should also make sure you are taking care of your emotional health. If you are not spending holidays with your children, make sure you are spending it surrounded by your side of the family or with your friends.

Celebrate with Your Children Before or After the Holiday

Even if you cannot spend the actual day of your holiday with your children, you can still celebrate with them - just move it forward or backward, depending on what works for you. This way, you still get to spend time with your children and practice your traditions, but your spouse also gets their turn to celebrate.

An Aurora, IL Parenting Time Lawyer Can Help You Create a Sound Parenting Plan

Though you cannot expect to spend every single holiday with your children every year, you can make sure that your parenting plan outlines which specific holidays you spend with your children. A DuPage County parenting time attorney can help you draft your parenting plan so that it meets both you and your children’s needs. The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. can help you with all aspects of your divorce, including your parenting plan. Call our office at 630-409-8184 to schedule a consultation.




Posted on in Divorce

Divorce Affects Dads Too, divorce, child custody, child support, visitation, DuPage County divorce attorneyMuch is written about divorce and the impact it has on the parties involved. A husband and wife who thought their marriage would last forever suddenly find themselves splitting marital assets, and creating schedules to see their children. It seems there is no shortage of articles addressing how wives and children are affected by divorce, and rightly. Just as important are the adjustments and coping skills the husband/dad must apply to his new, post-divorce life.

Tips and Tools for the Divorced Dad

Divorced dads must now navigate new and uncharted territory; helping raise children under very unique circumstances and with a whole new set of rules. While the divorce decree may establish certain details about support and visitation, there are things the divorced dad must come to realize on his own.


Posted on in Child Custody

Visitation and Child Abuse, family law, child abuse, child custody, divorce, law officeGoing through a divorce can be an emotionally draining ordeal with many unanswered questions that are often fought over. Decisions must be made inside of an emotional space that often drives spouses to treat every decision like a zero-sum game. Spouses may try to punish each other or hide assets. However, there are legitimate concerns regarding visitation or what is referred to as parenting time when one parent is physically or emotionally abusive.

Proving Abuse

Abuse can manifest itself in many ways. The most obvious form of abuse is physical abuse. In instances where physical abuse exist there are physical marks that a victim or spouse can point to as reasons why the abusive spouse should not have unsupervised or any visitation rights. It is important that you hire a fearless and knowledgeable DuPage County divorce lawyer to assist you through this difficult process. That lawyer will be able to present compelling evidence and arguments to the court that explain the extent and severity of the physical abuse and why the abuse is cause to terminate a parent's visitation rights.


parenting time, DuPage County family law attorneysA divorced, separated, or unmarried parent should never feel like a stranger in the life of his or her child. For many parents, however, that was often their reality as Illinois—like many states—used to refer to their time with their children as “visitation.” A parent who is seen as a “visitor,” rather than integral part of the child’s life, could experience a variety of problems, including a lack of parental authority and the appearance of not being fully committed to his or her child’s best interests.

Last year, however, an amended law took effect which proved that Illinois lawmakers recognized the struggles of many divorced parents. The new law was an effort to “level the playing field” so to speak between parents with different levels of parental responsibilities.

Visitation Is Now Parenting Time


grandparents, DuPage County family law attorneyAllocating parental responsibilities often involves more than just parents and children. Grandparents and other family members often play a critical role in a child's life. For this reason, Illinois low allows grandparents to seek court-ordered visitation rights with a child.

It is important to understand that the law presumes that a parent is fit to make decisions regarding their child. This includes where and when to let a grandparent visit. If, however, the grandparent can prove to the court that the parent's denial of access is both unreasonable and harmful to the child's “mental, physical, or emotional health,” a judge can override the parent after considering a number of factors.

Court Holds Oral Visitation Agreement Unenforceable in Illinois


Posted on in Children of divorce

holidays, DuPage County family law attorneyThe holidays are supposed to be a time of joy to be celebrated with loved ones, but the season can be stressful and difficult, especially for those who are going through a divorce or have divorced. The holiday season can seem lonely and challenging, with divided families and uprooted traditions. If you are divorced, and especially if you have children, it is important to be prepared for the holidays so that they can be pleasant for everyone involved.

Parenting Concerns

If you are divorced with children, yoiur parenting plan will likely dictate what to do during a holiday. In Illinois, parents have the right to spend time with their children unless it would endanger the child’s health or well-being. For many people, holidays are an important time to spend with children and family.


Posted on in Visitation

parenting time, DuPage County family law attorneysThere are many scenarios that could lead to you having significantly less parenting time with your child than the other parent. Perhaps you were not married when your child was born and the court granted the other parent all of the decision-making responsibilities for the child and most of the parenting time. Or, maybe at the time of your divorce, you had serious issues with anger or showed signs of alcohol abuse, leading the court to limit the danger to your child. Whatever the reason may be, if you have precious little time with your child, you want to make the most of it. If the other parent is making it difficult for you to exercise your right to parenting time, a qualified family lawyer can help.

Get Things in Writing

Being denied access to your child can incredibly frustrating, especially if it is being done out of spite or anger. A finding of danger by the court is one thing, but the unsanctioned actions of the other parent are not acceptable. The first thing you should do if your parenting time rights are being unfairly limited is to keep a record of all communication between you and the other parent. Using emails or text messages instead of phone calls or in-person conversations can provide the documentation you may need down the road. If you ask to see your child and the other parent refuses, document his or her response. Failure by the other parent to comply with your court-ordered parenting arrangement could result in serious consequences for him or her.


child's wishes, DuPage County family law attorneyWhen a couple with children breaks up or gets divorced, it is often the children who get caught in the middle. Along with the other considerations inherent to the proceedings, the divorcing parents are faced with deciding how to divide parental responsibilities and parenting time. This concept used to be known as child custody in Illinois, but changes to the law have updated the language being used by the courts. Regardless of what it may be called, determining who will be responsible for your child and where he or she will live are serious concerns with many factors to be considered. Some people may be surprised to learn that the child’s wishes are, by law, expected to be part of the equation.

What the Law Says

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a child does have some say in how parental responsibilities and parenting time are allocated by the courts. The court, however, will not base its decision solely on the child’s wishes; they are a part of the bigger picture. Other factors, as one might expect, include each parent’s ability and willingness to provide for the child, allegations or history of abuse, and the relationship each parent has with the child.


parenting time, Aurora family law attorneyIf you are divorced or separated from your child’s other parent, you may face a number of challenges related to exercising your parental rights. It is often difficult for couples who have gone their separate ways to see eye-to-eye regarding their children, but that does not mean one parent is any less important than the other. Under Illinois law, you have a number of legal rights involving your child that cannot be taken from you without due process.

Parental Responsibilities

The Illinois legislature recently overhauled the understanding of child custody in the state, refocusing the law on the allocation of parental responsibilities rather than statuses and titles. Parents are no longer awarded sole or joint custody, and neither party assumes the title of custodial or non-custodial parent. Instead, each parent is assigned authority for specific responsibilities, which are divided into two primary considerations. The first is significant decision-making regarding the child, which includes education, health care, religious training, and extracurricular activities. The other involves each parent’s allocated parenting time, previously called visitation.


parenting time, Aurora family law attorneyThere is little question about the difficulty of parenting after a divorce, separation, or break-up. If you have been allocated significantly less parenting time than your child’s other parent, maintaining a meaningful relationship with your child can be even more challenging. But what happens if the other parent convinces the court to restrict or limit your parenting time even further? An experienced family law attorney can help you understand what recourse you may have, and work with you in taking the steps to restore your parental rights.

Grounds for the Restriction of Parenting Time

The governing principle of Illinois family law regarding children and parenting responsibilities is always to serve the child’s best interests. In doing so, the court begins with the presumption that active participation by both parents is best for the child, and, therefore, will allocate parenting time to each parent based on the family’s circumstances. Your parenting time cannot be restricted unless the other parent can show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that your behavior or lifestyle seriously endangers your child. These dangers can be to child’s mental, moral, or physical health, as well as to his or her emotional development.


Posted on in Visitation

parenting time, visitation, DuPage County family law attorneyFor many years in Illinois, the parental right to reasonable visitation has been fiercely protected by law. While a court could restrict or limit visitation to protect the child, it would take an extremely serious set of circumstances to completely terminate such rights of a parent. Thanks to a measure passed in Illinois this past year, parents will no longer be considered to have so-called “visitation” with their children. Instead the term to be used will be “parenting time,” more accurately representing the inherent responsibilities.

Changes in Child Custody Laws

The shift from visitation to parenting time is part of an overall larger transformation of the state’s child custody provisions. Concepts of sole and joint custody are being eliminated in favor of a much more cooperative idea of allocated parenting responsibilities. Child custody, as it currently exists, was often a major point of contention for divorcing, separated, or unmarried parents, as many seemed fixated on “winning” or “losing” a custody battle. By focusing on actual parenting responsibilities rather than titles or statuses like custodial and non-custodial parent, the well-being of the child is more likely to remain the top priority.


holidays, parenting time, Illinois family law attorneyWith Thanksgiving about a week away, and the winter holidays just around the corner, it is time to begin making plans. In most families, such plans may include which family member is bringing what dessert, and who is hosting dinner this year. For divorced or unmarried parents subject to a custody or parenting time agreement, however, the preparation process often includes some additional elements. If your child splits his or her time between your home and that of the other parent, the holiday season probably requires a level of cooperation, but with reasonable communication, the experience can be positive for all involved.

Check Your Agreement

Your parenting agreement may already include provisions regarding the holidays. Parenting time orders are often customized based on the traditions and priorities of each family, and there are variety of ways to make such a schedule. For example, your order may indicate that this year, your child spends Thanksgiving with you and Christmas with the other parent, and then next year, the opposite occurs. Alternatively, it may specify that your child spends the morning with you on designated holidays and the afternoon with other parent. If a particular holiday is not traditionally observed by one parent or the other, the agreement may permit the child to stay with parent who does celebrate it for the entire day.


military, deployment, Aurora family lawyerMilitary families are often asked to make tremendous sacrifices in order to provide the armed services with manpower necessary to protect the United States of America. Under the best of circumstances, a lengthy deployment or training exercise can have a dramatic impact on the stability of an affected family. Of course, for separated or divorced parents who serve, the effect can be even more severe, as an order for child custody—soon to be called allocated parental responsibilities—cannot possibly take into account the unpredictability of a deployment situation. Fortunately, the law in Illinois provides a measure of relief for military parents which can help them fulfill their duties without the risk of legal action for non-compliance with a family court order.

Helping Military Parents

In most family-related cases, temporary orders are only used until a permanent order can be negotiated or entered by the court. This is not uncommon, for example, between the filing of a petition for divorce and the entry of the divorce judgment, which may not occur for several months. Temporary orders can be used to create custody and visitation arrangements, as well as interim arrangements for spousal maintenance or child support. Once the permanent order has been entered, however, only court-approved modifications can change it, and such modifications are permanent as well.


guardian ad litem, children, DuPage County Child Custody AttorneyWhen you are involved in a dispute over child custody or other concerns related to your children, it can be difficult to maintain objectivity, especially if the relationship between you and the other party is not ideal. Divorce situations are especially prone to acrimony and contentiousness, and unfortunately, the best interests of the child can be somewhat lost among the myriad of other considerations. A court-appointed attorney known as a guardian ad litem, however, can help refocus the proceedings on the child’s well-being, thanks to provisions contained in Illinois law.

What is a Guardian ad Litem?

Unlike other types of guardianship, such as those covered by the Illinois Probate Act, which provide far-reaching authority over another person’s interests for an indefinite period of time, the guardian ad litem, or GAL, is appointed for a specified proceeding. In fact, the Latin phrase “ad litem” translates to English as “for the suit.” While GALs may serve similar purposes in other areas of law, they are most commonly utilized in family law situations on behalf of a child’s interests. In Illinois, a GAL is required to be a licensed attorney, properly trained and qualified to serve in such a capacity.


custody, visitation, Illinois Family Lawyer Child custody and visitation plans can be some of the most challenging and potentially contentious aspects of a dissolution of marriage proceeding. Additionally, the composition of the modern, blended family can present additional challenges when there are stepparents involved in or impacted by custody agreements.

Visitation and Custody Agreements in Illinois for Natural Parents

In Illinois divorce cases involving children, it is typical that one parent is designated as the primary or residential parent of the child(ren). This is to ensure continuity for administration of a legal mailing address and school district qualifications.


temporary custody, Illinois law, DuPage County Family Law AttorneyWhen a couple with children divorces, developing a custody arrangement for the children is generally a part of their divorce process. The court does its best to ensure that following a divorce, the children have regular contact with both parents and can develop nurturing relationships with each of them.

Before a couple's divorce is complete, however, their children may be in a precarious position. One parent might move out of the family home or be facing an order of protection from the other. In any case, the children need to have a legal order in place to ensure that they have a stable home and schedule while their parents work through their divorce. This is where a temporary custody order can help. This type of custody order, as its name implies, is meant as an interim measure to serve the needs of the children. Once the couple determines a permanent custody arrangement and their divorce is finalized, the temporary order is replaced with a long-term custody plan.

While a temporary custody order is in place, the other parent is usually granted visitation rights. Talk to your attorney about all possibilities that may stem from your temporary custody order during and after your divorce. Pros and Cons of Temporary Custody Orders

Temporary custody orders are often a necessity for parents working through divorce. During a divorce, the child's safety and well being should always remain a top priority. Having a temporary custody order in place is one of the best way to protect the child. However, they are not without their drawbacks.


moving, out of state move, Illinois family law attorneyResponsible parents are always looking for ways to better their children’s lives. For some, this may mean working two jobs to provide extra income or returning to school. For others, it may mean moving into a bigger house or a better neighborhood. Sometimes, such efforts will lead a parent to consider moving to another state. While an out-of-state move may be a fairly easy decision in many cases, a parent who is subject to a child custody agreement may face additional challenges.

Petitioning for an Out-of-State Move

Before removing the child from Illinois on a permanent basis, a custodial parent must obtain the consent of the non-custodial parent. The other parent’s consent may have been included in the original custody or parenting agreement. If the other parent agrees to the move, the process is relatively simple, but the court must still be included. A court order acknowledging the desire to move and the granted consent of the other parent can help prevent future problem.


visitation, Illinois law, Illinois family law attorneysParents who are divorced or unmarried face often face significant challenges in remaining an active part of their children’s lives. As a non-custodial parent, especially, you may find getting access to visitation with your child to be difficult, let alone developing a meaningful parent-child relationship. Despite the obstacles, however, you know how important your child is to you, and understanding your legal rights can help you take necessary steps toward your more prevalent role in his or her life.

Reasonable Visitation Rights

The law in Illinois presumes that the best interests of a child are served when he or she enjoys a positive relationship with each parent. As such, any parent who is not granted custody of a child is granted reasonable rights to visitation. “Visitation” is a term which may be used to describe interactions between the child and a parent in various custody situations. For example, if your child’s other parent was granted sole legal custody, you generally maintain visitation rights. Alternatively, if you and the other parent have been granted joint custody, your child will likely maintain a primary residence with one of you while enjoying visitation with the other.


Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, parental rights, Filing for divorce can be a painful and difficult process. This is especially true when a divorcing couple has children and cannot agree on a child custody arrangement.

If you are considering divorce, it is important to learn as much about the process as possible. This will help you prepare for the proceedings and know what to expect. Child custody laws are complex, and each case is different. This is why parents who have questions about child custody should consult an experienced family attorney.

Parents with a criminal record often want to know if they can win custody or visitation rights. As with most divorce matters, the answer to this question depends on the specific facts of the case.


Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorney, parental rights,Like other states, Illinois family courts will aim to create child custody agreements based on the child’s best interests. According to the Illinois General Assembly, the courts may consider the following factors:

  • Parents’ wishes;
  • Child's wishes;
  • How the child has adjusted at home, at school, and in the community;
  • The physical and mental health of the child, as well as the health of the parents or legal guardian;
  • The parents’ history of threats or violence toward the child, or a different member of the family or household;
  • Each parent’s desire to encourage and support the relationship of the child with the other parent;
  • The criminal history of the parents;
  • If either parent will be actively involved in military; and
  • Witness testimonies.

The court may require an investigation of any witnesses who intend to testify.

Awarding Joint Custody

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


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

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Back to Top