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


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

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Recent Blog Posts

What is the Right of First Refusal in Illinois?

 Posted on September 11,2023 in Chicago divorce attorney

Oswego parenting plan lawyerWhen parents get divorced, they can make a parenting plan that says how much time each parent will get to spend with the children. But sometimes, a parent might not be able to watch the children during their scheduled time. Maybe they have to work late or go out of town. In that case, that parent might need to find someone else to watch the children.

The right of first refusal says that if a parent cannot watch their children, they have to offer the other parent the chance to watch them first under certain circumstances. This means that the other parent has the first chance to be with the children before they go to a babysitter, other family members, or daycare. A family lawyer can help you make sure the right of first refusal is in your parenting plan and that the terms suit your needs.

How is a Right of First Refusal Created?

The right of first refusal is not automatically implied. It has to be written into the parenting plan. The parents can agree to it themselves or a judge can order it if they think it is in the best interests of your children.

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The Primary Differences Between Collaborative Law and Mediation

 Posted on September 06,2023 in Collaborative Law

Aurora, IL collaborative divorce lawyerConsidering mediation or collaborative law can be a way to resolve your family law dispute without going to court. Both mediation and collaborative law are alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes that can help you reach a mutually agreeable outcome. However, there are some key differences between the two processes.

When considering either mediation or collaborative law in Illinois, it is important to speak to an attorney. They can provide more information about the process and to see if it is the right decision for you.

A Basic Overview

In mediation, a neutral third party called a mediator helps you and your spouse communicate and negotiate a settlement. The mediator does not make any decisions for you, but they can help you to understand each other's needs and interests. The process usually lasts no more than one or two meetings but they can take anywhere from four to eight hours to complete.

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Common Mistakes to Avoid When Creating a Parenting Plan in Illinois

 Posted on August 28,2023 in Child Custody

Creating a parenting plan can be challenging, requiring parents to make important decisions about their children's care and upbringing. There is no universal solution; however, parents should avoid some common mistakes to ensure that their parenting plan is practical and workable.

Using General Wording

One common mistake parents make when creating a parenting plan is using vague or general wording. This can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts. Unfortunately, it leaves room for interpretation and disagreement. To avoid this mistake, it is important to be specific and detailed when outlining the plan's parenting schedule and other provisions.

For example, instead of saying that the child will spend "weekends" with one parent, specify which weekends (e.g., the first and third weekends of the month) and the exact times of pick-up and drop-off. Precise detail can help prevent conflicts and ensure parents understand their rights and responsibilities.

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How is the Duration of Alimony Determined in Illinois?

 Posted on August 24,2023 in Spousal Maintenance

IL divorce lawyerDivorce can take an emotional and financial toll on both parties involved. For couples with income disparities, alimony helps ensure the lower-earning spouse maintains financial stability. Illinois has guidelines for alimony duration, but judges consider unique circumstances when making final decisions.

Calculating Alimony Duration in Illinois

Illinois utilizes a formula to calculate alimony duration based on the length of the marriage. For marriages lasting less than five years, alimony payments typically continue for 20 percent of the time the couple is married.

For marriages between five and 20 years, the percentage used to determine alimony duration increases incrementally based on the total years married. A marriage lasting five to six years would result in alimony payments over 24% of the time married. A six- to seven-year marriage equals alimony for 28 percent of the duration. The percentage keeps increasing up until marriages lasting 15 to 20 years.

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The Impact of Business Ownership on Marital Property Division in Illinois

 Posted on August 22,2023 in Division of Property

IL divorce lawyerWhen married couples in Illinois divorce, dividing up marital property can get complicated if one or both spouses own a business. Illinois has particular laws about classifying and splitting up business assets that add complexity.

Categorizing Business as Separate or Marital Property

Typically, in Illinois, any property acquired during marriage is considered "marital" and is divided in divorce. But there are exceptions - gifts or inheritances usually stay separate property, as does property exchanged for separate assets unless they have been commingled with marital assets. Prenups and postnups can also define separate properties.

If a spouse started a business before marriage and kept it financially independent, it may stay their separate property. But if marital money expanded the business, or the other spouse helped run it, the increase in value could be marital property.

Figuring Out the Value

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Understanding the Legal Requirements for Parenting Plans in Illinois

 Posted on August 17,2023 in Child Custody

Blog ImageIllinois legally requires divorcing parents to submit a parenting plan to the court within 120 days of filing for divorce. This important document must outline custody logistics, including the child's primary residence, each parent's allotted parenting time and schedule, procedures for sharing information and records related to the child, transportation details for exchanges, decision-making authority on major issues, and any limitations on moving out of state with the child.

Understanding these baseline legal requirements for parenting plans is an essential first step.

Make Your Child the Priority

While following the mandated legal guidelines, the most critical factor when designing your parenting plan should be your child's best interests. Carefully consider the complete picture of your child's needs, including their physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being. Assess their relationships with each parent, personality, age, school, and extracurricular activities. Your plan should reflect their unique needs to stabilize and support their growth and development after the divorce.

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Tips for Keeping Your Illinois Divorce Simple and Amicable

 Posted on August 15,2023 in Divorce

Blog ImageGoing through a divorce can be a challenging and emotional experience, but it does not have to be contentious. You can keep your Illinois divorce simple and amicable with the right approach.

Consider Counseling

One way to achieve an amicable divorce is by considering counseling. Counseling can help you and your spouse work through any unresolved issues and emotions and provide guidance on communicating effectively during the divorce process. This can be especially helpful if you have children.

Working with a counselor can help you and your spouse better understand each other’s perspectives and learn how to communicate respectfully and productively. This can help reduce conflict and tension during divorce and set the stage for a more amicable resolution.

Hire a Divorce Lawyer

Hiring an attorney early on can help you understand your rights and responsibilities under Illinois law and navigate the divorce process. A lawyer can advise on property division, child custody, and spousal support and help you negotiate a fair settlement with your spouse.

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How Retirement Accounts Are Divided in Illinois Divorce Cases

 Posted on August 09,2023 in Chicago divorce attorney

IL divorce lawyerWhen couples divorce, their assets, including retirement accounts, are subject to division. This blog post will discuss how retirement accounts are divided in Illinois divorce cases.

Retirement Accounts as Marital Property

In Illinois, any property acquired during a marriage is usually categorized as marital property and is subject to fair distribution in the event of a divorce. This includes various retirement accounts such as 401(k)s, IRAs, and pensions. The portion of the retirement account accumulated during the marriage is also usually deemed marital property, making it eligible for division.

Determining the Value of Retirement Accounts

Valuing retirement accounts is vital in the first step of dividing the account. You can start this process by obtaining statements from the financial institution that holds the account or by hiring a financial expert.

Dividing Retirement Accounts

Once the value of the retirement accounts has been determined, the court will decide how to divide them. In Illinois, marital property is divided equitably, meaning it is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. When determining the allocation of retirement accounts, the court considers various factors. These include the duration of the marriage, the contributions made by each spouse during the marriage, and their respective financial situations.

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How to Keep Divorce From Damaging Your Credit in Illinois

 Posted on July 31,2023 in Divorce Finances

Blog ImageGoing through a divorce in Illinois can negatively impact your credit if you are not careful. Following key steps can help minimize damage and keep your credit score healthy during a divorce.

Review All Joint Accounts

Pull your credit reports and review all joint accounts with your spouse, such as:

  • Mortgages
  • Auto loans
  • Credit cards
  • HELOCs/home equity loans

Look for any missed or late payments that may already be affecting your score. Also, assess available credit limits and balances.

Create New Credit in Your Name

Open a new credit card account and/or arrange a 12-month personal loan in only your name. Making on-time payments builds your individual credit history. Just do not take on more debt than you can handle.

Divide Joint Credit Card Debt

If you have jointly held credit card balances, ask the issuer to split them into two individual accounts, with each spouse responsible for their portion. This keeps future charges or missed payments from affecting you.

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Financial Steps to Take Before Filing for Divorce

 Posted on July 27,2023 in Chicago divorce attorney

Blog ImageYour financial decisions before filing for divorce can have important implications for your future. Taking certain steps can help protect your assets and build a healthy financial life after divorce. If you are considering filing for divorce in Illinois, here are some key financial steps to take beforehand.

Review Your Credit Report

Pull a copy of your credit report and review it for accuracy. Be sure to check for any unauthorized credit cards or loans taken out in your name. Also, confirm your spouse has not missed payments on any joint accounts that may damage your credit score. Dispute any errors with the credit bureaus.

Open Your Own Bank Accounts

Open checking and savings accounts in your name if you share joint marital accounts. Make sure earnings from your job are directly deposited into your personal account moving forward. Close joint credit cards, or remove your spouse’s name if you want to keep the card.

Consult with a Divorce Financial Planner

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


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

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