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

Recent blog posts

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 and 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.

...

DuPage County, IL family law attorney prenuptial agreementAs times are changing, so are attitudes toward previously taboo topics, such as signing prenuptial agreements before marriage. Over the years, drafting a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot has become more and more popular. One possible reason for the increase in popularity is that people are waiting until later in life to get married the first time. This means more people are entering into marriage with more assets that they want to protect. Prenuptial agreements must be created carefully, or they run the risk of being invalidated if they are contested during a divorce. Here are a few ways your prenuptial agreement may be found invalid:

  1. The Agreement Was Not in the Right Format

In the state of Illinois, prenuptial agreements must be in writing. In other words, you cannot have an oral prenuptial agreement. Both you and your spouse must sign the agreement for it to become valid, and you must file it with the clerk of the circuit court so there is a record of the agreement.

...

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.

...

Aurora, IL family law attorneyThe divorce process is complex. It affects almost every area of your life, including your financial well-being, your emotional health, and even your living situation and retirement plans. Since divorce is such a monumental event, it is essential that you find a good divorce lawyer to guide you through the legal process. Who you hire to represent you is arguably one of the most important decisions you will make regarding your divorce. It can be confusing choosing a lawyer, but by using the following tips, you can ensure that your attorney is the best choice for your situation and circumstances.

Keep Your Goals in Mind

Before you even begin meeting with divorce attorneys, you should figure out what you want out of the divorce. What issues are most important to you? If you have a feeling that your soon-to-be ex-spouse will become contentious over the parenting time and parental responsibility arrangements, you should try to find a lawyer who is skilled in handling child-related issues. If you have reason to believe your spouse may be hiding assets from you, you will want to seek a lawyer who has experience in investigating financial matters. Attorney Matthew M. Williams has dealt with cases involving both parenting time and parenting responsibility allocation. He also has worked with forensic accountants and other financial experts in cases in which spouses are not transparent with their assets.

Ask the Right Questions

Once you have a selection of lawyers who may be good matches for you, you should begin setting up consultations to meet with them in person. This will allow you and your potential attorney to get to know each other before you commit to working with him or her. During your consultation, you will want to ask a few questions about his or her qualifications and how the firm can help your case overall. During this time, you can ask what the attorney’s opinion is on your case and how he or she would proceed with handling it. When consulting with Attorney Matthew M. Williams, his 15 years of family law experience will be apparent while you discuss your case with him.

...

Aurora divorce lawyer GAL child representativeAlmost anything that happens in the Illinois legal system that has to do with children revolves around what is in the child’s best interests. In the majority of divorce cases, at least one, but sometimes both of the parents, understand what would be in the child’s best interest. In some divorce cases, parents can become so blind with hate that the best interests of the child are lost, which is when a child representative steps in. Cases involving child support, the allocation of parental responsibilities, parentage, allocation of parenting time, relocation with the child, or even just the child’s general welfare can all be assigned representation for the child.

Types of Representation

The state of Illinois provides for three options when it comes to the representation of the child:

  • An attorney for the child

    ...

Dupage County asset dissipation lawyerIn a perfect world, couples who decide to end their marriage would do so amicably and without any ill feelings. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, and divorcing couples are often much less than amicable. In some divorces, feelings of anger, resentment, greed, and spite are driving factors in decisions made by one or both spouses. In cases such as these, it is not uncommon for one spouse to do anything he or she can to keep the other spouse from receiving his or her fair share of the marital estate. The most common way of doing this is to waste the marital assets, also known as “dissipation.”

How Is Dissipation Defined in Illinois?

According to the Illinois Supreme Court, dissipation refers to the “use of marital property for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage at a time the marriage is undergoing an irretrievable breakdown.” In other words, dissipation occurs when one spouse wastes, destroys, or spends marital property during the breakdown of the marriage for the purpose of depriving the other spouse of the property.

Examples of dissipation of marital property can include:

...

Aurora child support enforcement attorneyIn Illinois divorces, it is not uncommon for child support or spousal support to be awarded to the appropriate parties. A support order of either type is a legally binding court order, meaning failure to pay can result in severe consequences. The state of Illinois understands that many families rely on these support payments in order to provide for themselves and their children. Because of this, failure to pay child support or spousal support is taken very seriously.

What Constitutes Failure to Support?

According to the Illinois Non-Support Punishment Act, failure to support can occur in a few different ways. If a person commits any of the following actions, they can be held in contempt of court:

  • Willfully, and without any lawful excuse, refusing to provide for the support or maintenance of his or her spouse, with the knowledge that the spouse is in need of such support or maintenance.

    ...

Aurora parenting plan divorce attorneyWith kids getting out of school and the weather warming up, June marks the unofficial start to summer. For many people, this means more time for family bonding and vacations, but for families with divorced parents, it can be a stressful time of adjustment. Having a child and being divorced means there is typically a set schedule specifying when a child will be with which parent, but that same timetable during the school year will not necessarily work over summer break. In order to make your and your child’s summer as carefree as possible, here are a few tips for successful co-parenting during the summertime months:

  1. Plan Ahead and Communicate

The key to minimal conflict is to plan your summer in advance as much as possible and keep your ex-spouse in the loop. Try to talk with your ex beforehand and come up with a plan of how you would like to split parenting time during the summer. If you decide to play it by ear, be sure to let your co-parent know of any vacations that you plan on taking or any other activities in which your child will be participating.

...

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,Whether you are just starting the divorce process or you are in the middle of a months-long divorce, it’s no secret that it can be hard on everyone. For many people, the only information they have about divorce is what they have heard from family or friends who have gone through it, or what they have seen on TV or in movies. Divorce brings with it a slew of uncertainties that even the most planned out divorces can bring. The divorce process is different for everyone, but here are a few things you may not know about divorce: You Will Probably Experience the Grief Process Losing a relationship from your life is a lot like losing a person from your life. Many people going through a divorce find that the healing process is very similar to that of the grieving process -- though it is not so much of a surprise. It is only natural for you to grieve the loss of your relationship, but going through the grief process can help you move on with your life. Your Children Will Definitely Be Affected Many divorcing parents wonder if their divorce will affect their children. While the perfect answer would be no, the divorce will almost certainly affect your children, even younger ones. There is no way to tell how a child will react to news of a divorce, but as a parent, it is your job to make sure your child develops healthy coping mechanisms. A divorce does not mean your child will be emotionally scarred for life -- most children are usually happier after. It is Going to Cost You Money It has been said that the average wedding these days costs anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000. Sadly, you could end up spending that much on divorce, too. While there is no “average” cost for a divorce, they can become costly very quickly. The total cost of a divorce will depend on the type of divorce you are getting, where your life if you are using an attorney and how amicable you and your spouse are. All Divorces Were Not Created Equally Many people think the only way to get a divorce is to hire attorneys and fight it over in court. In reality, there are a handful of ways you can go about getting a divorce. You could go with a traditional litigated divorce, a mediated divorce, a collaborative divorce or even a do-it-yourself divorce. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it can be worth it to do your research before you begin the process. Consult with a Knowledgeable DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

Although divorce may feel like the end of the world, it is not. All divorces are different, but one thing you can do to make sure you have a successful divorce is to hire a skilled Yorkville divorce attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today to discover how we can help you finalize your divorce and allow you to move on with your life. Call our office today at 630-409-8184 to schedule a consultation.

 

...

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,When you are going through the divorce process, there are issues in which you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse may not be able to come to an agreement. Child custody is often one of the most contentious and fought over issues in a divorce. Because of this, some couples are forced to appear before a judge so that he or she can make determinations about parenting time and decision-making responsibilities. In some cases, a judge may need more information in order to make an informed decision in the best interest of the child. This is when the judge will request that a custody evaluation be conducted.

The Evaluation Process

Once the court has requested that an evaluation be completed, an evaluator is hired. The evaluator is often a licensed mental health professional, such as a psychologist. Depending on the circumstances, the evaluation can be focused on the parents, the child or both. The job of the evaluator is to gain an understanding of the relationships and interactions between the parents, the child and any other family members in the household. To do this, the evaluator may:

...

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,Getting a divorce -- or dissolution of marriage, as it is called in Illinois -- means the marriage between you and your spouse will be legally terminated. One your divorce case is approved by a judge and he or she has given you a Judgement of Dissolution of Marriage, both you and your former spouse will be free to remarry and can resume your former name, if applicable. Getting a divorce can be a very long and complicated legal process, so it is important to understand the basics before you begin the process.

Filing the Petition

To officially begin the divorce process, you must first file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the circuit court of the county in which either you or your spouse resides. To file this petition, either you or your spouse must be a resident of Illinois for at least 90 days and you must be able to prove that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences. Once the petition is filed, a copy of the petition will be served to your spouse.

...

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,Getting a divorce turns your entire life upside down. The asset division process can prove to be especially cumbersome for some couples, as it requires you to take every single asset and debt into consideration when making decisions. Most couples argue over the house, bank accounts, and vehicles. While these high-value assets are important, it is also important not to overlook one of your most important assets -- retirement funds. It is easy to forget about retirement when it is 15 or 20 years away, but planning for it now can save you a big headache in the future. When it comes to retirement plans, one of the most important tools in your toolbox is a QDRO, which is a commonly used acronym for a qualified domestic relations order. QDROs can be extremely beneficial when divvying up retirement plans during a divorce and can take some of the uncertainty out of your future. What Is a QDRO? In the state of Illinois, all pension benefits, including individual retirement accounts (IRA’s) and defined contribution plans and accounts, are presumed to be marital property and must be divided in “just proportions.” This is where a QDRO comes in. A QDRO is a legal document that designates an alternate payee’s right to receive all or a portion of the benefits held in certain types of retirement accounts. What Is Included in a QDRO?

QDRO’s are just as legally enforceable as an order for alimony or child support and must be approved by the court. Basically, a QDRO will allow both payees to draw from the retirement plan when the time comes. Most of the time, the named payees will be both spouses, but in certain situations, the alternate payee can be a child or another dependant. For a QDRO to be valid, it must contain:

  • The plan owner’s name and mailing address;
  • The alternate payee’s name and mailing address;
  • The percentage of the plan that will be going to the alternate payee;
  • How that percentage will be determined;
  • The number of payments included in the order; and
  • How those payments will be made to each payee.

Consult with a Kendall County Asset Division Attorney Today

...

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,Getting a divorce when you have children is never as easy as getting a divorce when you just have you and your spouse to consider. Divorcing with children means you have a few extra things that you must consider and make decisions about before you can finalize your divorce. These include parenting time arrangements, decision-making responsibilities for the children, college expenses and a rather common one, child support.

Child support is meant to be used to address the basic needs of children, such as a proper place to live, clothes to wear and food to eat. What the Illinois child support formula does not include is other expenses for your child that are nearly impossible to avoid. These expenses can be calculated and then added to the basic child support obligation that you and your child’s other parent are responsible for providing before the obligation is divided between the two of you.

Other Child Expenses

...

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,Making the decision to get divorced is not one that comes easily to most people. A marriage does not break down overnight -- it takes months or even years to reach the point of no return for most divorcing couples. Once you have made the decision to get a divorce, the first step in what is often a long process is figuring out how you will go about the divorce and which divorce lawyer is right for you. Shopping for a divorce lawyer is a lot like shopping for a car -- they are not cheap, so it is important that you make your decision with care and thorough knowledge. If you are beginning the process of finding a divorce lawyer that would be a good fit for your family, here are a few tips that can help guide you:

Determine What You Need

Before you even contact any lawyers, you should figure out what exactly you are looking for in a divorce attorney. Which specific needs do you have? Is your divorce contested or is it straightforward? Do you need an attorney who especially experienced in certain parts of family law, such as child custody? Are you looking for an attorney with experience dealing with collaborative divorces, mediation or traditional divorces? Determining your needs can help determine what kind of lawyer you need.

...

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,For some people who are going through a divorce, they may wish that their marriage never happened. Unlike a divorce, which is the process of legally separating yourself from your former spouse, a marriage annulment is a declaration of the invalidity of a marriage. In a sense, a marriage annulment is as if the marriage never took place -- your legal relationship status is basically reset. While the idea of erasing a marriage may be favorable, the option is not available to all Illinois couples. There are certain circumstances that must be present before a marriage annulment will be granted.

Factors for Annulment

To begin the annulment process, a petition must be taken to the court. Once you petition the court for an annulment, you must provide evidence pertaining to the particular reason you are asking for an annulment. There are only a few specific reasons that a marriage annulment would be granted. These include:

...

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child support lawyer,The process of allocating assets during a divorce is often one of the most contentious issues between couples. The state of Illinois practices equitable distribution of assets and liabilities, rather than equal distribution. This means that there is nothing saying a judge has to assign half of the marital estate to each spouse -- one spouse could end up walking away from the divorce with more money or more debt. Because of this, some spouses may be tempted to cover up assets so they may keep them for themselves. Illinois courts strongly recommend that couples try to come to an agreement on property distribution on their own, but this is not always possible, especially if both spouses are not willing to be truthful with each other.

This is often the step of the divorce process in which “discovery” comes into play. Discovery is the exchange of information between the two spouses and their attorneys. During this step, both spouses are required by law to be fully and completely transparent about the issue at hand. This means each spouse must disclose any and all assets, including both marital and non-marital assets.

The Role of a Forensic Accountant

...

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,Estate planning is not something that the typical American tends to think about very often. This is especially true if you are going through a big change in your life, such as divorce.  During a divorce, you have so many things constantly on your mind, estate planning is probably at the very bottom of your list. While updating your estate planning documents does not have to be your number one priority, it should definitely still be on your list somewhere. Here are a few estate planning documents that you should have in the back of your mind to update after your divorce is finalized: Wills If you are filing for a divorce, it is best that you draft an entirely different will, if possible -- this is the easiest way to ensure your estate is not given to your ex-spouse upon your death. In the state of Illinois, a will can be revoked by physically destroying it or by having a new will drawn up stating that the prior will has been revoked. If you do not change your will, but you finalize your divorce, Illinois treats the will as if your spouse died before you did. This means you do not necessarily have to change your will, but it is a good idea to make changes as necessary. Trusts Under Illinois law, trusts are handled similarly to wills when it comes to divorce. If you named your spouse in a revocable trust or living trust, the sections containing your spouse will become invalid upon the finalization of your divorce. If you have an irrevocable trust, however, the contents of the trust will not change and are unable to be modified. Power of Attorney Finally, you will want to make sure you revoke your power of attorney as soon as possible if you named your spouse to act in your place if you are unable to do so. If you do not change your power of attorney and become unable to manage your affairs, your spouse may gain access to your assets. You will also want to be sure that you remove your spouse from your healthcare proxy if you get a divorce. Not doing so can allow your spouse to make healthcare-related decisions for you if you are unable to do so.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney for Help

Whether you are in the middle of a divorce or just starting the process, estate planning is something you should keep in mind. The last thing you would want is to forget about your estate planning documents and then have an accident happen that benefitted your spouse. Aurora divorce lawyer Matthew M. Williams has worked on more than 1,000 divorce cases in court and has the knowledge to ensure you have a successful divorce. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we can help you make sure all your loose ends are tied before all is said and done. Call our office today at 630-409-8184 to schedule a consultation.

 

...

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,Most people have a long list of questions when they make the decision to get a divorce. By far, one of the most common questions people have before they begin the divorce process is, “How much will my divorce cost?” The answer to that question is not a simple one -- there are so many factors that can affect the price tag on your divorce. Some sources report that the cost of divorce can be as low as a couple of hundred dollars, while other sources state a divorce will cost more along the lines of tens of thousands of dollars. Here are a couple of different factors that can affect the cost of your divorce: The Type of Divorce You Choose Not surprisingly, the type of divorce you choose can determine how much you ultimately end up paying for your divorce. A do-it-yourself divorce can range from $600 to $1,800, depending on the type of service you use and where you live. Typically, the only costs associated with a DIY divorce are those that come from the service you use and the filing fees. A litigated divorce can range in cost from $15,000 for a straightforward divorce to $200,000 for a divorce that ends up going to trial. Your Divorce Attorney’s Hourly Rate and Retainer Fee If you choose to have an attorney help you with your divorce, costs between lawyers may differ. The average attorney’s fees can range from $200 to $500 per hour and most attorneys also require you to pay for a retainer before you begin. The average retainer fee ranges from $3,500 to $10,000, depending on the complexity of your case. Court Costs and Filing Fees For the most part, in Illinois, filing fees tend not to differ very much between counties. To file for a dissolution of marriage in DuPage County, it costs $290, though that is not the only filing fee or cost you will have to deal with. Whether or Not You and Your Spouse are Willing to Work Together Couples who are more argumentative tend to pay more for their divorces. This is rather obvious because you will be paying more money if you are spending more time coming to an agreement on issues. For example, a couple who has to have five to six negotiation sessions will be paying their lawyer more than a couple who settles the same issue in only two sessions.

A Kane County Divorce Lawyer Can Help Keep Your Divorce Costs Down

If you are thinking of getting a divorce, there are a couple of different decisions you must make that can affect the cost of your divorce. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we can help you discuss your divorce options and determine what your best course of action will be. Our knowledgeable St. Charles divorce lawyer will help you make sure your divorce covers everything you need it to, but also that it remains within your budget. Call our office today at 630-409-8184 to schedule a consultation.

...

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,When you are going through a divorce, there are many changes that you will notice. These can range from obvious ones -- such as your living arrangements or income -- to ones you may not necessarily think about all of the time -- like insurance. Insurance is something that you will almost always need, but it is also something people do not necessarily think about. Many people forget about insurance changes when they are going through a divorce because compared to other things you might be dealing with, it may not seem very important -- but it is. Taking care of these crucial changes to your insurance policies can save you grief and money in the long run.

Life Insurance

If you have a current life insurance policy, you may need to reevaluate the terms of the policy before you finalize the divorce. As long as there are no ongoing obligations, such as child support or spousal maintenance, you may want to think about removing your ex-spouse as a beneficiary on your insurance policy.

...

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,There was a time in the United State’s history when most families comprised of a mother, a father and their biological children. Now, the “typical” American family has become somewhat of a thing of the past. With more Americans remarrying and same-sex marriage being legalized throughout the country, the “typical” American family is not so predictable anymore. According to the United States Census Bureau, more than half of American families were divorced and remarried or recoupled in 2010. The Bureau also reported that nearly four million children were living in a blended family or stepfamily in 2010.

Blended families face their own unique challenges and can prove to be difficult for some children to adjust to. Here are a few tips you can use to help ensure the success of your blended family:

Plan Your New Family

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

630-409-8184

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

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
Back to Top