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

Yorkville divorce attorney division of assets

If you are in the process of going through a divorce, you are already aware of the plethora of issues that you must negotiate with your spouse. You are likely sick of hearing about the pages-long list of issues, such as allocating your marital property and determining whether or not spousal support is necessary, which all need to be reconciled with your spouse before you can finalize your divorce. With so many other issues at the forefront of your concerns, many people end up forgetting about one very important aspect that should be taken care of during the divorce -- your estate plan. If you ever had a will or you and your spouse ever started to plan for the future, you will want to be sure to update your estate plan accordingly before your divorce is finalized. Here are a few things you should keep in mind about your estate plan when getting a divorce:

  • Understand what documents you currently have in place. The first thing you should do is to understand what type of estate plan you have in place already. Every estate plan is different and tailored to each person’s specific needs, so you should familiarize yourself with your current estate plan if you are not familiar with it already. You may already have estate planning documents, such as:

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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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Yorkville divorce attorney

Divorce is a common occurrence in our country, but many people do not truly understand what divorce actually entails. Most people spend months, or even years contemplating or perhaps even agonizing over the decision to get a divorce because of the huge legal and financial impact it can have on your life. However, many people do not realize that divorce also contains an emotional aspect that is just as strong as the legal and financial aspect, if not stronger. Getting a divorce is one of the most stressful events that a person can encounter in his or her life, second to the death of a loved one. If you are going through a divorce, it is crucial that you keep an eye on your mental health and take steps to protect your well-being.

Take Care of Your Physical Health

During a divorce, healthy habits can become forgotten, intermittent, or just ignored altogether. Practicing habits such as getting between six and eight hours of sleep every night, drinking enough water, making healthy food choices, and exercising regularly can greatly enhance your mood. These habits are the primary basis for your own self-support system and can greatly reduce the effects of stress.

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Batavia divorce attorney

Getting a divorce is a complicated legal process that is further complicated by the stressful and emotional nature of the issues at hand. Even so, many people believe that they can file for divorce by filling out the court forms and representing themselves in court, saving time and money. This is often referred to as a do it yourself (DIY) divorce. However, many people also fail to realize just how confusing and troublesome it can be to actually have to be in control of your divorce case. For most people, their best interests are served when they hire a divorce attorney who can help them navigate through this difficult period in their life. The following are four benefits of hiring a reputable divorce lawyer instead of representing yourself during your divorce.

An Attorney Has Valuable Experience

When you file for divorce, it only makes sense to hire a person who has experience with the legalities of divorce cases to help you through your own. Handling various divorce cases at varying stages is what a divorce lawyer does all day, every day. Just like you go to the doctor when you are sick, you should hire a divorce attorney when you want to legally dissolve your marriage. 

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Yorkville divorce attorney parental relocation

For many divorcees who are parents, one of the biggest disappointments they face is how little time they feel they have to spend with their children after all is said and done. In Illinois divorces, both parents must come to an agreement as to how parenting time will be split among the two of them, often leaving at least one parent feeling as if they are lacking. The idea of one parent moving and taking the child with them can be extremely distressing to the other parent, especially if they are concerned about protecting their parenting rights. In this situation, a knowledgeable family law lawyer can help you understand the procedure and rules that must be followed when a parent wants to relocate with a child, as well as how those laws apply to your situation.

When the Other Parent Must Notify You

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), there are certain rules that a parent must follow if they are relocating with their child. A parent who has equal parenting time with the other parent or the majority of parenting time can move with the child and must provide notice to the non-moving parent if the move is considered a “relocation.” In Illinois, a move is considered a relocation if the new residence is more than:

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Batavia divorce attorney spousal maintenance

In many marriages, it is not uncommon for one spouse to have a higher income than the other spouse. In these situations, the lesser-earning spouse relies on the higher-earning spouse to facilitate and maintain the way of life they are used to. In some cases, the lesser-earning spouse may not even be employed and may have been a homemaker and contributed to the household that way. When couples who have a significant imbalance in income get a divorce, the lesser-earning spouse is often awarded spousal support in Illinois, which is also known as spousal maintenance or alimony.

Receiving Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance is never guaranteed in any divorce. However, some people are still required to pay spousal support because of a previously entered marital agreement. If you and your spouse have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the court will examine these documents to ensure that they are valid. If they are found to be valid, you will have to abide by the terms of the agreement you agreed to prior. If your agreement is deemed invalid or you did not have an agreement, the court will determine whether or not spousal maintenance is appropriate by looking at a variety of factors. These elements can include things such as you and your spouse’s age, health, occupation, education, work history, contribution to the marriage, and more.

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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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North Aurora family law attorney guardianship

For many people, making the decision to establish legal guardianship over someone is a rather difficult and emotionally stressful decision to make. However, establishing legal guardianship of your loved one can often be the only way to ensure that he or she is safe and protected in some situations. Guardianship is a way of establishing legal authority over another person in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated or is unable to make decisions. In Illinois, guardianship can be established over a minor who is under the age of 18, or an incapacitated adult. If you are contemplating establishing guardianship over a family member or friend, you likely have questions about guardianships in Illinois and the process of establishing it. The following are a few frequently asked questions and their answers about Illinois guardianship.

Who Is Eligible to Have a Guardian Appointed to Them?

When a person turns 18, he or she is automatically presumed to be of sound mind and able to make responsible decisions for himself or herself. However, a person can be appointed to serve as someone’s guardian if he or she is disabled because of mental deterioration, physical handicap, mental illness, or developmental disability.

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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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Batavia paternity attorney

When a child is born to two people who are married, in a civil union, or who were married or in a civil union within 300 days prior in the state of Illinois, those two people are legally presumed to be that child’s parents, even if that is not necessarily true. A child’s legal parents are required to provide for the child’s well-being, including providing for their financial needs. If the parents ever get divorced, the father has a legal right to decision-making responsibilities and parenting time, as well as an obligation to pay monthly child support. If the father finds out that he is not the father of the child, he can file to disprove the paternity of the child, which may relieve him of his parental responsibilities.

Disproving Paternity While Married

If the father is married when the child is born, the legal relationship is automatically established when the child is born. While this can be a convenience, it also means that the father is forced to take legal action to disprove the paternity of the child if the child is not his or her biological child. Genetic testing is used to determine whether or not a child is biologically related to an alleged father and is typically ordered by the court when a person files to have paternity disproven. Once the father becomes aware of the fact that he is not the child’s biological father, he must take immediate action, or the judge could deny his petition to disprove paternity.

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Batavia uncontested divorce attorney

It can feel like you have gotten over a giant hurdle once you have finally made the decision to tell your spouse that you want a divorce. Now that you have made that decision, you must begin to make even more difficult decisions throughout the process. One of the first decisions you will be required to make during your Illinois divorce is whether or not your divorce will be contested or uncontested. Both types of divorces have their place, but an uncontested divorce can offer benefits that a traditional litigated divorce cannot.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

In the simplest terms, an uncontested divorce is any divorce that takes place between two spouses who agree on all or most issues pertaining to their divorce. During a divorce, there are various issues that need to be discussed and settled, which can include issues such as dividing and allocating your marital debt and property, determining if spousal support is needed and if so, how much and for how long. If there are children, issues such as designating parenting time, allocating decision-making responsibilities, and calculating child support must all be addressed. 

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St. Charles divorce attorney

Anyone who has ever been through a divorce can tell you that even under ideal circumstances where both spouses agree on your divorce issues, the process of separation is still rather difficult. Although it is not impossible for you and your spouse to agree on every single one of your divorce issues, it is highly unlikely that this will happen. It can be likely, though, that you only disagree on one or a couple of issues, which can make your divorce go much more smoothly. Another issue that can greatly decrease the difficulty of your divorce is being properly prepared before you begin the process. There are so many facets to the divorce process, which is why it is important that you hire an Illinois divorce lawyer who can help you with as much of the prior preparation as possible. 

Top Tips for Beginning a New Chapter

A divorce can be overwhelming for many reasons, so that is why it is critical that you take your time and seek out the advice of a legal professional. If you are thinking about getting a divorce, here are five helpful tips to keep in mind before you initiate the proceedings to dissolve your marriage:

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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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North Aurora divorce attorney property division

When a marriage breaks down, it is rare that the two spouses still want to live in the same home together, let alone spend time in the same room with one another. However, many couples still try to reside under one roof while their divorce is underway, especially if there are children involved. However, this can become difficult if things turn sour or if you and your spouse are not on good terms when you begin the divorce. Unless you and your spouse qualify and file for a simplified dissolution and agree on all issues, you will have to negotiate the terms of your divorce. This process can be extremely stressful for couples who do not communicate well or who cannot cooperate with one another. In extreme cases, either spouse can petition to have exclusive possession of the marital home. 

What Does Being Granted “Exclusive Possession” of the Marital Home Mean?

During your divorce, you and your spouse both have the right to request to have exclusive possession of your marital home, but only until the divorce is finalized and only under certain circumstances. Typically, these circumstances have to be extreme. You must be able to prove that either you or your children's’ physical or mental well-being is in jeopardy by having both you and your spouse live there. The court will then conduct a hearing to determine the best course of action. In some cases, entering into a temporary eviction from the marital residence for one of the spouses can be a solution to the issues in the household. The spouse who is temporarily evicted is not always the spouse who keeps the home, as property division is an entirely different process.

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DuPage County divorce attorney

When you think of a witness being used in a legal case, you are probably like most people who picture a person who is called to the witness stand in a criminal case, or perhaps a personal injury case. Subpoenas can actually be used in a variety of court cases, including divorce cases, if they are necessary. Many times, contested divorces can make subpoenas necessary to retrieve important financial information. This can play a crucial part in ensuring both spouses receive their fair share of the marital estate. 

Types of Subpoenas in Illinois Divorce Cases

In Illinois divorce cases, there are two types of subpoenas that can be used. The first type of subpoena, called a subpoena ad testificandum, is a request for a person to appear to testify. Often, this type of subpoena is issued if the person in question possesses important knowledge about the case. These types of subpoenas are rare, though not impossible in a divorce case.

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Kane County divorce attorney order of protectionIt is completely normal to feel strong emotions during your divorce. After all, you are ending your relationship with the person with whom you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life. Most people are able to control the emotions that they feel during the divorce, but others are unable to handle their emotions in a healthy manner. Rather than finding healthy and appropriate ways to cope with the feelings they may be experiencing, they instead stoop to bitter and spiteful actions. When this behavior includes harassment or stalking, it puts even more stress on your plate and is actually illegal in some situations. Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family from this type of danger during your divorce.

What Counts as Harassment?

In the state of Illinois, harassment is defined as actions taken knowingly with no legitimate purpose that would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress and that actually does cause you emotional distress. There are many different types of behavior that could qualify as acts of harassment, including:

  • Constantly calling, leaving voicemails, or sending text messages or emails to you, your children, or any other family members

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Kane County family law attorney civil union

For decades, gay and lesbian couples in the United States have been fighting a long and hard battle for marriage equality. In the late 1990s, the federal government passed the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as one man and one woman and allowed states not to recognize same-sex marriages that were legally performed in other states under their laws. In 1996, the state of Illinois made it illegal for same-sex partners to marry. However, in 2011, the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act was passed, which gave both same-sex and opposite-sex couples similar rights and protections to those of married couples.

In 2013, the United States Supreme Court ruled that defining marriage as only being between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. In 2015, the Court also ruled that allowing individual states to not recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states was unconstitutional. This effectively granted same-sex couples the constitutional right to marry and subsequently most states turned domestic partnerships and civil unions into marriages, but Illinois kept civil unions as an option for cohabitating couples. Though civil unions give couples virtually the same rights and protections as married couples, there are a few issues that fall into a legal gray area. One such issue is parental rights within a civil union.

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North Aurora divorce attorney

If you are going through something as complex and stressful as a divorce, there are so many issues you must come to an agreement with your spouse to settle, such as how you will divide your property, what your parenting time schedule will look like, and whether or not you will receive spousal support. Something like your tax obligation to the government is likely not even an item that is on your list of concerns, but it is something that should be on your radar. There are certain things that you should be aware of before you go to file your taxes for the first time after your divorce

Which Status Should You Use?

When you are married, you have the option of filing your income tax returns jointly or separately, though the vast majority of couples who can file jointly do so. The filing status that you use depends on when your divorce was finalized. If your divorce was finalized on or before December 31, then you are considered to have been unmarried for the entire year and you cannot file a joint tax return. However, if your divorce extended into the next year, you were considered to be married for the entire tax year.

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Geneva divorce attorney property division

In an ideal world, getting a divorce would only affect you and your spouse. However, getting a divorce impacts everyone in your family, especially your children if you have any. Throughout your divorce, you will face many issues relating to your kids that must be settled, such as parenting time, allocation of decision-making responsibilities, and even child support. What you may not realize is that your children may also influence other areas of your divorce as well, such as property division. If you are going through a divorce, an Illinois divorce lawyer can help you determine your best scenario for asset and property division.

Considering Your Kids’ Feelings When Dividing Assets and Property

When you go through a divorce, you and your spouse are required to divide all marital property equitably among yourselves before you are able to finalize the divorce. While you may think that your children have nothing to do with those decisions, they may influence those decisions more than you think. Here are a few ways your children can influence your property division decisions:

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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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