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

Oswego military divorce attorney

Being a military spouse is no easy task. Depending on your spouse’s position in the military, he or she may have served time overseas, leaving you to run the household on your own for months at a time. All of the stress and uncertainty that the military life can bring can begin to take a toll on your marriage after a while. The most common question military spouses have when they file for a divorce is, “Will I get to keep my benefits?” These benefits include things such as access to the military base and its facilities, the base commissary and exchange, and eligibility for Tricare, which is healthcare available only to military members and their dependents. If you are a military spouse and you are thinking about getting a divorce, an Illinois divorce attorney will be able to help you figure out what benefits you may be eligible for after a divorce.

Understanding the 20/20/20 Rule

In some cases, if you are divorcing a spouse who was or is in the military, you may be eligible and entitled to certain benefits if you meet the right criteria. Over the years, there have been various rules that have been created to protect the rights of service members while also protecting the rights of their family members. One such rule has been dubbed the “20/20/20 rule.”

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DuPage County divorce attorney

When you first tie the knot, you have this idea of living happily ever after with your new spouse and that a good marriage will come easily and naturally. What many people do not realize, however, is that a strong and happy marriage is the result of years of communication, trust, and a lot of growth. There are arguments and conflict in every relationship; it is not necessarily conflict itself that is the marker of a marriage that will end in divorce. Conflict can be healthy because it can help ensure both you and your spouse’s needs are being met, but that conflict has to be dealt with in a healthy way. Psychologists say that there are four specific behaviors that take place in a matrimonial union that together can be a telltale sign of a broken marriage that is headed toward divorce. 

Criticism

This refers to the act of attacking your spouse’s character, rather than giving him or her feedback on something he or she did that you did not like. For example, your spouse might have a habit of leaving damp towels laying on the floor after showering. Asking, “Why are you so lazy?” rather than telling him or her that it bothers you and asking him or her to hang them up to dry instead is an example of criticism. Calling your spouse lazy is attacking his or her character and not his or her behavior. This can lead to deeper feelings of resentment and contempt, which is one of the four signs that a divorce is imminent. 

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DuPage County divorce attorney child custody

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

Determining the Need for an Evaluation

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

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Yorkville divorce attorney

Getting a divorce can seem like you are on an emotionally fueled rollercoaster. One moment you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are in an ugly argument and you are full of anger and the next thing you know, you are remembering all of the memories you made together and the family you created and you are filled with a sense of grief. It is normal to feel a wide range of emotions during the divorce process, but maintaining a sense of stability is important when working toward a healthy divorce. It is not impossible to have a minimally contentious and agreeable divorce, but there are steps that you can take to make sure your divorce is as healthy as possible. 

Begin the Process With a Negotiating Mindset

Throughout the divorce process, there will be many decisions that will need to be made. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will have to determine who will keep the family home or how you will divide the value of it and other assets, what you will do with your retirement accounts, how you will construct your parenting plan, whether or not you will receive spousal maintenance payments, and the list goes on. You should be prepared to greet each and every one of these decisions with an open mind and a willingness to cooperate.

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North Aurora family law attorney guardianship

Throughout our lives, we all need someone to care for us. When we are babies, we depend on the care and nurture of our parents to thrive and grow into successful adults. As adults, we are able to take care of ourselves and make decisions pertaining to our lives. However, some situations may call for extra care and planning to ensure that the affairs of a person are handled. In Illinois, the law states that a guardian can be appointed to any person who is unable to manage his or her affairs because of mental deterioration, mental illness, developmental disability, or physical incapacity. It can be tough to come to terms with the fact that your loved one may need a guardian appointed to him or her, but an Illinois family law attorney can help.

Determining the Need for a Guardianship

Illinois law states that there are several reasons for which a person may need to have a guardian appointed to him or her to manage his or her affairs. Before a guardian is appointed to a person, it must be proven that the person is not able to make or communicate his or her own sound and responsible decisions about personal affairs. There are a variety of situations in which a person may need to have a guardian appointed for him or her. These scenarios can include:

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Batavia divorce attorney default judgment

Making the decision to get a divorce is not a small one and should not be taken lightly. In an ideal situation, both spouses would come together to come up with the terms of their divorce agreement so they can bring their marriage to an end peacefully. However, very few situations end up being ideal and most divorces do not involve as much peace and cooperation as the spouses involved in them wish there was. Some divorces are only finalized due to the determination of one spouse because of the unwillingness or unknown whereabouts of the other spouse. In cases such as these, in which your spouse is missing or is unwilling to cooperate with the divorce, it is still possible to get a divorce, but the process will likely be slightly more complicated.

Divorcing an Unwilling Spouse

In most cases, once one spouse brings up the idea of a divorce, the other spouse will follow or at least try to resolve the situation. In some cases, however, the respondent, or the person who is receiving the divorce petition, may shut down or refuse to acknowledge the divorce papers or the other spouse’s desire for a divorce. Once you have filed the divorce petition with the clerk of the circuit court, your spouse has 30 days to respond to the petition and notify the court as to whether or not he or she will be showing up for the initial hearing.

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Geneva divorce attorney parenting time

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

Divorce and Child-Related Issues

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

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Geneva divorce attorney

The coronavirus pandemic has changed life as we knew it forever. Even the simplest of everyday tasks that we used to take for granted, like going to the grocery store or attending school have become too risky for some. After the lockdown in mid-March, the country has since been slowly opening back up, causing much stress and frustration by many. For those who are going through a divorce or who are thinking about getting a divorce, you may be concerned with how the pandemic will affect your divorce case. Illinois court operations were significantly reduced for the past couple of months, but the caseload has been increasing by the day, with all Illinois courthouses now open. Although your divorce may look a little different than what you were expecting, it is still possible to legally end your marriage during the pandemic. 

New Court Procedures

In response to the pandemic, the Kane County courts have developed a set of health and safety protocols to follow. These rules were created and put into place to allow the courts of the 16th Judicial Circuit to reopen and include:

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Geneva divorce attorney parenting plan

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

Frequent Visits Are Important

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

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North Aurora divorce attorney asset division

When it comes to divorce, there are many different topics that must be covered to complete the process. One of the most important topics is the asset and property division process, which is notorious for being stressful for some couples. During the division process, you and your spouse will have to determine how you will divide everything from the value of your home, the money in your retirement accounts, all the way down to the vehicles in your garage. Dividing your assets is an important process, which is why legal guidance from an experienced Illinois divorce lawyer can be beneficial.

Factors to Consider

Before you get down to business about how to divide your vehicles, you should be sure to consider all relevant information. These factors can include:

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Batavia divorce attorney parenting plan

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

Provisions to Consider Adding

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

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Oswego gray divorce attorney

When talking about divorce, most people are familiar with the commonly cited fact that around half of all U.S. marriages ultimately fail. According to the Pew Research Center, the general divorce rate in the United States has actually been decreasing since 1990. When you look at adults who are over the age of 50, however, the divorce rate has actually increased. Ten out of every 1,000 couples over the age of 50 got divorced in 2015, which doubled from 1990. Among those who were age 65 and older, the divorce rate actually tripled between 1990 and 2015. Getting divorced when you are over the age of 50, which is also referred to as gray divorce, can be a complicated process, and that is why hiring a knowledgeable attorney is so important.

Attitudes About Divorce Are Changing

Even just 30 years ago in 1990, there was more of a negative stigma surrounding divorce than what exists in today’s world. If you got divorced back then or even longer ago, it was scandalous and wrong. Now, getting a divorce is seen by many as the right thing to do if you find yourself in a loveless or unsatisfying marriage. Gray divorces could be more prevalent because of this shift in public attitude.

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Yorkville divorce attorney parenting time

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

What Is Supervised Parenting Time?

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

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Yorkville divorce attorney spousal support order

When you see divorces take place in movies or TV shows, they only seem to take a day or two to complete. In reality, getting a divorce could take months or even years, depending on the circumstances of your specific situation. The divorce process can be rather tolling, both emotionally and financially. For some, it can feel like a burden has been lifted once the judge approves the divorce agreement and signs the decree. However, this does not mean that you will never have to look at this piece of paper again, especially if you have a child together or you get remarried. Your divorce agreement will also contain information about your child support terms and about spousal maintenance terms if you have them.

How Will Remarriage Affect Spousal Maintenance?

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), a person is no longer obligated to pay spousal maintenance payments if the person receiving the payments gets remarried or moves in with another person on a continuing and conjugal basis. As per the IMDMA, that person must also notify the paying party within 30 days or at least 72 hours of the intended marriage or cohabitation, the date of which the support obligation ends. The court can order the receiving party to reimburse the paying party if it was found that advance notice was not given or overpayment was made. On the other hand, if the person making the maintenance payments moves in with a significant other or remarries, the maintenance payments would not stop.

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Kendall County divorce attorney

There are dozens of reasons why couples get divorced. Perhaps it was due to infidelity, which broke the trust they had built over many years. In other situations, one spouse may have simply decided that he or she was no longer content and did not want to be tied down. Whatever the reason, many divorcing couples share a similar trait -- poor communication with one another. While it may seem counterintuitive to want to improve communication with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, this can actually benefit you and your entire family in the long run by helping to keep things calm and less contentious. Below are a few things you can do to easily keep the lines of communication open with your spouse during your Illinois divorce.

Do Not Fight Over Everything

It has often been said that you should pick and choose your battles, and that can be true when it comes to divorce. If your spouse is known to bring up certain issues just to get a rise out of you, ignore these comments to avoid becoming agitated. Keep your focus on the issues that are most important to you and work on negotiating, rather than arguing about them.

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Oswego divorce attorney child custody

We have all likely heard the famous saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” The sentiment can also be said for divorce. In many situations, it is not just you and your spouse’s attorneys who work on the divorce. In many cases, there are other professionals that you hire or consult with throughout the process. Even your divorce attorney may recommend that you hire certain professionals for specific aspects of the divorce, especially if you need them to testify for you in court. Having the right team together can greatly reduce your stress and uncertainty and make the entire process much easier for everyone involved.

CPA and/or Forensic Accountant

For most divorces, a certified public accountant (CPA) is sufficient enough to help you get your finances together and help you gain a clear understanding of your assets and liabilities. A CPA will use your tax returns, loan documents, mortgage information, income, and expenses to give you an accurate representation of what your financial situation actually looks like. In more complex financial situations, such as ones in which a spouse tries to hide assets, a forensic accountant may be necessary. A forensic accountant will be able to investigate and delve deeper into your finances than a CPA would and uncover and discrepancies that exist.

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North Aurora property division attorney business valuation

The United States is known for many things, but one of the things that it is proudly known for is the welcoming and nurturing culture surrounding small businesses. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there were approximately 30.7 million small businesses in the country in 2019. If you are like any of the millions of Americans who own a small business, it is likely your most important and most valuable asset. This can prove to be tricky when it comes to divorce. You must determine what you will do with your company, but before you do, you will have to determine what your business is worth.

Methods for Valuation

The easiest way to deal with a business is to sell it and split the profits with your spouse. This, however, is not typically the desired route since most of the time, the business is the source of income. If you want to keep your business, typically you will pay your spouse a portion of the value of the company, but to do that, you must first determine the actual value of it. There are three basic approaches to valuing a business:

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Batavia divorce attorney child support

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

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

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North Aurora divorce attorney order enforcement

There are many steps in the divorce process, but the one that nearly everyone looks forward to is the final step -- the prove-up. If you and your ex-spouse were able to keep your divorce out of the courtroom, this is the only time you will have actually appeared before a judge. Even if you had to settle your divorce in court, either way, your divorce is finalized once the judge signs the decree. This can be a huge weight lifted off of your shoulders, but in some high-conflict divorces, the feeling of relief may be short-lived. It can be extremely frustrating if your spouse does not adhere to the terms of the decree after you spent so much time hashing things out. Fortunately, if your former spouse is wilfully disobeying your divorce decree, there are things you can do to rectify the situation.

Determining if There Is a Violation

Before you do anything, you should first make sure that your ex is indeed in violation of your divorce decree. For your ex-spouse to be considered in contempt of court, you must have a valid and current court order. Your ex must also be willfully in contempt of a court order, rather than non-willful contempt. This means that your ex must be knowingly and meaningfully violating the order.

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North Aurora high-conflict divorce attorney

There is always bound to be some disagreement in a divorce, even if the couple is fairly amicable. When a couple has children, arguments can become even more heated, especially when they are arguments on issues concerning the children. Sometimes, one parent thinks that they know what is best for the child, while the other parent also thinks they know what is best, though they disagree on what exactly that is. In other cases, a parent may just be so blindsided by his or her own feelings about the other parent that he or she uses the child as a pawn to get what he or she wants in the divorce settlement. If you are expecting your divorce to be filled with conflict, a skilled attorney can help protect your rights throughout the proceedings. 

Assigning Representation

Just as both parents are entitled to legal representation in a divorce, so are children. Either parent can request that his or her child have his or her own legal representation when dealing with certain issues such as parenting time, allocation of parental responsibilities, education, parentage, or child support. In some cases, a judge might order legal representation to be assigned to a child if the parents cannot come to an agreement on one or more of these issues. There are three different types of child legal representation that are recognized by the court, but one of the most common forms is called a guardian ad litem.

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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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