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

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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

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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.

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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:

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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

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer,There are many reasons why couples get divorced. Infidelity, financial problems, lack of commitment and different priorities are all common reasons why couples choose to get divorced, but they all typically contain one major common theme -- a lack of trust. When you no longer trust the person you are married to, it is difficult to have a successful marriage. During a divorce, it is not uncommon for one or both spouses to have assets that they have attempted to hide from the other. While this may seem like a good way to keep your spouse from getting certain things in a divorce, it is illegal. Full disclosure is required in divorces. If you feel like your spouse may be hiding things from you, here are a few ways you can try to uncover hidden assets in your divorce: Look Over Tax Returns A good place to start looking for hidden assets is on your tax returns. Pull your tax returns from the last five years and examine them carefully. You should be looking for any inconsistencies in the returns, such as inconsistencies in income, itemizations of assets, real estate taxes, mortgage interest. Keep an Eye on Your Bank Accounts Take a look at your joint bank accounts. Are there any canceled checks from your checking account? Are there unusual withdrawals or deposits into your checking or savings accounts? If so, you may be dealing with a spouse who has attempted to hide money from you. Make sure you get copies of all bank account statements to use in court. Utilize Public Records

Public records can be extremely helpful when you are looking for hidden assets. Some jurisdictions allow you to access certain public records online, but all jurisdictions have public records on hand at the courthouse. When looking through public records, you should focus your attention on:

  • Property deeds;
  • Real estate appraisals;
  • Tax assessments;
  • Loan applications; and
  • Business records.

Team Up With a DuPage County Asset Discovery Attorney

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,Even just a decade ago, it was uncommon for fathers to win custody of their children, rather than just having visitation rights. Partial custody was awarded in some cases and full custody was rarely awarded unless the mother was a substance abuser, physically abusive, in jail or somehow otherwise unfit to be a parent. Now, most attorneys, judges and other divorce professionals agree that children do their best when both of their parents play an active role in their children’s lives. Still, fathers may have a more difficult time gaining a majority of or even partial parenting time with their children. Here are a few tips you can use to help you win at a parenting time hearing:

Build a Strong Relationship with Your Child

When judges allocate parenting time, one of their main concerns is what custody situation would be in the child’s best interest. The judge will be examining the relationship that the child has with you and the child’s other parent, so it is important that you ensure your relationship with your child is strong. Keep in touch with your child, even when they are not in your custody. Check in with your child often and make sure that they know you are there for them whenever they need you.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,Parenting is a full-time job and it is never really easy. Co-parenting can be even more difficult after a divorce, especially if your divorce was particularly heated and contentious. You may wish that you never have to see or talk to your ex-spouse ever again, but the truth is when you have children, you will never truly be completely separate from your spouse. Your children are the most important aspects of your life and for their sake, you should learn how to co-parent peacefully with your spouse. Here are a few tips you can use to help form a successful co-parenting relationship with your ex: Put Your Emotions on the Backburner Co-parenting is almost never easy. You may feel emotions like anger, disappointment, sadness, rage, and even hatred, but you must try to put these feelings aside and work with your ex, rather than against them. Never allow your feelings to put your kids in the middle of your problems with your ex. You can argue with your ex all you want, just do not do it in front of your child. Work to Communicate Effectively When it comes to successful parenting and co-parenting, communication is key. Though you may not want to communicate with your ex, you will have to in order to co-parent effectively. Try keeping conversations with your ex centered around your children rather than yourselves and try to keep the tone of the conversation formal and business-like. Be Consistent Consistency is key with children. They thrive off of routine and it can even help them to cope with the divorce by not adding more stress and different expectations at each home. Try to keep their schedules as similar as possible at both homes, like having the same bedtime at each home. Make Decisions Together Your child’s well-being is your number one priority. Decisions about your child should be made by both you and your ex -- not just one of you. When it comes to decisions about your child’s education, medical care, and other important life issues, you should always include your spouse in the decision-making process. Hire a DuPage County Child Custody Attorney Today

Before you are able to finalize your divorce, you will have to submit to the court a completed parenting plan that you and your spouse both have signed and agreed upon. Though it may be difficult, it is in everyone’s best interest to come to an agreement on child custody and parenting time on your own, rather than having a judge tell you what you will do. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we can help you and your ex come to an agreement about these issues and more. Our skilled Aurora, IL child custody lawyers know what it takes to create a solid parenting plan and will help you formulate a plan that works for your family. Call our office today at 630-409-8184 to set up a consultation.

 

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,While you and your spouse were married, you probably accumulated quite the collection of assets, which can range from money in the bank to vehicles and real estate. Many couples who divorce own a home together, which can be difficult to deal with when it comes time to split your assets during the divorce. If you and your spouse purchased the house during the marriage, your house will be considered marital property. If one of you owned the home prior to tying the knot, then your home may be considered non-marital property unless you and your spouse refinanced the mortgage or put both of your names on the deed to the home. There are basically three options that you and your spouse have when it comes to dividing the value of your home: you sell the house, one of you keeps the house, or you both keep the house. Everyone’s situation is different, so what may work for other people may not work for your family. Before you make the decision, you should weigh the pros and cons of each option. You Sell the House The easiest thing to do for most couples would be to sell the house, split the proceeds, and go their separate ways. This option is obviously ideal for couples whose home has appreciated in value, but couples whose home has depreciated in value may want to look at other options. If the house has appreciated in value, capital gains may be owed on the sale of the house and both spouses will be responsible for paying half of the bill. One Spouse Keeps the House This can be a tricky option. If one spouse wants to keep the family home, that spouse will have to become the sole owner of the home. To do this, the spouse will have to refinance the house with a new mortgage. The new mortgage would take the spouse’s own creditworthiness into consideration when refinancing and your interest rate could go up if this happens. You may also need to buy your other spouse’s half of the home from them, which could become expensive. You Both Keep the House Though it may be rather unusual, some couples may agree that the best option is to keep the home as a jointly owned asset. Most of the time, this is a short-term option for couples who either do not immediately qualify for a new mortgage, do not have the funds to buy out each other’s half, or just do not want to sell the house because of the children. Consult with an Aurora, IL Property Division Attorney

Making the decision of what to do with the family home can be a tough one. Home is where you make memories and many people have a tough time letting go of that. If you are unsure of what option would be best for you and your family, a knowledgeable DuPage County property division lawyer can help. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we have extensive experience valuing and dividing all kinds of marital assets, including family homes. For more information or to inquire about a consultation, call our office today at 630-409-8184.

 

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer,Even though there has been a rise in alternative forms of co-parenting after a divorce, couples typically live in two different residences after they become divorced. Most of the time, children of divorced couples travel between the two parents’ houses according to the parenting time agreed upon by the couple. Illinois recognizes that the presence of both parents in a child’s life is important, which is why more and more couples are receiving equal or nearly equal parenting time. If one spouse has more parenting time than the other spouse, then the spouse with a lesser amount of parenting time will typically be responsible for making child support payments to the other spouse.

Calculating Basic Support Obligations

The first step to calculating child support payments is finding each parent’s monthly gross income. Once the monthly gross income is figured, then the Gross to Net Income Conversion Table is used to figure out each parent’s monthly net income. Then, both parents’ monthly net incomes are added together and the corresponding value is taken from the Income Shares Schedule. The amount from the table is the basic amount of money that should be spent on the child each month for living expenses, food, clothing, and other basic needs.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child support lawyer,There were an estimated 27.9 small businesses in the United States in 2010. Owning a business can be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it can also be scary if you get a divorce. Typically in Illinois divorces, the two spouses must split their assets according to Illinois’ equitable division guidelines. This does not necessarily mean that each spouse will get half of the marital assets, but it does mean that the judge will determine what is equitable. The only things that are subject to division are those that are considered marital property. Your business may or may not be considered marital property and figuring that out is your first step in protecting your business from your spouse. Here are a few ways you can protect your business and keep it in your control during your divorce:

Get Your Business Valued

One of the first things you will want to do is to find out how much your business is worth. This can be accomplished by using a court-appointed valuation expert who is required to be unbiased when coming up with a value to assign to your business. It is still a good idea to hire an outside valuation specialist to make sure your result is in line with the court’s result.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,Divorce is difficult for everyone in the family, but it can be especially difficult for fathers who are going through a divorce. Even though it is 2019 and most people agree with the fact that a child does his or her best when both parents are involved in their life, fathers are often given the short end of the stick when it comes to divorce. Mothers are still seen as the primary caregiver and are often still given preference when making determinations about parenting time and decision-making rights. Though it may seem that there are numerous societal and cultural factors that are working against fathers, having help from a divorce lawyer who focuses on father’s rights can be beneficial. Here are four things you can do to be a good dad after your divorce:

Fight for Your Right to Parenting Time

Unfortunately, the court systems tend to favor the mothers over the fathers when it comes to parenting time. This can spell difficulty for fathers who want to play an active part in their child’s life, so it is important that you are tenacious about fighting for parenting time. When you attend parenting time hearings, make sure you are attentive, you listen to the judge and you show the judge that you care about your children.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,Divorce brings with it a plethora of things that you must settle before you can finalize your divorce. Just one of the many things involved in a divorce is property division. When you are married, you and your spouse share almost every aspect of your lives together. Though this makes your life easier while you are together, it can make for a tough time when you get a divorce. Property division can often turn even the most peaceful of divorces into screaming matches. Here are a couple of things that you should know about Illinois property division before you settle your divorce:

Illinois Is an “Equitable Division” State

In the state of Illinois, property division is divvied up in a way that is equitable, rather than equal. This means that all factors will be looked at before determining which spouse gets which property. This also means that property division will not always be 50/50. If the judge feels that one spouse should receive more property than the other, then he can award that spouse more.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,Divorce is always complicated, no matter how you look at it. There are many issues you must settle before you can finalize your divorce, one of those being the issue of alimony or spousal maintenance. In Illinois divorce cases, spousal maintenance is never guaranteed -- some people will ask for maintenance and not receive it, some will never even bring the issue up and some are actually awarded maintenance when they seek it. For some people, maintenance is a necessity to help them survive, at least for the first couple of months after the divorce. Illinois spousal maintenance laws changed starting January 1, 2019. These laws affect the way spousal maintenance is calculated, so it is important that you understand the changes if you have not yet finalized your divorce.

Old Maintenance Laws

Prior to 2019, spousal maintenance was calculated by taking 30 percent of the payer’s income and subtracting 20 percent of the receiver’s income. This was a valid calculation for any couple whose combined annual income was less than $500,000, though the total maintenance awarded was not able to be more than 40 percent of the couple’s combined income when adding the payment to the receiver’s income.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time lawyer,When you get a divorce and you have children, chances are there will be some sort of child support involved. In Illinois, child support ends when the child turns 18 or until the child graduates from high school -- whichever comes later. Even though your child has graduated from high school, that does not mean that your support for the child has ended. If your child decides to pursue some type of post-secondary education, you are responsible for contributing to their education. This type of support is considered to be “non-minor support” and lasts until the child turns 23. It is best if you and your spouse come to an agreement as to how college expenses will be handled, but a judge can allocate college expenses if need be.

Covered Expenses

The main thing most people think about when discussing college expenses is tuition. While that is typically the most expensive expense, it is not the only expense that is covered under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Other expenses that you may be responsible for include:

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child support lawyer,A common outcome of divorce when you have children and you are their primary caregiver is child support. Many families depend on these support payments each month from the other parent to ensure that the children are fed, clothed and have everything that they need. Once a child support order is entered, it cannot be modified or reviewed for at least three years -- unless there is a significant and substantial change in circumstances. A significant change in the family’s circumstances is actually the most common reason why a child support modification may be granted, although they can also be modified if the child support orders do not address healthcare for the child or if the child support orders deviate from the support guidelines.

What Constitutes a Significant Change in Circumstances?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act has guidelines for almost any issue that may arise during an Illinois divorce. In the section about child support, the Act defines what the courts would consider to be a significant change in circumstances. In Illinois child support modification cases, a significant change in circumstances can include:

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,When you are going through a divorce, it can pretty much turn your life upside down. Though you may experience some stress and anger, there are ways that you can combat that stress and deal with your anger in a healthy way. Unfortunately, this is not what happens in all divorces. In some cases, one parent may have so much hate for the other parent that it overcomes the love that they have for their children. This is when parental alienation usually appears and it can be detrimental to your child’s wellbeing.

What Is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation occurs when one parent tries to turn the children against the other parent. Most of the time, this happens when one parent is so angry at the other parent that they use deprecating comments, false allegations, and bribery to try to get the child to turn against the parent. Both the mother and the father are equally as likely to be the alienated and alienating parent. Typically, parental alienation occurs in families in which one or both parents have a personality disorder, but parental alienation can happen in any family.

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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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