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


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Recent blog posts

IL divorce lawyerFacing the end of a marriage is never easy, and it comes with a range of emotions. Navigating the legal divorce process in Illinois can be overwhelming and financially challenging. Taking the right steps to protect yourself and begin rebuilding your life is essential.

Update Legal Documents and Accounts

After divorce, reviewing and updating your legal documents to reflect your new circumstances is crucial. This includes revising your will, trust, power of attorney, and other estate planning documents. Similarly, update beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other financial assets to ensure they align with your post-divorce intentions.

Assess Your Finances

Divorce can have a significant impact on your financial situation. Start by creating a comprehensive budget that reflects your current income and expenses. Consider seeking the assistance of a financial planner to help you manage your finances effectively and plan for the future. Take stock of your assets and debts, and make necessary adjustments to your financial accounts and credit cards.


IL divorce lawyerDealing with a divorce can be a tough emotional journey, which may take some time to heal and come out of. Although there is no fixed duration for the healing process, knowing the legal aspects and possible emotional effects can be helpful. This blog post will discuss various factors impacting the recovery timeline following a divorce in Illinois.

The Legal Process: Timeframe and Considerations

The length of the divorce legal process can differ based on the intricacy of the case. In Illinois, a minimum of six months is required for a divorce to be granted by the court, starting from the day the divorce petition is filed until the final divorce decree is authorized. The timeline of the legal process for divorce can be prolonged due to factors like child custody arrangements, property division, and spousal support. To ensure your rights are safeguarded, and the process is carried out smoothly, it is crucial to seek the guidance of an experienced family law attorney.

Emotional Healing

Every individual’s emotional healing process is unique, and navigating the emotional aftermath of a divorce can take considerable time. The recovery duration varies depending on several factors, including the length of the marriage, the presence of children, the level of conflict during the divorce, and the individual’s emotional resilience. It is important to understand that healing takes time, and getting help from therapists, support groups, or trusted friends can offer valuable emotional support.


Can You Delay a Divorce in Illinois?

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce proceedings in Illinois can be a challenging and daunting experience. Sometimes people need more time to think about their decisions and whether they want to try reconciling. In such cases, it is possible to temporarily postpone a divorce. This post will explain the legal process and conditions for delaying a divorce in Illinois.

Filing for Divorce in Illinois

To initiate a divorce, one spouse must file a petition for dissolution of marriage with the appropriate circuit court in the county where either spouse resides. The petition formally requests to terminate the marriage and outlines the desired outcomes regarding property division, child custody, support, and other relevant matters.

Legal Grounds for Delaying a Divorce

In Illinois, there are various legal reasons why a divorce may be postponed. According to the regulation, the period of reconciliation can take up to a year, although some judges may only permit six months. Even after the completion of discovery and temporary motions, the trial date for a divorce could be postponed for months, depending on the court’s case schedule.


IL divorce lawyerWhen a spouse cheats, it can be very damaging to a marriage. It causes emotional pain and can make it hard to trust again. Some people may wonder if they can take legal action against their unfaithful spouse in Illinois. This blog post discusses the possibility of suing a cheating spouse in Illinois, providing information about the legal system and things to consider if you are dealing with this situation.

Understanding Illinois Divorce Laws

Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, meaning the court does not require a spouse to prove fault or misconduct to grant a divorce. Courts focus on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, rather than assigning blame for the failure. This approach is aimed at promoting amicable resolutions and efficient proceedings while protecting the parties involved, especially when children are part of the equation. In other words, infidelity alone is not grounds for divorce in Illinois.

Civil Lawsuits for Infidelity

While Illinois law does not permit spouses to sue each other solely on infidelity, there are limited circumstances where a civil lawsuit may arise due to a spouse’s extramarital affair. For example, if the cheating spouse has spent substantial marital assets on the affair, the affected party may be able to pursue a claim for the dissipation of marital assets. This typically requires evidence of significant financial misconduct, such as using marital funds to finance the affair. To provide evidence in such cases, spouses often rely on financial records and sworn testimony.


IL divorce lawyerDivorce is a difficult and highly emotional process. It often requires making decisions that have long-term financial, legal, and social consequences. When going through the divorce proceedings in Illinois, there are numerous mistakes you should avoid to ensure the best outcome for yourself and your family. This article will discuss common mistakes to avoid during an Illinois divorce proceeding.

Letting Emotions Get in the Way

Although divorce is a highly emotional process, controlling your emotions during the legal procedures is crucial. Your emotions can hinder rational judgment and push you towards decisions that might not be favorable for you. To ensure the best outcome, it is critical to concentrate on the matters at hand and collaborate with your lawyer to build a plan grounded on facts rather than feelings.

Failing to Understand Your Financial Situation

Divorce can significantly impact your finances, so it is essential to clearly understand your financial situation before and during the divorce proceedings. This includes understanding your assets, debts, income, and expenses. Not knowing your financial circumstances can result in a settlement, not in your favor.


IL divorce lawyerIt is not only the choice to end your marriage that will be difficult; there will also be other challenging decisions to make during the divorce proceedings. One of the most critical choices you’ll need to make is if to go for mediation or litigation for your Illinois divorce. While both processes can help resolve, each has pros and cons that must be weighed. This article will discuss the critical differences between mediation and litigation so that you can decide which is suitable for your situation.

Mediation in Illinois Divorce Cases

Mediation is a voluntary process where a neutral third-party mediator helps the parties reach mutually agreeable solutions to their divorce issues. It can be a more cost-effective and efficient alternative to litigation, but both parties must agree to participate.

Mediation is suitable for couples who prefer working together to resolve their issues and want to avoid the costs and duration of litigation. Some divorce cases in Illinois require mediation, mainly if there is a dispute over child custody. The court can mandate mediation before a trial for parties involved in such cases.


IL family lawyerIf a parent has a substance abuse problem, it can seriously impact a child custody case. Suppose you are involved in an Illinois child custody case and are worried about how substance abuse may affect your situation. In that case, it is essential to have a clear understanding of the potential impact. Here’s what you should be aware of.

Substance Abuse and the Best Interests of the Child

In Illinois, the court’s primary consideration in a child custody case is the child’s best interests. When one parent has a substance abuse problem, the court will consider several factors to determine what is in the child’s best interests. These factors may include:

  • The nature and extent of the substance abuse problem
  • The parent’s ability to provide a safe and stable environment for the child
  • The parent’s willingness to seek treatment for the substance abuse problem
  • The impact of the substance abuse on the child’s physical, emotional, and mental health
  • The parent’s ability to meet the child’s medical, educational, and emotional needs
  • The parent’s history of abuse or neglect of the child or other family members
  • The parent’s criminal history, if any, related to substance abuse

How Substance Abuse Can Affect Custody Determinations

When one parent has an alcohol or substance abuse problem, it can affect custody determinations in several ways. For example, the court may:


IL divorce lawyerDuring a divorce in Illinois, inheriting assets can cause conflict between couples. It is possible to protect your inheritance by taking specific steps. Here are some essential points to consider.

Understand Illinois’ Property Division Laws

In Illinois, when a couple divorces, the assets are divided fairly, but not necessarily equally, based on the principle of “equitable distribution.” If you inherit assets, they are generally considered separate property and are not subject to division in a divorce. However, if you mix the inherited assets with marital assets or use the inherited funds for marital expenses, your spouse may be able to claim a portion of the inheritance.

Keep Your Inheritance Separate

Keeping your inheritance separate from your marital assets is crucial to safeguard it. This involves not mixing your inheritance with marital property and keeping it in an account under your name. Also, do not use the inherited money for any marital expenses, as it can invite a claim from your spouse for a share in the inheritance.


IL divorce lawyerGoing through a divorce can be difficult and can take a toll on you emotionally. Updating your estate plan during this time can make things more complicated. It is essential to examine and validate that your will, trust, power of attorney, and beneficiary designations are accurate for your current situation and that your assets are safeguarded in line with your desires.

Updating Your Estate Plan

One of the most important things you can do is review and update your estate plan while going through a divorce. This process involves evaluating your will, trust, power of attorney, and named beneficiaries to make sure they match your current reality and protect your assets according to your wishes.

Without updating your estate plan, you may find yourself in a situation where your ex-spouse is able to take control of assets that were meant for someone else after your death. This could include inheritances, IRAs, health insurance plans, and more.


IL divorce lawyerDivorce can be challenging, particularly when there are children involved. The difficulty increases when the children have special needs, as they need extra care and resources. With the right resources and knowledge, you can go through a divorce with less overwhelm. Here are some areas you should know about.

Child Custody and Support

When parents with special needs children divorce in Illinois, determining child custody and support is a significant issue. The child’s well-being is the top priority when custody decisions are made. This considers the child’s physical and emotional needs, the parent’s capability to care for the child, and the child’s bond with each parent.

If a special needs child needs more care or support, it can affect how custody is handled. The parent who has been the main caregiver and has a close relationship with the child may be more likely to get primary physical custody. However, joint custody may be a better option if both parents have been equally involved in the child’s care.


Signs Your Spouse May Be Hiding Assets

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IL divorce lawyerA divorce entails much more than simply the ending of a marriage. Parties must also divide and allocate property or assets earned throughout the marriage. This can often be a difficult task for parties. This process involves thorough and thoughtful negotiation, however, if the parties are going through a difficult divorce, then there might be some fear that a party may be hiding assets from the other. Hiding assets is not only unlawful, but if caught, it can significantly impact the overall outcome of the divorce. If you believe your spouse could be hiding assets from you, knowing what to look out for is essential so you can act on it promptly.

Things To Look Out For

Almost every aspect of a divorce revolves around finances. In some cases, a spouse will try to get an advantage by undervaluing certain assets, overvaluing debts, or even failing to disclose assets. If you are getting a divorce and fear that your spouse may be trying to manipulate the outcome by hiding assets, here are some things to look out for:

  • Keeping financial matters a secret - If your spouse keeps financial information from you, such as bank passwords, or even hides or destroys financial documents, this is a major red flag to look out for.
  • Financial transactions - One way spouses may hide money from a spouse is by transferring money from one property to another. They may even try to lend money to a friend or family member to keep it from being brought up in the divorce. This is something to keep an eye on and look out for.
  • Business transactions - If your spouse owns a business, there are many ways for them to commit and hide fraud during a divorce. If you notice an unusual shift in their business, such as the business dropping or a sudden increase in expenses, your spouse may try hiding money within their business.
  • Unusual cash withdrawals - If you notice that your spouse is taking out large sums of money or making random, expensive purchases, this may be a sign of financial dishonesty. Hiding money during a divorce can be as easy as a spouse taking out cash or buying expensive items to return or sell later. Watch out for any costly purchases or withdrawals during the divorce.
  • Items are missing - Spouses who want to hide expensive assets from the other party may remove items from the marital home and hide them away so that they will not come up during the divorce. If you have expensive items within the home, such as jewelry, art, or anything else that may be worth a lot of money, getting them in order and knowing where they are is essential.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

At the The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we understand how just alone the overall process of divorce can be and how difficult it can become if you believe that your spouse is hiding assets from you. Lying about assets can dramatically change the divorce outcome; it is crucial to work with an experienced divorce lawyer and take the swift action needed to protect your assets. Contact an Aurora divorce lawyer today at 630-409-8184 and arrange an initial consultation. You do not have to go through this alone.


Parental Allocation In Illinois

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Il custody lawyerDivorce can be a very taxing thing to go through, especially if there are children involved. It is in the best interest of both parents and the child for the parties to negotiate and work together to negotiate the best way to decide custody. Each parent should create a parenting plan, either together or separately, that outlines how they want to share parental responsibilities and parenting time. An IMDMA's parental allocation follows the general concept of custody but allows for more flexibility and detailed arrangements. Under Illinois law, caretaking functions include:

  • Supervising the child’s safety and well-being
  • Providing meals, bathing, grooming, and clothing
  • Providing transportation to school, activities, or appointments
  • Obtaining medical care or treatment for the child
  • Monitoring the child’s academic progress
  • Help with homework, studying, or other school-related tasks
  • Communication between parties on issues related to parenting time or visitation
  • Attending meetings with teachers, counselors, or other professionals
  • Arranging or providing extracurricular activities

When deciding on your parenting plan, it is in the child's best interest for both parties to negotiate calmly and think about what will give your child the best life and opportunities. If the parties disagree on what they feel is best for their child, the court will ultimately decide what they believe is best.

Parental Responsibilities

Parental responsibilities refer to how significant decisions about the child's education, health, religion, and extracurricular activities will be handled. These things can be jointly decided upon or separately.


Understanding Property Rights in Illinois

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IL divorce lawyerIn Illinois, the division of assets is split equitably between the two parties. However, things can get complicated when distinguishing between marital property and non-marital property. Everything that is gained and bought during a marriage may be considered to be marital property. But, under unique circumstances, what is considered equitable may vary. It may be in the parties' best interest to work together, as well as with an experienced divorce attorney who can help navigate through this process and help make sure that your property and assets are protected from division.

Property Rights

Property purchased, sold, or owned by a married couple is similar to a single person who does these things. Once a party files for divorce, the court prohibits both of them from disposing of property in any way without the court's permission. The court will decide the right way to divide the property.

Marital Property

Anything that has been purchased within marriage is considered marital property. As stated before, all marital property is split equitably between parties in Illinois. Some examples of these things are:


What Is a No-Fault Divorce in Illinois?

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IL divorce lawyerIn January 2016, Illinois changed how divorce laws perceived "fault" grounds for divorce. Before the change, things such as impotence, polygamy, adultery, abandonment, substance abuse, or felonies were just a few things someone would need to prove to be granted a divorce. The only ground for divorce now is irreconcilable differences, making Illinois a no-fault state. This can be relatively straightforward if the parties have lived separately for at least six months. This is a good first example of what it could mean to have irreconcilable differences, although its definition varies. However, if the parties have not been living separately, do not worry because a judge does consider that sometimes during a divorce that there can be various reasons as to why a party may not be able to live separately during this time, whether it be financial reasons or family reasons, the judge will consider this

What Is a No-Fault Divorce?

A no-fault divorce means there does not need to be a specific reason why two people have decided to separate. It is easy to think that a divorce must have meaning. However, that is not the case. The choice to get a divorce is both subjective and personal. Responsibility for the end of a marriage will not play a role in how assets are divided and typically does not affect other decisions made during the divorce. Divorce is a difficult thing to go through, and it can cause a lot of hurt feelings on both sides. However, from a legal standpoint, the reason for a divorce is not relevant.

Details of a No-Fault Divorce in Illinois

Another element to be aware of when having a 'no-fault' divorce case is there is a waiting period. There used to be a waiting period of up to two years for a divorce to be filed under the grounds of irreconcilable differences. However, now there is no waiting period for irreconcilable differences. If both parties are willing to negotiate, mediate and cooperate, the divorce process should not take much time. How long the divorce process takes ultimately depends on how the parties participate.


IL divorce lawyerIf there have been changes to your child’s needs or a parent’s financial situation, modifying your child support order might be necessary. An Illinois child support order can be reviewed for modification every three years. Still, if there are significant changes in circumstances, the court may allow the modification to happen before the three-year mark. You must file the correct paperwork when deciding to make modifications. A child support attorney can help.

Grounds for Modification

The court will then listen to your case if it has one of the following:

  • A substantial change in either parent’s financial situation
  • It has been at least three years since the child support plan was put into order
  • If the previous order did not address healthcare coverage for the child
  • If a written request is for review by DCSS from a custodial parent, non-custodial parent, or another state

Reasons For Modifications

Child support orders can only be modified if there have been considerable changes in circumstances. This may need clarification, as the law does not explicitly outline what that could mean. Below are a few examples of changes that may require child support modifications.


How to Prepare for an Illinois Divorce

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IL divorce lawyerGetting divorced can be a challenging time in many people’s lives. It is essential to be prepared for the many difficult aspects of divorce. The more prepared you are the swifter and easier the divorce process will be. It is in your best interest to work alongside an experienced divorce attorney and to have things prepared before you begin the divorce process.

What Kind of Divorce Do You Want?

There are a few different types of divorce processes that couples can go through.In Illinois, divorce is recognized as:

  • Uncontested divorce
  • Contested divorce
  • Mediated divorce
  • Collaborative divorce
  • Joint simplified dissolution

Each divorce process has advantages and disadvantages; depending on a person's circumstances, some divorces will not be available. It is vital to do research before settling on a divorce process.


Myths About Getting Divorced

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IL divorce lawyerWhen getting a divorce, making decisions based on reliable information is essential. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there that could make this process more complicated and confusing. Each step of the divorce process will involve several legal, financial, and practical considerations. It is essential that you know what information you are getting and where you are getting that information from. Working with an experienced divorce attorney can help you from making mistakes that may later cause significant difficulties within the divorce process. Below are a few myths to consider if you are considering a divorce.

You Need A Reason

Illinois is a no-fault state, meaning you do not need a specific reason to divorce. If you have decided to end a marriage, that is enough to support a divorce filing. You can still file for divorce even if you and your spouse are not on the same page.

Adultery Is Irrelevant During A Divorce

While Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, adultery can still impact your divorce process. Under certain circumstances, if adultery took place during the marriage, that could affect the financial aspects of the divorce as well as the determination of child custody.


IL divorce lawyerWhen dividing property during a divorce, it is crucial to begin this process by deciding if the property is marital or separate. Marital property usually entails assets or debts a couple has acquired throughout their marriage. Separate properties are assets or debts that a spouse acquired or owned before marriage.

Separate Property

Separate property is anything that was acquired before the couple married. Gifts and inheritances are separate property, as well. If any of these income-producing properties increase, that income may still be considered separate property, depending on the circumstances. There is no division of separate property during a divorce. A few common examples of separate property include:

  • The property was given to a spouse as a gift or inheritance
  • Property obtained by a spouse in exchange for property a spouse may have acquired before the marriage or by gift or inheritance
  • Property cultivated by a spouse after the marriage has legally ended
  • Any property excluded from the marital estate within a prenuptial agreement
  • Property obtained by judgment and awarded to one spouse from the other
  • Property that was acquired before the marriage

Marital Property

Marital property includes anything that was purchased within the marriage using marital funds. Spouses can change marital property into separate property within a written agreement, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Marital and separate property can also be combined, referred to as “commingling.” Spouses can decide to combine their separate assets. For example, if one spouse owns a home before they are married, but during the marriage, the house can become marital property if both spouses agree to pay the mortgage and other expenses. If during the divorce the couple cannot agree on how their assets and property should be divided, then a judge will decide how the marital estate should be divided.


IL family lawyerSome specific orders and laws must be followed when it comes to being a guardian, whether to a child or an adult. A ‘disabled person’ is someone who is eighteen years or older and who is unable to manage themself mentally or physically. Being the guardian of a disabled adult is a serious responsibility and requires a person to be given control of all aspects of another person’s life. A guardian must act in the best interest of the ‘ward’ (otherwise known as the person who the court has declared as a disabled adult who has been appointed a guardian). They must avoid any conflict affecting the ward and are expected to seek out and rely on financial and legal assistance when appropriate.

A Guardian's Basic Duties

Under the law, a guardian has primary duties they must follow. They will be responsible for any personal or medical care the ward requires. They may also have physical custody of any children that the ward may have who depend on the ward for support and maintenance. A guardian will need to make decisions for the ward’s personal and healthcare and any living arrangements. A guardian will also be required to file written reports on the ward’s current condition, living arrangements, any activities they spend their time doing, and a summary of the guardian's contact with the ward. It is up to a judge or attorney to determine how frequently the court will require the guardian to make these reports.

The Limitations of a Guardian

There are a few limitations for a guardian that are only allowed with the court's permission. However, the ward also has the right to modify and terminate the terms of the guardianship. A guardian must receive a court order if they want to put the ward in a residential facility, such as a nursing home or a mental health facility.


IL family lawyerEqual treatment is essential when it comes to American law. Married and unmarried parents both have the same parental rights and obligations. When people have children while unwed, things can become complicated if they decide to end their relationship. Enforcing these rights and responsibilities can add to the situation's complexity. No matter the case, Illinois laws are made to look out for the child's best interest.

What Happens When Unmarried Parents Decide to Part Ways?

Unmarried couples typically live under agreements in which they decide upon themselves. If they choose to part ways, then they must establish paternity. Similarly, they should also decide on child custody and support issues. Unmarried couples do not have the same rights as married couples. When married couples get divorced, their marital property is equitably distributed between them. However, being unmarried means that these couples will need to decide what is ultimately in the best interest of not only themselves but their child.

Legal Custody

When unmarried parents decide to end their relationship, the child's mother may automatically have sole legal and physical custody of the child depending on what steps have been taken prior to the breakup by the parents. This allows the mother to be in charge of making the crucial decisions surrounding their child’s welfare. A mother with sole legal and physical custody of a child is in charge of the following:

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


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

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