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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North Aurora property division attorney

Divorce is a major event that can change nearly every aspect of your life. Unsurprisingly, this is why divorce is considered the second-most stressful life event you can go through, while dealing with the death of a family member or friend is typically number one. During a divorce, emotions can run wild, changing the personality and demeanor of even the most steadfast people. It is easy to make mistakes during your divorce process because of this, but it is crucial that you try to avoid making the following mistakes whenever possible:

  1. Do not try to “DIY” your divorce. Although it is possible to get a divorce on your own without a lawyer, it is not recommended. Divorce is complicated, and an attorney can ensure you are aware of the laws that apply to you and your rights in the decisions involved in ending your marriage.

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DuPage County spousal support attorney

It can be freeing to finally have your divorce finalized. Changing your marital status from married back to single can have a big impact on many areas of your life. For instance, if you changed your last name when you got married and are now changing it back, you will want to pay close attention to your legal documents and make note of the ones that need attention. Although updating these essential documents may not be your first priority, proactively updating them can save you time and frustration in the long run. 

Legal Documentation

Although it may seem like there is a lot of paperwork involved in dissolving your marriage, updating forms can ensure that your rights are protected and you receive everything that you are entitled to. Here are a few important documents you may need to update after your Illinois divorce:

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North Aurora divorce attorney parenting time

Being a parent means you do everything in your power to give your children the best life possible. Unfortunately, spouses are not always in agreement when it comes to what is best for their children. Having differing opinions is nearly unavoidable, but these differences can get in the way when it comes to creating a parenting plan. If you are getting a divorce, and you have minor children, you and your spouse must draft this legal document, which contains vital information about parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities. Disagreements are a part of life, but a knowledgeable divorce attorney can help you resolve many of these issues.

Drafting a Joint Parenting Plan

Before you can finalize your divorce, you and your spouse must have a parenting plan in place. The parenting plan is like a game plan for how you will raise your children after the divorce. The two main components of a parenting plan are the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and the parenting time (visitation) schedule. Your parenting plan should also address issues such as each parent’s decision-making rights, where the child will spend certain holidays and school breaks, how and where parenting time transitions will take place, and how your child will be transported between households.

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North Aurora divorce attorney property division

By far, one of the things that couples state is the most stressful during a divorce is the financial aspect of the proceedings. When you get a divorce, you and your spouse must come to an agreement as to how nearly everything the two of you own will be divided. This includes both tangible items, such as vehicles and your marital home, in addition to intangible assets and debts, such as bank accounts and credit cards. The courts encourage you to come to an agreement about the division of your property among the two of you, but that is not always possible. If the court must intervene, a variety of factors will be used to determine an equitable distribution of assets.

Dividing Marital Property

If you are like most married couples, you and your spouse probably jointly own most everything. This makes things easier during a marriage, but during a divorce, it can complicate matters. If you and your spouse both have your name legally attached to items such as vehicles, homes, other real estate property, or credit card debt, it may be confusing when it comes to dividing the property. Because many of these items cannot just be split in half, some creative methods are often used to accomplish the division in a fair manner.

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North Aurora child support attorney

Getting a divorce is a stressful situation, with much of that stress stemming from the uncertainty of the situation. Once your divorce is finalized, you will have an agreement in writing for how issues will be handled moving forward. You and your spouse must create a parenting plan that will be followed as you raise your children. This may also include a spousal support and/or child support agreement, so you have a better picture of your future financial situation. However, what happens before you reach that step? During the divorce process, it is not uncommon for one spouse to move out of the family home, and you and your spouse will begin separating your finances and other aspects of your lives. During this time, temporary orders can be put into place to help alleviate some of the anxiety during the transition.

What Do Temporary Orders Address?

Illinois courts always believe that the best and most beneficial way to handle domestic disputes is for the parties to work together to come up with a solution. During a divorce, this may be difficult to do, which is when temporary court orders can come in handy. As you work to complete your divorce, you can ask the judge for temporary relief to address things such as parenting time or child support while the case is pending. When granted, temporary orders will typically remain in effect until your divorce is finalized. Common temporary orders can include:

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Oswego parenting time attorney

The ultimate goal of all parents is to make sure their children are happy and healthy. In cases in which parents are divorced or are no longer together, disagreements may arise when it comes to determining what is best for their kids. In divorce cases, you must address certain child-related issues, such as parenting time and decision-making responsibilities. Illinois courts strongly encourage couples to work together to come up with a plan for their family, but this does not always work. Sometimes, a parent will do whatever they can to get their way when it comes to the custody of the children. If it is known that a parent uses marijuana, the other parent may attempt to use that fact to their advantage. 

Marijuana Laws in Illinois

Medical marijuana has been legal in the state of Illinois since 2014. Those with a variety of qualifying conditions have been able to use cannabis as a way to treat certain diseases and conditions. At the beginning of 2020, recreational marijuana became legal for most adults in Illinois. As long as you are over the age of 21, you are legally permitted to purchase and consume cannabis in Illinois, although in certain amounts and in designated places. It is important to note that the drug still remains federally illegal.

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Kendall County parenting time attorney

The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we go about our daily lives in almost every aspect. Many states across the country have closed non-essential businesses, which include dining rooms for restaurants, movie theaters, non-essential retail businesses such as malls and clothing stores, and even many office buildings. These measures have been put into place to try to stop the spread of this new virus, also known as COVID-19. At the time of this writing, the United States has surpassed every other country in the world with the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. In Illinois alone, there have been more nearly 6,000 confirmed cases, with 99 deaths reported. Many people have been wondering how this pandemic will affect their family situations, such as parenting time, especially those parents who are divorced with kids who are splitting time between different households.

Understanding Illinois’ Stay-At-Home Order

In an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, many states have also enacted “stay-at-home” orders that prohibit citizens from gathering with other people who are not household members. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a statewide stay-at-home order that started on March 21, stating that individuals should only leave their homes for essential or life-sustaining services. Illinoisians are still permitted to leave their homes for things such as outdoor exercise, going grocery shopping, attending doctor’s appointments, and going to work at an approved essential business.

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North Aurora guardianship attorney

When you think of guardianships, you may think of a person who is legally appointed to care for a child when that child’s parents are unable to do so. While this definition is accurate, that is not the only form of guardianship. Some adults are also in need of guardians. In the state of Illinois, the probate court is entirely responsible for granting guardianships to adults in need. Illinois has some of the most progressive and protective laws concerning adult guardianship. Rather than deeming a disabled adult “incompetent,” as was necessary prior to 1979, the needs of adults are measured through a clinical report put together by the court, and their guardianship will be tailored to meet their needs.

Who Can Have a Guardian Appointed to Them?

Like other states, Illinois law presumes that those who are over the age of 18 are able to handle their own affairs. In some situations, however, a person may be incapable of making important decisions or taking care of themselves for various reasons. Illinois law may grant guardianships to people who are disabled because of:

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St. Charles child support attorney

The state of Illinois, like most other states, acknowledges that it is the duty of both the mother and the father to financially provide for a child. In situations where parents were married but got divorced or were never married but are now no longer together, child support is ordered to ensure the child is being provided with the essentials that he or she needs. Child support orders are legally enforceable orders, meaning someone can face consequences if he or she does not pay support as ordered. Unfortunately, this does not stop some parents from violating orders and refusing to pay child support payments. However, safeguards are put in place to help parents enforce and collect past-due child support that is owed to them.

 

What Happens When Payments Are Delinquent?

Once a parent becomes delinquent on child support payments, he or she will be in violation of the court's orders. If the other parent has not received child support payments on time or in full, he or she should work with a family law attorney to pursue enforcement of child support through the court. In many cases, the court will order that the paying parent's wages should be garnished, and an order will be sent to the parent’s employer requesting that they withhold an extra specific amount to cover the delinquent amount. Income will be withheld from the parent until the amount owed is paid in full. Any amount of child support that is owed must be paid in full, along with interest on past-due payments.

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North Aurora divorce attorney child issues

Each year, thousands of American children experience their parents' divorce. This can be difficult for many kids to process and understand, and it can lead to other issues that can be of great concern to parents. During a divorce, one of the most common things parents report as being worrisome is how their children will cope. While many children have the ability to adjust to the divorce with supportive parenting and guidance, some kids can still struggle. A child’s difficulty with coping with the divorce can manifest in many ways, some of which can be frustrating or confusing to parents. Here are a few signs that your child is having a hard time accepting your divorce:

  • Behavioral issues: Once of the most common signs that your child is not coping with the stress of divorce is through his or her behavior. If your child is exhibiting behaviors that are out of his or her normal way of acting, he or she may be suffering from the stress of the situation. This can manifest in a child returning to behaviors that he or she had grown out of, such as a school-aged child throwing temper tantrums. Another type of behavioral issue could be a child acting out in school or frequently getting in trouble for misbehavior.

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North Aurora spousal support attorney

Getting a divorce means a lot of changes will occur. One of the most noticeable is your change in income. Most married couples live and run their household off of two incomes. When you get divorced, you have to transition from sustaining a household under shared incomes to meeting your needs with your income alone. For spouses who have not worked during their marriage or who have recently entered the workforce, this can be problematic. People who make significantly less than their spouses may also be concerned about their ability to support themselves after divorce. In these cases, spousal maintenance may be awarded. But what happens when your situation does not fall under the normal guidelines for calculation?

Illinois Spousal Support Guidelines

There are a number of factors that can affect whether or not you receive a maintenance award. These factors can include the income of both you and your spouse, whether or not either of you were out of the workforce for a period of time, and each of your needs. If the court finds that an award is appropriate, and you and your spouse earn a combined income of less than $500,000, the court will follow normal guidelines. This means spousal maintenance will be calculated by taking 33.3 percent of the income of the paying spouse and subtracting 25 percent of the income of the receiving spouse. Maintenance will usually be paid monthly, but in some cases, it may be paid annually or in a lump sum at the time of divorce.

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North Aurora divorce attorney privacy

Although it is not impossible to have an amicable divorce, that is not always the case for some couples. Depending on the circumstances, it can be difficult to push your feelings about your spouse and the end of your marriage aside so you can work together peacefully. Divorce is a stressful situation that can, unfortunately, bring out the worst in some people. Some spouses can become controlling, and they may be tempted to spy on each other through the use of electronic devices. In these contentious situations, it is important that you take the steps needed to protect your electronic devices and the information stored on them from your spouse. Below are a few practical ways you can protect your privacy from your spouse’s interference.

Change Your Passwords

You may think that password-protected information is always safe. However, this is not always true. Even if you have passwords protecting devices like your cell phone, your computer, or different financial accounts, you should still change them to prevent your spouse from gaining access. This can be especially useful if you have previously used your spouse’s devices to log in to certain accounts, because password information may have been saved. Be sure to use unique passwords for each account, and choose passwords that your spouse will not be likely to guess. By ensuring that your spouse cannot access your accounts, you can prevent them from taking actions such as dissipating marital assets by transferring money from a joint account into a personal account.

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Aurora divorce attorney property division

There are two things that people are usually the most concerned about when they get divorced: their money and their kids. If you or your spouse has filed for divorce, a lot of time and effort may be spent worrying about finances during your divorce proceedings -- but that does not stop mistakes from happening. The money decisions you make throughout the legal process of ending your marriage not only affect the outcome of the divorce, but they can also affect the rest of your life. Here are a few common financial mistakes that are easy to make during your divorce and how you can avoid them:

Not Understanding the Difference Between Marital and Non-Marital Property

One of the first things you must do in your divorce is to determine what assets are and are not subject to division. In the state of Illinois, certain property is considered to be non-marital property, which is typically not divided in a divorce. These can be items or assets that you or your spouse each bought or received as gifts before your wedding. 

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North Aurora parenting time attorney

Some of the most common issues that arise after a divorce is settled are those related to the child(ren) the couple had together. Specifically, disputes over parenting time (visitation) can occur, and they can lead to a great deal of conflict between the parents. Because the decisions made during divorce are legally binding, a non-compliant parent can face a variety of legal consequences. 

Court-Ordered Parenting Time

When you get a divorce, the state of Illinois requires you to come up with a parenting plan that outlines all relevant issues regarding your child, including how you and your ex-spouse will share parental responsibilities and how parenting time will be split between the two of you. If you cannot come to an arrangement on your own, an Illinois judge will make the decision for you based on a variety of factors in the child’s best interests. Because the parenting time schedule specified in your parenting plan is required, approved, and sometimes even created by the court, this makes it a legally-binding court order. This means both you and your spouse must follow the terms of the order, or you could face being held in contempt of the court.

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Posted on in Divorce

Geneva divorce attorney

Depending on the source of statistics, anywhere between 40 and 50 percent of marriages in the United States will end in divorce. Many couples who are married also have children, and kids' well-being can be a significant cause of stress and worry for divorcing parents. Multiple studies have been conducted to determine the effects a divorce can have on kids. Psychological experts have stated that a divorce can have a significant impact on children’s lives, but it is important to realize that the impact does not have to be a negative one. There are many things you can do to ensure your children come out of the divorce in a good place. Below are a few common myths about divorce and children that can be dispelled.

Younger Children Are Not Affected By Divorce 

It has often been thought that young children do not really know what is going on during a divorce, and therefore, they are not affected as much as older children. If they cannot comprehend the situation, how can it impact them? While it is true that babies and toddlers do not really know what is happening during the divorce, that does not mean they do not feel the stress and tension that a divorce can bring. This is why it is important for parents to facilitate peacefulness and cooperation during a divorce.

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DuPage County legal separation attorney

Making the decision to end your marriage is not one that is usually taken lightly. For most couples, it takes years for the marriage to break down to a point that one or both spouses realize it would be for the best to no longer stay together. Getting divorced is a final, absolute process that cannot be reversed once it is completed. Because of this, many couples turn to a less permanent form by legally separating before they make the decision to get divorced. A legal separation can be a useful tool for many couples if they are unsure they want the finality of a divorce.

Legal Separation Versus Divorce

At face value, a legal separation looks very similar to divorce. However, the outcomes are very different. When you obtain a legal separation, you must meet the residency requirement of living in Illinois for at least 90 days prior to filing. Next, you must file a petition to separate, which must include proof that you and your partner are living separately from one another. The two of you can then address issues such as spousal support, division of property, child support, and child custody.

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North Aurora child custody attorney

Sharing children with another person is one of life’s greatest pleasures, but it can also make for some difficult situations. In particular, if you and your spouse decide to get a divorce, you will always be connected, since you are both still parents to your kids. Although this may be comforting to some, it can be intimidating for others, especially if you do not get along with your ex. It can be challenging to co-parent with your ex-spouse after a divorce, but it is crucial to do so for the sake of your children.

Things You Should Do

Achieving successful co-parenting with your spouse depends on how well you and your spouse are willing to work together and how committed you are to your children. To achieve successful co-parenting, you should:

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Geneva marital property division attorney

Divorce is not a simple process, even if you and your spouse are on good terms with one another. There are many issues you have to think about, from dividing assets to allocating parenting time to ensuring you receive the right amount of child support. When it comes to splitting up your marital assets, both spouses are required to give full disclosure about their assets and debts. However, there are several important issues that are often overlooked or forgotten when it comes to dividing marital property. 

Marital Property Division

When it comes time to create a list of your assets and debts, you probably have a good idea of what should be included. Assets include things such as bank accounts, real estate, vehicles, and other items of value. Debts include money that is owed on mortgages, auto loans, school loans, or credit cards. However, many people often overlook assets that are not as prominent as others.

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North Aurora divorce attorney

Since mid-January, we have been bombarded with cards, heart-shaped chocolates, and a whole lot of red and pink every time we walk into a store. Valentine’s Day is regarded mostly as a “greeting card” holiday, but celebrating it can bring a little fun into those cold winter days. For people who have gone through a separation or a divorce, however, February 14 is just another day to remind them that their romantic relationships have not worked out so well. Although it can be painful to be reminded of love, you do not have to spend the day moping. Instead of being miserable on Valentine’s Day, below are a few ways you can make the holiday fun again.

Spend Time With Family and Friends

The best way to get through the day is to surround yourself with your friends and family members. Going through a hard time is always much easier when you have a good support system. Plan a night out with your friends, siblings, or cousins and make a point to focus on them and not the couples around you.

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Batavia parenting time attorney

"Divorce" and "peaceful" are probably two words that you never thought you would put in the same sentence together, but a peaceful divorce is not as rare as you might think. Amicable divorces are beneficial to everyone involved, especially if you have children. Having a peaceful divorce does not just happen by chance -- you have to not only want it to happen, but you also have to work hard to make it a reality. Although it takes two cooperating spouses to achieve a truly amicable divorce, there are certain things you can do to encourage a tranquil resolution. Below are a few tips to attain the ever-illusive harmonious divorce, which can help everyone with this major life transition. 

Be Respectful to One Another

There are a number of common reasons why couples get divorced, some of them being addiction issues (gambling, drugs, or alcohol), infidelity, or even domestic violence. Even though these issues can make it difficult to maintain respect for your spouse, keeping a mutual level of respect between the two of you is important to having a smooth divorce. Arguing or disrespecting your spouse in front of your children can make kids feel like they have to choose sides, which can be detrimental to their emotional well-being. The breakup of the family unit is traumatic enough, so do not add extra stress on them. 

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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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