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IL divorce lawyerIf you and your partner decide that the best way to go forward is to get a divorce, your biggest fear may revolve around how difficult and taxing the process will be and potentially become. While it is true that many divorces become stressful and complicated, if both parties are willing and able to cooperate and negotiate, you can reach a resolution that satisfies both parties. For parties to get an amicable divorce, they should approach it in a way that prevents any future conflicts from taking over.

Ways To Reach an Amicable Divorce

Being able to have an amicable divorce relies on the behaviors of both parties. Here are a few ways that can make an amicable divorce more likely:

  • Couples therapy - In most cases, couples will attempt couples therapy before deciding on a divorce, but if, even after the decision, both parties are willing to attend couples therapy, it could save the marriage. If not, couples therapy can help the parties better understand each other's needs and wants for the future.
  • Working on communication - Amicable divorce depends on two people being willing to speak freely and respectfully to each other. Each party should work on communication with each other and be able to express their needs and wants clearly. Each party should also be willing to listen to each party's perspective and work to identify solutions that meet both parties' needs and desires.
  • Children's needs - Focusing on a party's child's needs and wants can help prevent the parties from approaching their divorce with selfish intent. It can also encourage parties to seek solutions that impact the entire family in a positive sense. It is essential to focus on the influence that a divorce will have on the spouses and how it will influence their children.
  • Collaborative solutions - Sources such as mediation can help parties maintain an amicable divorce, leaving the significant decision-making power in the hands of someone who can guide you through this stressful time. Mediation can help parties create productive communication.

Contact a Kane Divorce Lawyer

At the The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we understand how an amicable divorce can provide many positive benefits for couples and their children going through a divorce. We can provide you with the legal counsel you may need to ensure you are making good decisions without resorting to strategies that may cause conflict. Contact an Aurora amicable divorce attorney today at 630-409-8184 and arrange an initial consultation. You do not need to go through this alone.


Pursuing Your Parental Rights in Illinois

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IL family lawyerUnder Illinois law, if you are the biological parent of a child but do not have parental rights for that child, you may want to consider filing for the allocation of parental responsibilities. If married to the parent with sole guardianship of the child, you are entitled to parental rights. However, if you are not married to this parent, you will have to obtain parental rights from the court and prove that it would be in the child's best interest for you to have parental rights. A judge will consider many things when deciding whether to allow this. A judge will focus most importantly on what is best for the child but will consider the wishes of both parents as well—considering financial and health benefits or disadvantages, as well as if there is any potential for abuse or violence by granting parental responsibilities.

Requirements for Parental Responsibilities During a Divorce

Seeking parenting during a divorce requires parents to attend a parenting class. This class's primary focus is on teaching parents how to avoid hurting their children during their divorce. Both parents must complete this class within two months after being ordered by a judge. Once accomplished, a judge will make the ultimate decision.

Obtaining Parental Responsibilities

Without a court order, the parent with sole custody has every right to deny parenting time to the other parent. The first step in getting a court order will be to file a petition for the allocation of parental responsibilities with the court. This petition must include basic information about both parents and the child and a detailed description of why they are requesting custodial rights. After filing the petition, they must serve it to the parent with sole guardianship and ask the court for a hearing date. At the hearing, they will present their case for requesting parental responsibilities. If the other parent disagrees, they will share why they believe the other parent is undeserving of custodial rights and parenting time. The judge will ultimately decide the decision.


Kane County spousal maintenance attorneyAlimony, which is referred to as spousal maintenance in Illinois, is financial support that may be granted to an ex-spouse who cannot fully provide for their own needs. If an ex-spouse makes a lower income, or in some cases no income at all (for example, a stay-at-home parent), they may be entitled to support from their former partner. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act details the criteria that may determine when alimony may be awarded. There are four different types of alimony that may be available in a divorce:

Temporary Alimony 

Temporary alimony is financial support granted to one spouse while the couple’s divorce is pending. This support is intended to cover a spouse’s living expenses, and it is typically awarded in situations where the parties have decided to no longer live together during the divorce. Temporary alimony ends once the divorce is finalized, and if necessary it may be replaced by a more permanent form of spousal support.. 

Fixed-Term Alimony 

Fixed-term alimony is granted to a spouse for a set duration. This is awarded typically when a person cannot currently financially support themselves, and it will give them time to become self-supporting. Fixed-term spousal support may be granted in circumstances such as: 


DuPage County child custody attorneyWhen determining how to handle issues related to child custody in the state of Illinois, parents are usually encouraged to attempt to share custody. Parents can work together to create a parenting plan that fully details all of the legal and physical custody decisions for the child. If they are unable to negotiate terms that they both agree with, then they may be required to participate in court-ordered mediation. In these situations, a certified mediator will help the parents communicate, negotiate, and attempt to find agreements that will work for both of them. 

If disagreements cannot be resolved through mediation, then the court will make the ultimate decision. These decisions will address both physical and legal custody. Legal custody, known as the allocation of parental responsibilities, determines how parents will make the major decisions in the child’s life. Physical custody, known as parenting time, will determine when children will spend time with each parent in their day-to-day life. When how legal and physical custody of a child will be divided between parents, the court will first and most importantly consider the best interest of the child. Several different factors will be considered when making these decisions. 

Legal Custody 

When the court is determining how parental responsibilities will be allocated between parents, the following factors will be considered: 


Termination of Parental Rights in Illinois

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Geneva Family Law AttorneyThe termination of parental rights is a major decision and should not be taken lightly. In some cases, parental rights are surrendered voluntarily, while in other instances, the court makes the decision that a biological parent is unfit to maintain their parental rights. Typically, termination of these rights can be decided during an adoption or juvenile case. There are multiple ways in which a court may determine if terminating a parent’s rights is in the best interest of the child. 

How Does a Court Determine a Parent to be “Unfit”?

Nearly everyone has different parenting styles and beliefs when it comes to raising a child. However, some parents may be neglectful or abusive toward their children. In these cases, a court may determine that they are unfit to continue parenting their child or children and terminate their parental rights. Some of the factors that may contribute to parental rights being terminated include:

  • The parent has abandoned the child


Different Types of Illinois Protective Orders

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St. Charles Family Violence LawyerProtection orders are court orders that are placed with the intention of protecting an individual or individuals from an abusive person in their household or family. These orders are governed under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA). Originally passed in 1982, the IDVA brings legislative recognition to the gravity of domestic violence by providing a wide range of protection to victims. We will be discussing three different types of protective orders: civil no-contact orders, orders of protection, and stalking no-contact orders. 

Civil No Contact Orders 

A civil no-contact order requires that a person who has committed sexual assault or abuse stay away from the person they assaulted. Any person who is a victim of non-consensual sexual conduct or penetration is eligible to petition for a no-contact order, regardless of age, blood relation, or romantic interest. If you are a minor or an adult with health issues that prevent you from filing yourself, you may have a parent or trusted adult file on your behalf. Filling out this petition may require someone to share details or proof of the assault. Additionally, an advocate at your local rape center can help with filling out this petition. 

Order of Protection 

An order or protection requires the person who committed the domestic abuse to stay away from those they have abused. Family or household members are eligible for this protection if they are related by blood or marriage to the abuser, share a home with the abuser, have a child with the abuser, have some sort of romantic relationship with the abuser, or are high-risk adults with disabilities. Anyone who has been abused, threatened, or deprived of necessities can ask for an order of protection. 


Kane County family law attorneyGoing through a divorce is a difficult and taxing process. After completing the stressful divorce process, a person may hope to finally be able to put this experience behind them. However, there are situations where issues related to divorce may arise later. Divorce settlements strive to address the current and future needs of the parties involved. 

There is, however, consideration for parties to make modifications that may be necessary over time. Family and financial circumstances often require renegotiation at certain times to meet present needs. This follows if one of the parties does not fulfill the terms of the divorce settlement. In this case, the other party needs to pursue legal options for enforcement.  


In the state of Illinois, either party is allowed to petition the court to make changes to existing family law orders related to concerns such as child custody, visitation, child. support, or alimony. These orders can be modified when it is necessary divorce orders, but for the court to grant these modifications, the party requesting these changes must have a valid reason for wanting to make these changes.They must prove that there have been significant long-term changes in the life of one or both parties, including;


How Property Is Divided in an Illinois Divorce

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Kane County divorce lawyerWhen people get divorced, most assume that they will have to divide their assets. However, many do not fully understand the rules and procedures for doing so. The good news is that with help from a qualified attorney, the process can be relatively straightforward in many cases.

Asset Division Considerations

The first step to dividing property is determining what is marital property and what is separate property. Separate property is defined as assets that were accumulated by an individual before the parties were legally married. Marital property includes assets and debts that have been accumulated by one or both parties during the marriage, with limited exceptions for gifts and inheritances.

Examples of property that could be considered marital include: 


kane county parenting time lawyerIn Illinois, visitation is now called “parenting time.” Courts typically assume that it is in the child’s best interest for them to spend quality time with each parent, as long as this poses no risk to the child’s safety and well-being. However, there are also situations in which the courts may place conditions on parenting time, such as requiring a parent to abstain from drugs or alcohol prior to and during parenting time. 

Who Has a Right to Parenting Time? 

The biological parents of a child typically have the right to spend time with that child. However, if unmarried parents have a child together, a parent may need to establish parentage before gaining parental rights. For example, if an unmarried woman gives birth, the father must establish paternity before he gains the right to petition the court for parenting time and parental responsibilities.  Parentage or paternity may be established through a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) document, an administrative process through the Illinois Department of Health and Family Services, or a judicial process through the court.

When Can a Court Restrict a Parent’s Visitation Rights? 

Visitation or parenting time is not for the parents, but for the child.
Courts avoid restricting parenting time unless a restriction is needed to protect the child’s wellbeing. The following are examples of situations that may justify a parenting time restriction: 


aurora divorce lawyerIllinois is an equitable distribution state, meaning that each party is entitled to a fair share of marital assets. Marital assets are items that were acquired while the parties were married. It does not matter if it was simply one of the parties that were making these purchases, if it was purchased or earned during the marriage, then both parties are entitled to it. The exception to this is if the asset was obtained through inheritance or gift.

High-value marital assets are one of the biggest issues that prolong divorces and make them more complex than they need to be. If the parties are willing to discuss these matters with a level head, they may be able to negotiate a fair divide between their assets. If they cannot reach an agreement, the court divides marital assets according to the “equitable distribution” doctrine.

Dividing High-Value Marital Assets 

When going through a divorce with high-value assets, both parties need a full understanding of all the assets they own and acquired during their marriage and the value of these assets. The value of these assets is often up for debate, so it is recommended to have them professionally valued by an appraiser. Here are some important assets that the spouses may need to address: 


Parenting Time Restrictions In Illinois

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kendall county parenting time lawyerThe term “parenting time” is described as the time a parent uses to look after their child after a divorc. It is recommended that both parents negotiate a parenting time agreement that is in the best interest of everyone. If they cannot agree, the court will be the one to determine what is best for the child. However, if there are safety concerns for the child spending time with one or both of their parents, then the court may order parenting time restrictions. In 2016 Illinois law changed making it more challenging to restrict parenting time. Illinois law defines a restriction of parenting time as; “any limitation or condition placed on parenting time” Illinois courts only order a parenting time restriction if unrestricted parenting time would “endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.”

When Is Restricted Parenting Appropriate? 

The judge will be the ultimate decider regarding parenting restrictions. The parent who is seeking to restrict the other parent’s parenting time must be able to prove their concerns in court. Here are a few situations in which restricted parenting might be appropriate: 

  • The parent has been convicted of a violent crime, especially if the crime was directed toward a child


The Basics of a Collaborative Divorce 

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aurora divorce lawyerAccording to the Illinois Collaborative Process Act (ICPA), “collaborative process” is defined as a “procedure intended to resolve a collaborative process matter without the intervention of the court.” Collaborative divorce involves two parties who are willing to work and respectfully nnegoiate all issues outside the courtroom. A collaborative divorce attorney will represent both parties. The collaborative process consists of multiple meetings in a non-adversarial environment that helps to allow both parties to see eye-to-eye on the looming issues with their divorce, such as the division of assets or parenting time. Collaborative divorce is not for everyone, especially couples who refuse to work together. But, if the parties can work together, a collaborative divorce allows both parties to focus on their needs to move forward into the future. 

What to Expect in a Collaborative Divorce

If the parties decide to go forward with a collaborative divorce, each spouse, along with theirr respective lawyers, will sign a participation agreement. This agreement means that all parties will agree to try and solve all marital issues with respectful negotiation. This process focuses purely on each party’s specific needs and interests. If any children are involved, then their best interests will also be a main focus. Once an agreement has been reached, the collaborative lawyers will draft the necessary paperwork and submit the written agreement to the court for approval. If the parties are unable to find an agreement, then the collaborative process will be terminated. 

Unlike a traditional adversarial divorce, a collaborative divorce can cost less and be settled more quickly. This will depend on how well both parties can participate and navigate their circumstances. 


The Basics of Uncontested Divorce in Illinois 

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kendall county divorce lawyer Divorce is a difficult experience for everyone. You are not only grieving the separation of your family, but now you have to navigate the complicated legal process of divorce. However, if you and your spouse can converse, negotiate, and agree you might be able to work together to proceed with an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is one of the fastest, easiest, and least expensive ways to get a divorce in Illinois.

What is an Uncontested Divorce? 

In Illinois, an uncontested divorce has both spouses agreeing on important issues within their divorce. These issues may be about properties, debts, alimony or ‘spousal maintenance”, child custody, child support, and parenting time. 

If you meet specific requirements, there is an even faster form of an uncontested divorce that spouses may seek out. This is a “joint simplified dissolution”, however in order to file for one, you must meet all of the following:


Qualifying For Alimony In Illinois

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illinois spousal maintenance lawyerIn the state of Illinois, alimony, or spousal support, are regular payments made to an ex-spouse from another ex-spouse. These payments are separate from those made for child support. These are meant to help financially support the receiving party who may need further education or financial support until they can gain the skills necessary to become self-sufficient. When addressing matters relating to spousal support, working with an experienced divorce attorney can help your chances of achieving a positive outcome. 

When Is Spousal Support Ordered?

In Illinois, there are two ways in which a spouse can be granted spousal support, called “spousal maintenance” in the law. Either the party can decide on a spousal maintenance arrangement through an agreement or it can be ordered by a judge. When considering a spousal support order during a divorce, a judge will consider many factors and circumstances. These things include: 

  • Each party's current and future income


kane county divorce lawyerFormerly known as alimony, spousal maintenance is established through an agreement between the spouses or a court order. Courts do not always award maintenance. Each divorce is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. A divorce attorney knowledgable in spousal maintenance laws can help you understand your potential maintenance entitlement or obligation during your divorce.

Formula to Calculate Spousal Maintenance

Illinois court utilizes a formula to calculate the amount of spousal maintenance one may be awarded: Twenty-five percent of the payee's net income is subtracted from 33.33 percent of the payer's net income to find the annual maintenance obligation. The maintenance must not surpass 40 percent of the combined income of the divorcing spouses.

The duration of spousal maintenance is usually determined by the duration of the marriage. For example, with a 10-year marriage, the petitioning spouse may be awarded maintenance for four years.


aurora divorce lawyerEstablishing an agreeable parenting plan can be complex and contentious, especially if the divorce is acrimonious. Parenting plans include the allocation of parental responsibilities, which entails essential decision-making, like the child’s education and healthcare. Parenting time, formerly known as visitation, is also included in a parenting plan. The best interest of the child is always paramount under Illinois law. A child custody attorney adept at negotiation can help draft an agreeable, surefire parenting plan.

Parenting Plan under Illinois Law

From the divorce filing date, parents have 120 days to file a projected parenting plan with the court.  If the parents are unable to provide a tentative parenting plan, they may obtain an extension through court-ordered mediation.  When an agreeable parenting plan is not reached by the court-ordered date of extension, the judge may rule on the disputed elements of the parenting plan. The status of the parenting plan then transfers into an allocation of judgment. Once an agreeable parenting plan is established, that plan will be permanent and cannot be changed for two years except in rare cases.

Common Components to Include in a Parenting Plan

  • Specify the allocation of each parent’s decision-making responsibilities.


aurora divorce lawyerMany people assume that they will be granted a more favorable divorce settlement if their spouse cheated on them or they were otherwise wronged by their soon-to-be-ex. However, Illinois is a no-fault divorce state. Divorcing spouses do not need to show proof of marital misconduct like infidelity or mental cruelty to be granted a divorce. In most cases, the reason that the marriage is ending does not matter to Illinois courts. That being said, reckless or wasteful financial decisions during the marriage can impact the outcome of the divorce.

How Illinois Courts Divide Property

Divorcing couples in Illinois may be able to reach an agreement on how to divide their shared property without the court’s involvement. However, if the couple cannot reach a settlement, the court will divide their property according to a legal doctrine called equitable distribution. Property is divided fairly based on many factors, including both spouses’ financial circumstances. Illinois law specifically states that courts will divide marital property without regard to marital misconduct. For example, courts cannot award less marital property to a spouse solely because that spouse cheated on or abused his or her partner. However, there is one major exception to this rule: If a spouse dissipated marital assets, the non-dissipating spouse may be entitled to reimbursement.  

Dissipation of Assets Claims for Wasted Assets

The term “dissipation” refers to wasteful spending or use of marital property. Specifically, Illinois law defines dissipation of assets as the use of marital property for the sole benefit of one spouse during a marital breakdown.


Credit Card Debt During Divorce in Kane County

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kane county divorce lawyerCredit card debt is a common burden that afflicts many Americans. Out of frivolity or necessity, credit card debt can be easy to accumulate.  In fact, as of 2022, the credit card debt of American citizens has risen to $925 billion, which is a 15 percent increase from 2021. When a divorcing spouse discovers, unbeknownst to them, that their spouse has accrued debt from one credit card or multiple credit cards, the divorce can become acrimonious. The equitable division of assets can also become even more convoluted than a divorce involving financial transparency. 

Under Illinois law, most credit card debt is considered marital property as the non-offending spouse will be obligated to pay. A divorce attorney adept at identifying marital assets, which include debts, can evaluate your case and help strategize for a reasonable settlement.

Instances Where Credit Card Debt is Non-Marital

  • Legal separation – Any credit card debt accrued after a legal separation is considered non-marital. 


kane county divorce lawyerAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2020, more than 40 percent of all births were out-of-wedlock. Sometimes the paternity of the father of out-of-wedlock births is unknown. Other times, for whatever reason, a mother may purposely keep the paternity private from the father. Unless paternity is established, the mother retains all legal rights to her child. A paternity attorney with expertise in advocating for parental rights can evaluate and explain the legalities of your case and help you create an effective parenting plan

Six Benefits of Establishing Paternity

The advantages of establishing paternity can benefit both the mother and father but is most especially invaluable for the child. Some benefits of establishing paternity include the following: 

  1. Establishing paternity enables and fosters a relationship between the father and child.


Proving Dissipation During Divorce in Kane County

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aurora divorce lawyer Dissipation of assets involves a spouse intentionally wasting marital assets or damaging marital property after the marriage is irretrievably broken. This vindictive transgression is common among contested divorces and comes in many forms. If a spouse is proven to have dissipated marital assets during divorce proceedings, they may be ordered to reimburse the marital estate. A divorce attorney with expertise in asset dissipation and equitable property division can help substantiate a spouse’s flagrant waste of marital assets and strategize an appropriate divorce settlement.

Dissipation of Assets According to Illinois Law

To allege that your spouse engaged in asset dissipation, you must submit a written notice filed 30 days after discovery or within 60 days of the divorce proceedings. The written notice must detail the assets dissipated and the marriage breakdown date. Once the dissipation is established, the court will order the offending party to compensate their ex-spouse with either money or marital property to offset the assets squandered. The court will examine the following two inquiries.

  1. Acquiescence – Did the petitioning spouse know of and agree to the dissipation?

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


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

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