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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Kendall County prenuptial agreement attorney

When you tell people that you and your spouse have signed a prenuptial agreement, some may react with surprise. There are many benefits to getting a prenuptial agreement before you are married, but some people still feel a negative stigma against such documents. Although you may not have imagined your marriage would end in divorce when you were drafting the prenuptial agreement, it has now come to that point. Prenuptial agreements usually dictate how certain assets and property are divided in the event of a divorce, among other issues. However, if you no longer think the agreement is fair, can you do anything about it? It is important to know your options for contesting a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement if you find yourself getting divorced. 

Examining Your Prenup

Prenuptial agreements are legally binding documents, but they can be challenged. If you believe that your prenuptial agreement is not valid, you should contact your divorce attorney right away. He or she will be able to bring your concerns to the judge and will be able to help you examine the reasons why it would be unenforceable. Once the issue is brought to the court’s attention, a judge may invalidate specific sections of the agreement or even throw out the entire agreement. Here are a few common reasons why a prenuptial agreement may be found invalid:

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DuPage County asset and property division attorney

Engagement rings are common in today’s society for couples who plan to get married, but they have not always been. The first engagement ring was given in the 1400s, but they did not become popular in the United States until the 1940s when the De Beers Company launched the famous “Diamonds are forever,” campaign. Now, many couples see purchasing an engagement ring as an investment, with the average cost of an engagement ring in the United States being somewhere around $6,324, according to Business Insider. In the state of Illinois, the average cost of an engagement ring is a little higher at $7,110. Along with the wedding band, these can be highly sought items when the property is divided in an Illinois divorce.

Marital and Non-Marital Property

When it comes to property division, Illinois recognizes that there is a difference between marital and non-marital property. Only marital property is subject to division in a divorce. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), all property that is acquired by each spouse during the marriage is considered to be marital property. However, there are exceptions to that rule. For example, property that is obtained by either spouse through “gift, legacy, or descent” or property acquired in exchange for such property is considered to be non-marital property and therefore not subject to division.

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Geneva divorce attorney narcissism

When you think of the word “narcissist,” you may think of someone who is completely obsessed with his or her looks, who is a know-it-all, and who believes they can do no wrong. While this definition is certainly not false, narcissism is an actual clinical mental illness, characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a sense of entitlement, and an unwillingness to display empathy for others. Divorcing a narcissist is an entirely different ballgame than divorcing a mentally stable person, because a narcissist will take every opportunity he or she can to make the process as difficult as possible. Having an experienced attorney on your side who is skilled in dealing with highly contentious divorces is essential to surviving your divorce. Here are a few other tips to help if you are divorcing a narcissistic spouse:

  1. Understand Your Spouse Is Not Going to Play Fair

You want to believe that your spouse would never do anything to hurt you or your children. Sadly, a narcissist who is going through a divorce will often do whatever he or she can to cause you pain and suffering. Your spouse will do all that is in his or her power to “win” and will aim to make your life as miserable as possible. He or she will try to wear you down on certain issues, so it is critical that you stay strong and do not back down on matters that are important to you. 

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Geneva dissipation of assets attorney

When a married couple plans on getting divorced, the last thing they may feel like doing is cooperating with each other. Even though they might not be on the best of terms, communicating and working together may be the best tactic to take for everyone involved. Even Illinois courts urge couples to try to work together with their attorneys to make decisions about their divorce. If a couple is unwilling or unable to compromise or come to a resolution, the court will have to intervene and make decisions for the couple based on Illinois law. Asset division can be tricky, and the exact laws that apply to this situation might be different from what most people think.

The Division of Assets Is Not Always 50/50

Many people think that the asset division process is simple and that each spouse will get exactly half of everything they own together. While this may be true in some states, Illinois practices what is called “equitable division.” This means that each spouse will receive a portion of the marital estate that is considered fair and just. To achieve an equitable division, the judge will look at a variety of factors to determine what each spouse should receive. Some of these factors include each spouse's income-earning potential and whether or not one parent gave up a career to stay home and raise children. In addition, the parent who is allocated the majority of the parental responsibilities may receive the marital home, since the children will reside there most of the time.  

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North Aurora child support attorney order modification

The state of Illinois believes that both parents have the responsibility to financially support their child, even if a parent does not necessarily have an active relationship with him or her. This is why child support exists. In Illinois, child support is ordered in most divorce cases, but it can also apply to situations where the parents of a child are not married. Child support is determined using a formula and a set of rules that take into consideration the number of children you have, both parents' income, and how much it costs to cover the child’s necessities. Typically, child support orders are entered during the divorce process or if the parents are unmarried when the couple splits. Life is unpredictable, and sometimes circumstances change from what they were when the child support orders were first created. In situations such as this, you may find yourself asking, “Can I change the support order?”

Eligibility for Modification

When a child support order is entered, you are required to pay child support until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. If you wish to modify the amount of child support you pay each month, you have to meet certain requirements. Before your child support orders can be amended, one of the following must be true:

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Geneva spousal maintenance attorney

We have all heard the common statistics that approximately half of all marriages end in divorce. While the divorce rate for first marriages lingers somewhere between 40 and 50 percent, the divorce rate for second or third marriages is much higher. Studies have shown that second marriages have an estimated 67 percent divorce rate, while third marriages are even higher, with an estimated 73 percent of these unions ending in divorce. Many people often wonder why the divorce rate increases with the number of marriages, since most would think people would have learned from the mistakes that led to their first divorce. Below are a few issues that experts have pinned down as being possible reasons why more marriages do not equal more success:

People Rush Into Marriages

One speculation as to why second and third marriages do not last very long is because people have a tendency to get married more quickly when they are divorced. After going through a divorce for the first time, there is a rebound period that people typically go through. This is a good opportunity to spend some time on their own, although many people choose to date during this period. Marriages during this time are less likely to succeed, unless a couple was together for two years or longer before they decide to wed again.

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Batavia parenting time attorney

When you get a divorce and you have children, it can feel like the proceedings will never end. Even after all is said and done, and the divorce decree has been issued, the drama can still continue for years. As parents, you will never truly be separated from one another, and the two of you will always be connected by your children. Because of this, it is no surprise that co-parenting can be one of the biggest sources of stress for divorced couples after their marriage has ended. Most couples want to make co-parenting as beneficial to the children as possible, which is why more and more couples are using technological solutions to help manage child custody concerns. Below are some of the most useful and popular apps and websites that can help take some of the worries out of co-parenting.

Google Calendar

One of the most popular ways co-parents stay in touch is by using a shared Google Calendar. This is accessible through a website or an app, and it allows both parents to keep tabs on different events and shared commitments that involve the children. Parents can even use the calendar to keep track of other events that might require a change in schedule.

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Yorkville spousal maintenance attorney

For many couples who are contemplating a split, the divorce process may seem overwhelming and rather complicated. While it is true that the divorce process can be a difficult one, it is not impossible. Getting help from a knowledgeable Illinois divorce lawyer is the easiest way to ensure you receive a fair settlement in your divorce. There are various stages of an Illinois divorce, many of which are multi-faceted and can become lengthy in certain situations. Even though the divorce process can seem daunting at first, a positive outcome is achievable, and divorce can ultimately benefit everyone in your family in the long run.

Filing a Petition for Divorce

The first step in getting a divorce is to file a petition for divorce at the courthouse in the county in which you reside. Filing a petition is simply a way of saying you are asking the court to allow you to dissolve your marriage. To file this type of legal document, you must have lived in Illinois for at least 90 days, and you must pay a filing fee. The state of Illinois only recognizes one “grounds” for divorce now -- irreconcilable differences. This means your marriage has broken down to the point of no return, and attempting to reconcile would not be in the best interests of the family. You can prove this by living apart from your spouse for at least six months prior to filing the petition for divorce.

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DuPage County parenting plan attorney

Many people who are unhappily married with children worry about how a divorce will affect their kids. Some of them end up “staying together for the kids.” It would be naive of anyone to think that a divorce does not affect your children -- studies show that it clearly does. However, those effects are often short-term concerns that, with proper attention, will eventually dissipate. Staying together for the kids often has a more lasting effect on the children, and it can actually do much more harm than good in the long run. As more information becomes available about the impact divorce has on children, more parents are making the decision to split up for the sake of everyone. After the split, you will notice changes in your children as they try to make sense of the event. The following are three tips for parenting after your divorce that can help you manage this transition. 

Never Make Your Children Choose Between You and Your Ex-Spouse

One of the worst things you can do is to force your children to choose between their parents. Not only is this completely unfair, but it can also be damaging to your kids. Even though you and your spouse are no longer together, you are both still and will forever be parents to your offspring. Your children have the right to maintain close and loving relationships with both of you.

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DuPage County asset division attorney

There are many things that you share with your spouse when you are married. For some people, one of the most stressful parts of divorce is figuring out what you and your spouse have to do to finalize the legal process and disentangle your finances. Before you start dividing up your assets and debts, you and your spouse must determine which of your assets are considered marital property and which assets will remain personal, non-marital property. In cases in which one spouse receives an inheritance during the marriage, the inheritance is usually considered to be non-marital property and resides with the spouse to whom it was given. However, this may not always be the case, so it is important to understand how these types of assets are handled in an Illinois divorce.

Marital and Non-Marital Property

In the state of Illinois, there is a distinction between marital and non-marital property. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, anything that a couple acquires during the marriage is considered to be marital property, aside from a few exceptions. One of those exceptions includes “property acquired by gift, legacy, or descent,” and inheritances fall into this category. In these instances, inheritances are typically not included in the marital estate alongside other property that is subject to division. With that being said, there are still some situations in which inheritance might still be subject to division during a divorce.

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Yorkville gray divorce attorneyDivorce rates are often changing and vary depending on the source of your information. Although the general divorce rate is anywhere between 40 and 50 percent, one statistic that can be agreed upon is that the divorce rate for Americans over the age of 50 has doubled since the 1990s. Gray divorce, or divorce that takes place when someone is 50 or older, can be devastating for many people, particularly because gray divorces often end marriages that can be decades long. Spouses in these cases have special considerations that should not be forgotten when going through the divorce process, especially related to financial matters. If you are going through a divorce later in life, here are a few mistakes to avoid:

Not Understanding Your Finances

In any marriage, it is not uncommon for one spouse to have a better understanding of the couple’s finances than the other. While this type of arrangement might work during a marriage, it will certainly not work in a divorce. If you are the partner whose knowledge of the family’s finances is unclear, you need to get a better picture of what your finances actually look like. Review all of your bank accounts, investment portfolio, and any debts that you owe before you begin dividing your property.

Clinging to the Family Home

There are many reasons why a spouse would want to keep the marital home after a divorce. For some couples, the thought of moving their children out of the family residence is unfavorable. For older couples, the sentiments attached to the home may cause them to hold on when their finances say they should let go. First, get an accurate appraisal of the home’s worth. Then, figure out if you can afford to keep the home on your own.

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Aurora divorce attorney finances

As much as marriage is an emotional and cultural bond, it is also very much a legal and financial partnership. When you are married, as far as the state of Illinois is concerned, what is yours is also your spouse’s, and vice versa. Although keeping finances completely separate is not impossible during a marriage, it is somewhat rare. When you get a divorce, untangling your finances can be a huge headache for both you and your spouse. For some people, divorce can even be the beginning of financial downfall -- but it does not have to be. Below are a few tips you can follow to help yourself maintain a sense of financial stability during and after your Illinois divorce.

Create a Post-Divorce Budget and Manage Your Expenses

One of the first things you should do is create a rudimentary budget to use after your divorce. If you are still early in the divorce process, you may not know exactly what all of your expenses or income will be after your divorce, but you do know that you should expect some changes. Keep in mind that you will have to budget for one income only, and you will probably have to determine new living expenses. This is also a good time to look at your spending habits and see where you can cut back. 

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Oswego spousal maintenance attorney

There many issues that can break up a marriage -- infidelity, lack of communication, a difference in values -- the list goes on. One of the most commonly cited topics of marital stress is money. The stress does not end once the marriage is over, though. The majority of married couples plan their lives around two incomes. When a couple gets divorced, suddenly both spouses now have to figure out how to balance their lifestyles with their newly single-income household. In some cases, one spouse simply does not earn enough to survive or enjoy nearly as comfortable a lifestyle as he or she did before the divorce. In certain situations, spousal maintenance may be awarded, which can help alleviate this financial burden.

Will I Be Awarded Spousal Maintenance?

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), there is no guarantee that spousal maintenance will be awarded in any divorce case. If you think that you deserve to receive spousal maintenance, you must file a petition with the court to have your case heard. It is up to the judge to decide whether or not a spousal maintenance award (commonly known as alimony) is appropriate for your case. Before the judge makes his or her final decision, he or she will consider all relevant factors in your case. These include, but are not limited to:

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Batavia child support attorney

The “standard” for American families has changed over the years. Even just 20 years ago, the “normal” U.S. family consisted of a mother, a father, and one or two children. Now, families come in all sizes and configurations. According to data from the Pew Research Center, an estimated 18 million U.S. children are living with a single parent. Being a parent can be difficult even when you have another partner, but being a single parent is especially challenging. Here are a few tips you can use to help ease yourself into single parenthood after a divorce:

Get Your Finances in Order

It is no secret that raising a child comes with a rather large price tag. Most married parents have two incomes at their disposal to help pay for some of the expenses associated with raising a child, but after a divorce, you may only have your own income to rely on. This is when child support is typically awarded to ensure that the parent with the greatest share of parenting time will be able to provide for children's daily needs. In some cases, spousal support may also be awarded. It can also help to create a budget for you and your child so you can plan what your monthly expenses will be and relieve some of the worries.

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St. Charles divorce attorney

For centuries, women have been taking the surnames of their husbands after they walk down the aisle. While in the old days, this was for purposes of man and woman “becoming one,” many modern women also take their husband’s surname because it follows tradition and further solidifies the creation of a family. This can be one of the reasons why some women may want to switch back to their maiden name after a divorce. Similar to the process you went through when you initially changed your maiden name to your husband’s last name, the name change process is a legal procedure that can require a significant amount of paperwork and patience. 

Keep Things Simple

With everything that comes along with divorce, going through court proceedings to change your married last name back to your maiden name can seem cumbersome. This is why the state of Illinois also allows you to include name change information in your divorce decree. This is the easiest way to reinstate your maiden name, because there is no extra legwork involved in this. You can use your divorce decree as proof of your name change. If you do not include your name change in your divorce decree, it can still be changed, but you will just have to go through a few extra steps.

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DuPage County child support attorney

Both parents have an obligation to financially support their children, even if one parent is considered “custodial” while the other parent is “non-custodial.” Because of this, child support exists in the majority of cases that involve parents who are divorced, legally separated, or who were never married in the first place. Child support is intended to be used to help pay for the child’s necessities, such as food, clothing, and shelter. If a parent is subject to a child support order, he or she is legally obligated to make the stated monthly child support payments; otherwise, serious consequences could result. When a parent does not abide by child support orders, it can put a financial strain on the custodial parent, but fortunately, there are steps you can take for enforcement if your child’s other parent has failed to make child support payments.

Defining Failure of Support

If a parent is having a bad month financially, and child support payments are late or delayed, typically no action will need to be taken, as long as the paying parent is able to pay the amount due within a reasonable time period. However, if non-payment has become a pattern, and the parent has not made multiple payments, legal action may need to be taken. A parent is considered to have committed failure to support if he or she does any of the following:

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Geneva order of protection attorney

Divorce can be an extremely stressful life event. In fact, it is widely known that divorce or separation is the second most painful transition for a person to experience, only behind the death of a loved one. Even if you and your spouse are on the same page about the split, it still involves quite a bit of emotional and legal stress, which can manifest in different ways. In many cases, however, divorce is not completely mutual, and one spouse can be very opposed to the divorce. In these situations, things can elevate to the point that a person feels that he or she or his or her children are in danger based on the other spouse’s actions. When this happens, it may be appropriate to file an order of protection to feel safe.

What Is an Order of Protection?

An order of protection is a legal document that can help you and your family if you are experiencing abuse or threats of violence from a family or household member. According to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, a family or household member can include:

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Geneva parenting plan attorney

Getting a divorce can be a daunting task. There are many issues that you must address before you can finalize your divorce, and it can become even more complicated if you have minor children. Divorcing with kids can be overwhelming because of the emotional toll it takes on the entire family. One of the most important issues to resolve is how your children will be cared for after the marriage ends. In Illinois, a parenting plan is required by all couples who file for divorce and have minor children.

Parental Responsibilities in an Illinois Parenting Plan

Before your divorce can be finalized, Illinois law requires that you and your spouse have an agreed-upon parenting plan filed with the court. The parenting plan is a written agreement of how you and your ex-spouse will raise your children now that you are divorced. This legal document contains information about how parenting time will be split between the two of you, but also how parental responsibilities will be handled. At a minimum, Illinois parenting plans should address the following when it comes to allocating decision-making responsibilities:

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Batavia parenting plan attorney

Divorce is filled with issues to settle and decisions to make, which can pose a challenge for some couples, especially if they are not on the best of terms. All couples argue about things from time to time, but divorcing couples have often reached the point where disagreements become heated very quickly and can elevate to all-out wars. When it comes to decisions involving the children, these arguments can become even more hostile, and resolving them can be a very emotional process. If your divorce reaches the point where you have to go to court to come to a resolution on matters related to the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, you will need to convince the judge that you will be able to provide for your children's best interests. There are certain things that you should avoid doing when you are fighting for a favorable parenting plan:

Resist the Urge to Complain on Social Media

Social media is present in many peoples’ lives these days. In divorce cases, it can become a tool in your ex’s arsenal to use against you if you are posting the wrong type of things on your timeline. Even if you are just sharing a photo of yourself and your new partner, your ex could use it in a negative way, perhaps by claiming that you are more focused on your new relationship than on your children's best interests. Be extremely cautious of what you post online during your divorce proceedings, and above all, do not post anything directly pertaining to your case.

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Aurora dissolution of marriage attorney

Statistics on the divorce rate are often vague and difficult to understand, and they may change depending on the source you consult. While some sources state that more than half of marriages end in divorce, others estimate that the divorce rate is actually somewhere between 40 and 50 percent. While the numbers can be debated, most sources agree on a few of the most common factors that are prevalent in many divorces. While these factors are not a guarantee that your marriage will not stand the test of time, their presence has been linked to the increased probability of divorce. Here are a few of the most common elements that can affect your odds of marital success:

  1. You Were Young When You Got Married

Many studies conducted have concluded that getting married at a very young age can be a predictor that your marriage will not last. A study in the Journal of Marriage and Family concluded that those who were married in their teens or early 20s had a higher chance of getting divorced than couples who waited until they were in their late 20s or 30s. This may be due to a lack of maturity or simply growing apart as spouses get older. 

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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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