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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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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North Aurora uncontested divorce attorney

Many people’s idea of what a divorce entails is entirely formed by the experiences of people around them and what they see in movies and television shows. When you think of a divorce, you might remember how your aunt and uncle went head to head in a divorce case that lasted for two years, or you might recall television shows such as Divorce Court and how argumentative the divorcing couples could be. In reality, many divorcing couples are not as contentious as you might expect. Some couples are able to put their differences aside and complete their divorce in a peaceful and relatively simple manner. In situations like these, you may be able to file for an uncontested divorce. However, an uncontested divorce may not be for everyone.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

In the simplest terms, an uncontested divorce occurs when both spouses can resolve the marital issues of their divorce without taking their case to court. Most divorces involve major issues such as:

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DuPage County divorce lawyer

Making the decision to end a relationship is never easy. Coming to the conclusion that a divorce is the only option typically takes months, if not years, and the possible end of your marriage can be a very stressful time of your life. It has often been said that marriages do not just break -- they deteriorate over time. If you are unhappy in your marriage, you may be wondering if it is time to call it quits, but it can be difficult to be certain that it is the right choice. Often, there are red flags throughout the marriage that you should be aware of that may indicate your marriage is not working. While there is no magic answer as to whether you should get a divorce or not, below are some warning signs that could indicate that it may be best to end your marriage.

One (or Neither) of You is Putting in the Effort

Successful marriages do not just happen. For you and your spouse to be happy in a relationship together, you have to want it. You have to get up every day and work for the marriage that you want and need. When one or both partners get to the point where they do not want to work on the marriage anymore, it could be a sign that the marriage is beyond saving.

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Batavia co-parenting attorneyGetting divorced when you have children brings about a wide variety of issues, worries, and concerns. Not only do you have to figure out how you will share parental responsibilities and how you will divide parenting time, but many parents also worry about how their children will be affected emotionally by the divorce. Statistics on this topic can be difficult to analyze; some sources say that divorce is detrimental to the mental and emotional health of children. While this can be true in some situations, a majority of experts agree that your children can grow up happy and healthy as long as they are able to experience a healthy co-parenting relationship between their parents. Co-parenting can be trying, even for parents who are amicable, but a peaceful relationship is not impossible.

Successful Co-Parenting Depends on Collaboration

You have heard it before, and you will most likely hear it many times during and after your divorce — cooperation and communication are key to success after divorce with children. You cannot hope to have a healthy co-parenting relationship with your ex if you do not know how to compromise or talk with each other effectively. Make it a habit to keep in regular touch with your ex about your child’s life, and always include him or her in important decisions.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

There are dozens of apps and websites available that were created to help people in your exact situation. So much of the success of your co-parenting relationship is dependent on communication, which also happens to be one of the hardest aspects of co-parenting. Using technology can help you and your ex discuss child-related issues. Websites such as Google Calendar can help you keep track of appointments and events for your child. Other companies such as Our Family Wizard have websites and apps to manage almost everything involved in co-parenting, such as parenting time schedules and expenses.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Kane-County-family-law-lawyer.jpg-min-1.jpgNot all marriages have a happy ending. In fact, depending on the source you consult, around 40 to 50 percent of all first marriages in the United States end in divorce. If that statistic was not sobering enough, the divorce rate only increases for people who are married Kendall County a second and even a third time, with numbers soaring to somewhere around 60 to 65 percent of marriages ending in divorce. Though the statistics suggest that the odds are against you when it comes to remarriage, everyone deserves to be happy and find a partner with whom they can spend their life. Having a successful second marriage is not impossible; you just need to plan accordingly before you walk down the aisle a second time. Below are a few things you should keep in mind before you get remarried:

Be Truthful

First and foremost, you should be sure that you divulge everything of importance to your future spouse before you are married. You should be open and honest about all of your assets, credit history, debts, and other obligations. If you have obligations to provide child support or spousal maintenance to a child or spouse from a prior marriage, tell your new partner about them. Getting everything out in the open and being honest is the first step to a successful marriage.

Decide How You Want to Keep Your Assets

Second or subsequent marriages often include spouses who are bringing significant property and assets into a marriage. Make a list of each of your major assets and how you would like to use them or how they will be handled after your death. You and your spouse should decide how you want to handle all of your assets going forward. Will you have a joint bank account, or will you both still keep separate bank accounts? Which assets are important to separate?

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Aurora-divorce-lawyer.jpg-min.jpgGetting a divorce involves dividing up almost everything you and your spouse own together, and the family home is no exception. For many couples, dealing with the family home is a point of contention, because it is often one of the most valuable marital assets to be divided. When you and your ex-spouse must figure out what to do with your home, there are typically three solutions that you could pursue: sell the home and split the profits, continue co-owning the home together, or have one spouse keep the home. There are many situations in which one spouse will want to continue living in the family home, especially if there are children involved. If you have come to the conclusion that you want to keep your home, you must then figure out how that can be accomplished. The following are a few steps you should take if you want to keep your house after your divorce in Illinois:

Figure Out What the Home Is Worth

Before you decide on anything, you have to figure out the value of your home and how much you will need to perform a buyout. First, you and your spouse should come up with a figure that you both can agree on as far as how much the house is worth. If you and your spouse cannot agree on a figure, you should hire a property appraiser to determine the home’s value.

Next, you will have to determine each spouse’s share of equity in the home. To do this, you would take the home’s value and subtract how much is still owed on the home. The resulting figure is the amount of equity you have in the home. Then, you will have to decide how much of that equity each spouse owns. In Illinois, property is divided in an equitable manner, meaning you do not necessarily each has a 50/50 share in the equity of the home, but your share should be fair.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Aurora-divorce-attorney.jpg-min.jpgSocial media is a large part of many people’s everyday lives. With the invention of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, it has become easier than ever to keep in touch with the people you care about and connect with new people all over the world. Although social media has its perks, it can also be a nuisance in some people’s lives, especially in delicate situations such as divorce. During your divorce, how you use social media can make or break you. You do not necessarily have to stop using social media completely during your divorce, but you should be very aware of what you post online. Here are a few social media mistakes that you should avoid making at all costs during your divorce:

Do Not Reveal Too Much About Your Life

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to overshare on social media. During a divorce, there are several things that you and your spouse must agree upon, including property division, spousal support, and parenting time. These things can all be negatively impacted if you share contradicting or concerning information on social media during divorce negotiations.

For example, if you claim you need spousal support to survive after your divorce, but you are posting photos of you taking lavish vacations or buying expensive items, your claim could be questioned in court. Posting photos showing you performing illegal or inappropriate acts could cause the court to question your fitness as a parent or could serve as evidence that your spouse could use against you.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Aurora-family-law-attorney.jpg-min.jpgNow that the end of fall is nearing, the weeks will start flying by, and the winter holidays will be here before you know it. While this time of the year is for celebrating, it can prove to be a difficult time for many families, especially for children whose parents no longer live together. Every parent wants to spend special days and holidays with their children, but the reality of co-parenting is that there will more than likely be situations in which your children will be with their other parent instead of with you. Parenting time schedules are often different during the holidays, and adjusting them can be difficult. Here are a few common ways parents can split parenting time during the holiday season:

  • Change holidays every other year: One of the most common parenting time agreements is having the children spend holidays every other year with each parent. For example, if the kids spend Thanksgiving with their mother this year, then the next year they would spend that holiday with their father. This ensures that not more than one year passes before a parent can spend a holiday with their child.

  • Split the holiday in half: Another popular parenting time agreement during the holidays is to split the day between both parents. This can be beneficial for parents who both want to spend time with their kids on one day, but it also requires proper planning to ensure each parent actually has adequate time with the children.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Batavia-divorce-lawyer1.jpg-min1.jpgThe legal concept of “dissipation” refers to wasteful spending that takes place near the end of a couple’s marriage. When Illinois couples divorce, their marital estate is divided according to equitable distribution. When one spouse’s wasteful or reckless spending decreases the value of the marital estate prior to divorce, a dissipation claim can help the other spouse regain the value of the lost or wasted property. Many types of irresponsible spending can be considered dissipative, including a spouse who spends money on an addiction or substance abuse problem. Read on to learn about when a spouse’s addiction can contribute to dissipation and what to do if you wish to file a dissipation claim.

Defining Dissipation in Illinois Law

Illinois statutes and case law define dissipation as the use of marital assets “for the sole benefit of one of the spouses for a purpose unrelated to the marriage” when the marriage is nearing divorce. Put another way, dissipative spending occurs when a spouse who is getting divorced uses marital funds or property in a way that only benefits him or her. The reckless spending must take place when the marriage is undergoing an “irretrievable breakdown” in order to meet the legal definition of dissipation. Generally, a marriage is considered to be undergoing a breakdown when the couple is no longer attempting to work out their issues or salvage the marriage.

Dissipative Spending Can Include Funds Lost to an Addiction

There are many types of irresponsible spending that can constitute dissipation. Money spent by a spouse on gifts for a secret lover may be considered dissipative. Funds spent on a gambling addiction or compulsive shopping problem may also be an example of dissipation. Substance abuse and alcoholism can also fall under this definition. If you bring a claim of dissipation against your spouse, you must file a notice with the court identifying the following information:

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Geneva grandparent visitation lawyerDivorce can be a troubling time for all families, whether they are a tight-knit family or not. When a family is close to one another, going through a divorce can be even more difficult. If a divorce is especially contentious or heated, relationships between family members can break down, and children can be used as tools to hurt other relatives. Illinois agrees that all parents have an inherent right to spend time with their children; however, this is not the case for grandparents. Thankfully, there are certain non-parents -- including grandparents -- who do have the right to petition for visitation in certain circumstances.

Who Can File a Petition for Visitation?

Only certain people are permitted to file a petition for visitation in Illinois. According to Illinois law, only grandparents, great-grandparents, step-parents, or siblings can file a petition to be granted visitation time. The petition can only be filed if the parent of the child has unreasonably denied visitation, and if at least one of the following is true:

  • The other parent is deceased or has been declared a missing person for at least 90 days.

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Yorkville prenup lawyer business ownershipMost people have some sort of understanding as to what a prenuptial agreement is. Countless movies and television shows have depicted prenuptial agreements as documents that a wealthy person insists on being signed before the wedding to protect him or herself from a potential “gold-digging” spouse. While that is one reason to get a prenup, there has been a rise in prenuptial agreements in recent years for other reasons, especially among millennials. Prenuptial agreements can be extremely helpful in many ways, including creating protections for your business in the event you get a divorce.

Is Your Business Considered Marital Property?

In Illinois, only marital property is subject to division in the event of a divorce. Marital property includes anything that was acquired after you were married but before a divorce is settled or legal separation is declared. That being said, if you had a business before you were married, the ownership of the business will typically stay with you. This does not mean all is safe, however. If your spouse played any role in the business while you were married, he or she could be entitled to a portion of the growth in the value of the business.

How Can a Prenuptial Agreement Benefit You?

If you own any sort of company at the time you get married, have a business in the works, or plan to start a business in the future, you should seriously consider getting a prenuptial agreement. If you currently have your own company, a prenuptial agreement can specify how you will value the business in the future if you get a divorce, preventing a third-party valuation process down the road. It can also allow you to specify a certain percentage that your spouse will receive if you do get a divorce. This can prevent your spouse from getting too much of the value of your business if you decide to split up.

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St. Charles divorce lawyerIt is said that breaking up is hard to do, and it can be even more difficult if you were married and decide to get a divorce. Whether you were married for three years or 30 years, or whether your divorce was amicable or contentious, the emotional pain can still be difficult to process. Feelings of anger, resentment, despair, anxiety, or even rage can be prevalent for some time after the divorce. The question you must ask yourself after a divorce is, “Where do I go from here?” The best thing you can do after a divorce is to begin to focus on yourself and move on with your life. The following are a few practical steps you can take to start a new chapter and stop living in the past:

Work Through Your Feelings

Before you can begin the healing process, you have to work through the feelings that you are undoubtedly experiencing. These emotions may include sadness, bitterness, hate, or even hopelessness. Despite these feelings, you are also probably feeling grief because of the loss of the relationship. This is completely normal, but the only way to get through these feelings is to allow yourself to experience them and grieve the loss of your marriage.

Rediscover Yourself

Although it sounds cliched, it is true that many people feel a loss of self after their divorce. When you have been in a committed relationship for so long, it can be hard to see yourself as anything but that person in the marriage. The time after the divorce is a good opportunity to figure out who you are. Decide what makes you happy, discover a new hobby, and love the person you are now.

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Aurora collaborative divorce attorney

For years, there were only two ways you could end a marriage -- by settling the divorce through the use of two different attorneys or by taking the case to court to hash out the issues before a judge. In recent years, the use of alternative dispute resolution has become a more popular form of divorce, rather than the traditional litigated route. There are two main forms of alternative dispute resolution: collaboration and mediation. Both ways of divorcing allow couples to settle divorce issues on their own terms, rather than leaving them to a judge to decide. Many people have a false notion that collaborative divorce and mediation are the same thing, but they are different, and each method has its own unique benefits.

Divorce Mediation

In a mediated divorce, the couple works with a neutral party, called a mediator, who helps them make decisions about their divorce. The mediator does not have to be an attorney, but it should be a person who is trained in mediation and knows divorce and family law. The mediator should be a completely neutral third party to the divorce, and they will not advocate for either spouse. Both spouses may still need to retain their own attorneys to help them understand their rights and legal options throughout the mediation process. An attorney can also go over the divorce settlement and identify any issues that should be addressed prior to finalizing the divorce.

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DuPage County legal separation lawyerThere are many reasons why couples get divorced, but often it takes a lot of time and contemplation to get to that point. Before it is decided that divorce is the best option, couples often go through a period of uncertainty about whether or not they actually want to legally terminate their marriage or if they just want to “call it quits” for a while. During this time, some couples choose to separate themselves by living apart and also being financially independent of each other. These are the basics of an Illinois legal separation, though it is not enough to just say that you are separated. You and your spouse must take several steps before the state will view your separation as legal.

Requirements for a Legal Separation

If you are considering obtaining a legal separation in Illinois, there are a few requirements that you must meet. First, you or your spouse must have been a resident of Illinois for at least 90 days. Then you will have to file a petition with the court in the county in which either you or your spouse lives or the county in which you and your spouse last lived together. In the petition, you must be able to prove that you and your spouse live separately from each other.

Why Choose Legal Separation?

A legal separation is similar to a divorce in many ways. When the court declares you separated, it will also address issues such as spousal maintenance, as well as child-related issues such as parenting time and child support. For some people, a legal separation is a chance to reconcile after some time apart because it is not permanent. For others, legal separation is a way to protect their finances during a long and contentious divorce. A legal separation is also an option for those who cannot get a divorce because of cultural or religious reasons.

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DuPage County high-conflict divorce attorneyFor some couples, the idea of a peaceful divorce is laughable. Divorce can bring out the worst in people and can cause them to do things and act in ways that are unlike themselves. In some situations, divorce can exacerbate a person’s behavior and cause him or her to become even more combative and argumentative, typically at no surprise to the soon-to-be ex-spouse. Emotions can get out of control during a divorce, making the entire process more difficult and stressful than it needs to be for everyone involved. If you know that your spouse will be combative during your divorce, there are a few things you can do to survive your high-conflict divorce:

Distance Yourself From Your Spouse

High-conflict people thrive off of arguments and getting a rise out of others. The best thing to do when you realize that your spouse is going to be antagonistic, manipulative, or argumentative during your divorce is to try to create as much distance between the two of you as possible. You should do this by minimizing contact with him or her unless you absolutely need to discuss an important matter. If you must communicate with each other, remember that it is not worth your time or effort to argue.

Record Everything You Can

A high-conflict spouse will often try to use your own words against you or manipulate you. If you have to talk with your spouse, you should try to do so via text or email. Both of those options give you the ability to have a transcript of exactly what was said during the conversation. If you have proof of what the exchange entailed, your spouse cannot twist it to benefit him or herself or try to lie about you saying something that you did not say.

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DuPage County parenting time lawyerMost parents will agree that the most important aspect of a divorce is making sure the children are okay. However, many parents worry about how a divorce will affect their children. Therefore, a lot of couples are currently in unhappy marriages in an attempt to spare their children the stress of divorce. It is important to remember that a divorce is the result of an unhealthy relationship between two spouses -- it has nothing to do with their children. While you cannot protect your children from all of the stresses and changes a divorce can cause, you can take steps to make sure your children are protected from the arguments and other negative effects that a divorce can trigger.

Take Care of Yourself

Although it may seem selfish, one of the best things you can do for your children during your divorce is to make sure you take care of yourself before you focus on them. A divorce can be traumatizing and can take its toll on you after a while. You should practice self-care by eating healthy foods, exercising, getting enough sleep, and talking to people in your support system. When you are emotionally stable, you are better able to guide your children through this major life transition.

Do Not Talk Negatively About Your Spouse

You should avoid criticizing or putting down your ex-spouse when your children can hear. Though you may have an issue with your former partner, your children do not. They deserve to have a relationship with both parents that is not clouded by negative opinions from one parent.

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DuPage County divorce litigation lawyerContrary to what many people think, there is more than one way to get a divorce. Traditionally, divorces have been negotiated and issues decided between the two spouses and their attorneys. Occasionally, the court system would be involved if the spouses could not come to an agreement on certain issues. In recent years, alternative forms of dispute resolution, such as mediation or collaborative law, have become popular ways of completing a divorce. While it is true that divorces are often less stressful and much less expensive if you choose one of those alternative forms of divorce, they are not for everyone. Mediation and collaboration may be preferable, but when is it necessary to skip over the niceties and head straight for litigation? Here are a few signs that indicate a litigated divorce could be your best option:

  1. You and Your Spouse Have Trouble Communicating

It is usually agreed upon by divorcing couples that either mediation or collaboration is ideal when it comes to divorce. Even many divorce lawyers will attest to the fact that mediated or collaborative divorces typically produce more satisfactory results. The thing to keep in mind is that those types of divorces are usually only successful if the spouses are in agreement about getting a divorce and they can communicate effectively with one another. If you cannot talk to your spouse without arguing, you may want to consider the litigated divorce option

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DuPage County divorce decree attorneyMost people have heard of a divorce decree, but they may not know what it actually is. If you are going through a divorce, you probably know that getting your divorce decree is the last step in finalizing the process. There can be a lot of paperwork and forms involved in a divorce, but the divorce decree is perhaps the most important legal document of all. It is, therefore, best to have a skilled Illinois divorce lawyer guide you through the process to avoid any mistakes that could impact your future.

What Is a Divorce Decree?

A divorce decree is a legal document that formally declares and finalizes a divorce. The divorce decree contains information pertaining to the marital issues that have been decided on in the divorce. The contents of the divorce decree will vary depending on the couple, but most divorce decrees typically address the following topics:

DuPage County legal separation lawyerMaking the decision to get a divorce is often one of the most stressful periods in a person’s life. For many people, it can take months or even years to come to the conclusion that a divorce is the best option. During this time, many couples turn to legal separation to begin the process of ending their marriage before they become legally divorced. During the separation, financial issues can be confusing and daunting to manage. Planning ahead regarding your finances is essential to ensuring a smooth divorce process. If you are contemplating divorce and think a legal separation is the best first step, here are a few tips to help you manage your finances during this period of transition:

Create a New Budget For Yourself

One of the first things you should do when you become separated from your spouse is to figure out a new budget. Once you are divorced from your spouse, you will likely only be living off of one, rather than two, incomes. You should reconfigure a budget that allows you to live comfortably based on your new expenses and your own income.

Begin Separating Your Accounts

If you are married, chances are you and your spouse had at least one joint financial account. Many couples share checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, investment accounts, and even retirement accounts. While you are separated, you should begin the process of separating your accounts. Open your own personal checking and savings accounts and close any credit card accounts that do not currently carry a balance.

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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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