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

Recent blog posts

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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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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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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