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


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

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North Aurora Divorce LawyerIf you are divorcing someone with a high-conflict personality, it is important to take steps to protect yourself and your finances. A high-conflict divorce can be emotionally draining. High-conflict spouses may refuse to cooperate with the divorce process, hide assets or lie about finances, and intentionally provoke you. They may use manipulative psychological tactics to try and get what they want. It is important to have a solid support system in place when you divorce someone like this. It is also essential that you work with a lawyer who understands the unique challenges of a high-conflict divorce.

Divorcing a Spouse Who Intentionally Provokes Conflict 

If you are divorcing a high-conflict spouse, there are some things you can do to make the process easier on yourself. First, it is important to understand that a high-conflict divorce will be different from a typical divorce. There will be more conflict, and it will likely be more emotionally charged. It is important to have a solid support system in place before you begin the divorce process. This can include family, friends, or even a therapist.

Second, you need to find a lawyer who understands the unique challenges of a high-conflict divorce. A good lawyer will know how to navigate the often complicated legal landscape of a high-conflict divorce. They will also be able to help you protect your rights.


Can I Get Legal Guardianship of My Grandchild?

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Kendall County Grandparent Rights LawyerGrandmothers and grandfathers often have a special relationship with their grandchild. Usually grandparents are secondary caregivers in a child’s life but the child’s parents take on the majority of the parental duties. However, in certain situations, grandparents must step in and take on the role of a parent. Sometimes grandparent guardianship is needed because the child’s parents have passed away or are incarcerated. In other cases, substance abuse or mental illness prevent parents from giving a child the care and attention he or she needs. If you are a grandparent and you are interested in becoming your child’s legal guardian, read on to learn more.

Guardianship Laws in Illinois

Illinois law states that an adult may become a child’s legal guardian if the adult:

  • Is of sound mind


Can I Change the Child Support Payment Amount?

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Yorkville Child Support AttorneyWhether you are the parent who pays child support or you receive child support payments, you may be interested in modifying your child support order at some point. Illinois law only allows adjustment of the child support order under certain circumstances. If you need help asking the court for a child support modification, do not hesitate to reach out to a family law attorney experienced in child support matters.

Illinois Child Support Modification

If your child support order was established through an administrative process, rather than the courts, you can request a modification through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). By default, Illinois parents with administrative child support orders are eligible for a modification review every three years. If it has been less than three years since the child support order was established or last modified, the parent requesting a modification review will need to justify the request. One of the most common reasons for a modification review request is a change in the financial circumstances of either party. For example, if a parent is laid off from work, he or she may not be able to afford the same level of support as he or she could afford when he or she was working.

Another reason a parent may need to modify child support is a significant increase in the child’s financial needs. For example, if a child is diagnosed with cancer or another serious illness, a parent may be required to pay more support to help cover medical expenses.


What is Included in a Participation Agreement?

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Kendall County Divorce LawyerMost divorcing spouses dread the thought of a high-conflict, public divorce trial. However, it can be extremely hard for divorcing couples to reach an agreement regarding asset division, debt division, child custody, spousal support, and other matters. Collaborative divorce is a divorce resolution method that allows couples to avoid a stressful and costly divorce trial while still benefiting from legal representation and support from their respective attorneys.

The foundation of a successful collaborative divorce is the participation agreement or collaborative agreement. Read on to learn about how participation agreements are used in Illinois collaborative divorce cases.

Using Collaborative Law to Resolve Divorce Disputes

When divorcing spouses disagree about one or more of the divorce terms, they have a few different options. In Illinois, spouses have the option to use collaborative law to resolve the divorce. During a collaborative divorce, the spouses each have their own attorney who represents their best interests and advocates on their behalf. However, the spouses and their attorneys work together to find creative solutions to the disputed divorce issues.


When is Divorce Mediation Not a Good Idea?

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aurora divorce lawyerMediation can be a very useful tool during divorce. During mediation, the spouses are given an opportunity to discuss divorce issues like property division, child custody, and spousal maintenance and, ideally, reach an agreement on these issues. A mediator facilitates the discussions and helps the couple negotiate an agreement.

While many divorcing couples find mediation beneficial, there are many situations in which mediation is insufficient. In some cases, depending on mediation alone may even be harmful.

Mediation May Be Insufficient in The Following Situations

During divorce mediation, the spouses explore various divorce solutions, negotiate the terms of their divorce, and work toward a resolution. However, for mediation to work, the spouses must be willing to negotiate in good faith and work cooperatively toward an agreement. If one or both spouses are unable to do this, mediation may not be a good idea.


aurora child custody lawyerCo-parenting is never easy, but co-parenting during and after a high-conflict divorce is especially hard. Some divorcing spouses intentionally draw out the divorce process, refuse to cooperate, and say hurtful things to provoke the other spouse. They fight the other spouse every step of the way.

High-conflict divorce cases involving children can be extremely challenging. If you are getting divorced and you share children with your soon-to-be-ex, you will need to take proactive steps to reduce drama as much as possible.  

Consider a Temporary Child Custody Order

If a divorce case is highly contentious, it will probably take longer to resolve than a typical divorce case. You may want to ask the court for a temporary child custody order during the divorce so that both parents’ expectations and obligations are formalized. The temporary relief order can allocate parental responsibilities, or the right to make decisions about the child, as well as parenting time, or the time each parent spends with the child. However, the court will only enter a temporary order if it is in the child’s best interest.


kendall-county-divorce-lawyer.jpgFinances play a massive role in any divorce case. Divorcing spouses are required to submit a financial affidavit that states their assets and income as part of the divorce process. This information is used during property division negotiations, or if the couple cannot agree on the terms of property division, by the court during a divorce trial. Financial information is also essential to spousal support and child support determinations.

Divorcing spouses may hide property or money or lie about finances during divorce to try and gain an advantage. If you are getting divorced, make sure to be vigilant for this type of financial deception.

Red Flags of Financial Deception During a Divorce

A fair divorce resolution is only possible if spouses are truthful about assets, income, debts, and other financial information. If you are getting divorced, look for signs of financial trickery like:

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geneva-il-divorce-lawyer.jpgFacebook, Instagram, and other social media websites can be beneficial in many ways. However, more and more people are starting to recognize that social media can also have major disadvantages. Research shows that social media frequently contributes to marital breakdown. Facebook and other social media websites and applications can also heavily influence divorce cases. In one survey, over 80 percent of divorce lawyers said they had presented social media evidence in court. Two-thirds of the attorneys surveyed said that Facebook is one of their primary sources of evidence in divorces.

Do’s and Do Not’s of Using Facebook During Your Divorce

Social media can influence your life in many different ways. During a divorce, it is important to make sure that social media does not negatively impact your case or your psychological well-being. As you navigate the divorce process, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Do be aware of what you are publishing online – Anything you post on Facebook can become evidence in your divorce case. Consider an example: You post pictures of a lavish tropical vacation you just took with your family members. When you petition the court for spousal maintenance, your spouse tries to block the request by claiming that you clearly have enough money to go on a vacation and therefore do not need alimony.


kendall-county-divorce-attorney.jpgMany people have been through the pain of unemployment and underemployment. Job loss is difficult for anyone, but parents often have an especially hard time dealing with unemployment and underemployment. If you or the other parent are unemployed, read on to learn how this can have an effect on child support obligations.

Child Support Obligations When a Parent Makes Little to No Income

Child support is based on the parents’ incomes. When a parent gets fired or laid off or takes a low-paying job, this can significantly influence child support calculations. Illinois handles unintentional unemployment and underemployment differently than voluntary unemployment and underemployment.

If a parent loses his or her job due to no fault of their own, they may petition the court for a child support modification. If the parent is the paying party or obligor, the court may reduce his or her child support obligation. If the parent is the recipient of child support, the other parent may be required to pay more in support.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_aurora-collaborative-divorce-attorney.jpgWhen you share children with your spouse, getting divorced is much more complicated legally, financially, emotionally, and logistically. If you are a parent getting divorced, you may understandably be worried about how the split will affect your kids. You may also have questions about property and debt, child support, and a host of other concerns.

Collaborative law offers divorcing couples an opportunity to resolve divorce issues without resorting to litigation through the courts. For parents, collaborative divorce is a great way to negotiate divorce terms while preserving a decent relationship with the other spouse for co-parenting purposes.

Cooperative Discussions of Divorce Terms

To get divorced, you and your spouse will need to agree on the terms of the divorce. Who will remain in the marital home? Who will keep which vehicle? What about retirement funds? How will you divide parenting time with the children? These are not simple questions to answer. Fortunately, collaborative divorce gives spouses the opportunity to discuss these issues in a non-adversarial way.


st-charles-il-alimony-lawyer.jpgFor some people, meeting a new partner with whom they feel more compatible is a compelling reason to end an unhappy or unfulfilling relationship and try for something better. For couples who got married very young or who have been in a miserable marriage for many years, the light at the end of the tunnel of divorce can make it easy to ignore the fact that having a new partner before your divorce is finalized can have some unintended consequences. 

One of the areas that a new partner can impact is that of spousal support, also known as alimony. If you are thinking about initiating an Illinois divorce and are wondering whether you should ask for spousal support or how spousal support payments are determined, read on and then contact a skilled Kane County attorney who can help. 

When is Spousal Support Awarded? 

Spousal support is not available to every divorcee and, even when it is available, certain circumstances can end it right away. Spouses are encouraged to work together to agree to a mutually acceptable divorce decree, including spousal support payments. When you already have a new partner or your marriage is high-conflict for other reasons, your spouse may be unwilling to negotiate a spousal support agreement that feels fair. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_oswego-divorce-attorney.jpgDivorce presents a complex set of challenges to couples, especially when they have been married for a long time. While spouses usually have their own friends, a couple’s social network is often made up of other couples, church communities, neighborhood friends, and parents of children who are friends with a couple’s children. Dividing these social groups in a divorce may feel inevitable and the loss of friendships can feel like a twisted knife in an already deep wound. If you are going through an Illinois divorce and are looking for strategies to help you maintain important shared friendships, here are three ideas that may help. 

Remember That Your Divorce is Hard For Friends, Too 

In addition to the inherent awkwardness of reconfiguring relationships without your spouse around, your divorce may cause your friends to feel grief and confusion as well. While that may seem unfair, social support groups are intimately connected and friends often rely on each other’s relationships to support their own. Be willing to hear your friends’ perspectives on your situation; it may give you a chance to step away from your own feelings, which can be a relief. 

Avoid Making Your Mutual Friends Your Therapist

If you have a great girl or guy friend whom you trust to keep your secrets confidential, feel free to speak to him or her about your divorce. But for friends you share with your spouse, it is best to avoid getting into the dirty details of your relationship. It puts pressure on friends to take sides and issue judgment against one spouse, which can make them feel uncomfortable and retreat from friendship with either of you. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_kendall-county-divorce-lawyer.jpgWhile couples who get divorced later in life may avoid many of the challenges related to children and divorce, they still face a challenging set of issues that must be resolved before the divorce can be finalized. The question foremost on the minds of many “gray” adults is whether dividing several decades’ of finances will leave both spouses able to live on their own for the rest of their lives. If you are considering divorce and are nearing or past retirement age, here are three financial considerations to keep in mind as you plan your divorce. 

Retirement Accounts Must Be Divided

Any value in a retirement account that was accumulated during a marriage will need to be divided in a divorce. Some spouses do divide their retirement accounts using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, but other spouses avoid literally dividing the account by negotiating the value of other assets. For example, one spouse may wish to keep the entire value of a marital home and live on their Social Security payments while the other spouse wishes to keep the entire value of a substantial retirement fund. As long as both spouses agree to the terms and the division is fair, an Illinois judge will approve the terms of a couple’s asset division agreement. 

Estate Plans Must Be Rewritten

Because a couple’s estate plan is a carefully written instrument intended to pass on a family legacy to children, rewriting an estate plan after divorce can be a difficult or sad experience. However, it is crucial not to delay or avoid rewriting your estate plan as part of your overall divorce process. Failing to promptly address your will could have serious consequences for your estate and can place an undue burden on your executor and beneficiaries. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_geneva-il-divorce-lawyer_20220615-150350_1.jpgThousands of people get divorced in Illinois every year and the vast majority of these divorces are resolved without pursuing traditional courtroom litigation. Because litigation is increasingly seen as unnecessarily combative, expensive, and time-consuming (to say nothing of its harmful effects on any minor children involved), judges order most divorcing couples to seek mediation to resolve their differences outside of court. 

However, mediation, collaborative divorce, and other cooperative divorce efforts are not always safe or possible. For some couples, a judge’s supervision and expertise are necessary to ensure that spouses who are victims of domestic violence or financial abuse are treated safely and fairly throughout the divorce process. In situations like these, litigation can become very hostile and contested. When spouses disagree about issues of fact, expert witnesses may be necessary to argue the case of one or both spouses. 

Why Would an Expert Witness Be Necessary? 

Divorces frequently involve contested personal matters that are often difficult to prove beyond the personal testimony each spouse offers. But when the contested matters involve questions of fact, expert witnesses can provide specific information and evidence to strengthen a spouse’s case before a judge. Usually, these matters involve children and finances. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_yorkville-il-domestic-violence-lawyer.jpgMany people in Illinois remain trapped in unhappy or abusive marriages because they are afraid to leave. Unfortunately, the research on domestic violence suggests that people who remain in relationships out of fear of abuse may be onto something - the rate of serious physical abuse often becomes far worse when a victim tries to leave his or her abuser. 

However, victims of domestic violence are not condemned to stay in unhealthy marriages forever. Orders of protection are powerful legal instruments designed to act as a safety measure for people who are afraid that they or their children may be at risk, and an Illinois family law attorney can help you get one as part of your divorce strategy. 

How Does an Order of Protection Help? 

While an order of protection cannot take your abuser off the streets and put him or her in jail, it can create a strong incentive for your abuser to stay away from you. This is because orders of protection are ordered by the court and enforceable by law - meaning, if your abuser violates the order of protection, you can call the police and they can be subject to arrest, fines, jail time, and other penalties. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_batavia-il-divorce-attorney.jpgAddictive and compulsive behaviors are frequent causes of divorce in Illinois. Substance abuse issues make it very difficult to sustain a safe, stable family life while shopping and gambling addictions can make it impossible to live within a family’s means. Unfortunately, these behaviors can also complicate the divorce process, potentially making it very stressful. If you are pursuing an Illinois divorce from a spouse with addictive behaviors, here are four tips that may be helpful. 

Put Your Children’s Needs First

You do not need to be married to a spouse with addiction issues for long to understand how emotionally draining trying to help them can be. Trying to make ends meet, ensuring everybody is safe, and managing your day-to-day activities can be nearly impossible when you are essentially single-parenting and dealing with your spouse as well. But now that you have decided to get divorced, shift your focus to yourself and your children. Make sure they have what they need and try to minimize the difficulties they experience as you separate from your spouse. If necessary, pursue sole parental rights so you can keep them safe. And while you are at it, remember to take care of yourself, too. 

Collect Evidence

Addictive personalities tend to leave a trail of destruction in their wake. While this is exhausting to deal with, it can make it easy to document certain behaviors. Overdrawn bank accounts, photos of physical abuse, and arrest records may all play an important role in showing a judge that your spouse is unsafe or unpredictable. Depending on your spouse’s addiction, you may want to consider getting a financial restraining order to prevent them from wasting money before the divorce is finalized. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_kane-county-divorce-lawyer.jpgAt least one in ten American adults currently owns cryptocurrency and that number is only expected to rise. Making payments using cryptocurrency is easy, inexpensive, and difficult to track - making cryptocurrency an ideal payment method for a variety of reasons. 

Because cryptocurrency ownership is on the rise and divorce rates are still hovering around 50 percent, an increasing number of Illinois divorces will handle cryptocurrency as part of the marital asset division process. Like any other marital property, cryptocurrency must be divided fairly; however, the volatility of the cryptocurrency market and the ease with which cryptocurrency can be hidden can introduce significant challenges to the division process. 

How Do I Know My Spouse is Telling the Truth About Our Cryptocurrency’s Value? 

Spouses commonly divide household chores and when one spouse handles all or most of a family’s financial affairs, the other spouse may not be aware of the full value of their marital property. Although each spouse must create a financial affidavit under oath that discloses their full financial picture, people are not always completely honest. 



Most spouses pursuing a divorce in Illinois have questions about spousal maintenance (also known as alimony or spousal support). Will you pay it? Will you receive it? Who decides? Traditionally, men were the ones asking these questions - but as women increasingly outperform men in college and many income brackets, women are frequently wondering whether they may be paying alimony as well. Illinois law does not distinguish between men and women when it comes to determining alimony payments, but it does provide very specific ground rules to take the guesswork out of determining the duration and amount of the payments.

What is Alimony? 

Divorce is expensive - that is no secret. When one spouse is the primary breadwinner for a family, divorce can have an outsized impact on the spouse who earns less, especially if that spouse gave up educational or career ambitions to stay home and raise children. Spousal maintenance is intended to recognize the non-financial contributions a spouse can make to a marriage and prevent that spouse from becoming impoverished immediately after divorce. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_geneva-il-divorce-lawyer.jpgHundreds of men and women all over Illinois get married every year and make lasting commitments to honor and help each other in all things until death - or at least, so they think at the time they get married. But as everyone knows, a lifetime of marriage is no guarantee when almost 50 percent of relationships end in divorce

While most divorcing couples agree that separating is the right choice for their future, what about those couples in which one spouse wants a divorce and the other spouse does not? If your spouse has asked you for a divorce in Illinois and you are hoping to stay married, read this blog post and then contact an experienced Illinois divorce attorney for advice. 

Can I Insist We Get Therapy Before Divorce? 

Illinois wants to support and encourage healthy marriages and the law generally prefers married couples to stay that way. Although you cannot force an unwilling spouse to attend therapy, once divorce proceedings begin, you can request the judge to order a conciliation conference. If he or she believes there is still hope to save the marriage, the judge may also order a conciliation conference even if neither spouse requests it. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_aurora-il-divorce-attorney.jpgMental illness and outlier psychological conditions have become better understood and less stigmatized in recent years, making it easier to get treatment and therapy. However, even under the best circumstances, certain psychological conditions can place an enormous amount of strain on a relationship. One of the most difficult conditions to manage is narcissism. 

Narcissism is often easily disguised early in a relationship as the narcissist attempts to “love bomb” their partner - acting incredibly sweet, caring, and giving as the relationship begins to progress. However, once a narcissist feels comfortable or is triggered by a certain behavior or incident, their negative personality traits can manifest. Unfortunately, just as it is difficult to be in a productive relationship with a narcissist, it is also particularly difficult to divorce a narcissist. 

How Do I Know Whether My Spouse is a Narcissist? 

In an age of prolific social media sites and rampant selfies, it might be easy to look around and suspect everyone of narcissism. But true narcissism is much more serious and pervasive than being unable to draw your eyes away from your own face during a video conferencing call. Pathological narcissism - or a narcissistic personality disorder so severe that it causes interference with daily functioning - is estimated to affect only one percent of the population. 

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


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

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