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


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

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Recent blog posts

 aurora child support lawyer Child support is designed to help pay for housing, food, education, and other necessities for children. In Illinois, how much a parent pays for child support is primarily based on the parents’ net incomes. Child support payments are calculated in such a way that parents should be able to afford their monthly payments. However, sometimes parents fall behind on their child support payments for one reason or another. If you can longer afford your child support payments, you might wonder how you should handle the situation.

Consequences for Not Paying Child Support in Illinois

Parents who willfully fail to pay child support can face legal problems in Illinois. Here are several consequences a judge may impose on them:

  • Wage garnishment- If a parent is behind on child support payments, the other parent can contact the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) and ask them to call their employer and have the payments deducted from their paychecks.


aurora child custody lawyerSubstance abuse is a huge problem in the United States. In fact, nearly 21 million Americans suffer from addiction. Whether it is alcohol, cocaine, prescription pills, or another substance, addiction can negatively impact many areas of a person’s life, including his or her ability to care for children. If you are currently in the middle of a child custody battle and you or the other parent suffer from addiction, a child custody lawyer can help you understand how best to proceed.

Parental Responsibility Restrictions a Judge May Impose

Parents who abuse alcohol and controlled substances may have difficulty taking proper care of a child. In some cases, they may even put the child in danger. However, some parents who suffer from addiction are actively taking steps to keep the addiction under control so it does not affect their parenting. 

The court recognizes has the authority to restrict parenting time if there is evidence that the parent’s substance abuse has negatively affected the child’s physical or mental health.


kane county child custody lawyerChild custody disputes tend to be difficult for everyone involved. Parents who disagree about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time can sometimes reach an agreement through family law mediation. Others negotiate an agreement through their lawyers. However, some parents simply cannot find a workable solution to child-related disputes. In some cases, avoiding the following mistakes can help you avoid making the situation worse than it already is.

Mistakes Parents Often Make During Child Custody Battles

When you are in the middle of a child custody battle, it is critical to think rationally and not allow your emotions to take over. Otherwise, you could make costly mistakes, like these:

  • Allowing your anger to take over - If you and your ex ended things on bad terms, you may feel a lot of anger and resentment towards him or her. While it is natural to go through these emotions, it is important not to lose your cool. If you get into a heated confrontation with your ex, it may negatively affect your child custody case. 


Posted on in Annulment

Aurora divorce lawyer for annulmentsWhen a couple gets married and then at some point decided that the marriage was a mistake, the usual course of action they take is to file for divorce. However, there are some circumstances where obtaining an annulment would be more appropriate. While getting a divorce is usually an easier process than getting an annulment, it does not void the marriage out as an annulment does. Knowing the difference between the two actions and speaking to an Aurora divorce attorney can help you decide which option is the best for your situation.

What Is Required in Order to Obtain an Annulment?

In Illinois, an annulment is also referred to as a declaration of invalidity of marriage. There are specific requirements that must be met in order for the marriage to qualify for an annulment. These are:

  • One of the spouses was underage at the time of the marriage and did not obtain the consent of a parent or legal guardian.


Aurora collaborative divorce lawyerWhen people think of a couple going through a divorce, it is not uncommon for them to imagine the two spouses bitterly fighting over custody of their children, the family home, bank accounts, and all the other items in the marital estate. While that may have historically been the scenario for many divorces, the past few years have seen a change in how some couples approach ending their marriage. Instead of a knock-down, drag-out court battle, they are turning to a collaborative approach, focusing on an amicable and negotiated divorce. If you and your spouse have decided to divorce, a Yorkville, IL divorce lawyer can explain how a collaborative divorce may benefit you.

How Does a Collaborative Divorce Work?

A collaborative divorce is centered on using a dispute-resolution process where the couple, along with their attorneys, work together and negotiate in a cooperative manner – rather than an adversarial one – in order to come up with an equitable divorce settlement. The goal is to avoid going to court and having a traditional divorce trial where a judge decides how issues like child custody, spousal support, marital assets, and marital debts will be addressed.

One of the benefits of collaborative divorce over a traditional divorce is the couple has more control over the decisions that will affect their family’s life. Cost and time are also benefits since collaborative divorce is usually less expensive and often quicker than traditional divorce because there is no need for interrogatories, depositions, and hearings.


Aurora divorce attorney - Child Tax CreditsWhen a couple with children divorces, that divorce does not end their involvement with each other. While they may no longer live under the same roof, they still need to co-parent in the most cooperative way possible. Unfortunately, there are many issues that can arise where the disagreements are so strong, the couple ends up back in family court.

One area where this often occurs is when it comes to medical decisions for the child. And now that COVID-19 vaccines are available for children 12 years of age and older, the divide between people who are for and those against the vaccine has made its way into parenting decisions.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Several years ago, Illinois lawmakers did a complete revamping of the state’s divorce and child custody laws. One of those changes even involved eliminating the term “child custody” and instead referring to it as the allocation of parental responsibilities. The scope of these parental responsibilities involves both parenting time and significant decision-making on behalf of the child. However, these two elements are treated separately.


Aurora divorce and finances lawyerOne of the most common causes of divorce in the United States is finances. In fact, almost 40 percent of married or partnered couples say that money causes heavy stress in their relationships. While money problems can contribute to divorce, they can also be one of the reasons why unhappy couples stay together. The thought of going from a two-income household to a one-income household can be daunting, as can the thought of dividing up assets, property, and marital debt.

While divorce can result in some financial issues that an individual may need to adjust to, there are several areas where your financial situation may actually get a boost following a divorce. If you are considering a divorce but are concerned about how you will be financially impacted, a Kane County divorce attorney can help.

Financial Independence


Aurora divorce attorney - Child Tax CreditsOn July 15, families in Illinois and around the country began receiving direct deposits or checks for advanced child tax credits for the tax year 2021. These payments are part of the American Rescue Plan. While the advanced payments are a welcome financial relief for many families, some parents are wondering how the IRS will ensure that the parent who receives the advanced tax credit funds is the same parent who claims the child as a dependent in situations where the parents are no longer together, and a parenting plan has been established.

American Rescue Plan

In March, President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. The plan was Washington D.C. lawmakers’ response to helping people financially recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. One provision in the plan calls for an increase in the child tax credit. For children between the ages of 6 to 17, the credit will be $3,000. For children under 6, the credit will be $3,600. The provision also calls for parents to receive advance payments of up to half the credit amount they will be entitled to for tax year 2021.

The move was lauded by both family advocates and economists who say that the increase and advanced payments will cut child poverty in half in both Illinois and throughout the country.


Aurora divorce attorney - COVID 19The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on many areas of our lives. The lockdowns people across the country had to deal with and the inability to visit and spend time with loved ones led to many people re-evaluating their lives and changing what should and should not be priorities. Initially, statistics showed that the divorce rate was dropping during the first several months of the pandemic. It was thought that the forced lockdowns were bringing many couples closer together instead of driving them apart.

Fifteen months later, however, new statistics are showing that may have been a misconception as the divorce rate begins climbing upwards again.

Initial Drop in Divorce

There are many reasons the divorce rate may have dropped during the height of the pandemic and lockdowns. While some couples may have become closer, for others, being isolated at home with a spouse during the pandemic ended up putting a keener focus on marital issues a couple had that they may have been unaware of or chose to ignore.


Aurora divorce lawyer - how to copeWhen you are going through a divorce, you may experience a wide range of emotions. One day you may be furious with your ex and the next day you may feel depressed about your family falling apart. Unfortunately, being overly emotional may cloud your judgment and cause you to make costly mistakes. 

In an Illinois divorce, divorcing spouses have the opportunity to resolve divorce issues like the division of assets and the allocation of parental responsibilities through an out-of-court agreement. If the couple cannot reach an agreement about these issues, the court may need to step in and make a decision for the spouses. Having a clear head puts you in a better position to negotiate an agreement about these divorce concerns. If your case does advance to litigation, learning how to manage your emotions can make the divorce proceedings less stressful.

Tips to Cope with Your Emotions 

It is understandable that you may feel sadness, anger, and resentment towards your ex. However, you can take steps to cope with these emotions in constructive ways and move on with your life.


Aurora divorce attorney assisting visitation

After your divorce is finalized, it is still important for your children to have a good relationship with both parents. As such, you should try to make the best out of each visit with your kids. If you make each visit fun and productive, it will benefit everyone. Here are some dos and don'ts of visitation with your children.


  • Arrive on time. While being late every once in a while is one thing, frequently arriving tardy to visits with your children is not good. Show your ex and children that you respect them by coming to your visits on time. If you know you are going to be late, let your ex know immediately.


Aurora divorce lawyer assisting with Hidden AssetsWhen you file for divorce in Illinois, you are required to disclose all of your assets. However, some people may feel that they deserve a bigger share than their spouse, so they attempt to conceal their assets. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make during the divorce process. If you get caught, you may face legal trouble.

Different Ways Spouses Hide Assets

The division of assets is one of the most difficult battles couples face in divorce court. When people believe that they deserve more than they will actually get, they may try to conceal the assets in several different ways, such as:

  • Pursuing shady business deals - Some individuals who are getting ready to divorce may enlist the help of business partners to conceal their assets. For example, a person may ask a business partner to withhold commissions until the divorce is finalized.


Naperville divorce lawyer parenting time

When a couple gets divorced, it can affect everyone surrounding them -- not just themselves. The effect of a divorce on the rest of the family can sometimes be the biggest thing holding an unhappy couple back from simply just pulling the trigger and filing for divorce. Fathers, in particular, face additional obstacles during a divorce that the mother does not, especially when dealing with child-related issues. If you are a father who has been contemplating or has filed for divorce, you should speak with an Illinois divorce lawyer to discuss your options.

Helping Fathers Through Divorce

Even though your role as a mother or a father should not affect your standing in the divorce, it often does. In many cases, fathers are the ones who pull the short straw during a divorce. If you are a divorcing father, here are a few things that you should keep in mind during your divorce:


Aurora divorce Custody jurisdiction Matters

Determining child custody can be a messy experience for many families. This can be especially true when parents live in two different states, or if a parent even lives in a different country. In the first part of this two-part blog series, we looked at how jurisdiction is initially determined for child custody proceedings when parents do not live in the same state using the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (UCCJEA.) In most cases, the custody proceedings which determine parenting time and decision-making responsibilities will take place in the child's home state. However, there are some situations in which the child may not have a home state or another reason may exist why the home state will not hear the child’s case.

Exceptions to the Home State Rule

As previously discussed, the home state rule is typically enough for courts to determine which state has jurisdiction over a child custody case. However, circumstances may exist that make it impossible or imprudent to use the home state rule. In these cases, different rules apply when determining jurisdiction. If the home state rule does not apply, the following rules will apply in order of application:


Aurora divorce attorney for Jurisdiction Custody MattersWhen two parents get divorced or are no longer in a romantic relationship, it is not uncommon for one or both parents to make other life changes, such as relocating. While a fresh start can be a good change for the parents, this can complicate proceedings for child custody. Any proceeding that concerns parenting time and/or decision-making responsibilities for the child must be filed with the correct court. In this series of blogs, we will discuss the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) and how it is used to settle interstate child custody issues. Simply because a parent has moved does not mean that the parent’s new location is the place to file custody proceedings. In most cases that involve parents living in different states, the first thing you will have to do is determine which state has jurisdiction over your case.

Initial Jurisdiction in Illinois

When parents live in two different states, it may not be clear-cut as to which state has jurisdiction over the case. Thankfully, the UCCJEA exists to help clear up any confusion that may exist and to provide guidelines as to how to determine jurisdictional appropriateness. Before a court can make any decisions pertaining to a custody case, they must first determine if the case is being heard in the right jurisdiction. The UCCJEA states that the case can only be heard in Illinois if:

  • Illinois is the home state of the child, meaning the child lived in Illinois for six months immediately prior to the proceedings


Aurora divorce attorney assisting with Financial AffidavitWhen a couple cannot come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce, the first step is to attend mediation services. If they are also unable to come to an agreement through mediation or if mediation did not make sense for the situation, then the case is usually sent to be heard before a judge who will make the final decisions. One of the first pieces of information that the judge will require from both spouses is a financial affidavit. These documents will enable the judge to have a better understanding of the couple’s financial situation before he or she makes any decisions about property division, spousal support, or even child support.

What Information is in a Financial Affidavit?

A financial affidavit is a document that details nearly every aspect of a person’s finances. The affidavit will contain information such as how much each spouse makes, how much they spend each month, what assets they own, and what debts they have. In the state of Illinois, information included in the affidavit includes:

  • Personal contact information


Collaborative divorce law attorney Kendall CountyMany people who go into a divorce do so thinking that it will be a difficult and stressful process. While it is true that divorce has the potential for stress, it does not have to be as troublesome as people are led to believe. In Illinois, any couple has the option to choose what type of process they use to end their marriage. In recent years, collaborative divorce has risen in popularity. As the name suggests, a collaborative divorce is one in which both spouses work together to achieve the type of divorce resolution that they want. Instead of having a “me versus them” type of attitude, a collaborative divorce encourages spouses to be cooperative so they can both be content with the outcome.

Common Professionals in Collaborative Divorce

One of the ways in which a collaborative divorce is unique is the presence of more than just your attorneys. A collaborative divorce utilizes various professionals from an array of fields to provide advice and guidance on certain issues. Some of the most common specialists that couples hire are:

  • Financial Planners: Financial issues are some of the biggest challenges in a divorce. A financial planner can help you understand the long-term consequences of decisions that you make during the divorce, as well as helping you understand what type of resources you will need to be financially comfortable after your divorce is completed.


DuPage County attorney for high asset divorce

No two divorces are alike. Each family has their own unique situation that may come with unique challenges. However, couples who have a high net worth may face more challenges than the average divorcing couple. High net worth divorces have a higher tendency to involve some sort of disagreement between the spouses, especially when it comes to the couple’s finances. In some cases, one spouse may not even know much about the family’s finances, making the situation even more daunting. High net worth divorces involving children can also be highly contested, which is why retaining an attorney who has experience with high-value assets and couples with high net worth is essential to a successful divorce.

Avoid These Things During Divorce

Divorce can be confusing and nerve-wracking for anyone, but things can be especially difficult with a high net worth divorce. To avoid the stress and confusion that can often come along with divorce, here are a few things to avoid when going through your high net worth divorce:


North Aurora Parental Rights Attorney

When a child is born to parents in Illinois, the mother automatically receives her parental rights. The father, however, is a different story if the parents were not married when the child was born. Paternity must be established for a child if the father wants parental rights. This can be done in a variety of ways, though the most common way is for a couple to fill out a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity (VAP) form in the hospital. In some cases, however, a parent may wish to relinquish their parental rights to a child. In other cases, a parent may wish to terminate the other parent’s parental rights. Either way, this can be done under certain circumstances in Illinois.

Proving the Parent to Be Unfit

In order to proceed with petitioning the court to terminate a parent’s parental rights, you must first have proof that the parent is indeed unfit. During the hearing, which is bound to happen, the judge will determine whether or not there is enough evidence pointing toward the parent that would declare him unfit. According to Illinois law, a parent can be considered unfit if:


Naperville divorce attorney for asset division

Financial planning is always a smart decision, but during a divorce, financial planning can become critical. Developing a financial plan can become an extremely important piece of ensuring your financial health after the divorce. You have likely heard of the old adage that “knowledge is power,” but that is especially true when it comes to a divorce. 

Understanding the “In Spouse” and “Out Spouse”

In many cohabiting couples, there is usually a spouse who is more financially savvy and knowledgeable about the household’s finances than the other. This spouse is typically referred to as the “in spouse” because they are the ones who are in the financial loop. The other spouse, referred to as the “out spouse,” usually has little to no knowledge of how the household’s finances are handled. The “in spouse” may handle every aspect of the finances, such as paying the bills every month, keeping track of bank accounts, making investments, and creating and maintaining a budget. Naturally, the “in spouse” would have a bit of an advantage over the “out spouse,” who has not really been involved in the monetary aspect of the divorce. In some cases, the “in spouse” may be controlling or secretive about the family’s finances, making it difficult for the “out spouse” to get an accurate understanding of what they are working with. 

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


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

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