Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer, attorney fees,Divorce is a fairly common thing in the United States, with the Illinois Department of Public Health reporting that 29,331 divorces were granted in the state of Illinois in 2016. Divorce can be a messy process, spanning months, or even years in difficult cases. There are many things to consider, like assets, money, debts and even children. The divorce process can be overwhelming, but with the help of a lawyer, it can be simplified.

Filing a Petition

After you have made the decision to file for a divorce, the first step is to file what is called a petition. A petition is simply just the formal way of asking the court of the county where you reside for a divorce. Even if the divorce is a mutual agreement, one spouse must file the petition that will be served to the other. The petition will state the two individuals involved in the divorce, information about the residency requirements and the reason for the divorce. In Illinois, you qualify for divorce if you have lived in the state for more than 90 days. You can choose whether or not you want to state a reason for divorce or if you want to file a no-fault divorce. The state of Illinois recognizes the following as grounds for divorce:

  • Habitual mental cruelty;
  • Habitual physical cruelty;
  • Drug or alcohol abuse;
  • Willful desertion or abandonment for one year;
  • Adultery;
  • Infection with a sexually transmitted disease; and
  • Conviction of a felony.

Temporary Orders

The next step in filing for divorce is to gather and fill out all of the documents necessary to reconcile your separation. These forms are called temporary orders and they set rules for family and financial issues during the time that the divorce is being processed. These forms pertain to issues such as:

  • Custody of children;
  • Child visitation schedule;
  • Child support payments;
  • Spousal support payments;
  • Residence agreements; and
  • Bill payments.

Notification and Response from Spouse

The next step is to file proof of service of process. This is a form that proves that a copy of the petition for divorce was given to your spouse. The person who receives this service of process will then need to respond to it. If the divorce was filed under fault grounds, the person can then choose to dispute those grounds in the response. If the person disagrees with the custody arrangements, support payments, property division or any other issues set forth, they should use the response to address this and file it with the court.

Negotiation Process

If there is a disagreement on the provisions of the divorce, the couple must then enter into the negotiation process. This is the part of divorce that can drag on and take a long period of time. Often couples schedule meetings with each other and each other’s lawyers to negotiate the terms of the divorce. The court may also schedule settlement meetings that aim to move the two parties forward toward a resolution. In the state of Illinois, if parents disagree on matters pertaining to the children, they may be ordered to attend mediation and evaluations of the children and parents by a social worker to determine the best course of action for the children.

Order of Dissolution

After everything is negotiated and figured out, the order of dissolution is to be filed, which outlines how property and debts are divided, custody agreements, support payments, and other issues. After the order is submitted to the court and it meets all requirements, the dissolution will be granted and the divorce will be final.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

Things can get sticky in a divorce, and when they do, you need an experienced Illinois divorce attorney by your side every step of the way. Contact the Law Office of Matthew C. Williams, P.C. to see how they can help guide you through the process. Call 630-409-8184 to schedule a consultation.


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If you are going through a divorce, you may wonder if you’re entitled to financial support from your spouse. Spousal maintenance is the term that the state of Illinois uses instead of alimony, though they are the same thing. In the past, courts viewed alimony as payments from the husband to continue his obligation to support his wife. Now, spousal maintenance is awarded to either spouse depending on a variety of factors.

Determining Factors for Spousal Maintenance Eligibility

When you seek maintenance from your spouse, the court will first determine whether or not you are eligible to receive these payments. In Illinois, eligibility determinations are based on these factors:

  • The income and property of each person, including marital property that has already been divided and property that has been deemed non-marital property;
  • The needs of each person;
  • The present and future earning capacity of each person;
  • Hindrances to earning capacity of the person seeking maintenance due to the person devoting time to domestic duties (such as a stay-at-home parent);
  • Hindrances to earning capacity of the person to pay maintenance;
  • The time needed for the person seeking maintenance to be able to fully support himself or herself, or parental responsibility arrangements and its effect on them;
  • The standard of living during the marriage;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The age, health, income, employability, and needs of each person;
  • All sources of income, including retirement and disability payments;
  • Tax consequences of property division;
  • Contributions by the person seeking maintenance to the education or career of the other spouse; and
  • Any valid agreement of the parties, such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Maintenance Amount Calculation

If the court decides that you are eligible for spousal maintenance payments, they will then determine the amount to be paid. The payment amount is determined by the following formula: 20 percent of the receiver’s income – 30 percent of the payer’s income = payment amount.

Illinois law says that this calculation is applicable to any couple whose combined annual income is less than $500,000. It also says that the total should not be more than 40 percent of the couple’s combined income when adding the payment to the receiver’s income.

Duration of Spousal Maintenance

The duration of the maintenance is calculated depending on the length of the marriage. To calculate the duration of the payments, multiply the number of years you were married by the corresponding number to the duration of the marriage. The following amounts are not all of the multiplying factors, but a general idea of which amounts are used depending on the length of the marriage.

  • Less than 5 years: 0.20;
  • Between 5 – 10 years: 0.24 – 0.44;
  • Between 10 – 15 years: 0.44 – 0.64;
  • Between 15 – 20 years: 0.64 – 0.80; and
  • Twenty or more years: For a marriage of 20 or more years, the court will order payments for as long as you were married or for an indefinite amount of time.

Consult with a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

If you are going through a divorce, you know how stressful and tiring it can be. Determining spousal maintenance payments can be tricky, but with the help of a committed Illinois divorce lawyer, you can be sure you’re getting the support you deserve. Contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams to see how you can come out of the divorce on top. Call 630-409-8184 to schedule a consultation.


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The structure of the American family is drastically changing. Even though the majority of children are still raised in households with a married mother and father, that number has been decreasing over the years. According to the Pew Research Center, less than half of American children are living with both of their parents in their first marriage. Family structures in the United States have been changing and now include blended families with step-parents and children, parents who cohabitate and LGBT families. According to The Williams Institute, about half of LGBT women and a fifth of LGBT men are raising a child.

The Case

Recently, an Illinois court ruled that a woman has parental rights to a child that was conceived in her lesbian marriage. The woman’s former wife had sought a sperm donor to carry the child that was to be raised by the both of them. When the child was born, both parents identified themselves as co-parents on the birth certificate but split seven months after the birth. Even though the woman has no biological connection to the child, she was granted parental rights and partial custody of the child by a Winnebago County court.

Determining Parentage

Under Illinois law, a person is considered to be a parent of a child if the mother of the child and the person entered into a marriage, civil union, or other legal relationship before the birth of the child and the child was born during the time of the relationship. Using this law, the mother seeking parental rights in the case involving her non-biological child had a right to seek custody.

Illinois Parental Rights Laws

According to Illinois law, parents can assert rights involving their non-biological child and they can also be held responsible for providing child support payments.  In the state of Illinois, parental responsibility consists of two things – significant decision-making and parenting time. Significant decision-making consists of things such as:

  • Education, including the choice of schools and tutors;
  • Health, including all decisions pertaining to the medical, dental and psychological well-being of the child;
  • Religion;
  • Extracurricular activities; and
  • Unless an agreement by both parents is submitted that details the allocation of parental responsibilities, the court will determine which responsibilities are allocated to each parent.

Determining Factors

In the event that the parents can not come to an agreement in determining parental responsibilities, the court will determine the responsibilities that each parent is accountable for. When making these determinations, the court looks at these factors:

  • The wishes of the child;
  • The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school and community;
  • The mental and physical health of the child and both parents;
  • The ability of the parents to cooperate, or the level of conflict between them;
  • The level of each parent’s past participation in parental responsibilities;
  • Any prior agreement between the parents involving parental responsibility;
  • The wishes of the parents;
  • The child’s needs;
  • The distance between the parent’s homes, the difficulty of transporting the child to and from the homes, each person’s daily schedules and the parent’s ability to comply with the arrangement;
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to encourage and facilitate a relationship between the other parent and the child;
  • The likability of abuse by either parent to the child; and
  • Whether one of the parents is a sex offender.

Seek Help from an Illinois Parental Rights Lawyer

Navigating the court system when you are seeking custody arrangements for your child is difficult and can be confusing. Having an experienced Illinois parental rights lawyer with you can provide a sense of relief and support. The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. can help you figure out what is best for you and your child. Call 630-409-8184 to schedule a consultation.


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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer, attorney fees,Nobody prepares for divorce when they are engaged, but according to a survey from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, that is exactly what people are doing. Of the members surveyed, 62 percent saw an increase in the number of couples seeking prenuptial agreements over the past three years.

Increasing Popularity, Losing Stigma

One reason why prenuptial agreements are becoming more common is due to the trend in marriage – more people are waiting until they are older to get married. According to a U.S. Census report, about 8 in 10 people had married by age 30 in the 1970s, but in 2016, the same percentage was not reached until age 45. Because people are waiting longer to get married, they are more likely to have accumulated assets, such as a business or property. A prenuptial agreement is a way for couples to protect these assets in the event of a divorce.

Prenuptial Agreements May Be for You

While prenuptial agreements still might ring unromantic for some, they can be right for others. Here are seven situations in which a prenuptial agreement might be right for you.

  1. When important assets are involved – When you have assets such as a house, stocks or retirement funds, a prenuptial agreement can protect your personal assets.
  2. When children from previous marriages are involved – Many times people have obligations to their previous spouses or children from a previous relationship. Prenuptial agreements can protect certain assets and allocate them to the children.
  3. When one partner owns a business – If you own a business and you end up getting a divorce, part of your business may be allocated to your spouse, meaning you may end up with an unwanted partner in your business.
  4. When one partner is much wealthier than the other – When there is a major income difference in partners, things can often turn out not in the favor of the wealthier partner.
  5. When one partner is much older than the other – If one partner is much older than the other, the older partner may not be able to recover their assets in time for retirement.
  6. When debts are involved – When one or both partners have debt going into a marriage, having a prenuptial agreement can ensure that each partner pays for his or her own debt when the marriage is dissolved.
  7. When inheritance is expected – If one or both partners expect to gain an inheritance during their marriage, a prenuptial agreement can prevent it from being divided in the case of a separation. A prenuptial agreement can also specify that family heirlooms stay with a specific partner.

Contact an Illinois Prenuptial Attorney

If you think that a prenuptial agreement is right for you, you need the help of an experienced Illinois prenuptial attorney to take care of the details. The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams can provide you with guidance and nearly 10 years of expertise. Call 630-409-8184 to schedule a consultation.


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