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IL divorce lawyerIf you are a parent who is considering divorce, you are probably concerned about how divorce will affect your children. You may also be unsure of what steps you will need to take to establish child support or arrange a co-parenting schedule. Divorce involving children can often be complicated and emotionally-charged. Fortunately, you do not have to face the divorce process alone. A family law attorney can be a valuable resource during this challenging time in your life.

Creating a Parenting Plan

Divorcing parents in Illinois are asked to create a parenting plan or parenting agreement. In the plan, you will describe how you and your child’s other parent will handle child-related responsibilities. The parenting plan must include:

  • A parenting time (visitation) schedule or method for determining a parenting time schedule
  • Transportation arrangements for the child
  • How you will make important decisions about the child
  • Each parents right to be informed of child-related emergencies, healthcare, and other significant concerns
  • Information about any future parental relocations
  • And several other provisions

Reaching an agreement about all of the elements in your parenting plan may be quite difficult. One option that has helped countless parents resolve child-related disagreements is mediation. During family law mediation, you and your child’s other parent will work with a specially-trained mediator to negotiate parenting issues and reach an agreement that serves your child’s best interests.

Establishing Child Support

In the majority of divorce cases involving parents, a parent is ordered to pay child support. The parent with the majority of the parenting time is the recipient of child support and the other parent pays child support. The amount that payments will be is largely determined by the parents’ net incomes. If each parent has the child at least 146 overnights a year, this is a “shared parenting” arrangement. Because each parent has the child a relatively equal amount of time, child support is reduced accordingly.

Helping Your Child Cope With The Divorce

Children can have a wide range of reactions to divorce. If you and your spouse were obviously unhappy together, it is possible that the divorce may even be a relief to your child. It is also possible that your child will be very upset or angry when he or she learns of the divorce. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help your child cope with the major changes taking place in his or her life. Experts encourage parents to avoid arguing or discussing legal issues related to the divorce in front of their children. Keeping your child’s routine as close to normal during the transition can also help lessen his or her stress. Above all else, make sure your child knows that he or she is still loved and cared about and that the divorce is not his or her fault.

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IL divorce lawyerGetting a divorce in any circumstance can be heartbreaking and overwhelming. However, getting divorced when you have children with your spouse can be especially challenging. Many parents worry that ending their marriage will be traumatic for their children. While breaking the news of divorce to children is never a pleasant conversation, there are certain steps parents can take that may minimize the trauma as much as possible.

Have a Family Meeting About the Impending Divorce

Child development experts and mental health professionals generally agree that it is best to break the news of divorce with both parents present. Use the word “we” when explaining the split to the children – even if the divorce was not a mutual decision. When only one parent tells the children about the divorce, it can make the children feel like they have to choose sides. While some families choose to tell the older siblings before the younger siblings, many mental health professionals suggest telling the children all together regardless of their ages. When some children know about the divorce before the others, it leaves them with the unfair burden of keeping a secret.

Plan What You Will Say in Advance

Just as you probably plan for important work meetings, you should plan how you will tell your children about your divorce. Think about the main messages you want your children to take away from the conversation. You may want to reassure your children that they will still be loved and cared for and that the divorce is not their fault. Remind them that even though you and your spouse are no longer going to be married, this does not change the fact that you are still their parents.

Accept Your Children’s Reactions

Children are all different and may have a variety of reactions to the news of divorce. Some children may throw a tantrum or become extremely angry. Others may cry and want to be held and comforted. Some children may initially act nonchalant or even have no noticeable response at all to the news. These are all normal reactions. Try to give your children space to work through their emotions and remind them that you are available to talk and answer questions whenever they feel ready.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we know the toll that divorce can take on a family. Our highly-skilled, compassionate St. Charles family law attorneys are fully prepared to help you with issues related to property division, child custody, child support, and more. Call our office at 630-584-5550 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a member of our team today.

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IL family lawyerDivorce is difficult for all parties involved, especially children. Because of their lack of life experience, children usually do not understand why their parents are deciding to end their relationship. Some even blame themselves for the divorce. Some parents seek out counseling for their child to help them talk through a difficult time. Special needs children often need more help from their parents to understand what is going on in their life. Continue reading for tips on helping your special needs child through your divorce.

Telling Your Child About the Divorce

For many parents, breaking the news about their divorce to their child can be scarier than the divorce itself. It is important to be completely sure that you and your spouse are permanently separating. Being on and off again can be confusing for your child and give them unrealistic expectations for the future. Plan what you will say with your spouse and talk to your child together. Use concise language and reassure your child that your relationship with them will remain the same after the divorce.

Child Custody Determinations

Many parents do not have a say in the child custody proceedings; however, sometimes their input is taken into consideration for cases regarding special needs children. Custody for special needs children can be more difficult because constantly transitioning from one household to another is not always the best decision. These household transitions can become easier as they become habitual.

Transitioning After the Divorce

One of the best ways to help special needs children transition to living in two households is to have some uniformity between both homes. Many families will have a calendar in both homes to provide visual stability for the child. The calendar includes things like your work schedule, your former spouse’s work schedule, and your child’s extracurriculars. A good practice for parents is to set aside individual time with their child. By putting aside time for you and your child, they will be reassured that your love for them has not changed.

Contact a St. Charles, IL Divorce Attorney for Help

The divorce process is stressful no matter the circumstances. At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we work to take the legal stress off your shoulders to allow you to focus on your family and the lifestyle change you are going through. If you are considering divorce, contact our dedicated Kane County divorce attorneys at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.

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 IL family lawyerDeciding to get a divorce is often discussed at length by both spouses. Many couples will make a pro-con list to compare the good things in the relationship to the bad ones. Most parents think that getting a divorce will adversely affect their children; however, this is often not the case. Studies have shown that it is better for children to grow up in a household where they have examples of healthy relationships, even if this means realizing that what is best for their parents is to be apart. Just because this is usually best does not make breaking the news to your children any less difficult. Continue reading to learn about the best way to tell your child that you and your spouse are getting divorced.

Telling Tips

Telling your children that you and your spouse are filing for divorce is difficult no matter the circumstances. The following tips may not make it easier to tell your children the truth; however, it will help your child in the long-run.

  • Tell Your Kids Together: This is a fairly obvious tactic that is crucial while talking to your children about divorce. It can be confusing if one parent shares the information with the child without the other parent being present. This can give children the idea that they are losing a parent rather than adjusting lifestyles.
  • Provide Your Child with Details: Before you have this conversation with your child, the details of the divorce should already have been discussed. For instance, you should be able to tell them who will be living where, what your parenting schedule might look like, and how day-to-day life will go. These do not have to be set in stone but they can help make the child feel less unstable.
  • Rehearse Your Lines: It is advantageous to plan out what you are going to say before speaking to your children. If you do not think about it beforehand, your emotions can get the best of you and you and your spouse’s decision may not be clear enough for the child.
  • Utilize Your Weekends: Hearing the news that your parents are filing for divorce can be confusing and devastating to children. It is best to tell them the news on a weekend day when they can have time to digest and reflect on the information they just received without having to worry about attending school or extracurricular activities.

Contact a St. Charles, IL Divorce Attorney

Divorce is difficult on the personal lives of all those involved. For this reason, it is important to find an experienced divorce attorney to take the legal stresses off of your shoulders. If you are considering divorce, contact a skilled Kane County divorce attorney at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.

 

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Illinois family lawyerThe short answer is yes, boys and girls generally react to their parents’ divorces in different ways. Like nearly every other question about divorce, though, a more accurate answer is that every case is different, and every child is different, so a parent cannot expect his or her child to react to his or her divorce in a specific way based solely on the child’s gender. Instead, a child’s gender can be used as a guideline to anticipate the way he or she might react to the divorce process and a way to understand why the child feels the way he or she does.

Your Child Is More than His or Her Gender

There are a lot of factors that can play a role in how your child will react to your divorce, such as:

  • Your child’s age;
  • Your child’s gender;
  • The circumstances of the divorce; and
  • Your child’s personality.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Child Psychology found no difference between how adolescent boys and adolescent girls react to their parents’ divorces. This could be because in general, divorce has less of an impact on adolescents than it has on younger children.

In younger children, though, there are notable gender differences in how children react to divorce. Boys are more likely than girls to react to their parents’ divorces with anger and aggression. Girls might suppress their feelings and aim to please their parents and other adults around them. Some gender differences can be traced to how boys and girls are often socialized differently, while others are due to the realities that many divorcing families face. One of these realities is that often, mothers have larger shares of parenting time after divorces than fathers, which can foster stronger relationships between mothers and daughters and make it easier for girls to recover from the difficulty of divorce.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyerAs a parent, there is a lot of pressure on you to keep any “negative” thoughts about parenthood to yourself. But the truth is, raising children is hard. This is backed up by statistics: in any marriage, the couple’s satisfaction in the marriage declines during its first few years. For couples with children, this decline is twice as steep as the decline childless couples face.

This does not mean you should forgo parenthood. What it means is that having children can put an immense pressure on your marriage and if you are not proactive about anticipating child-related conflicts and resolving them in a healthy manner, this pressure can push you to divorce.

Children and Divorce Statistics

There are many different factors that can impact a couple’s likelihood of divorcing. Some of these factors have to do with the couple’s children and their positions on raising children:

  • Having daughters increases a couple’s chance of divorcing while having sons reduces it. Unmarried couples who have a son are more likely to marry than unmarried couples who have a daughter, and when a couple has two daughters, their likelihood of divorcing is 43.1 percent versus 36.9 percent if they have two sons;
  • When a woman wants a child more strongly than her spouse wants a child, the marriage is twice as likely to end in divorce as a marriage where the couple wanted children equally; and
  • Parents of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are 22.7 percent more likely to divorce by their child’s eighth birthday than parents of children without ADHD.

Overcoming Child-Related Conflicts in Your Marriage

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerThere is no greater dilemma for parents exploring the possibility of divorce than deciding whether or not to go through with the process for the sake of the children. There is much at stake where kids are concerned when deciding to end a marriage. Everything must be taken into account, including the immediate emotional and mental effects, to how the split will impact the children in the future, as the years go on.

Should You Stay or Should You Go?

The question of whether staying together is in the children’s best interests is a difficult one to answer, but one thing is certain: There are a number of diverse opinions on the matter, but ultimately only you, the parent, can decide if it is time to say when, or if it will work in everyone’s favor to remain a family unit despite the marital conflict.

Psychologists suggest examining the following as you explore whether divorce is the right decision for your family:

Consider the ways divorce would negatively affect your children.

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerWhile it is not uncommon for the road to and through divorce to be a mutual, peaceful one, the reality remains that there is always that percentage of married couples who do not make it through the journey without multiple bumps in the road. Divorce is often plagued by conflict, tension, and problems reaching resolution on numerous matters, from everything to parenting time arrangements and the creation of a parenting plan, to the division of assets and child support payments.

Approaching Divorce as a Beginning, Not an End

Whatever your personal divorce circumstances look like, if you are on the verge of blending a new family dynamic together shortly after your split, then you are on deck for a whole new challenge entirely. Those pesky conflicts you faced throughout the divorce proceedings are no longer tied to the separation alone, but are now factors that will come into play with another issue: The task of beginning a new chapter with your newly blended family. Merging a new family means working with your former partner, addressing lingering hurt your children are experiencing from the previous marriage, and channeling your time and energy into building a healthy foundation with your new partner and their children.

Challenges You May Face as a New Stepparent

Some of the challenges a new stepparent may face are diverse. Here are some points of conflict you can expect to encounter if you are freshly divorced, or if your new partner has recently been through a split:

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois custody lawyerThere are countless aspects surrounding the divorce experience that parents are faced with when raising children throughout the separation process. Studies show that children are especially prone to the negative psychological effects that accompany the end of their parents’ marriage, due to the fact that they are still developing and learning to process - and cope with - rapidly changing emotions and circumstances. It is understandable, then, how something as anxiety-inducing as moving during or shortly after divorce can trigger a significant psychological struggle for children.

Moving and Divorce: A Psychological Toll

Recent divorce law changes in the state of Illinois now allow the primary residential parent to relocate with their child after divorce, as long as the move is made within a 25-mile radius. Because of this new guideline, that 25-mile radius can actually mean a jump over the state line, depending on which county you live in. Whether you are moving one neighborhood away or using up those permissible 25 miles, studies indicate that moving after divorce can be unsettling for children and can reap long-term psychological effects.

What Studies Suggest

The American Psychological Association (APA) reported studies that were conducted among students from an array of relocation scenarios, including subsets of students who experienced their primary (custodial) parent moving after divorce, and students who experienced no parental relocation at all. In general, the students of divorced families who relocated on some level were found to suffer more distress and perceive their parents in a less favorable light over the long term. Additionally, the students of divorced parents who relocated also experienced less life satisfaction and rated their physical and mental health poorly over time. They also felt more anger and hostility within their interpersonal relationships.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_children-divorce.jpgNavigating the adjustment period after a divorce is a challenge for everyone at the end of a marriage. Depending on the level of tension and conflict in the relationship, the final unraveling of the union has the potential to wreak a significant amount of emotional damage on each party, and it is only natural for even the most peaceful splits to leave some sort of emotional scarring by the time the divorce is official.

The Psychological Effects

The psychological effects of divorce are just as impactful for children, and in some cases, even more so. This is due in part to the critical developmental periods children go through, such as the early teen years, when their minds and bodies are changing rapidly and drastically. The American Psychological Association reports research that indicates children from divorce tend to experience less financial security and have lower academic achievement, tend to drink and smoke more, and have a harder time finding and keeping jobs.

Factors that Play a Role in Healthy Adjustment

Despite these common negative post-divorce effects, studies reported by the APA still show that resilience, rather than dysfunction, is often the outcome for many children of divorce. There are a number of factors that play a role in promoting healthy post-divorce adjustment. The APA reveals that the following key factors are particularly influential:

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