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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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Illinois divorce lawyerSome couples believe they should hold off on their divorces until their children are grown. It can be easy to see why a couple would think this way – divorce can be stressful for children, having a parenting plan means the children do not get to see both parents every day, both parents have to face the stresses of parenting individually, and when one parent finds a new partner, conflicts can arise and create wedges within the family. These are all legitimate challenges divorced couples face, but none of them are a good reason to forgo exiting an unhealthy marriage until one’s children are adults.

Why? Because when a marriage is marred by constant conflict, divorce is the healthiest solution for every member of the family. In fact, it is better for children to experience a divorce and grow up with healthy, functional parents than it is for them to grow up in “intact” families where fighting and stress are the norm.

Constant Exposure to Conflict Is Unhealthy for Children

When there is tension in a household, everybody is affected. Even babies and toddlers pick up on their parents’ conflicts and feel secondhand stress. Children who grow up watching their parents constantly fight and fail to resolve their conflicts appropriately can internalize harmful ideas about relationships and develop unhealthy coping mechanisms for dealing with household stress. If children are not taught how to resolve conflicts appropriately and instead, spend their days watching their parents fight, they can repeat the harmful patterns that drive the conflict in their homes.

Divorced Couples Who Co-Parent Effectively Set a Healthy Example

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Illinois divorce attorneyFor divorcing parents, talking to their children about the divorce can be one of the most difficult parts of the pre-divorce process. These discussions often include talking to children about the changes that will occur and stressing that they did not cause the divorce.

With adult children, talking about your divorce is different. You no longer have to worry about custody and child support issues or explaining the divorce in an age-appropriate manner. But you naturally still want to protect your children emotionally and continue to have a strong relationship with them, which can make any parent anxious about this discussion.

Their Age Does Not Mean They Need All the Details

When speaking to a young child about divorce, a parent generally leaves out all the details and focuses on the basics: Mom and Dad are no longer going to be married, they will live in separate houses, and you will spend time in both houses. As kids grow older, parents can fill in more details.

Do not assume that your child needs every detail about your divorce simply because he or she is an adult. Your child will ask questions and they deserve factual answers. What they do not need is all your personal details, such as why an affair occurred.

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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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