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IL divorce lawyerThere are various situations in which grandparents take on the parental role for their grandchildren. Sometimes the child’s parents pass away, some are unfit to raise children, while others are simply absent in their children’s lives. While many grandparents will take their grandchildren in as a result of their own child’s neglect or absence, this can be a difficult task for older people to take on. Dreams of travel, spending time with their spouse, or a relaxing retirement can get put on a temporary or permanent hold. Many grandparents willingly adopt their grandchildren but the transition is not always so easy.

Tips for Easing the Transition

  1. Feelings First: Both you and your grandchildren will feel a mix of emotions about the huge life change. You may be feeling a combination of happy and sad feelings: pleased to be able to provide your grandchild with a loving home but upset that your life plan took an unexpected turn. Your grandchild will most likely be experienced similar sentiments. For children, these feelings can often be displayed through aggressive or inappropriate behavior. Talking to your grandchildren about their feelings is the first step towards creating a sense of normalcy. Looking for grandparent support groups is a good way to get a hold on your feelings without taking them out on your grandchild accidentally.

  2. Make Your House Their Home: Children thrive off of stability which can seem impossible to create in the midst of a parental change. However, there are steps that can be taken to help build this new home. Creating a schedule or routine helps form a new sense of normalcy as does setting house rules for the child to abide by. The best way to make your home feel like their home is to give them their own space. Having their own bedroom can make your house feel less temporary, allowing the child to see your home as their home.

  3. Encourage Parental Contact: Many situations make this impossible and sometimes contact with the parents is not in the child’s best interest, but this is not always the case. If the child’s parent is still able to be contacted, it can be advantageous to the child to maintain that relationship, even if the relationship is different than it was before. It is important to avoid showing your grandchild any disappointment or anger that you may have towards their parents. Keeping the child from communicating with their parents can create a sense of resentment towards you, even if you are the one taking care of them day to day.

Contact a Kane County Adoption Attorney for Help

Becoming a parent for a second generation can be difficult physically and emotionally. Some grandparents feel as if they have no other choice while others fight to remove their grandchildren from an unhealthy or unsafe home. At Shaw Family Law, we understand that every family’s situation is unique and deserves the utmost attention to do what is best for the child. If you are considering legally adopting your grandchild, contact a St. Charles, IL adoption attorneys at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.

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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 lawyerWhat was once known as legal custody is now known as parental responsibilities. This is the right to make decisions on a child’s behalf that impact the child’s lifestyle and future. Under Illinois law, a parenting plan must touch upon all of the following subjects and state which parent is responsible for making decisions in each subject area. Both parents can be named in one or all subject areas, granting them both the right to make decisions and requiring them to work together in their child’s best interest:

  • Education;
  • Healthcare;
  • Extracurricular activities; and
  • Religious upbringing.

There are many competing philosophies on education and even among married couples, parents can disagree about the best course of action for their child’s education. If you find yourself disagreeing with your former spouse’s thoughts and choices regarding your child’s schooling, keep the following in mind:

If You Share the Responsibility to Make Choices About Your Child’s Education, You Have to Work Together

When you share parental responsibilities with a former spouse, you have to cooperate for your child’s sake. Making decisions about moving a child to a different school, keeping him or her back a year, handling behavior problems in the classroom, and discussing issues related to your child’s learning disability or need for an individualized education program (IEP) can be stressful.

Take yourself and your feelings about your former partner out of the equation and focus solely on your child’s educational needs. Use concrete facts like progress reports and report cards to guide your conversations with your former partner. Remember that sometimes, a parenting plan needs to be altered to give a child the best chance for academic success.

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Illinois custody attorneyLife rarely keeps us in one place forever. You might be offered a new job opportunity, get accepted to your dream school, meet a new partner, or face financial and personal conditions that make moving away not just an option, but the ideal course of action for you. Before you had children, decisions like this were easy to make. With children, they are far more challenging. And when you have a parenting plan for your child, moving can require court approval.

Not all proposed moves require court approval. A parent can move across town or within a small radius without getting permission from his or her former partner or the court. It is only when a proposed move is far enough that it would require altering an existing parenting plan that the parent cannot simply pack up and go.

Determine How Far You Can Move without Permission

In Illinois, where a parent currently resides determines how far they can move without his or her former partner’s consent or court approval. For parents in Cook, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, Lake, and Will counties, this limit is 25 miles from their current residence. For parents in all other Illinois counties, the limit if 50 miles. These limits apply to inter and intrastate moves, except for when a move is both out of Illinois and at least 25 miles from the child’s current residence.

Get Your Former Partner’s Consent to the Move

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