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Category Archives: Child Custody

Wheaton parenting time attorneysDivorce often marks the beginning of a happier, more evolved life for the formerly married parties. Some people discover their passion or find a new love. Others return to their roots for love and support, which may ultimately deepen their relationships with extended family and old friends. Whatever the scenario, divorce can ultimately change people for the better. Sadly, the same cannot always be said for the children of divorce.

Understanding Why Children Are So Vulnerable in a Divorce 

Children of divorce are often victims of circumstance with little to no decision-making power in the process. If their parents decide to sell the family home and both move into a smaller or cheaper place, the child may be forced to change schools. When parents struggle to get along or agree on specific, child-related matters (i.e. what religion the child should practice or where they should go to school) they may be caught in the middle of a long and contentious battle over parenting time issues or the allocation of parental responsibilities. 

In short, contentious divorce proceedings can leave a child feeling as though their entire life is hanging in the balance. Children may also begin to experience maladjustment issues, and if parents miss the warning signs, it can increase the risk of long-term mental health problems. 

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DuPage County family law attorneysEach year, an estimated 1.5 million children in the United States experience the divorce of their parents. In less populated countries like Norway, the numbers may seem less impactful, but the rate of divorce is actually around the same - around 40 percent. That, along with their low immigration rate, made them the perfect location for a study on the use of antidepressants among the now adult children of divorce. 

Gen-X and Millennials Shape Our Understanding of Divorce's Impact on Kids

Divorce used to be a fairly rare occurrence - both around the world and in the United States. Rulings were also very different back then, with mothers often receiving sole custody of the children, along with alimony and child support. Social norms (fathers were usually the breadwinners and mothers typically stayed home to care for the children), paired with the perception that mothers had a superior role in the development of children were largely responsible, but science has since challenged our understanding of familial roles, child development, and the impact that divorce can have on kids. 

Generation-X and Millennials grew up during the divorce peak period, and now that they are children, there is a new pool of potential study participants. Divorce laws had already started to change, as more fathers were actively seeking a continued connection with their children, so the outdated social norms had less of an impact on their outcomes. As such, science has determined several interesting things about divorce and kids. 

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Wheaton family law attorneysThe divorce process can have a negative impact on all involved parties, but child experts say that it is children who are at the greatest risk for long-term, negative effects. Part of this can be attributed to their lack of control in the situation, but there are other aspects of a divorce that can increase a child’s risk of developing mental, emotional, or behavioral issues during the process. For example, studies suggest children are more likely to suffer from maladjustment if interactions between their parents are contentious or tumultuous during the proceedings. 

What is Childhood Maladjustment? 

Childhood development is a complex process. Its course is determined by both nature and nurture - or what some would call a child’s environment and genetic makeup. Major events that change the dynamics of a family, whether positive or negative, can also have an impact on a child’s development. The birth of a sibling is usually seen as a positive influence, as they must learn to share their time, toys, and attention, which can ultimately make them more compassionate and empathetic people. 

Divorce tends to be seen as a negative influencer. It can leave children feeling at fault for the dissolution of their parent’s marriage. Fighting and tumultuous proceedings can also cause the child to feel as though they have to choose a side in the divorce, which can significantly impact their relationship with both parties - not just the parent that they attempt to snub. Some struggle to adjust when one parent leaves the home. Others may feel as though their entire world has been turned upside down, which may cause them to develop symptoms of depression or anxiety. 

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Wheaton divorce attorneysWhile many marriages end amicably, there are some that end with bitter words and violence. In an alarming number of these cases, the abuse dates back to before the marriage's dissolution. Thankfully, victims of abuse can find at least some solace in the law; they are afforded many protections in the workplace, and they have the right to seek an order of protection to keep their abuser at bay. However, if there are children involved, their divorce case usually becomes far more complicated. 

Understanding How Illinois Views Parental Rights

Parental rights are not intended for the parent; the courts afford them to parents to protect a child’s right to receive financial and emotional support from both of its biological parents. Because of this, victims of abuse may need to face some scary possibilities during their divorce: 

  • Abusers may still be permitted access to the children. If the courts determine that the children have not been abused and are not at risk for abuse, they may be permitted both parenting time and a share of the allocation of parental responsibilities; 
  • Situations involving questionable or confirmed abuse can still allow for visitation, even if only under supervision; and
  • If child abuse or neglect significantly pre-dates the divorce, you can be implied in the case. The law uses this penalty to protect children from long-term abuse and to deter people from falsely reporting cases of long-term abuse. Unfortunately, it can negatively affect true victims who have struggled to safely leave the relationship. As such, any cases of long-term abuse should be handled carefully, and only with the skilled assistance of a divorce attorney. 

Child Endangerment Charges in an Illinois Divorce Case

The divorce process can become highly complex if child endangerment charges are brought against you or your spouse during the divorce process. You or your spouse may be questioned or interviewed by the police and Child Protective Services. The courts may also assign a Guardian Ad Litem to your child’s case. Your children may even be placed in protective custody and sent to live with a family member or in a foster home. Regardless of whether you are the accused or the victim, ensure you embark on such divorces with great care. 

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DuPage County parenting time attorneysHolidays can be a stressful time for anyone, but for blended families, the season can be especially trying. There are additional challenges that come with an increasing and revolving number of faces, such as multiple or various family schedules and changing or canceled plans. Thankfully, there are some strategies that blended families can use to minimize stress and encourage bonding and a happier holiday season. 

1. Develop a Plan and Discuss It with the Kids

Even though holiday plans can (and often do) change, it is important for your family to start with a framework. It can give you guidance and allow you to block out time more efficiently. When events conflict, work hard to come up with a compromise. 

Realize that, above all else, what everyone truly wants is for the children to enjoy the holiday season as much as possible. Family times, such as when grandparents are in town, are good to prioritize, as are any holiday traditions that can still be carried out, even after the massive changes of divorce (i.e. purchasing a living tree and then planting it at the end of the season). 

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Abraham Lincoln A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock and trade. -Abraham Lincoln
Davi Law Group, LLC handles family law, estate planning and real estate matters for clients in Chicago and throughout the western suburbs including DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, Kendall County and Cook County and the cities of Aurora, Bloomingdale, Bolingbrook, Carol Stream, Darien, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Geneva, Glen Ellyn, Hinsdale, Joliet, Kendall County, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville, Oak Park, Oak Brook, Oswego, Park Ridge, Roselle, St. Charles, Villa Park, Warrenville, Wheaton, Winfield, Woodridge and Yorkville, Illinois.
Warrenville Office
Address28371 Davis Parkway, Suite 103, Warrenville, IL 60555
Phone(630) 657-5052
Fax(888) 350-9195
Wheaton Office
Address1776 S. Naperville Road, Building A, Suite 105, Wheaton, IL 60189
Phone630-580-6373
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Phone(312) 985-5676
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Joliet, IL 60432
Phone(815) 582-4901
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