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DuPage County divorce attorneysOne of the hardest parts of getting a divorce is seeing the effects on your children, and even parents with the best of intentions can struggle to establish and maintain a post-divorce environment that serves the children’s best interests. One specific challenge that parents may face is maintaining consistent rules, expectations, and discipline when the children are dividing time between two households. Here, we offer suggestions that can help you avoid parenting mistakes and work on an arrangement that helps your children adjust and thrive.

Common Mistakes for Divorced Parents

As you adjust to your new co-parenting routine after your divorce, here are some unproductive approaches you may find yourself taking:

  • Avoiding discipline: You may find yourself tolerating poor behavior from your children because you do not want to come across as the mean parent, because you feel that you deserve it after putting them through the divorce, or simply because you lack the energy to provide discipline. However, this can teach your children that the behavior is acceptable and lead to worse behavior in the future.
  • Being overly strict: On the other hand, you may find yourself lashing out at your children or trying to enforce more strict discipline than you did before the divorce, especially if you feel your ex is not providing the necessary discipline. However, this can damage your relationship with your children and lead to a situation in which they do not enjoy the time spent with you.
  • Enforcing expectations inconsistently: It can be hard for divorced co-parents to uphold the same set of rules and expectations for their children, especially if they are not communicating regularly, and this can lead to confusion and instability for everyone involved.

Constructive Suggestions for Divorced Parents

If you find that any of these things are happening in your family, you can take action to improve the situation. One of the most important things you can do is to ensure that you and your ex have a shared understanding of your parenting plan, including the allocation of parental responsibilities, and that you communicate as much as possible about your children’s behavior. This can help you be more consistent in your approaches and avoid creating a situation in which your children resent one or both of you. It is also important that when you do discipline your children, you also make an effort to talk to them and listen to the feelings and concerns that may be driving their behavior. It is common for children to act out after a divorce, and while this does not mean their behavior is okay, it does mean that they might require extra care and attention.

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Parenting Teen Children During Your Illinois Divorce   Divorce is a difficult experience for parents and children alike, filled with sadness, anger, fear, uncertainty, and a range of other strong emotions. While it is a challenging time for children of all ages, teens may find it especially hard to deal with their parents’ divorce at a time in their life that may already be marked by major transitions and heightened emotions. As a parent, you should be prepared for the impact your divorce will have on your teenagers and do your best to help them cope with the changes that come.

Common Responses to Divorce For Teen Children

Many teens struggle with their parents’ divorce and react in ways that may have a negative impact on their lives. Some of the most common effects of divorce on teens include:

  • Academic Performance Issues: During a divorce, increased stress, lack of sleep, and difficulty focusing may all cause your teen’s grades and enjoyment of school to suffer.
  • Behavioral Issues: You may find that during and after your divorce, your teen lashes out at both parents more often or rebels against your rules and requests in ways that they had not before.
  • Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms: Some teens turn to substance abuse in response to their parents’ divorce, and they may also be more likely to engage in early, unsafe sexual activity.
  • Difficulty in Relationships: Divorce can put a strain on teens’ relationships not only with their parents but also with their friends and peers. They may also find it difficult to form and maintain romantic relationships after seeing their parents’ marriage fail.
  • Mental Health Issues: Divorce can contribute to a teen’s depression or suicidal thoughts and cause actions that require immediate attention and care.

Helping Your Teen Child Adjust to Divorce

It can be difficult to focus on the emotional needs of your children when you are struggling yourself, but the more you can be there for your teen children, the better you can help them work through their feelings and prevent some of their more dangerous and unhealthy reactions. Devoting time to talk to your children and listen to their concerns can make a big difference, as can continuing to support them in their interests. Asking for their input in your parenting plan can also help to ensure the arrangement works for everyone in the family. Most importantly, always be on the lookout for behavior that may indicate depression or other mental health issues that require help from a professional.

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Wheaton divorce attorneysMost parents are aware that divorce could negatively impact their child; it is why so many are hesitant to call it quits on their marriage. Still, studies show that a tumultuous home environment is more damaging to a child. As such, parents are encouraged to understand how and why a divorce might cause issues for their child. It also helps to have a plan in place.

Understanding the How and Why

Although divorce can negatively affect all children, the biggest risk seems to apply to those who are “well off” prior to the split. More specifically, adolescents whose mothers have a college education were found to be most impacted by parental divorce in a recent study conducted by Sondre Aasan Nilsen of the Norwegian Research Centre (NORCE) and the University of Bergen, Norway, and colleagues. On average, their GPAs were 0.3 points lower than peers with intact families from the same socioeconomic class. Previous research has also indicated that well-off children are less likely to attend college after a parental divorce.

Perhaps children from lower socioeconomic classes show less impact, simply because they are already less likely to excel in school or attend college, or maybe well-off children are ill-prepared for divorce because they have not suffered as much disappointment and heartache as children from lower socioeconomic classes. Whatever the cause, it is middle-class parents (and above) who most need a plan for minimizing the risk of poor academic performance in their child.

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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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DuPage County family law attorney, parental responsibilities One of the biggest concerns that couples with children have during a divorce is with whom the children will live. There are many factors that go into decisions about where the children will live. Parents who want the child to live with them will be best served by working with a skilled family law attorney to help make their case in court.

The Best Interest of the Child 

The court makes its decisions based on the best interests of the child. The factors that go into best interests of the child are laid out in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. A number of factors that the court will examine include (depending on age) the child’s wishes, the needs of the child and parents, how the child will adjust to his or her school or community, whether the parents can get along, and if there has been any abuse in the family.

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interfaith divorceStudies show that interfaith marriages are happening much more frequently than in the past. With increasing interfaith marriages often, unfortunately, comes interfaith divorce. Although many aspects of divorce are the same regardless of the religions of the spouses, one particularly unique issue in interfaith divorce becomes the religion of the children.

Even if one of the spouses converts to the religion of the other prior to or during the marriage, it is not uncommon for that converting spouse to return to their original religion upon a divorce. This situation raises serious complications for the children of the divorce, even if the parents had previously agreed to raise their children in one particular belief system. Think of the following real world example:

Bob, raised Jewish, meets Sue, who was raised Catholic. Before marrying, Sue converts to Judaism. The two have three children, whom they agree to bring up Jewish. When the parents divorce years later, Sue returns to the Catholic religion. Soon, an issue develops as to what services the children are/are not allowed to attend on the weekend with their respective parents.

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Posted on in Divorce
child divorce reactionPerhaps the only thing more challenging than navigating a divorce is doing so when there are children involved. Cases differ in circumstances, but for the most part, it is generally true that parents are very concerned with the well-being of the children as they go through this process and their family is ultimately changed. There is no shortage of advice for divorcing parents with children, and many parents welcome ways to make the transition easier for their kids. A recent article suggests 10 things that all parents who are going through a divorce should say to their children for encouragement and reinforcement during this difficult time.

Advice for the Children

  1. Assure them that what is happening between you and your spouse is not their fault. It is normal for them to look for reasons their parents are divorcing, and some children may blame themselves.

  2. Validate their emotions by letting them know there is no wrong way for them to feel. Their emotions can fall on a spectrum, just as is possible for the spouses who are divorcing. Whether they feel sad or angry, let them know their feelings are natural and realize they may change over time.

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children-parent bonding after divorceWhen child custody and support matters are added into the divorce mix, issues may be compounded and emotions can arise quickly. Of course, every case involving child custody has different factors and circumstances involved, but in many cases, both parents wish to have custody of their minor children and have their own ideas about what children need during and after divorce. A recently published article suggests some commonly accepted advice regarding children’s needs after divorce may be missing the mark.

Stability

Normally, divorcing parents may be focused on providing their children with as much routine and structure as possible to provide them with the perceived necessary stability through their divorce. However, according to the article referenced above, recent studies suggest that stability may have a different meaning to the children themselves. Experts are saying that what children really want and need in order to thrive in light of their parents divorce is open access to both parents.

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Posted on in Divorce

divorce with kidsGoing through the divorce process can be difficult for any number of reasons, but may be especially difficult when parents of children decide to divorce. Additional considerations not only come into play when dealing with legal aspects of the divorce case in court, like child custody and support matters, but more practical and everyday concerns may also dominate the parties’ interactions, such as the emotional well-being of the children involved. While the well-being of common children may get much attention from each of the parties to a divorce action, they may also be dealing with feelings of anger, resentment, and stress. These feelings may affect their actions more than they realize, and may impact their children more than they know. Here, WebMD discusses five common mistakes that divorced parents make that can have a negative impact on their children.

Common Mistakes

  1. Communicating through the children. Many divorcing couples try to talk to one another by sending messages through their children. This leads to undue stress for the child involved, especially if they are left to address a situation that their parents could not handle without involving them. Instead, parties should attempt to discuss issues directly with one another with focused communication that does not get emotional.

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Posted on in Divorce

divorcing parents schoolSummer vacation and a break from school means different things for different families. For some parents who got divorced or made the decision to do so, it may have been a summer of adjustment and even grief. Divorced and divorcing families certainly go through a lot, from changes in finances to emotional challenges. Having navigated these circumstances all summer, and perhaps getting into some sort of comfortable routine, the task of getting kids ready to go back to school may seem more daunting than ever. However, there are some things newly divorced or divorcing parents may want to consider in preparing to send their children back to the classroom.

Strategies

A recent article outlines five strategies that may be useful to employ with children who will be returning to school this year with divorced or divorcing parents in order to make the transition easier for them and to keep them on track during the school year.

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children of divorce, divorcing parents, Illinois divorce lawyer, DuPage family lawyerCouples who decide to divorce face a difficult decision, particularly when children are involved. Many parents worry about their child’s well being throughout the divorce process, however, many cases suggest that parents themselves are the ones who have the most impact on their child’s ability to bounce back after the marriage has ended. While one may be hard pressed to find someone who would not do anything they could for their child, divorce proceedings may appear to be an exception to that rule. Some parents may let their contempt for the other parent cloud their judgement and use children as a weapon, whether it is intentional or not.

Causing Damage

A recent article suggests that children of divorce can suffer far-reaching and life-changing damage when not treated properly. Children are often victims of divorce, and they are sometimes used by parents as weapons to hurt one another in the breakdown of the marriage. This tactic not only deviates from doing what is in a child’s best interest, but truly hurts the child’s well-being in a very real way. Parents often think that divorce is an adult process, but children’s lives are just as impacted, if not more.

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Posted on in Divorce

children of divorce, life after divorce, children, divorce, DuPage County divorce lawyerMany parents who decide to divorce are primarily concerned with how the breakdown of the family will affect their children. The time after a divorce is finalized will certainly be a period of adjustment, but adjusting is not always as traumatic for children as some divorced parents may fear. In fact, some kids adjust surprisingly well to their parents’ divorce, particularly those whose parents provide them with love and attention and focus on their well being throughout the divorce while keeping them shielded from conflict and anxiety.

Look for Signs

A recent article suggests the following signs show that children are coping well with their parents’ divorce:

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child support, income withholding, parenting, life after divorce, children of divorce, Illinois child support lawFor many, it may be hard to believe that any parent would not do all they can for the well-being of their child. However, the fact remains that in many child support cases, particularly contentious matters that involved a bitter divorce or a relationship gone sour, a parent who owes child support may pull whatever strings possible to get out of the obligation.

This may be because of the payor parent’s feelings of ill will toward the custodial parent, but no matter the reason, the one who is hurt most in cases like this is the child or children involved. Luckily, with the help of an experienced attorney in child support matters, these situations can be avoided when possible and addressed when they occur.

Income Withholding

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parenting time, parenting, children of divorce, child custody, shared parenting, life after divorceA recently published article discussed the problem that some parents face in child custody disputes and the changes that some are calling for in order to level the playing field. Many parents who are involved in divorce cases where children are involved face the possibility of a diminished parent-child relationship. The parent who is not the custodial parent often becomes just a visitor in the eyes of the family. Because of this perceived inequity, many parents who lose out on significant time with their children are trying to make changes to the legal process.

Shared Parenting

Advocates of equal parenting time are trying to get legislation passed that would divide custodial time more fairly between both parents. Their position is that children are better served when they spend equal time with both of their parents. These parents are against laws that would award custody to one parent over another, except in cases where one of the parents is deemed by the court to be unfit. Their proposed legislation would include a clause that mandates both parents get a minimum percentage of parenting time with their children each week.

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children of divorce, childhood obesity, life after divorce, parenting, Illinois divorce attorneyParents who divorce often worry about their children’s well being throughout the process and after the family is split up. It is undoubtedly a challenging time for children and their parents. A new article suggests that one of the things parents should add to their list of concerns when they divorce is whether their child will struggle with excessive weight gain.

Children’s Weight Gain after Divorce

New research is suggesting that children of divorced parents often struggle with weight gain when their parents part ways. A study was done of 3,000 kids in Norway in the third grade, which found that boys were especially prone to weight gain in connection with their parents’ divorce. the study found that boys of divorced parents had a 63 percent higher chance of being classified as either obese or overweight than boys whose parents were married. The same group was found to have a 104 percent higher chance of being abdominally obese.

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Posted on in Divorce

co-parenting, divorce, children of divorce, life after divorce, Illinois divorce lawyerWhile a divorce decree may signal the end of the road for you and your ex-spouse as a couple, you will still remain in each other’s lives if there are children involved. Just because the marriage has been dissolved does not relieve either party of their parenting responsibility. Like it or not, there will still be shared parenting responsibilities with an ex-spouse and it is in the children’s best interest for their parents to work together amicably and efficiently.

Tips for Co-Parenting with an Ex-Spouse

It may be a challenge for parents to put personal issues and feelings aside to form a cordial relationship with their ex-spouse for the benefit of their shared children. However, divorced parents should look at this as a new start and always put their children’s need before their own.

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children of divorce, child of divorce, Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyIn Part 1 of this article, we discussed research that showed children, on average, are likely to bounce back in the long term after their parents’ divorce, as well as some factors that may inhibit this adjustment. This seems to suggest that perhaps parents may not need to worry as much about the effects their divorce may have on their children, as long as they are able to maintain some stability and appropriate parenting levels throughout the process. Read on for the rest of the research related to this topic, regarding concerns relating to adulthood and improving the chances that children will bounce back.

Later Problems

The concern with children of divorced parents is not limited to immediate problems, but also with problems that the child may experience later in life as an adult. Some previous research suggests that children of divorce experience significant problems with depression and relationship issues as adults. However, other researchers argue against this finding, saying scientific research supports the idea that most children of divorce grow into well-adjusted adults.

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children of divorce, DuPage County Family Law Attorney, DuPage County family lawyerDivorce can be a stressful and emotional time, particularly when children are a point of concern. While many people may be certain about their desire to divorce from their spouse, most are less sure about the effects such a decision may have on their children, and may put off a divorce in an effort to protect them. However, some research indicates that perhaps parents should not be so worried about the effect their divorce will have on their kids.

Children Likely to Recover

At the outset, it is probably safe to say that many children of divorce feel displaced and disrupted by their parents’ divorce. About 1.5 million children in the United States go through this each year. Despite this, researchers are saying that a much smaller portion of those children deal with significant problems as the result of divorce in the short or long term. In other words, children are likely to recover rapidly from any negative feelings they initially have after learning of their parents’ divorce. A 2002 study showed than many of the negative emotions children experience, including anxiety, anger, shock, or disbelief, are short-term effects. These feelings are likely to decrease or completely cease after two years, with only a minority of kids continuing to experience negative emotions longer than that.

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parenting time, Illinois child custody, Illinois law, family lawyer, DuPage County family law attorneyAccording to a recent news article, lawmakers in Illinois will soon decide between a proposed overhaul of the state’s divorce law or a bill aimed at securing a minimum amount of parenting time for non-custodial parents in child custody cases. The divorce law overhaul purportedly came as the result of recommendations made by the Family Law Study Committee, which felt Illinois divorce law needed significant revamping. The Committee also agreed that the way in which judges made custody decisions was an area in family law that also deserved their attention.

Minimum Custody Time The Committee said the current typical custody arrangement allowing non-custodial parents to have their children one day per week and every other weekend should be abandoned in favor of equal parenting time, which is in the child’s best interests. A minimum amount of guaranteed parenting time was included in the original proposed legislation as a presumption that could be overcome if certain circumstances called for it. That presumption included allowing non-custodial parents 35 percent of parenting time per week, which equates to about 60 hours. Now, an amendment has changed the language from presumptive to aspirational, or something a judge should desire to implement in custody cases. Taking it a Step Further Many parents’ rights groups who fought for the original bill were not pleased with the amendment. As a result, a new house bill was sponsored by State Representative John Cabello, who took the original draft one step further by making the 60 hours of parenting time a mandate. Those who support this bill say the mandate will deter parties to custody actions from employing whatever means necessary, including lying to a judge, to ensure they will be awarded custody of their child. Opponents say judges should be allowed to view each individual case and use their discretion in determining an appropriate parenting plan under the circumstances. The bill’s mandate would force judges to use one approach for every case they heard. Child Custody Attorney Both bills remain in the amendment stage in the House, and action on either remains to be seen. Some are expressing frustration that the amended bill would not address the primary concern or purpose of the original bill, especially since the original bill was drafted in light of the Committee’s recommendations from highly experienced and seasoned professionals in the legal field, as well as years of research. If you are or will soon be party to a child custody action, do not hesitate to consult with a skilled family law attorney who can immediately begin working diligently to protect your rights as a parent. Contact the attorneys at the Davi Law Group, LLC  today to schedule a consultation. We have successful experience representing clients in child custody and support matters. Our offices are located in Chicago, Wheaton, and Warrenville, Illinois.

Posted on in Divorce

child custody, relocation, children of divorce, child of divorce, Illinois divorce lawThe dissolution of a marriage can bring with it a number of significant life changes. After divorce, one of the spouses may wish to relocate in order to get a fresh start. Normally, this would not pose a problem, but for an ex-spouse with children, it may not be as easy. Depending on what their child custody plan provides for, a parent may have to follow certain requirements set by law in Illinois in order to permanently or temporarily remove their children from a certain jurisdiction. Parent’s Rights In general, custody plans designate one parent as custodial and the other as non-custodial, even if both parents share time with the children. In fact, the custody plan itself may speak to the issue of removing or relocating the children out of state. Otherwise, Illinois law states that a custodial parent is able to relocate, either permanently or temporarily, with their children as long as they provide the non-custodial parent with advance and sufficient notice of their plans. The non-custodial parent may agree with the move; in that case, the parents may be able to reach an agreement outside of court. If the non-custodial parent is against the move, the custodial parent must ask the court’s permission to relocate. It is important to note that according to Illinois law, a custodial parent does not need a court order to relocate with their children within the state. As long as the move will not affect the non-custodial parent’s visitation schedule, a relocation should be allowed without court involvement or a change to the terms of the custody plan. Illinois Law on Out of State Removal In situations where the parents do not agree about relocation, the law provides protection of a non-custodial parent’s right to have regular visits with their children. In order to procure an order from the court allowing a parent to remove their minor children outside the state of Illinois, certain standards must be met. A custodial parent seeking the court’s permission to relocate must prove that removal is in the child’s best interests, and also must demonstrate an important reason for the move. Important reasons may include a new job prospect or access to certain necessary services that are only available outside the state, such as specific medical treatment. In considering whether the move is in the child’s best interests, the court will consider the following factors, among others:

  • Whether the move will enhance the quality of life for the parent and child;
  • The motives of the parent seeking to relocate;
  • The motives of the non-custodial parent in opposing the move;
  • The custody schedule currently in place;
  • If a realistic visitation schedule can be followed if the move is allowed;
  • The effect the move will have on the non-custodial parent’s visitation;
  • Any potential harm to the child if the move affects the child’s relationship with the non-custodial parent;
  • If it is impossible to reach a reasonable visitation schedule; and
  • The overall effect of the non-custodial parent not participating in the child’s life on a daily basis.

Child Custody Attorney If you are considering relocating with your children, or have been served with a relocation request as a non-custodial parent, it is important to seek help from an experienced professional. Contact the family law attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC today for a consultation. We serve clients in DuPage, Cook, Will, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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