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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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interstate child custody issues, DuPage County family law attorneysWhen parents and their children have lived in different states throughout the duration of the marriage, extremely complicated issues arise regarding child custody in a divorce case. In Illinois, the key for handling disputes is jurisdiction—a court’s authority differs when handling divorce matters versus child custody battles. Jurisdiction may be proper over one aspect of the case, but not appropriate for the other. Because of the highly complex nature of the legal issues involved, it is wise to retain an Illinois divorce attorney with experience in interstate child custody issues.

Divorce Jurisdiction

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a court has jurisdiction to enter an order of dissolution of marriage so long as one of the spouses was a resident of the state when filing for divorce. In addition, jurisdiction is proper if one of the spouses was stationed in Illinois as a member of the armed services. The spouse must be a resident or have military presence in the state for at least 90 days prior to initiating divorce proceedings. Once the filing spouse meets the 90 day requirement and submits the petition for divorce, the case will proceed in Illinois regardless of where the other spouse lives.

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DuPage County family law lawyers, parenting time scheduleUnder Illinois law, divorcing parents may present a mutually agreed plan for decision-making responsibilities and a schedule for parenting time regarding minor children. The statute encourages parents to agree by including a caveat if they cannot cooperate: The court will make decisions regarding parenting time, taking control out of the hands of a divorcing couple. Therefore, it is important to at least try to come to an agreement on parenting time in the plan you submit to the court as part of the divorce process. An Illinois divorce lawyer can assist you in covering the primary factors to consider for allocation of parenting time.

Activities Scheduling

During the school year, there is more regularity in activities, but your parenting time should take all contingencies into account. You will need to consider how to handle plans if one parent must travel for work or has a variable schedule, such as healthcare workers, law enforcement, and others that may be called into work unexpectedly.

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DuPage County divorce attorneys, couples divorcing with teensThere is never really a good time to divorce. However, it may be especially rough for a couple that decides to divorce as their children become teenagers and young adults.

Parents will need to make important decisions regarding their teens and their divorce. If the children are closer to college age or even the planning stages, there are key issues that a couple will want to consider as well. 

Who Gets the College Savings Account?

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DuPage County family law attorneys, long term supportParents who have a disabled or special needs child understand the complexity of ensuring adequate care for their child. A divorce adds to the complexity of this issue both financially and emotionally. Whenever possible, divorcing parents should seek to develop a parenting plan and come to an agreement on long-term care for their special needs child.

Generally, child support is calculated using a formula. The court uses the net income of the non-custodial parent and the number of children supported to determine the total amount of support. In most cases, child support terminates when a child is 18. However, when a child is disabled and has special needs that require long-term care, then the court may extend child support. This is particularly true if a child has a severe disability. In these extreme cases, it is possible that the court may order child support to extend for the child’s entire life. 

Court May Order Lifelong Child Support

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Posted on in Divorce

equal parenting timeIn Illinois and likely in other states across the country, many court systems are hearing arguments by groups and other organizations advocating for equal parenting time in child custody cases. These groups make their case based on reason, as well as appeals to emotion, to some extent. It is often argued that a child benefits the most from having an ongoing, consistent relationship with each parent. In many cases, this makes sense, and even those who are adamant that equal parenting time is in a child’s best interest acknowledge there are certain exceptions to this general rule. However, a recently published article points out that there are those on the opposite side of this issue, regardless of how prevalent equal parenting schedules are becoming.

Legal Measures

Many states are facing decisions involving legal efforts to change standards for courts in making child custody determinations. To be sure, the country has come a long way in the evolution of child custody decisions and parental rights. In the early history of the United States, fathers generally kept custody of their children and mothers did not enjoy legally enforceable rights.

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Posted on in Divorce

divorcing childMany cases of divorce usually involve concern about any children who may be involved. Usually, this feeling is aimed at the children of the divorcing couple whose parents have decided to end their marriage. However, consider sympathy for children involved in divorce from another angle: parents’ concern for the welfare of their adult child who is divorcing. A recent medical article gives parents advice on what they can do to support their adult child whose marriage is ending.

Parents of a Divorcing Couple

With so much focus usually on the couple who is divorcing and their children, it is often easy to overlook the emotions of the parents of the divorcing couple. However, their concern, and even fear, about the situation is understandable and should be expected. They often mourn the loss of the marriage and may be anxious about the potential of their relationship with their grandchildren to be changed by relocation or custody orders. Many parents of divorcing couples struggle with these and other emotions, including confusion, disbelief, and sadness.

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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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