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IL divorce lawyerWhen children are facing the difficult reality that their parents are getting divorced, they might respond by internalizing the conflict between the adults. Most children are generally not privy to the many arguments behind closed doors and disagreements that the parents have had for many years. As a result, children may turn inward and blame themselves for their parents’ failing relationship, as well as for the divorce itself. While you might realize that your divorce has nothing to do with your child, they might not be so sure, and it is your job to help your child to stop accepting the blame.

#1: Talk Openly and Carefully

If a divorce is coming, you and your spouse should make every effort to speak with your child together about what will soon be happening. You must be very clear that the split is due to issues that you and your spouse have with one another. Your child did not break the marriage, and they cannot fix the marriage. Also, be sure to talk to your child in a manner that is appropriate for their age, including the details you choose to share. For example, it might be true that the stresses of child-rearing did cause damage to the relationship between you and your spouse. However, if you say that to your second grader, they could interpret that as you saying that he or she caused your divorce by simply existing.

#2: Invite Ongoing Communication

Once you have told your child about the divorce, do not have preconceived expectations about how he or she will handle the information. Everybody handles difficult news in his or her own way. It is also important to avoid asking your child to keep things to himself or herself. Do not put the pressure of secrets on your child. Instead, tell your child only what you are comfortable with others finding out. Similarly, do not force your child to talk to you right away. Instead, offer a safe, welcoming atmosphere in which your child can talk about their concerns or feelings without negative consequences.

How to Have the Divorce Talk With Your Children

Posted on in Children

Kane County divorce lawyerDivorce is not uncommon, and most children have friends, family members, and schoolmates with divorced parents. However, the pervasiveness of divorce does not cancel out the deep emotional impact of divorce on children. If you are a parent planning to end your marriage soon, you may be unsure of how to broach the subject with your children. The moment your children learn about the divorce is likely a moment they will remember for the rest of their lives. The "divorce talk" should be carefully thought out and planned in advance so that it goes as smoothly as possible. 

Telling Your Children About the Divorce 

The first step is to make the decision about when and how to tell your children about the impending divorce. You and your spouse should sit down together and decide what you will say and who will say it. It is often best for both parents to be present for the conversation, but if that is not possible or practical, then one parent should take the lead. Do not tell your children about the divorce until you are absolutely certain the marriage is over. 

Once you have decided when and how to tell your children, stick to that plan as closely as possible. Do not have the conversation in front of other people, such as extended family members, friends, or your new significant others. This is a private family matter that should be treated with sensitivity and care.  

St. Charles IL grandparent rights lawyerSometimes, parents prove unwilling or unable to take care of their children. In these scenarios, there are several options for the children to receive care, but one that is becoming increasingly common is for a grandparent or grandparents to step in. According to official state estimates, there are more than 100,000 grandparents raising their grandchildren in Illinois. If you are in a position where you may decide to raise your grandchildren, there is a process to follow to ensure everything is legally sound.

Obtaining Physical Custody and Parental Responsibilities

There are several different options for grandparents to obtain physical custody of their grandchildren and decision-making authority regarding their well-being. The one that is most commonly used is to bring an action for parental responsibility under 750 ILCS 5/601.2, which is part of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). There are two scenarios under this law in which a grandparent could conceivably obtain physical custody. The first is if the child is not in the physical custody of their parents—for example, if the parents are both deceased, or if one or both parents voluntarily abandoned the child. The second is if one parent is deceased and the other is missing or incarcerated. If either of these applies to your family situation, the IMDMA is likely the best law under which to bring your petition. 

However, if neither of these scenarios is applicable, for example, if the child is still in the custody of one or both parents and there has been no willing relinquishment of parental responsibilities, other Illinois law statutes may offer a better option. Most often, these cases will fall under the Juvenile Court Act, wherein a parent must be proven unfit in order for a grandparent to gain custody. Grandparents pursuing this option should be aware that Illinois is one of the few states in which parental rights can actually be regained after losing them, though doing so is a difficult and laborious process.

Three Tips for Divorced Parents Before Dating AgainIt is understandable and maybe even expected that you will start dating again after your divorce. How soon depends on how quickly you are able to move past the pain of divorce. It can take months to years for someone to be emotionally ready to enter a new romantic relationship. Dating after divorce is different for many people because they may have children from their previous marriage. You need to understand how your dating decisions may affect your children and your ability to be a parent. Here are three tips for dating as a divorced parent:

  1. Be Honest with Your Children About Dating: You may be worried about how your children will react to your decision to start dating, but not telling will make them more upset when they eventually find out. Before going on dates, you should talk to your children about the decision and what it means for them. Be honest in telling them that you are lonely in a way that only a relationship with another adult can satisfy. Emphasize that being their parent is still your most important job and that no one you meet will replace them or their other parent.
  2. Be Cautious About Who You Introduce to Your Children: You should keep your dating and family lives separate until you are confident that you are in a long-term relationship with the person you are seeing. Meeting your new partner will be stressful for your children, and you should keep those meetings to a minimum. You also need time to determine whether your new partner is the type of person you would want interacting with your children.
  3. Do Not Put Your New Partner in a Parenting Role: When it comes time to introduce your new significant other to your children, you should describe him or her as a friend to the children and not a new parent. Allowing your new partner to discipline your children is likely to upset and confuse them. If you eventually marry this partner, his or her role as a step-parent will develop naturally.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Attorney

Your responsibilities as a parent will always supersede any new relationships. Your co-parent may attempt to take away some of your responsibilities if your dating interferes with your parenting time or puts your children in danger. A Kane County divorce lawyer at Goostree Law Group can discuss how your parenting plan may affect your ability to date. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800. 


How Pregnancy Can Change Your Divorce

Posted on in Children

How Pregnancy Can Change Your DivorceSome spouses have the unfortunate timing of divorcing while the wife is pregnant. Pregnancy is an emotional time for both expectant parents, though the excitement usually draws them closer. Having a child puts stress on the parents, which their relationship may be unable to withstand. In other cases, the decision to divorce just happens to coincide with the pregnancy. Illinois law does not prevent spouses from divorcing while expecting a child. However, pregnancy can change the nature of divorce, especially if it will be the couple’s first child.

Parenting Factors

Illinois law assumes that the husband is the father of any child conceived or born during a marriage. Only a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity by another man or a paternity test could break that assumption. Because the spouses will be co-parents after the divorce, their agreement must include:

A parenting plan for a newborn child is different than with older children. The mother will likely care for the newborn a majority of the time, but the father also needs bonding time with the infant if he plans on being an active parent. The parents should schedule a regular time when the father can visit and hold the infant. Caring for the infant may affect the balance of incomes that determine child support payments, depending on the type of maternity leave that the mother receives and whether either parent will reduce their work hours to focus on parenting.

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