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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. 

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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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Can Empty Nest Syndrome Lead to Divorce?Parents commonly experience empty nest syndrome after their children have moved out of the home. They can feel lonely and lacking a purpose or identity. Ideally, their marriage will fill the parenting void, but empty nest syndrome can put pressure on a weak marriage. If your marriage is falling apart without your children, you may need to consider divorce. Starting anew can help you discover the purpose and fulfillment you have been looking for.

Reasons for Divorce

Parenting can hold together a marriage that may have crumbled otherwise. Between your parental responsibilities and your career, you may give little thought to your relationship with your spouse as long as you feel fulfilled in these other areas. The bond you share as parents will never completely disappear, but that by itself does not make you compatible partners. With the children out of the house, your spouse may be the only person that you regularly interact with. When this happens, you may realize that you and your spouse:

  • Share little in the way of common interests;
  • Have different ideas about how active you want to be in your post-parenting lives;
  • Disagree on how active you should remain in your children’s lives; or
  • Feel generally uncomfortable or unhappy with each other.

Some spouses stay together despite these differences, remaining married but living separate lives. For others, divorce is the best way to free themselves to pursue the lives they want.

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Celebrating Halloween as a Divorced ParentHalloween is a holiday that is full of precious memories for parents and children. If you are divorced or separated from your co-parent, you may be missing out on watching your children trick-or-treat or enjoy other Halloween festivities. Divorced parents carefully divide their time with the children during the winter holiday season, but you may not have thought about Halloween when creating your parenting plan. There are still ways that both divorced parents can share Halloween with their children

Trick-or-Treating

Both of you can accompany your children for trick-or-treating if you and your co-parent can be cordial with each other for a couple of hours. Focusing on your children may distract you from falling into your typical arguments. If you cannot stand being around your co-parent for even that long, you could plan to switch as chaperones to the children midway through the trick-or-treating. You could also take your children to trick-or-treat in your neighborhood if you live close by. However, they will feel most comfortable trick-or-treating in their own neighborhood with their friends.

Maintaining Roles

One parent may have traditionally taken the lead on certain Halloween activities while you were married. Maybe one of you is better at carving jack-o-lanterns or putting together costumes for your children. Keeping up these traditions after divorce will make Halloween more enjoyable for yourself and your children.

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When a Parent's Beliefs Endanger a ChildOne of the difficulties when separate parents raise children is how to handle conflicting beliefs. Parents may have different opinions on:

  • What their children's religious beliefs should be;
  • Which medical treatments should be allowed; and
  • What they should eat. 

Decisions about how to raise children must be made with their best interests in mind, but what is best for the children is subjective in these cases, which are more about personal preference. A family court is unlikely to intervene in these disputes, unless a parent’s beliefs are harmful to the child.

Religion

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