Category Archives: Children of divorce

Planning Your Divorce Conversation with Your ChildrenTelling your children about your divorce will be as difficult of a conversation for you as when you and your spouse first discussed divorce. Both are stressful and emotional, but your conversation with your children may be more upsetting for you depending on their reaction. Just as with your spouse, it will help to plan your conversation with your children. This will be a traumatic milestone in their lives, and you should avoid thoughtless mistakes that will make the experience worse than it needs to be.

Timing

You should tell your children about your divorce soon after you have made your decision, but a slight delay may be necessary to find an optimal time and place. Ideally, the conversation should:

  • Include both parents and all of your children together; and
  • Take place when none of you have any immediate responsibilities afterward, such as the beginning of a weekend.

Talking to your children together allows you to present a unified message about the divorce. Having all your children present avoids the appearance that you are favoring one of your children by telling him or her first. The conversation will be upsetting and distracting to your children. They will need time to process the news and continue to ask you questions.

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Should You Delay Your Divorce Until Your Child Leaves Home?Some parents who are in failing marriages stay together for the betterment of their children. The seemingly ideal time to divorce is when the youngest child graduates from high school because:

You may feel noble by deciding to delay your divorce for a couple of years until your children have become adults. You are considering the needs of your children before your own. However, postponing a necessary divorce can emotionally damage your children in ways you did not intend:

  1. Your Children Are Continually Exposed to Your Conflicts: Staying married for your children will not fix the problems in your relationship. You will not be able to hide the tension between each other from your children. You will either openly lash out at each other or create an awkward environment by not talking to each other. Your children are learning from you how to interact in relationships.
  2. Your Children Feel at Fault for Your Unhappiness: Your older children will realize that they are the reason you have not gotten a divorce. Rather than admire you for your selflessness, they may feel guilty that they are prolonging your misery. Your children will think of themselves as your burden, which is unhealthy for their emotional development.
  3. Divorce Hurts, No Matter the Age: Postponing your divorce will delay your children’s pain instead of lessening it. Young adults better understand divorce, but your decision will still upset them. They may believe that being older means that they should not share their feelings with you, even though they need your emotional support.
  4. You Are Creating Uncertainty When Your Children Need Certainty: Becoming an adult is a major change in your child's life because he or she is leaving home for the first time and facing new responsibilities. Your home can provide comfort and stability to your children when they are feeling uncertain. By divorcing at the same time that your child leaves home, you have taken away part of your child’s support system and compounded the changes in his or her life.

A Tough Choice

There is not an ideal time in your children’s lives for you to get a divorce because the experience will always cause emotional trauma. Though it feels selfish, you must consider your own emotional health and happiness. A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can provide information to help you decide when you should get a divorce. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.

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Consequences of High-Conflict Divorce for Parents and ChildrenThe aftermath of a high-conflict divorce can leave both parties with emotional wounds that take time to heal. However, the wounds inflicted on the children of the divorce can be deeper and affect a child’s mental health and relationship with his or her parents. When parents fail to shelter their children from their high-conflict divorce, the children can become resentful towards their parents and disillusioned towards relationships in general. Parents must act quickly to repair the damage that their contentious divorce has caused their children.

Problems with High-Conflict Divorce

Parents may believe they are doing enough to protect their children from their divorce arguments by not lashing out at them. However, witnessing the conflict is still damaging to the children. Divorcing parents can also indirectly involve their children in their conflicts by disparaging each other around the children or using the children as messengers. Parents who are absorbed in their high-conflict divorce may fail to provide adequate attention to their children’s emotional needs. As a result, the children may:

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Using Family Law to Combat Parental AlienationA selfish and cruel co-parent may purposely try to turn your children against you in order to damage your relationship with them. There is a psychological term for this practice, called parental alienation. Psychologists have an ongoing debate about whether Parental Alienation Syndrome is a mental disorder, but there is little doubt that a parent who is alienating his or her children against the other parent can cause emotional and psychological damage to the children. If you are the victim of parental alienation, you may need to go to family court to reassert your parental rights and protect your children.

Identifying Alienation

Parental alienation is different from situations where children have limited contact with a parent because the parent is a legitimate danger or has failed to maintain a relationship. Alienation involves one parent undermining a child’s relationship with the other parent for vindictive or selfish reasons. A parent may cause alienation by:

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How Toddlers Can React to Parents' DivorceChildren often experience the least amount of trauma from their parents’ divorce when it occurs before they are old enough to form memories. There will eventually be sadness and questions when they realize that a two-parent household is considered normal, but they do not grasp the immediate split between their parents. However, children become capable of noticing their parents’ divorce at a younger age than parents may expect. By age 2, children can start to create memories, some of which may be traumatic if they involve divorce.

Emotional Sensitivity

Toddlers are incapable of understanding a verbal explanation as to what a divorce is and why it happens. However, they can pick up on changes in their environment, such as:

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Goostree Law Group

Goostree Law Group

 555 S. Randall Road, Suite 200
St. Charles, IL 60174

 630-584-4800

 1770 Park Street, Suite 205
Naperville IL 60563

 630-364-4046

 400 S. County Farm Road, Suite 300
Wheaton, IL 60187

 630-407-1777

Our Illinois divorce attorneys represent clients in Kane County, DuPage County, Kendall County and DeKalb County, including Geneva, Batavia, St.Charles, Wayne, Wasco, Elburn, Virgil, Lily Lake, Aurora, North Aurora, Elgin, South Elgin, Bartlett, Crystal Lake, Gilberts, Millcreek, Maple Park, Kaneville, LaFox, Yorkville, Oswego, Plano, Sugar Grove, Big Rock, Bristol, Newark, DeKalb, Sycamore, Naperville, Wheaton, West Chicago, Winfield, Warrenville, Downers Grove, Lombard, Oak Brook, Streamwood, Hoffman Estates, Barrington, South Barrington, Lake Barrington, Schaumburg, Big Grove, Boulder Hill, Bristol, Joliet, Kendall, Lisbon, Minooka, Montgomery, Plainfield, Sandwich, Yorkville and many other cities.

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