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St. Charles divorce attorneyWhether you have seen your divorce coming for some time or the realization of your unraveling marriage has taken you by surprise, telling your children, extended family, and acquaintances that your marriage is over is never a pleasant experience. It is not uncommon for friends and family to feel a sense of loss themselves, as they too grew familiar and comfortable seeing you and your spouse together, often over a period of many months or years. Children in the family can take divorce especially hard, making the duty of breaking the news to the kids infinitely more difficult for parents.

Communication is Key

Some divorcing couples make a mutual agreement to tell the children together, while others make arrangements to delegate the “talk” to one parent. Some couples never even have the chance to discuss who will speak to the children about the split because of the conflict and tension surrounding the end of the relationship. Whatever your personal circumstances, consider the following as you tell your kids, friends, and family that you and your spouse are going your separate ways:

  • Get your own emotions in check. Psychology experts emphasize the need for self-care during a divorce, especially when it comes to mental health. Although it is much easier said than done, getting your own emotions in check before you break the news of your separation to your loved ones can help a great deal. Approaching the conversation with a clear head and a calm demeanor can soften the blow, allowing your children and family members to absorb the news. The more in control you appear to be, the better they will receive the news.

Do Grandparents Have Rights to Visitation with Their Grandchildren in Illinois?For some families, the relationship and connection between family members means everything, especially the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren. In some situations, the dynamics of a family can deteriorate to the point where the child is no longer allowed to maintain that relationship with his or her grandparent. In Illinois, parents are considered to have inherent rights to spending time with their children. Grandparents are not afforded the same rights, but Illinois laws do give grandparents the ability to ask the court for visitation time in certain situations. 

Can I Ask for Visitation with My Grandchild?

Illinois law presumes that parents will make decisions based on what is in their child’s best interests. If a parent is denying a grandparent visitation time, Illinois courts will assume that there is a reason for it. It is up to you as the grandparent to prove that the denial is actually harming the child in some way. You may be able to obtain visitation rights if one of these criteria apply:

  • The child’s other parent is dead or has been missing for 90 days or more.
  • One parent has been deemed incompetent or unfit.
  • One parent has been in jail or prison for 90 days or more.
  • The child’s parents are divorced, and one parent has no objections to your visitation.
  • The child’s parents were never married, they are not living together, and one of the parents is your child.

Factors Used in Making Determinations

Once you file your petition for visitation, the courts will examine your situation to determine whether your petition should be granted. Though the court will start with the presumption that the parent’s actions and decisions regarding your visitation time are not harmful to the child’s overall well-being, the judge must examine a variety of factors. These factors include:

How to Answer Your Child’s Biggest Divorce QuestionsWhen you break the news of your divorce to your children, you should be prepared for them to ask several questions. You need to be considerate of their feelings when answering these questions because a poorly worded answer could make them more upset. Keep in mind that:

  • Your children are most concerned about how your divorce affects them.
  • They need your reassurance without you making promises that you cannot keep.
  • There are some details about your divorce that your children should not know.

You can reasonably expect that your children will ask you some variation of the following questions:

  1. Why Are You Getting Divorced?: When answering this question, it is important to convey that your children did not cause the divorce and that you will both continue being their parents. Say that it was a difficult decision but what you feel you need to do. Your children do not need to hear about the reasons you are unhappy in your marriage or events that led to your divorce.
  2. Do You Still Love Me?: Getting a divorce usually means that you no longer love your spouse. This may cause your children to wonder whether you could stop loving them. Obviously, the relationship between a parent and child is different than between spouses. Reassure them that you will always love them, even if you do not feel the same way anymore about their other parent.
  3. Will You Get Back Together?: You should be confident in your decision to divorce before you tell your children about it. Do not tease them with the hope that you may reconcile your relationship. Tell them that you will not change your minds and that your breakup is permanent.
  4. Where Will We Live?: This can be a tricky question because the answer depends on how you divide parenting time and whether you decide to keep your marital home. The best answer is that they will have two homes – one with each parent. An older child may ask whether you will be moving out of your current home. Be honest with them if you do not know the answer but let them know that your decision will be based on what is best for them.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

Your children will continue to have questions about your divorce and how it will affect them, and you may have your own questions about it. A St. Charles, Illinois, divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group will help you figure out the allocation of parental responsibilities as part of your divorce. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.

How to Nurture Resilience in Your Children After DivorceAs a parent who decided to divorce, you may be concerned about how the divorce will emotionally affect your children. You know that they will be upset, but will the divorce cause long-lasting emotional trauma? The good news is that it is possible for children of divorce to become more resilient because of their experience, making them more capable of handling other hardships that may occur in their lives. There are several ways that you can create an environment that enables your child to build that resiliency:

  1. Healthy Communication: To understand how the divorce is affecting your children, you need to listen to what they say and watch how they behave. Encourage them to be open about their feelings without forcing them to talk when they are clearly not in the mood. When they do decide to talk, let them finish speaking without interjecting to correct them or add your own opinion. Resist your instinct to want to solve their problems for them or to reassure them that things are not so bad. The most important thing for you to do is to show sympathy towards their feelings and answer the questions that they ask.
  2. Creating Structure: Life will not be the same for your children as it used to be, but you can create a new normal that still supports them. Establish routines that incorporate familiar activities while adding new ones. Keep up traditions, such as holiday activities or special meals. Stay consistent with your parenting schedule so that your children can grow familiar with when they will spend time with each parent. Do not treat your children with gifts or special activities as a way to make up for the divorce. They need to settle into a normal routine.
  3. Preserving Connections: Your child’s relationships and activities outside of your home are some of the ways they may be able to cope with your divorce. Even if things have changed drastically at home, they can find relief in spending time with their friends and attending school. Relocating soon after a divorce takes those outlets away from them and may cause too much change at once. This should be one of your top considerations if you are debating whether to move your children to a new area following your divorce.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney

Co-parenting is one of the most important factors in raising resilient children. You need to be able to put your personal differences aside in order to make decisions that are in the best interest of your children. At Goostree Law Group, our St. Charles, Illinois, divorce attorneys will help you create a parenting plan that fosters a healthy co-parenting relationship. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.

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Be Aware of the Social Media Activity of Children of DivorceChildren of divorce are often unsure of who to talk to about their feelings because their most natural outlet – their parents – is at the source of their pain. Social media is an easy alternative for them, where they can express themselves and connect with friends. Divorced parents may believe that there is no harm in letting their children withdraw into their mobile devices. After all, parents know where the children are. However, children can still get themselves into trouble on social media and are more prone to making poor decisions when experiencing a traumatic event, such as their parents' divorce.

Potential Problems

Children often fail to understand that what they say and do on social media can have real-life consequences. Posting offensive or inappropriate content reflects poorly on them now and leaves a record that could hurt them in the future, such as when they apply to a college. Sharing too much about themselves makes them appear vulnerable to people who try to exploit confused children and teenagers, such as:

  • Sexual predators;
  • Online scammers;
  • Cyberbullies; and
  • People trying to indoctrinate others into an extreme belief system.

Solutions

As a divorced parent, you must protect your children from unhealthy online behavior while also respecting their need for social connections and independence. Prohibiting them from having social media accounts is difficult to enforce and will make them rebellious. Installing parental controls feels demeaning to older children and should be done only if the child has demonstrated that they cannot be responsible on their own. There are more effective ways to protect your children:

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