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How Divorced Parents Can Help Their Misbehaving Teen

Divorce puts an emotional strain on the children in the family, which can affect their behavior. Teenage children can be particularly troublesome because they can be exposed to bad influences that could get them into serious trouble. In the worst scenarios, an emotionally distraught teen may become involved in criminal or dangerous activities. As a parent, you are responsible for protecting your children and teaching them the difference between right and wrong. You can utilize your parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities to help your teen through this difficult period.

A Parent’s Role

Being a parent after a divorce means more than providing for the basic living needs of the children and making sure they are attending school. Parents have an irreplaceable role in their children’s emotional development by:

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Disability Dependent Benefits Can Contribute to Child SupportBecoming permanently disabled does not eliminate your child support obligation after a divorce, but it can change what you pay. People who live off of disability benefits typically have less income than before, which allows them to modify their child support payments. If you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, your children may be eligible to receive SSDI dependent benefits as well. In shared parenting situations, these payments would go directly towards child support.

What Are SSDI Dependent Benefits?

The purpose of SSDI dependent benefits is to help a disabled parent support his or her children who rely on the parent’s income. A child can qualify for SSDI dependent benefits if he or she is:

  • Younger than 18 and unmarried;
  • Younger than 19 and enrolled full-time in a secondary school; or
  • Disabled and the disability started before age 22.

Each child is eligible to receive payments that are worth as much as 50 percent of the disabled parent’s SSDI benefits. However, the total value of the disabled parent’s benefits and the children’s benefits cannot exceed 180 percent of the disabled parent’s original benefits. Thus, if you have two dependent children, they cannot both receive payments that are worth 50 percent of your benefits.

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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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Life Insurance Can Secure Spousal MaintenanceYou and your spouse may have paid for life insurance during your marriage to financially protect each other in case one of you died. Now that you are getting divorced, what you need from a life insurance plan has changed. It makes sense to remove your spouse as a life insurance beneficiary because you do not want him or her to profit from your death. You can make your children the sole beneficiaries of the plan or cancel the plan if you do not have children. However, keeping a former spouse as a life insurance beneficiary can provide financial backing for spousal maintenance payments after a divorce.

Monetary Security

A court awards spousal maintenance when one spouse was reliant on the other to pay for their accustomed standard of living. If you will receive maintenance after your divorce, being a beneficiary on your former spouse’s life insurance policy will assure that you will be financially supported in the event of his or her untimely death. Your former spouse may change the life insurance plan to reflect the fact that you are divorced, such as:

  • Reducing the benefits that you would receive so that it would be no greater than what you would be owed for spousal maintenance; and
  • Switching from a long-term plan to a short-term plan because the maintenance payments may be temporary.

Enforcing Life Insurance

A spousal maintenance payor may reject the suggestion of also paying for life insurance to benefit his or her ex-spouse. As long as the children are financially protected, the payor may not care about a former spouse’s financial security. As the maintenance recipient, you can request that the court require your former spouse to have you as a beneficiary on a life insurance policy. 

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Adoption Preferred When Voluntarily Terminating Parental RightsTerminating a parent’s rights is not a decision that Illinois courts reach easily or without a compelling reason. A court may restrict a parent’s right to see a child if that parent is unfit or a threat. A disinterested parent can waive his or her right to parenting time and decision-making. However, it is rare for a court to grant a request to voluntarily terminate parental rights – even if both parents agree to it – unless there is another adult willing to adopt the child.

Why Voluntary Termination Is Rarely Granted

The legal parents of a child have both rights and responsibilities that cannot be surrendered or taken away without court approval. Child support is a vital financial responsibility that a court cannot eliminate unless it is terminating someone’s legal status as a parent. If it was easy for parents to voluntarily terminate their rights, some would do so in order to avoid continued child support payments. Instead, Illinois believes that it is in the best interest of a child to have two parents to financially support him or her.

Adoption

A court is more likely to grant a request to terminate parental rights in cases of adoption. The adoptive parent, such as a new spouse, agrees to take on the financial responsibility for the child, which satisfies one of the court’s largest concerns about terminating parental rights. However, the court will not terminate a parent’s rights against his or her wishes. Either the parent must willingly surrender his or her parental rights or the state can petition to terminate a parent’s rights by proving that he or she is unfit in ways such as:

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