Naperville Family Law Attorneys
Let’s face it: divorce is hard on families. Whether you have children from a prior marriage or marital children, divorce is difficult for children of all ages to comprehend. The way you choose to approach helping your children understand the reasons for your separation will be impacted by their age and maturity, but typically need not be dependent on the circumstances. Regardless of the reasons for your divorce, there are several strategies you can use in order to lessen the inevitable impact your divorce will have on your child. Seeking the advice of experienced Illinois divorce attorneys can help you anticipate potential issues that may arise and help you identify them as part of your divorce settlement.
The Impact of Divorce on Children
Children are often more intuitive than we may think, and are generally aware when things are awry. They pick up on language, the conversations you have with your friends and family about the divorce, and the way you talk about your ex or soon-to-be-ex spouse in front of them. Many divorcing couples will enter a shared parenting agreement (joint custody) so the child will be able to spend time with both parents. For this reason, no matter what ill feelings you may have toward your spouse, it is important to remember that they are still the parent of your child.
After a dissolution of marriage action is filed in Illinois, parents must now submit a proposed “parenting plan” to the court for review. This plan can be written jointly or separately, and its purpose is to allocate parenting responsibilities. By creating a solid parenting plan before your divorce is finalized, you can anticipate potential contentious issues such as where the kids will go on major holidays and school vacations, and also determine which parent will make important decisions regarding your child’s well-being in terms of financial, educational, religious, medical, and other personal matters.
By taking the time to think through possible issues that may arise in the future, you can greatly minimize the possibility of additional conflict since you have already come to an agreement about how the issue should be approached. While the court will make alterations to the plan when deemed in the best interest of the child, going into court with a plan prepared with the aid of knowledgeable family law attorneys can greatly increase your chances of having your parenting plan approved without significant alteration.
Tips for Minimizing the impact of Divorce on Children
Deciding where the child will primarily reside, who will pick the child up from designated school activities, and what happens when mom and dad start dating again are all things that can be considered before they become contentious issues. The impact of sharing physical custody of your child with your spouse can have a significant emotional effect on your young ones. Consider the following:
- The divorce is never the child’s fault. Nor is it appropriate to place all of the blame on your spouse, even if the divorce was predominantly due to one spouse’s actions. To your child, that individual is still their parent, and any ill-will or negative comments should be avoided at all costs.
- Talk about the divorce with your children so they understand that it is not their fault. If you have older children, they may be more intuitive about the issues arising and may be more likely to blame themselves; have an adult conversation with them when appropriate and always be honest (without casting ill feelings toward your ex-spouse).
- Follow the plan. Illinois lawmakers have introduced the requirement for a parenting plan to help minimize the need to modify outstanding arrangements, and it is binding by the court. Absent unforeseeable circumstances, sticking to the plan will help keep everyone on the same page.
- Seek help when appropriate. Some children may benefit from seeking counsel from a psychologist or psychiatrist if they are having trouble coping with the transitions in their lives due to divorce.
- Once your children are old enough (or mature enough) to participate in decision-making, you may at least consider their input before making decisions. Remember, the solution to any issue lies in whatever is in the best interest of the child overall.
While not an exhaustive list, these are simple tips divorcing parents can employ to ensure the wellbeing of their children during a divorce.
Contact a DuPage County Law Firm Today
Understanding the physical and emotional impact your divorce will have on your child is critical in order to help minimize the potential negative effects. The skilled Naperville family law attorneys at Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. can help you navigate your divorce from start to finish and help you anticipate some of the ways divorce may affect your children. We know what issues are likely to arise and can help you identify them to minimize conflict down the road. Whether you are considering divorce, have already filed, or are seeking modifications to pre-existing parenting arrangements, our knowledgeable DuPage County divorce lawyers can help. To schedule an appointment with our firm, contact us online or call 630-756-5112 today.