Family Debt Can Impact Well-Being of Children

debt, DuPage County family law attorneyFinancial debt is a major cause for concern around the United States, at the individual and family levels, as well as on collective scale. Families fractured by divorce or other type of similar stresses may be particular susceptible to growing debt, as financial obligations may be harder to meet on a single income, combined with a countless other contributing factors. However, a recently-published study suggests that parents with certain types of debt may place their children at increased risk for behavioral problems in the future.

Quality of Life Connections

The study was conducted by researchers at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and looked at data from more than 9,000 children and their mothers over a period of nearly 40 years. The research also categorized debt into four distinct types: home, education, automobile, and unsecured debt, which included credit cards, certain loans, and medical debt. Looking for possible connections, the team also examined the socio-emotional health and behavioral concerns of the participating children.

According to the study’s findings, while larger amounts of total debt was associated with poorer behavior, home- and education-related debt were correlated with higher degrees of emotional health. Unsecured debt, conversely, was “associated with lower levels of, and declines in child socioemotional well-being.”

Possible Conclusions

It would seem, at least among studied participants, that all debt is not necessarily harmful. It may cause some levels of uncertainty and economic stress, but obligations that allow parent to better their lives through home-ownership or education pay off over time. The limited financial resources often associated with medical debts and higher credit card balances appear to have a much stronger negative impact on children.

Keep Finances Away from the Children

There was no dollar amount or percentage found to be a tipping point for negative behavior among children of parents with debt, so the study’s findings reflected a more general observation of the overall trend. In a similar vein, experts recommend keeping financial discussions behind closed doors and not to fight about money in front of your children. Whether you are currently married or continue to have financial concerns as you attempt to work together with your child’s other parent after divorce. Most children are not equipped to understand these type of fights, and may have a tendency to internalize the conflict.

If financial issues have you wondering if you truly providing for the best interests of your children, or are pushing you and your spouse closer to divorce, you need the assistance of an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call our office today at 630-871-1002 to schedule your free introductory consultation. Let us help you put your life back on track.



Increased Privacy in Mediation

privacy, mediation, Wheaton divorce attorneysIf you were asked to picture a divorce proceeding, would you think about a courtroom with a husband on one side, a wife on the other, and a judge in the middle to officiate the battle? While the image in your head may not be quite so stereotypical, it is likely that your concept—like that of most people—is something similar. What you may not realize, though, is that the vast majority of civil cases, including divorce, are not decided in the courtroom; instead, they are negotiated in other ways and a judge is only required to approve the settlement and enter it as part the judgment. Mediation is among the most common methods used to reach an agreement in a divorce, and the process offers a number of advantages, including time and cost savings, flexibility, and increased participation from both parties. There is one additional benefit, however, that is often overlooked: a dramatically increased sense of privacy and security.

Courtroom Transcripts

When your divorce or child-related case is heard inside a courtroom, a court reporter is always present to make a permanent record of the proceedings. Virtually every word is recorded in written form so as create a transcript for any needed future reference. The proceeding itself, along with the transcript, become a matter of public record, unless there is a particular reason or order that they should not.

What this means, effectively, is that anything pertinent to your matter, possibly including your income, your investments, your parenting philosophy, your indiscretions, and countless other elements could be made available to the public at large. While you may have nothing to hide, you may not be interested in your life becoming public record.

Privacy Benefit of Mediation

In mediation, you and your spouse—or other party, as appropriate—meet with a third-party mediator to negotiate a resolution to your matter. While the mediator will probably take notes during the session, anything that is said or discussed remains between the parties and the mediators, with exceedingly rare exceptions. The resulting agreement and, of course, the judgment are entered into the public record but the information exchanged leading to the settlement is not. This can allow you to freely and openly pursue a reasonable resolution without fear of exposing personal information or details to the public.

To learn more about the mediation process and how it could potentially benefit you, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. At our law firm, we are committed to helping families find creative and amicable solutions whenever possible and are ready to provide you with the responsible, knowledgeable representation you deserve. Call 630-871-1002 to schedule your free initial consultation today.



Negotiate a Workable Parenting Time Agreement

parenting time, DuPage County family law attorneysWhen you are forced to consider how you will share parenting responsibilities following a divorce or a separation, your initial feelings may be very confusing. It can be quite overwhelming to think about not being with your child all of the time, but you probably realize how important it is for your child to have a strong relationship with the other parent. Finding common ground during a difficult time can be very challenging, but a mutual commitment to finding a cooperative solution can go a long way in providing security and happiness for your child.

Visitation is Now Parenting Time

Recent changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act have amended the language used to describe a co-parent’s time with his or her child. For many years, any parent who was not deemed unfit or danger to the child was presumed to have rights of reasonable “visitation.” While the intention of the law may have been reasonable, referring to a parent’s time with his or her child visitation could have the effect of making the parent feel like an outsider or an interloper in the child’s life.

As of January 1, 2016, though, the law has changed the term visitation—regarding parents, at least—to parenting time. The amendment is intended to be more reflective of the inherent responsibilities and rights that parenting entails.

Making a Plan

While it may be difficult to work with your former partner, you should be able to agree that you both want what is best for your child. A family law court certainly has the authority to create a parenting time schedule, but you, as parents, are in the best position to know what works for your situation. Together, you can create a plan and schedule for spending constructive time with your child.

Doing so, of course, will require careful consideration of your respective work obligations, along with the physical, emotional, and educational needs of your child. You may determine that an alternating weekend arrangement is the most appropriate, or perhaps, each of you will have parenting time for parts of each week. As long as your agreement is equitable and meets your child’s needs, it is likely to be accepted by the court as part of your parenting plan.

Attorneys Who Care

If you are facing a divorce or other situation in which you will need to develop a plan for shared parenting time, contact an experienced DuPage County family lawyer. We will assist you in understanding the applicable laws and in drafting a plan that meets your child’s need while respecting your rights as a parent. Call 630-871-1002 to schedule your free initial consultation.