Wheaton divorce lawyerOne of the biggest worries and fears that parents have during a divorce is how the end of their marriage will affect their children. While it is no secret that divorce can put children through some stress and uncertainty, it is often the best action to take for the sake of the family. Children who are raised in unhappy households are more likely to have self-esteem problems, trust issues, and in some cases, even behavioral or emotional issues that can follow them for the rest of their lives. Telling the children about your divorce can seem like a daunting task, but these tips can help you have a meaningful and productive conversation.

Tip #1: Tell All of Your Children at the Same Time

Many parents make the mistake of not talking to all of their children together when breaking the news of their divorce. They may think that younger children should be sheltered from the news of a divorce, while older children can be trusted with this information. This often puts unfair and unnecessary stress on older children to keep the secret of the divorce from younger children. It is often best to gather your children together and tell them all at the same time to avoid any unnecessary difficulties.

Tip #2: Talk in a Way Your Kids Will Understand

Each child is going to be different when it comes to how much they understand about the divorce and what it all means. Younger children typically have a more difficult time understanding what a divorce is, so simple and clear messages usually work best when explaining things to them. Older children and teenagers tend to need more information about the news of a divorce, but you should still use caution when revealing details about why the marriage has broken down.

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Wheaton divorce lawyerMany studies suggest that children of all ages are actually quite resilient when it comes to coping with their parents’ divorce, transitioning to a relatively well-adjusted new living situation within a year or two. However, there are some serious causes for concern that might require adult intervention from professionals, such as psychologists, therapists, social workers, and maybe even your child’s teachers. Be sure to look for telltale signs that professional intervention may be necessary for your child to process your divorce in a healthy manner. 

3 Behaviors That Suggest Your Child Needs Professional Intervention

As with most psychological issues, the tipping point to determine whether or not your child truly needs professional help coping with the divorce is usually evident when his or her reaction to the divorce is interfering with normal functioning and development as a child. A wide array of emotional responses—from sadness to anger—will be common, but that does not necessarily mean your child needs outside help. Here are common disruptive behaviors in reaction to the divorce that might require professional intervention:

  1. Persistent, Out-of-Character Trouble in School — From skipping classes to getting in fights, steep declines in classroom performance to withdrawal from school-related activities, dramatic shifts in academic behaviors are key indicators that something might not be right. While this could be the case with most children dealing with divorce, if these classroom behavior changes are prolonged and extreme, you might want to ask teachers and guidance counselors to keep a particularly close eye on them.

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Posted on in Children of Divorce

divorce-children-affects-problemsIf you and your spouse are considering calling it ending your marriage, you probably have many concerns. Divorce will almost certainly have an affect on your finances, living situation, and especially your children. What should you expect your children to experience and feel if you and your spouse go your separate ways? Every situation is unique, but experts largely agree that there are some common things to be aware of when it comes to how divorce will impact your child.

Common Responses Children Tend to Have

It not unusual for you to see behavioral changes in your child during a separation or divorce. Some kids will act noticeably different at first and then adjust over time, while others may keep feelings inside and not immediately react to their changes in their family. In fact, some children will have no reaction at all to the news that their parents are getting divorced. It takes time for kids to process and understand what is happening and what it means for them.

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children, Wheaton family law attorneysIf you are a parent, you probably spend a lot of time worrying about the health, safety, and happiness of your children. When a couple with children divorces, the parents main concern is often how the divorce will affect the children. How will they adapt to their new lifestyle? Will they become resentful of their parents? Although divorce is a difficult process for families to go through, research shows that boys and girls have a remarkable ability to adapt to a two-home family and even thrive in it.

Famous psychologist Constance Ahrons spent 20 years studying the effects of divorce on children. She found through her studies that about 80 percent of children whose parents divorce adapt to the divorce and lead contented, prosperous lives afterward. Most do not suffer permanent negative effects on their mental well-being, physical health, school performance, or social skills.

Developmental psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington’s work supports Ahrons’ findings. Through a study of 2,500 children whose parents divorced, Hetherington found that a divorce alone did not influence children’s social, academic, or personal lives negatively. Other research supports these conclusions. When it comes to raising happy, healthy children, staying together as married parents is not required.

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Posted on in Children of Divorce

disabled chlid, Wheaton divorce attorneysToo often, disabled children, whether they are adults or minors, become points of contention during a divorce. Raising a child with a disability can be quite expensive in in the United States, and while studies show that the rate of divorce for parents of a disabled child is very high, you should never make your child feel as though he or she caused your breakup. It is also important to ensure that your child is cared for regardless of circumstances.

Financial Issues

One of the first priorities that you should have as a parent in this situation is to ensure that your child does not lose the benefits for which he or she has previously qualified. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid are affected by the amount that the person (or their caregivers) makes per month, so if, for example, you are awarded spousal support in your divorce decree that pushes you into a new tax bracket, your disabled child could become ineligible for all or part of his or her SSI. This can be avoided if your divorce agreement is written carefully. Generally, in Illinois, this means establishing what is referred to as a Special Needs Trust, into which the paying parent pays their child support payments. The reason for such stringent rules is because in the eyes of the Social Security Administration (SSA), child support belongs to the child not to the custodial parent.

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