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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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DuPage Count divorce attorney child custody order modificationAfter your divorce, if certain circumstances change with regards to your co-parent, you might want to consider the modification of child custody orders. However, doing something like petitioning for sole custody of your children or significantly altering parenting timechild visitation rights, allocation of parental responsibilities, or parenting plans can often be a contentious and complex legal issue. You need to be sure you have a strong case to request such modifications. Below are some signs it might be time for you to request modifications of child custody orders or other orders pertinent to parenting.

5 Warning Indicators That Child Custody Modification Is a Good Idea

While many indications that you might need to assume sole custody of your children are more obvious than others, there are still plenty of warning signs—both blatant and subtle—that now might be the right time to take legal action. Overall, the most important thing to consider with any order modifications related to your kids is whether making such changes will be in your children’s best interests. Here are some of the most significant reasons to seek such modifications:

  1. You suspect your co-parent is abusing your children, be it physically, sexually, or in any other way that causes harm to them. In most cases, if your children are found to be in immediate harm’s way, this will expedite such modification orders.

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DuPage County divorce attorney spousal supportIf you have kids from a prior marriage, then you know that the divorce proceedings are hardly the last time you will hear from your former spouse. There are all sorts of things that you two must continue to work through, especially if your children are under the age of 18, including child supportparenting timeparental responsibilitiesspousal support, and much more. But how will this change if you decide to remarry? Will your new spouse be responsible for any of the parental responsibilities or child support? How will spousal support change? While at one time there was a clear-cut answer to all of these questions, in recent years, there is much more gray area when making some of these determinations in Illinois. The following is a look at how remarriage can change things after your divorce.

Remarriage and Its Impact on Divorce Obligations

With regards to spousal maintenance, the following is true in Illinois:

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DuPage County divorce lawyer COVID-19 child custodyOver the last few months, it may have become increasingly difficult for you and your co-parent to properly follow your court-approved parenting plan. You both want to fulfill your parental responsibilities and ensure that you can spend a fair amount of parenting time with your kids, but you also do not want to put anyone’s health or safety at risk. Conflicts in these areas may be even worse if you and your co-parent have different philosophies regarding the Illinois Stay-at-Home Order. Governor Pritzker deemed from the beginning of the order that it is essential for parents to honor their court-ordered parenting commitments, but under certain circumstances, doing so might not be a good idea. Here are some things to consider while you both adapt to the “new normal” as co-parents during a crisis:

What to Consider When Addressing Co-Parenting Conflicts

Perhaps your co-parent refuses to wear a mask in public as ordered by the governor, or your co-parent has accused you of not keeping your home sanitary enough during these challenging times. Before getting into a heated argument about these issues, you may want to consider some of these main points when addressing each grievance:

  • Remain calm. Heated arguments will not do anyone any good. During a crisis such as this, contentious disputes can be even more detrimental than under normal circumstances. It certainly will not help your children if they witness any of that behavior, since they likely already dealing with enough stress.

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Throughout the divorce process, if you have children, you and your co-parent will need to devise a parenting plan that clearly defines the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time schedules, and other child-related issues. In the state of Illinois, the standard used to determine many of these concerns is referred to as “the best interests of the child.” When decisions are made regarding custody of children of divorcing or separating parents, their best interests have the greatest bearing on the end result. While Illinois has a strict set of guidelines elaborating on those “best interests,” these issues may be open to interpretation, especially since the circumstances surrounding each child custody case are unique. In some cases, determining how much of a say children should have regarding what is in their best interests can be difficult.

3 Ways to Accept Your Children’s Opinion of Their “Best Interests”

Although “the best interests of the child” are critical, parents may not take children’s desires into account when addressing these matters. Here are some ways to make sure you, your co-parent, your attorney, and the court maintain a clear understanding of your children’s best interests and how their wishes may affect your case:

  1. Reject the idea that young children have no understanding of what is good for them. Many social scientists and other experts believe that the so-called “age of reason” for children is seven years old. By that age, they are able to make decisions and judgments based on their own ideas, observations, opinions, and insights. With this in mind, if your children are around that age or older, but they tend to shy away from the spotlight, consider enlisting the assistance of social workers or other similar professionals who can observe the child and interview them to understand exactly how they feel about everything, including the impending divorce itself.

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