b2ap3_thumbnail_wheaton-divorce-attorney.jpgDivorce is hard on adults, but it is perhaps even harder on young children who are not mature or experienced enough to understand why parents get divorced. Children are often trapped in the immediate consequences of their parents’ divorce without foresight about what will come next or whether things will get better. 

As a result, children are often blindsided when either parent begins dating a new partner. Even older children, who could reasonably be expected to anticipate their parents dating again, can have negative emotions about a new partner and may treat the partner with suspicion or even hostility. While all of this is natural, here are some tips from experts about how to help your children get along with a new partner after your Illinois divorce

Do Not Talk to Your Kids About a New Partner Until Things Are Established

Adults frequently date many partners after divorce and it can take some time to meet someone you feel good about. Children should not be introduced to a new partner until you are fairly certain that this partner is likely to be around for the long term. Introducing multiple partners can cause children to feel a sense of anxiety around whether the adults in their lives are likely to stay or leave, especially if a child develops an attachment to a particular partner. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_dupage-county-parenting-agreement-lawyer.jpgAs much as most divorcing parents wish they could be rid of each other’s presence in their lives forever, sharing children means constant contact even as both spouses transition away from their marriage. Even when spouses go their separate ways amicably, many events can trigger conflict - perhaps none more so than the presence of a new partner. When someone is co-parenting in Illinois and their former spouse gets remarried, the introduction of a third “parent” requires major adjustments and presents serious challenges. If you are in this situation, here is some advice from experts to help you manage. 

Ensure Your Children Are Safe

Every parent worries constantly about their children, and it is natural to be worried or even paranoid about the presence of an unknown adult in your child’s life. While this worry will probably abate on its own as you get to know your ex’s new spouse, you still need to make sure your children are safe. At the same time, you never want to ask your children leading questions or make them unnecessarily suspicious or hostile towards your ex’s new partner. This can be a tricky balancing act, but use your parental intuition to guide you if you sense something may be wrong. 

Try to Maintain Neutrality

You likely have strong feelings about your ex’s partner, and this is only natural. It is not easy to maintain a neutral relationship with your ex, let alone someone coming into the picture after your relationship fell apart. However, your children need you to maintain neutrality for several reasons. First, they need the chance to make up their own minds about this new person. Second, they need the stability you offer when you show them everything is okay. And third, children have a tendency to feel pressured to take sides in parental differences; research shows this can be harmful. Everybody benefits when heightened emotions are kept to a minimum. 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_wheaton-il-divorce-lawyer.jpgWhile every couple gets married with high hopes of staying together forever, the reality is that life’s daily stresses push many couples to the brink of separation. Whether it is because the stress shows partners that they are not compatible or causes them to slowly grow apart because they have no time and energy for each other, life’s difficulties cause many couples to reach a point where staying married is just not an option. 

A child with autism can contribute enormously to parental stress, so much so that studies suggest parents of an autistic child may divorce nearly twice as often as parents without an autistic child. The unique challenges of raising an autistic child can put more of a burden on a marriage than parents can bear. If you find yourself in this situation, know you are not alone. While your divorce may involve some additional complications to ensure your child is well-cared for, an experienced Illinois divorce attorney can help you every step of the way. 

Common Challenges of Parenting an Autistic Child

Parents of autistic children often say their parenting responsibilities never end, even after a child passes the most traditionally demanding years and enters adulthood. Because autistic children frequently struggle with managing their emotions and often are impulsive, they may require constant supervision. Children with autism also tend not to sleep well, meaning their parents do not sleep well either. All this stress can put an enormous burden on parents who are already struggling with developing their careers, managing their household, and raising other children. 

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The most responsible parents in Illinois sometimes lose their jobs, face unexpected expenses, or deal with other challenging circumstances that cause them to fall behind on their child support. Unfortunately, missing child support payments can cause a snowball of debt to quickly accumulate, threatening not only your financial stability but that of your children as well. If you are facing sanctions for unpaid child support, meet with an attorney who can help you explore your options, including requesting a child support modification from an Illinois court.

What Happens if You Miss Child Support Payments? 

The first consequence of unpaid child support is the interest a court may charge, starting 30 days after child support is unpaid. While interest is no longer automatically applied in cases managed by DHFS, interest can be calculated for every missed payment, continues to accrue as long as the support remains unpaid, and is paid to the parent receiving child support payments. Other consequences of not paying child support on time include, but are not limited to: 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_wheaton-il-family-law-attorney.jpgStability is important to children and few events are as destabilizing as a divorce that requires children to begin splitting their time between parents in different Illinois households. In addition to the trauma of their parents’ separation, children must also adapt to two new households when both parents move out of the marital home. This can result in complex logistical challenges for the children, which can then manifest in concerning behavioral challenges for the parents. 

These challenges are often exacerbated at the junction between the two households as parents hand off the children to each other during parenting time changeovers. Here are four ways to minimize the stress of these changeovers for children and make the process more manageable for adults. 

Let The Kids Know What to Expect

A new situation feels more stable when you know what should happen. Kids managing complex schedules often do quite well when they know what to anticipate ahead of time. Having a calendar in a public area of the house that clearly illustrates the children’s schedule can help them set reasonable expectations and avoid unpleasant surprises. Giving regular reminders can help as well. 

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