Divorce can be extremely hard on the children involved. That is certainly not a myth. However, there are other myths surrounding divorce and children that are not true, and parents going through the divorce process should be prepared to address concerns about how their children will be affected. Four of these myths, and the truth behind them, are outlined below:
Divorce Is Easier for Younger Children
Divorce is not easy for any child, but some people believe that the younger a child is, the easier the divorce process will be for him or her. This myth seems to stem from the belief that when a child is a toddler, he or she is unable to form sufficient memories, and if a child cannot properly remember a divorce, it cannot cause as much trauma. Unfortunately, this is not true. Fighting and tension between parents can be extremely difficult things for a toddler to deal with, and these conflicts can impact a child’s development. As such, it is important for parents to try to address divorce disputes as amicably as possible when children are involved, regardless of how old those children are.
Each Parent Should Have the Same Rules After Divorce
It is natural for parents to have different approaches to raising their children, both when they are married and after getting divorced. Following divorce, parents often believe that they will need to impose the same rules in each household, but that is not true. Different rules in different households will not harm the mental or emotional health of a child, and in fact, those differences can help the child become more adaptable and learn how to be flexible in different situations....
Children are known to suffer negative emotional and social effects following divorce, and parents must be willing to address these issues both during and after a divorce case concludes to prevent long-term damage. To support the wellbeing of children struggling with the adjustments divorce demands, various counseling programs are specifically targeted to this group and often need tailored approaches to avoid the academic, behavioral and financial repercussions.
After parents seek to intervene (and in some cases before), Courts also have the authority to order counseling as a measure to potentially save a marriage and help families with child-related issues deal with this difficult transition.
Consider the following information with regard to when a Court may order participation in counseling, as well as an overview of the parenting class all divorcing couples must attend, which is intended to facilitate more effective communication and parenting post-divorce....
Parents are traditionally, legally and historically associated as the primary caregivers in their child’s life. This standard is supported by the fact that society and the law presume parents to be the most fit individuals to provide for their child’s needs and to make decisions in their child’s best interests. This paradigm works well in the vast majority of families, including those in which child custody is shared following a divorce or separation. However, in a minority of families, one or both parents are unavailable to provide adequate care, usually due to illness, substance abuse, or criminal issues. These children still require care, and if the living situation at home is unsafe or unstable, then alternate arrangements must be found.
The question that routinely arises in these situations is the long-term custody rights of non-parents to care for these children. In the worst case, these children end up — at least temporarily — in foster homes or State shelters. In fact, a recent article about Illinois’ handling of children unable to live with their parents reveals hundreds suffered unnecessary weeks and months in State psychiatric facilities, even though cleared for release, because there was nowhere for these children to go. Children should always have the benefit of growing up in a supportive environment.
Who Can Request Custody Rights...
Divorce, child custody and child support are all emotional and difficult legal issues that separated families face. Parents typically intend to shield their children from the stress and negative emotions of these proceedings; however, sometimes, they leach out anyway. Further, even in the best of situations, the best interests of the child can become lost in the midst of legal battles.
To ensure the child’s needs are properly addressed and considered, a Judge has discretion to appoint a child advocate to help him or her better understand the child’s situation and the type of arrangement that would best promote the child’s healthy development. Attorneys are used for such an appointment and would serve in one of three differing capacities intended to provide a voice to the child’s past and current situations.
Consider the following three roles an attorney may play as a child advocate in family law cases, and examples of circumstances that may prompt a Judge to make this type of appointment....
The road to divorce is rarely straight and clear and often involves a number of deviations and recalibrations as couples try to work through difficulties. When divorce is imminent, spouses may think that the hard part of the process is over. Yet while ending a marriage is extremely painful and complicated, deciding to move on is the just first step.
A spouse can certainly walk into a divorce attorney’s office without doing anything more than deciding to divorce, even before telling the other spouse. However, entering the divorce process without significant advance planning is likely to set a person up for a much harder transition, as well as a longer period of time to conclude the divorce case.
Taking the time to put key pieces of information together will allow consultations with a divorce attorney to be more productive and will make obtaining the result a person may want much easier. This approach may appear to involve more work than anticipated, but walking into the process without a clear picture of one’s starting position can greatly complicate things....
Divorce is unavoidably difficult for people, both inside and outside of a couple's core family. However, children almost universally suffer a negative impact from divorce. Having a sibling to commiserate with and draw support from can help to mitigate the damaging effects. Still, this system of shared support can only work if siblings live together, or at the very least, visit regularly.
Splitting up siblings in a divorce is rarely the best or desired option for the children involved. However, for practical or legal reasons, sibling separation may still occur. Large families, blended families with half-siblings, and children with significant age differences are all examples of circumstances in which the children may be split between each parent. The best interests of the child are always at the forefront of child-related family law cases, and Illinois specifically wants to enable separated siblings to maintain regular contact.
Sibling relationships are special and important to each child's emotional and psychological development. To support these relationships, Illinois authorizes Courts to order visitation if a parent is preventing contact. Consider the following information with regard to when and how visitation will be granted by an Illinois Court....
The mobility of Americans is one the hallmarks and benefits of living in this country. Moving to a new place for a job, better schools or a different lifestyle are common reasons people give for uprooting their family to a new home and community. Moving with children always brings additional considerations because leaving friends and transitioning to a new school is difficult for many children.
If a parent decides to move following a divorce, this decision is even more complicated. Because of the importance of this relationship, divorced parents who share custody of a child are not free to independently decide to move away with a child. Consultation with the other parent, and at times a family Court judge are necessary to stay within the bounds of the law and the parenting plan. Taking a child to another jurisdiction without permission can lead to serious consequences, including criminal charges for kidnapping or visitation interference.
A mother from Russia faced this situation when she was arrested at O'Hare airport earlier last year for removing her child to Russia without authorization from her ex-husband or a Court. She was placed under house arrest, but recently obtained approval from an Illinois Court to leave the U.S. with her daughter....
In any divorce with minor children, or in any case involving time-sharing with a minor, Illinois law requires that the parents implement a parenting plan. Parenting plans are documents outlining parenting time and decision-making responsibilities. Moreover, parenting plans are designed to ensure that both parents have the opportunity to foster relationships with their children and share in childrearing.
What Do Parenting Plans Include?
Parenting plans deal with parenting time and decision-making. At a minimum, parenting plans in Illinois must include provisions addressing the following:...
The Illinois Supreme Court rules require all parents involved in a child custody case, whether contentious or not, to enroll in parent education classes. Even if the one parent defaults or fails to participate in the proceedings, the other parent is required to attend the parent education class.Each Circuit Court or county may create its own parenting education program, provided it consists of at least four hours and covers visitation, custody and the impact both have on children. Each parent is required to attend the parent education class no later than 60 days after there is an initial case management conference. The Court may impose sanctions of its choosing on parents who fail to attend the class as required, without showing good cause as to why their attendance should be excused. The Circuit Court of Cook County has two approved parent education courses: one in-person class and an online option. Parents are able to choose the course. However, there is one exception. Parents who are ordered to attend mediation or emergency intervention must attend the in-person classes. The goal of parent education classes is give parents tools to help minimize the stress marital conflict can have on their children and to help them learn how to have a non-adversarial relationship after the divorce. The better the relationship between the parents post-divorce, the easier the divorce and its aftermath will be on the children. While parents work their way through the custody process, the classes provide them with skills to promote healthier communication as a means to reduce conflict. The in-person course has three options, depending on where each couple is in the child custody process:
- Pre-decree class: Parents in the process of a divorce or civil union dissolution.
- Post-decree class: Parents who have custody issues arise after the marriage or civil union has already been dissolved.
- Parentage class: Unmarried parents with children.