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Lombard family law attorneysMany have said that being a parent is the hardest job in the world. It is nearly impossible to know how to respond to every challenge parenthood throws at you—especially when you are co-parenting your children with an ex-spouse. You may be unsure of how to work with your former partner in creating the best life possible for your children.

Problems at school present a variety of issues for many parents. Some children go through phases where they are getting in trouble or letting their grades drop, How should divorced parents deal with school issues such as these? There is unfortunately no owner’s manual for children and no one-size-fits-all way to raise them. However, following a few simple pieces of advice can help you and your ex-spouse come together to do what is best for your children.

Be Honest and Transparent With the Other Parent

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selfie, divorce, Illinois family law attorneyEarlier this summer, a snapshot quickly made the rounds on social media that raised a few eyebrows but created some very interesting discussions on the state of marriage and divorce in North America. It also has started a sort of copycat trend, with hundreds of similar images having been posted to Facebook and Instagram in the weeks since.

Photographic Commitment

The viral photo was of a Canadian couple who stopped for a smiling selfie—a self-shot photograph taken with a cellphone camera—in front of the sign on the Calgary, Alberta, municipal court building. Their happy faces and comfort together suggested that they just made a life commitment to one another. In fact, they had, but not the one you might think. The couple had just filed for divorce, but took the photo as a symbol that they had made the right decision and that they would continue to work closely together in raising their children.

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homework, coparenting, Lombard family law attorneysAs the new academic year gets underway, recently divorced or separated parents may be dealing with certain issues for the first time. You may feel embarrassed going to meet with your child’s teachers, letting them know that this year might be a little rocky as you all adjust to a new post-divorce dynamic. Depending on your relationship and the circumstances of your split, your ex-spouse may be fully invested in helping your child minimize distractions and to make the most of the new school year. A cooperative approach is always preferable to contentiousness and, together, there are some steps the two of you can take to make your coparenting situation work.

Communicate

Above all else, the relevant people involved with your child’s education must be able to communicate with one another. Of course, you should be able to maintain an open dialogue with the other parent, but it is also important to communicate with teachers and administrators. More than just telling teachers that your child might have a rough time, take the time to talk with your child’s teacher. Be willing to accept feedback and professional opinions. Chances are, the teacher has dealt with shared custody situations before and may be equipped to quickly identify areas of concern. Additionally, if you, the other parent, and educators are all on the same page, your child will be less likely to "forget" about an assignment or to succeed at hiding poor performance.

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divorced parentsThe New Year brings with it lost of promise. Many people set goals for themselves in the form of New Year resolutions. Although sticking to an exercise program, eating healthier, and quitting smoking are all popular and important resolutions to have, one of the most important resolutions you can make as a divorced parent is to make what one family therapist calls the "Divorced Parent Pledge" to ensure a secure and happy life for your child.

Some of the promises a divorced parent can make to their children include:

  • Do not try to make the changes divorce brings to a child’s life sound as if it will all be a new adventure. Acknowledge that a lot of these changes can be scary, and sad, for your child. Validate their feelings. But also reassure that it will all work out and everything will be okay for them.
  • Even if your child repeats something negative about something their other parent says about you or blames you for, do not get into a finger pointing match over it. Do not use your child as a messenger delivery service to keep a feud going with your ex or to deliver child support or alimony checks.
  • If something your child does or says reminds you of the other parent, do not recoil in disgust or negativity. Remember, although your child has traits of both parents, he or she is their own individual. Embrace and love them for that.
  • Whatever visitation schedule you and your ex-spouse have worked out, it is important to allow the child to have some control over their own lives, within reason. Be flexible and try to accommodate those needs your child may have. Spending more time with one parent does not mean your child loves the other parent any less.
  • Do not have important discussions, or disagreements with your spouse, in front of your child. And also be aware that if these discussions are taking place over the phone, and your child is around, there is a strong possibility they are aware there is a disagreement taking place. Do it in private.
  • When you do have to attend events together with your ex-spouse, like school events or sport games, leave the acrimony at home. Your behavior towards each other will have a profound effect on your child’s enjoyment, so make sure the event is about your child and not whether or not you ex-spouse missed a child support payment that week.
  • Remember that at one time, you and your spouse did share good feelings for each other, such as when your child was born. Share those happy and funny stories with your child. Give them something more for their "memory boxes" than only memories of their parents fighting and hating each other.

Divorce is hard and can be devastating for children, especially if there is a child custody battle that is taking place. In these cases, it is critical to have an experienced Lombard divorce attorney representing you, especially if your soon-to-be ex-spouse is not putting your child’s needs first.

Posted on in Divorce
right of first refusalChanges to the Illinois family law that went into effect in January mean divorced co-parents will need to notify their ex-spouse any time they plan to leave their children with a caregiver for more than four hours. This could have a serious impact on long-standing child care arrangements, particularly in situations where a couple has been divorced for a longer period of time.

According to Illinois HB 2992, parents who share joint custody of their children must offer their ex-spouse the opportunity to care for the couple’s children temporarily before seeking third-party care for any period more than four hours. As long as the co-parent lives within a reasonable distance, they must be offered the opportunity to provide care before a babysitter can be hired and before the child can be left with grandparents or at a daycare facility.

This new clause is commonly known as "right of first refusal," and may lead to a significant change in families where the custodial parent usually leaves a child with grandparents or babysitters while running errands or a parent’s night out. They will now be required to notify their ex-spouse of their plans and give their co-parent the opportunity to care for the child during that time instead. An exception may be made in emergency cases. If the co-parent does choose to accept the additional time, they will be responsible for providing any transportation that may be required, except in cases where a different arrangement is agreed upon between both parties.

If you are a co-parent sharing joint custody and have questions about how this may impact current custody agreements or child care arrangements, we can help. Contact an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney at A. Traub & Associates today for a consultation. Our qualified team of attorneys understand the importance of communication in child custody issues and will work diligently to reach a clear and concise resolution to your situation.

Posted on in Child Support

coparenting togetherWhen getting divorced from your spouse, you may be relieved, thinking, "Thank goodness I will never have to deal with this person again!" This is especially true if you were involved in a high-conflict marriage. However, if you and your spouse have children together, you will always have to interact with each other on some level. Beyond childhood and adolescence are college graduations, weddings and grandchildren.

Making the decision now to resolve to calmly deal with your spouse will not only make it emotionally easier for you, but more importantly, will go a long way in helping your children adjust to the divorce. Co-parenting together in agreement and without conflict offers children a more stable and happier life.

Following the 10 Commandments of co-parenting could help you and your ex-spouse reach co-parenting peace:

  1. Never put your child in the middle of conflicts between you and your ex-spouse. Remember to put your child’s need first, even if that means a compromise on your part. If you do have an issue with the other parent, try to resolve it quickly instead of letting it fester.
  2. Always treat the other parent with respect. This not only teaches your child by example, but may also open the door of reciprocation by the other parent, leading to better co-parenting.
  3. Accept that there will be different rules at the other parent’s home than you have. As long as your child is not being harmed emotionally or physically, then accept the fact that it really is "none of your business."
  4. Make sure to communicate with the other parent on a consistent basis about school and other activities that your child is involved in.
  5. If there is a problem between you and the other parent, try to resolve it instead of hiding it. You child is probably already aware of the issue, and hiding it, instead of dealing with it, could have a negative impact.
  6. Remember that you and the other parent both want what is best for your child and should be working together. Have periodically discussions about what each other’s needs are from each other to ensure you both are feeling good about your parenting.
  7. Try to share parenting responsibilities as equally as you can, otherwise resentments can build up. Not only is it not fair to the parent who is shouldering the majority of responsibility, but it is not fair to the child either.
  8. It is important to be consistent with your child when it comes to rules and lifestyles. Transitioning from one parent’s home to the other can be difficult for children, but knowing what to expect from each parent makes that transition easier on the child and the parents.
  9. It is very important for children to be able to celebrate parents’ birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and other significant events. Help your child pick out gifts and/or cards to present to the other parent.
  10. Do not keep your former in-laws away from your child. They are still your child’s grandparents and not allowing visits with them will hurt your child the most.
If you are involved in a child custody dispute, contact an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney to find out what the best options may be for you and your child.
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