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Lombard family law attorneyIf you are a parent who is getting divorced or planning to, you are probably concerned about how you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse will raise your children. If you plan on raising the kids together through a shared parenting scenario, you should know that there are some unique methods of co-parenting which have helped many families. These growing trends offer an alternative to traditional post-divorce living situations.

Nesting Arrangements

The majority of couples who get divorced end up living separately from each other. The most common living arrangement for parents who get divorced is for children to visit each parent at their home. Some experts find this arrangement to be especially burdensome on the children who are splitting their time between two homes. As an alternative, some parents are choosing to use what some call “the bird’s nest” strategy: The children live in one home and the parents take turns living there. For example, a parent may stay with the children one week in the “nest” home and then the other parent comes to stay with the children the following week. When the parents are not at the nest home, they are living in their own individual home. While many find this co-parenting strategy to be effective, it can also be quite expensive since it usually requires the couple to finance a third home for the children.

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Posted on in Divorce

Lombard divorce attorneysNo matter how old or young you are, if you are married, there is the possibility that you could get divorced. Most people, however, tend to think of divorce as a reality that mostly affects couples who are relatively older. These notions may be linked to movies and television where a wandering eye or a mid-life crisis drives spouses apart when they are in their early forties or older. Divorce, however, can also become necessary for couples who are far younger, and those who get divorced in their 20s may face years of potential complications. This is especially true for 20-somethings with children.

Finding a Niche

Human beings are social creatures, and most of us derive a sense of belonging when we find a peer group where we feel comfortable. If you are recently divorced with no children, it may be relatively easy to socialize with other younger singles. If you have children, however, you may feel stuck in the middle. On one hand, our parental responsibilities may not allow to you enjoy the spontaneous, carefree lifestyle of single people your age. On the other hand, you may not feel very comfortable among other parents, especially those who might be a bit older or whose marriage is still intact. It is, however, important to avoid cutting yourself off completely from social situations. Find a sitter every now and again, and go out and a have a good time.

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co-parenting, Lombard family law attorneyIf you are a parent, the decision to divorce your spouse or to break up with your child’s other parent will have an effect on more than just the two of you. Your children and the stability of their lives are also likely to be greatly impacted. While things may never be the same for your children as they were during your marriage, it does not mean things will necessarily be worse, just different. As you and the other parent look toward the future, there are some things you can do to help build a positive foundation for co-parenting together for years to come.

Find Common Ground

Every element of effective co-parenting is dependent upon your ability to communicate with your child’s other parent, despite the issues that may have driven you apart. More than likely, the two of you still have a great deal in common, and, at the very least, you both want what is best for your child. Using that as a basis, begin developing a parenting plan around the elements upon which you can agree, including who will be responsible for the majority of the parenting time, which school your child will attend and other fairly straightforward considerations.

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remarried, Lombard family law attorneyThere are many reasons why it may be difficult for you to see your former spouse on the verge of getting remarried. Some, of course, may be mostly nostalgic—a longing for the "good old days" when you were blissfully happy together. Others may be based on jealousy, if you are being honest with yourself. Your ex has found someone that is not you, and no matter what occurred between the two of you, being replaced hurts. Finally, there may be more practical concerns for you regarding the upcoming nuptials of your ex-spouse, especially if you have children.

No Right or Wrong Answers

The most important thing for you to remember as you think about the impact of your ex’s remarriage on your children and parenting arrangements is that there is no manual for dealing with the issues. Changes are almost certain but they do not need to be seen as negative. As long as you and the other parent can communicate and cooperate, you can continue to provide for your child’s best interests, allowing him or her to benefit from the addition of a stepparent. You will need to find a solution or approach that meets the unique needs of your family, allowing all parties to remain involved as a valuable component of the process.

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Posted on in Parenting

fighting, parents Arlington Heights family law attorneyAs a divorced parent, you understand how difficult it can be to deal with your ex-spouse at times. No matter how amicable your split may have been—and may even still be for the most part—you are going to have disagreements from time to time. It is simply a part of life. Perfectly rational adults can have different viewpoints on certain issues, especially when it comes to what may or may not be best for children. Along those lines, you have probably been told that it is always a bad idea to fight in front of the kids; but that may not necessarily be the best advice. In fact, fighting the right way can even offer your children some insight into responsible problem-solving.

Of course, nobody is suggesting that a knock-down, drag-out fight between parents is a good thing for a child to see. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with letting your child witness an occasional—and rational—exchange of differing opinions between you and your ex-spouse. It is important, though, to keep a few guidelines in mind to be sure that your child is not adversely affected in the process:

Set Topical Boundaries

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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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