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Posted on in Children of divorce

Illinois custody attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,The effects of divorce can ripple outward and impact family members, not just in their personal lives, but in every aspect of their daily routine. The consequences of a divorce on children are widely accepted, and behavior and performance at school are among those concerns. Knowing some strategies to deal with school-related issues can allow a parent to help their child(ren) when it is needed most.

How Can a Divorced Parent Help Their Child at School?

After a divorce your life is different, and you are dealing with issues that perhaps were handled previously by your spouse. One of the areas you may need to become more involved in the educational experience of your child. Here are some ideas you may find helpful.


children, DuPage County divorce attorneyWhether you have already started divorce proceedings or you have just recently decided to call it quits, telling your children about your decision is always difficult. Parents worry that their children will hate them for splitting up, consider the break-up to be their fault, or be unable to adapt to the new circumstances. The good news is that children are amazingly resilient and adaptable, but there are some guidelines you should follow when discussing your divorce with your children.

  • If possible, tell the children with your spouse. Although your spouse is probably not someone you wish to be around during this tumultuous time, presenting a united front and telling the children together is often the best way. By sitting down as a family to break the news, you are showing your children that although things are going to change, they will continue to have the love and support of both parents;
  • Allow your children to ask questions. Older children will understand more easily than younger ones but children all ages may react to the news differently. Some children will immediately ask questions while others will be hesitant to say anything until they have time to process the information;
  • Be honest, but be careful not to overshare. Children do not need to know all of the details of why the marriage ended. More mature children may need additional information to help them process their feelings, but, in general, most only need to know that their parents have decided it would be better for everyone involved if you and your spouse no longer live together;
  • Never put down your spouse in front of you children. It may be tempting to blame the other parent for causing the breakup, especially if a breach of trust occurred, but doing this only adds confusion and resentment to the situation. No matter how angry you may be, saying negative things about your spouse in your children’s presence can create serious confusion for them;
  • Reassure them that the breakup is not their fault. It is not uncommon for children to feel responsible for their parents’ marriage ending. Children often hear and see more than adults give them credit for. Your child may have heard bits and pieces of arguments and concluded that he or she is the cause of the marital struggles; and
  • Give children an idea of what to expect in the future. If one parent is going to move out of the home, let the children know this now. Try to make these transitions smooth and give children some warning before big changes. You may not have all the details of custody arrangements yet, but telling the kids that they will see both parents separately from now on is a good start.

A DuPage County Attorney Can Help

If you are headed for a divorce and are wondering about the best way to talk to your children regarding your decision, an experienced Aurora divorce lawyer can offer guidance. At our firm, we have helped many families navigate the difficult process of divorce, allowing them to come out happier and healthier on the other side. Call 630-409-8184 for a confidential consultation at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today.


children, DuPage County divorce attorneyNo family ever plans to split in divorce, but sometimes situations arise in a marriage that make divorce the best and healthiest decision for everyone involved. Breaking the news to children that you and your spouse will be ending your marriage is tough – there is no way around it. However, there are steps you can take to make the process of telling your children about the divorce less painful than it has to be.

  • Keep conversations age-appropriate: Obviously, the conversation about splitting up will be different with a four-year-old and a 16-year-old. It is important to use age-appropriate language with a small child when explaining how their lives will change. A very small child will not understand words like “divorce,” “separation,” and “shared custody.”  On the other hand, an older child can understand more about how his or her life will change and will understand concepts like living in two households or court appearances.
  • Do not give more detail than is necessary: Children do not need to know details regarding why the marriage is ending – especially if the marriage ended from a sexual indiscretion or another dramatic event. Stick to the facts of how the family is changing and the timeline for these changes.
  • Refrain from blaming or vilifying your spouse in front of the children: As tempting as it is to assign blame, your main priority is reassuring the children that both of their parents still love them.  Affirm that the children that they are in no way responsible for the marriage ending.
  •  Share the logistics of how their lives will change:  Explain to the children how their living situation will change. Is one of the parents moving out? Will the children be attending a different school in the future? What is the timeline for implementation of these changes? Kids may need to be reminded of these changes in the future as well.
  • Allow the children to ask questions and listen to their concerns:  Kids all react differently to big news.  Some will want to ask questions and talk about the situation immediately; others will need space to be alone before they are ready to talk. However long it takes, it is important to remember to allow children to express themselves in their own time and to react with patience and compassion to their questions and concerns.

An Attorney Can Help

If you have questions about the divorce process and how to explain it to your children, contact an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney. Call 630-409-8184 to schedule a confidential consultation at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. today.


children, DuPage County divorce lawyerActress Katherine Hepburn was once quoted as saying, “Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.” It seems wherever there is a marriage, be it between a man and a woman or a same-sex marriage, there will inevitably be trials and challenges. Human beings are such a complicated composite of thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, and baggage from past experiences. When two human beings decide to join their messy lives in marriage, problems and arguments will almost certainly arise.

Many couples stay in marriages full of deceit and conflict because they have children. Couples who were once happy and planned on a life raising their kids together often cannot imagine putting those same children through the pain of a divorce. Still, how should a couple decide when enough is enough? When do the arguments and fights reach a level that makes it unhealthy for the marriage to continue, especially when children are involved?

Unhealthy Marriage May Lead to Unhealthy Children


children, Aurora family law attorneyIt is widely accepted that going through a divorce is one of the most frustrating and stressful events a person can experience. Feelings of anger, guilt, regret and annoyance are common. Children can complicate the divorce process even more.  Parents may feel threatened that they will not receive the custody agreement they want or that the other parent will try to turn the children against them. As stressful as the experience for the adults who are ending their marriage, the situation can be even more frightening and confusing for the children in the middle of it. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make the transition from married to not married easier for the smallest members of your family.

There Are No Winners in a Divorce

Mark Baer, collaborative law attorney and co-author of  Putting Kids First in Divorce: How to Reduce Conflict, Preserve Relationships and Protect Children During and After Divorce says that the first step is to have the right mindset about the divorce. Often, those going through a divorce have unresolved anger toward their spouse. He or she may have been cheated on or lied to, causing serious issues regarding trust. The memory of screaming matches or harsh words may still be fresh. Sometimes this means that the temptation to “get back” at a spouse can be strong.


children, divorce, DuPage County family lawyerDivorce is stressful for everyone involved. Children, however, often have the most difficulty adjusting to all of the changes. A divorce can also affect a child for years after the final decree is entered. There are several things you can do as a parent can help your child cope with the divorce.

Listen to Their Problems and Worries

Children, just like adults, feel loved and cared for when they know you are listening to them. This is more than just hearing what they have to say. Listening requires you to both be active in showing you understand what they are worried about while also withholding any judgments or solutions until after the child is done sharing. In fact, resolving their concerns in the moment is less important than encouraging your children to express their feelings honestly.


Posted on in Divorce

dating, post-divorce, Aurora family law attorneyYou probably know at least one person, if not many people, who emerged from a divorce and jumped almost directly into a new romantic relationship, often before the ink even dried on their paperwork. Depending on the situation of your marriage and divorce, you may find the idea of new romantic partner extremely appealing. However, you may want to take a step back and consider if you are truly ready for a new commitment so soon.

Divorce and Grief

Mental health experts regularly suggest that the psychological and emotional effects of a divorce are very similar to those associated with the death of loved one. As with death, grieving the end of your marriage is a process and not an event that is over after a specified amount of time. Every person grieves differently, and there is not right or wrong way to move through it. This means that while some people may be ready to date again right way, others may not be emotionally prepared for months or even years.


PAS, parental alienation, DuPage County child custody attorneyA Michigan judge made headlines earlier this summer when she ordered three children – ages 14, 10, and 9 – to spend time in a juvenile correctional facility when they refused to have lunch with their father. Such an extreme case of parental alienation syndrome is quite rare, but PAS is common in most DuPage County child custody disputes, to one degree or another.

Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Lisa Gorcyca issued the order in a six-year-old divorce case between a General Motors engineer father and a pediatric eye doctor mother. Much of the rancor in the case stems from an August 2010 incident at a West Bloomfield park; the township is an upscale Detroit suburb. Apparently, the mother locked two of the children in a car to “protect” them against their father; a third child climbed to the top of a piece of playground equipment to escape his father who, according to the child, threatened to kill him if he did not come down.

Police investigated the incident but made no arrests; however, the father later admitted that he forcibly removed the child from the playground equipment to put him in a “time out.” At the same time, although she denied wrongdoing, the mother agreed to volunteer at an animal shelter as punishment for violating a court order.


Aurora family law, Illinois child custody attorney, divorce effect on children, Many studies have been done that prove a negative psychological effect of divorce on children. Most of these studies do not address the physical health issues of the children. However, a recent study reveals that children of divorce may experience negative physical effects to their health when their parents split. The study found that physical struggles children of divorce may deal with include excessive weight gain, leading to more physical problems later in life.

The study, conducted among 3,000 children in Norway, found that boys whose parents divorced were especially susceptible to excessive weight gain in the wake of their parents’ split. The research team found that boys had a 63 percent increased risk of being overweight or obese than boys whose parents' marriages stayed intact.

While researchers did find an association between obese children and parents’ divorce, they cautioned that divorce was not pinpointed as an absolute cause of weight gain. It is far more likely that the lifestyle changes that accompany divorce resulted in the weight gain. The study also did not consider factors such as diet, exercise, and living arrangements.


Aurora family law attorney, children, children of divorce, divorce hostility, Chicago divorce attorney, divorce and communication, help broken families, quarreling spouseDivorce is prevalent in today’s world and causes children to grow up where the issue is commonplace and a major part of daily life. However, despite what may be going on behind closed doors, divorced spouses must remember to place their children ahead of all else.

The situations surrounding divorce can bring up hostility, including financial or personal hostility. And often quarreling spouses cannot cohabitate or even communicate without argument. This can cause several future problems, especially when children are caught in the middle. The following suggestions offer insight as to what should be avoided during divorce to help minimize the impact on children.

  • Avoid confiding in your children. Confiding in children is a huge mistake frequently made by divorced or divorcing couples. Adults may default to their children once a spouse, who is often a primary confidant, is out of the picture. However, this places more pressure on the children and can make them feel more isolated;


Aurora family law attorney, child custody, children, children of divorce, Illinois divorce, children and divorce, divorced parents, divorce and communicationDivorce, by nature, lends itself to being an unpleasant experience for all parties. Between splitting financial assets, dividing debt, and even relocation, getting a divorce in Illinois can prove to be taxing. It is important to remember that this major life change can mean broad implications for loved ones as well--most importantly any children involved.

A child’s response to the divorce process directly correlates with their developmental stage. Generally, younger children display an increased attachment to authority figures and especially guardians. And watching parents separate can impact a child in several ways, including:

  • Amplification of dependency on others;


child custody, divorce, parenting time, visitation, paternity, evaluator, guardian ad litemIf you are engaged in a divorce case where child custody is being determined, you may have an evaluator appointed for the case. These individuals tend to be appointed in cases where parenting time, paternity, guardianship, or child custody are the primary issues. The court will use evaluators in these scenarios to assist with a final decision.

How you communicate with the evaluator can have an impact on your case, which is why it’s important to be aware of your interaction with this individual. You can be more informed by working with your divorce attorney in advance to understand the purposes of an evaluator appointment and how these meetings typically unfold. Your personal attorney is not involved in the evaluation process, but he or she can present you with important information about preparing for your own meetings with this individual. By knowing what evaluators look for and how they arrive at decision, you will feel more confident about your interaction and be able to work towards your family goals in an effective manner. You may be asked to provide references to an evaluator, for example. Working with your attorney beforehand can help you pinpoint references that could aid in your case so that you have your ducks in a row if the evaluator asks. Being organized and prepared can go a long way towards increasing your confidence and ensuring that your interaction goes smoothly. You should always think carefully before sending emails or making phone calls to an evaluator. Speaking with your attorney about the best way to work with such a professional is a good approach. If you are entering a divorce case or discussing modified parenting time, you need an attorney who can help prepare you for working with an evaluator. Contact an Illinois family law attorney today to learn more.

marital strain of autism, divorce rate, divorce trend, Illinois divorce lawyerParents helping a child cope with autism may feel the strain on their own relationship. Although much about autism is still unknown, research indicates that married couples might face higher rates of divorce when they have a child affected by autism.

A longitudinal study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison was one of the first major projects to explore marital history of parents for those families with an autistic child. The study found that while parents of an autistic child don’t face a higher divorce rate while the child is young, adolescent children with autism were linked with higher numbers of divorced parents. Many of the marriages in the study ultimately did survive.

The study looked at 391 couples made up of parents of adolescent and adult children with autism, drawing data from the National Survey of Midlife in the United States. For younger children, the divorce rate for parents of autistic children was very similar to parents of disabled children, at least until the child reached the age of eight. At that point, the divorce rate for parents of disabled children starts to go down, but it actually increases for parents of autistic children.

Although many couples reported staying together throughout the challenges of raising an autistic child, the research does point to vulnerability for those marriage couples. The high demands of raising an autistic child at all ages can strain a relationship and lead to arguments. Autism is known as a condition that can vary dramatically between different individuals, meaning that many families have to adapt behaviors and strategies for helping their specific child. Little research has focused on best practices for raising autistic children, making it difficult for parents to work together and create their own approach. If you are struggling with your marriage and would like to discuss legal separation or divorce, contact an Illinois family lawyer today.

child of divorce, children of divorce, Illinois divorce, child custody, visitation scheduleManaging a new child custody and visitation schedule is difficult for just about every family, especially when you are learning to parent on your own. Keeping a few critical tips in mind can help make the transition easier for everyone and allow for the smoothest adjustment to your new lifestyle.

Divorce expert Gary Neuman says that one mistake divorced parents tend to make is putting the child in the role of messenger. This adds additional stress and pressure on the child, making him or her feel at the root of the tension.

It also highlights two parents who are unable to negotiate on their own, a fact most children don’t needed to be reminded about in the throes of divorce. If you can’t communicate with your ex-spouse in person, stick to email. It’s easier to be clear with written communication, anyways.


parenting family, children, child support, child custody, children of divorceTrying to manage a busy household gets more challenging when a baby arrives. There’s nothing quite like a child to change the routines and habits of a married couple, and sometimes those challenges are simply too much for the marriage to succeed. Couples that struggle to adapt might be facing relationship problems, and could even be contemplating divorce.

Since a baby can change the landscape of a marriage so much, more mental health professionals are encouraging couples to head into pre-baby counseling to discuss some of the most pertinent issues related to having a child. Hospitals, too, are incorporating more of these relationship skills alongside basic parenting education. This is happening because professionals believe that couples spend too much time on the “fun” aspects of pre-baby arrival preparation, like decorating a nursery, and too little time on preparing for the relationship adjustments.

According to the Relationship Research Institute in Seattle, nearly two-thirds of couples note that their relationship quality declines within three years after a child is born. Men and women report adjusting differently: women note the decline in their marriage right away, while it takes men several months to notice a deterioration.


Collaborative Divorce May Be BetterNot all divorces have to be the ugly blow-up they’re stereotyped as. In many cases, even if you’re not on good terms with your soon-to-be ex spouse, it’s possible to make it through the divorce on good terms as the last amicable thing you’ll do together. If you don’t share children this is easier, but it’s possible in any circumstance. This is what’s known as a collaborative divorce. While it may seem too optimistic, many couples opt for collaborative law in an effort to stave off the extreme cost of divorce and keep things simpler and happier. After all, you managed to agree that you both wanted to split. Why not make an effort to agree on the terms of said split?

According to US News and World Report, a collaborative divorce is based on the “concept that you were partners—even if not good ones—throughout your marriage and you should be able to end it together as well.” This applies to all aspects of the divorce, including property division, division of assets, and determining child custody. “Most people can agree that litigation is a terrible process for a family to endure,” one lawyer told US News and World Report. “The collaborative process if one of the most productive ways to divorce when it works.”

Yet the publication is quick to remind readers that even a collaborative divorce doesn’t guarantee a happy one. Chances are, even if you opt for mediation, working together with your spouse in the one last process you’ll undertake together won’t be easy. This could be one reason that the number of people who opt for collaborative divorces is still low. “For instance, according to the Wisconsin Law Journal, Waukesha County had 3,862 divorces from 2010 to 2012; during that period, there were only 62 collaborative divorce cases filed,” reports US News and World Report.

The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.


1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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