How to raise children is a subjective topic, and the best way to continue doing so after a divorce will vary depending on each family’s individual situation. As parents, you and your ex-spouse both love your children and want what is best for them despite the disagreements that have led to your divorce. While your children may have a hard time understanding the reasons for your divorce, there are ways to help them cope with the changes in their lives and minimize the damage caused by your split.
In Illinois, divorced parents will typically share custody of their children. Except in extreme circumstances, a child will usually benefit most by having an ongoing relationship with both parents. This can be effectuated through a parenting plan, which is part of the parents’ divorce decree. The parenting plan will describe how the parents will share decision-making responsibility for their children, as well as a schedule that specifies when children will spend time with each parent. For example, a parenting plan may state that the child will spend weekdays with one parent, and then weekends with the other. A 50/50 split of parenting time may or may not be the best option for a family, and there are many ways to organize a parenting plan to suit the needs of the parents and children.
In addition to creating a parenting plan detailing how certain issues will be handled following your divorce, these tips may also help you make the process easier for your children:
- Minimize disturbances – The more you can keep your child’s life the same after a divorce, the better. Of course, there are inevitable changes that will occur, including parents living in two separate homes, but keeping a similar schedule will help children adjust to these changes. If you or your ex-spouse participate in regular activities with your child, or if one or the other of you typically picks them up from school, be sure to continue following these routines and include these details in your parenting plan. By working together to the best of your ability to maintain stability in your children’s lives, you and your former partner can help your child feel secure during this time of change. Strong communication will help prevent any slip-ups and avoid upsetting your child.
- Avoid negativity – Talking about your divorce in front of your children may unintentionally cause them stress or emotional trauma. Any negativity regarding the subject may also affect your child, and bad mouthing your ex to your child puts them in an uncomfortable position. Do your best to keep disagreements and negative emotions to yourself. Sharing inappropriate details, such as the reasons for the breakdown of your marriage, can be harmful, particularly for younger children. Although you may have negative feelings toward the other parent, you should not attempt to influence your child’s relationship with them.
Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney
Resolving issues related to child custody and parenting time can be much less difficult with a legal advocate by your side. Our experienced Wheaton divorce lawyers will help create a parenting plan that works for you and your ex while still being beneficial to your child. Call our offices at 630-933-8400 to schedule a free consultation.