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Wheaton family law attorneysThe holidays are upon us, which often means special family traditions. After a divorce, however, parents have to share time with their children. This often means also splitting time with extended family members or out-of-town relatives. Maintaining certain traditions or activities can become complicated. For kids who are shuttling between two houses, it is important for both parents to think about their children’s feelings and best interests. They must be willing to compromise when circumstances warrant a change to the routine. In Illinois, a parenting plan can outline a schedule for time with kids during the school year as well as summer or holiday breaks.  

Check Your Parenting Plan

A parenting plan is a legally binding document indicating parental responsibilities (child custody), such as decision-making for a child and the parenting time (visitation) that each parent will have with the child. Most parenting plans will include provisions that address where the child will spend their holidays.

Your parenting plan could specify that your children will alternate years with each parent on major holidays. For example, your plan might indicate that your children will spend Thanksgiving with you and Christmas with the other parent this year, but next year, they will be the other parent for Thanksgiving and with you for Christmas. 

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Naperville divorce lawyers

Going through a divorce is among the most difficult situations a person can endure. While this is true with adults, the impact on a child can last even longer. This is especially the case in high-conflict divorces, which often lead to children experiencing more hardship as they adjust to post-divorce life. 

Whether you are able to reasonably co-exist and work with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, or you cannot stand the sight of them and likely face a prolonged court battle, it is essential to focus on the needs of any children you share. Here are a few tips that will help make their adjustment (and yours) easier:

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Wheaton family law attorney

According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, there has been an increase in unmarried but cohabiting parents over the last two decades. Since 1997, the number of cohabiting parents has risen to 35 percent. The practice of cohabitation prior to, or rather than, marriage has become a practice popular with the millennial generation. The reasons for the rise are primarily economic, plus the desire to avoid the constraints of a legally binding marriage. The practice of cohabitation has some similarity to the old tradition of common law marriage. This was the practice of two individuals cohabiting together and, in some cases, enjoying the rights and benefits of marriage, but without official recognition from the state.

Does a common law marriage, or a cohabiting couple, get the same rights as a legal marriage, and what rights does a cohabiting parent have if a separation occurs?

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Naperville Divorce Lawyer

Divorce is generally more complicated if a couple has children together. A divorce agreement must determine parental custody, visitation, child support, and other matters. Children sometimes have a hard time accepting divorce and all the changes happening in their lives. Acceptance can be even more difficult when one parent relocates after a divorce

Relocation brings its own unique set of challenges. Moving far away after divorce should only be considered if it is absolutely necessary and due consideration has been given to the way it will affect the children and their relationship with both parents. 

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5 Tips For Co-Parenting During the Summer Months

Oak Brook divorce attorney co-parenting tipsSummer is every child’s favorite time of the year--they get a break from going to school, waking up early, doing homework, and studying. But for parents, especially divorced parents, summer can prove to be the most challenging time of the year. During the school year, the kids are at school for a good portion of the day, so parenting plans are usually well-regimented and have agreed transition days for kids to move from the care of one parent to the other. But during the summer, everything changes, so it is important to plan ahead to keep the stress at a minimum.

1. Coordinate Your Schedules

While you have likely already scheduled vacation time and trips with your children, you should also work together with your ex-spouse to determine your and your children’s day-to-day schedules. This will help avoid disputes over who gets to spend time with the child and when. Summer months offer more than enough time for everyone to plan their vacations--it is just a matter of coordinating them. 

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Preparing Children For Living in Two Homes After Divorce

Wheaton divorce attorney helping parents and children adjust to divorceThe end of a marriage can be difficult for all family members, but when parents decide to get a divorce, they may not realize the effects that it can have on their children. Even when parents do their best to prepare their children for divorce, kids can struggle with the adjustment to living in two separate homes. As parents work to end their marriage and establish new living situations, they can take the following steps to help their children transition into this new phase of their lives:

  • Follow a regular schedule - Your divorce decree and parenting plan should include a schedule for each parent’s parenting time, and it is important to follow this schedule consistently. Make sure kids know the schedule and when they can expect to spend time with each parent. It is a good idea to keep a calendar in both homes that clearly displays the days when children will spend time with each parent.
  • Maintain consistency - Kids should have regular routines that they follow at both homes, letting them know when they can expect to eat meals, work on homework or chores, and go to bed. Work together with your ex-spouse to set rules, behavioral expectations, and methods of discipline that will apply in both homes.
  • Give them their own space - You can ease your children’s transition to a new living situation by keeping familiar objects in each home, such as clothes, toys, stuffed animals, or decorations. Kids may want to keep certain items at each home, or they may bring some items with them between homes. Allowing kids to help make choices about how to furnish or decorate their room is a good way to help them become more comfortable with their new living situation.
  • Allow communication - If children miss the other parent when they are staying with you, allow them to give the other parent a call, but do not require them to do so.
  • Follow regular pick-up and drop-off routines - Cooperate in transporting children between homes and keep these transitions conflict-free. Show up on time, and, if necessary, allow kids to have a few minutes of quiet time before they leave for the other parent’s home or after they arrive.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

While the process of divorce can be difficult, it can ultimately provide a better environment for both children and parents by eliminating the stress of living in a home that is full of conflict. The experienced, compassionate attorneys of Anderson & Associates, P.C. can work with you and your spouse to address the legal issues that must be resolved during divorce and reach an agreement that protects your and your children’s best interests. Contact a Wheaton divorce lawyer today at 630-653-9400 to schedule a free consultation.

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