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McHenry County family law attorneyWhen a family court judge must decide how parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody) must be allocated, that decision is always based on what arrangement will be in the child’s best interests. Many parents going through this process are unsure of what the court will be looking for in order to determine their children’s best interests. The following is a brief overview. For a more detailed explanation and how the best interest standard may apply in your situation, contact Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC.

Factors that Contribute to a Child’s Best Interests

The child’s best interests are an important factor when the court decides how parenting time and parenting responsibilities will be shared between the two parents. In many cases, it is in the child’s best interests if the two parents share custody equally, although that is not always possible given the location of each parent or their relationship with each other. There may also be issues where one parent should not have significant parenting time. Here is a closer look at what factors the courts will consider:

  • Child’s needs and adjustment to their current routine - The court will seek to ensure that the parenting arrangement provides for a child’s care needs and minimizes changes to their school and extracurricular activity routines.

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Crystal Lake IL divorce attorneyWe cannot control the timing of many events in our lives. However, when it comes to divorce, it is wise to do it at the right time for you and your family. It is also important to plan for your children’s needs when getting a divorce. While you might not be able to control when your spouse asks for a divorce, if you work together and put your children’s best interests first, it is possible to make it official at the right time, depending on the circumstances.

High-Conflict vs. Low Conflict Divorces in Illinois

If there are constant fights with yelling or screaming, or violence in the home, it is probably best to complete your divorce sooner rather than later. Violence and spousal abuse will have a greater negative effect on your child than a divorce, regardless of their age. On the other hand, if you are in a low-conflict marriage but have irreconcilable differences, you may choose to wait to complete your divorce. 

However, this does not necessarily mean you should stay in a rocky marriage for the sake of your children. This often does more harm than good. In the end, it is healthier for children to have divorced parents than to live in a high-conflict household. Choosing to end your marriage can also be beneficial for your children as they form their own personal relationships down the line. Children in high-conflict households with parents who did not get a divorce are actually more likely to get divorced as adults. 

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Crystal Lake IL divorce attorneyStudies tell us that divorce is one of the most difficult life events for children and adults alike. Even under the very best of circumstances, research shows it takes a significant emotional toll on everyone involved, often leading to long-term psychological effects that require a healthy support system in order to successfully cope.

Among the countless stressors that often arise throughout the course of a divorce, experts tell us there are certain aspects of the experience that have a particularly strong impact. Children can be especially susceptible, as they experience many of the same painful challenges adults do, often with heightened emotional responses. 

Here are some of the biggest stressors of divorce and the struggles they present for children and their parents: 

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Crystal Lake parenting plan attorneyA divorce will certainly shake up your home life, but this does not necessarily mean that it will continue to do so over time. With this in mind, it is important to create an agreement that is long-lasting, rather than temporary, especially in situations where children are involved. Everyone needs some sense of stability and routine in their day-to-day lives, even those who thrive under spontaneity, and psychologists believe having a stable routine offers many benefits for children. Parents should do everything possible to offer their children a stable environment when creating a parenting arrangement after their marriage ends.

Steady Routines Promote Future Success

Routine is not just about going to bed at the same time every day or eating dinner together as a family every night. The most important thing you can do for your child is to provide as much stability as possible throughout the day. Psychologists suggest that when a schedule is predictable, children can relax and trust in their environment. Even in a situation where a child visits two homes regularly, the daily routine should not change significantly. The details may be different in each parent’s home, but the routine should remain consistent in each environment. Such routines also include knowing which days and holidays a child may expect to see each parent.

How to Create a Parenting Plan That Works

One of the most important things to remember is that children need significant time with both of their parents to create a bond. Studies show that children who have equal or close to equal amounts of time with each parent go on to have more stability in their lives as adults. Therefore, it is usually in your children’s best interests to make a co-parenting arrangement that prioritizes time with both parents, and maintain it by not skipping visits or shorting the other parent of their allotted parenting time.

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4 Healthy Ideas That Can Help You Cope During Your Illinois DivorceA divorce is one of the most stressful life events that a person can experience. Divorce brings about all sorts of changes, from disruptions in your routines and responsibilities to changes in your relationships with your family and friends. As much as divorce is a legal process of separating yourself from your spouse, it is also very much an emotional process that takes a good amount of time to deal with. Going through a divorce can put an immense amount of stress and pressure on you, which can manifest in unhealthy ways. Here are a few healthy coping mechanisms you can use if you are going through a divorce:

Healthy Idea #1: Let Yourself Grieve

One of the most important coping mechanisms you can practice when going through something as painful as divorce is letting yourself grieve. While nobody died, your marriage did come to an end, and you did suffer a major loss. It is important to allow yourself to acknowledge that. Your feelings of resentment, anger, sadness, and even despair are normal and important for you to experience so you can begin to heal.

Healthy Idea #2: Refocus on Yourself

The time during and after a divorce is a great time to place your focus on yourself and becoming the best “you” you can be. You can start with your physical health. Taking the time to exercise, eat healthily, and get enough sleep can make you feel invigorated and ready to tackle the emotional issues that are not as easy to deal with. Now might also be a good time to explore hobbies and interests that you might have set aside during your marriage.

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