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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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Five Keys When Telling Your Children About Your DivorceTelling your children about your divorce may be the most difficult conversation you have throughout the process. Unlike most people you talk to, your decision to divorce will directly and irreversibly affect your children’s daily lives. The news will cause pain to your children and stir up other feelings that may lead to outbursts or emotional withdrawal. Your initial divorce conversation with your children is important because it is one of the lasting memories they will have about your divorce. You should prepare for the talk while keeping these suggestions in mind:

  1. Have Everyone Together: Even though you and your spouse are not getting along, it is important that you tell your children about your divorce together. You need to show your children that you are still dedicated to working together as their co-parents – just not as a married couple. You should also try to have all of your children together for the same conversation because this is a decision that affects the entire family.
  2. Remain Calm: Your emotions will set a tone for the conversation. Being calm and compassionate may not prevent your children from becoming upset but is the best way to soothe them. Showing that you are upset may escalate your children’s emotions, making things worse.
  3. Focus on the Children: Your children do not need to hear the details about why you are getting a divorce. The most important thing to them is how the divorce will affect them. They want to know where they will live and how often they will see each of you. Though you may not know the answers yet, tell them that you will both still be an active part of their lives.
  4. Understand Age Differences: A teenager’s understanding of divorce may be more advanced than a younger child. With younger children, you may need to spend more time explaining what a divorce means. Older children may have enough of an understanding that they want to ask more specific questions about your divorce. Both will be upset by the news, though a younger child may show more obvious signs.
  5. Be Adaptable: It is fine to prepare a script for how you will start your divorce conversation and answer expected questions. However, you need to watch how your children are reacting and respond in an appropriate way. Your children may surprise you with how they respond to the news, which may force you to go off-script.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Attorney

Your children are just as affected by your divorce as you are, and the decisions you make during your divorce must have their best interest in mind. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you create a comprehensive parenting plan for after your divorce. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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