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McHenry County divorce lawyerIt is hard to imagine a world without social media, yet these sites have only been around for about 15 years or so. There is no debate over how quickly sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become a crucial part of society, with many users posting much information about their lives on a daily basis. Scroll down any site’s news feed, and you will likely find an abundance of information regarding your family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances—the good, the bad, and the ugly. But, can posting all this personal information have an effect on the outcome of a couple’s divorce or child custody dispute?

Many family law attorneys will instruct their clients to carefully limit what they post to their social media sites and may instruct them to stay off of these sites completely until their divorce case is settled. On the other side of the coin, attorneys also use these sites to gather evidence against the other spouse, and even innocent postings can be spun to cause serious damage to the other side’s case.

Social Media Posts Often Lack Context

It is not uncommon for a person’s social media to be used to call their parenting abilities into question. For example, a person who is a very good parent, completely involved and responsible in their child’s life, might go out with friends one night—something that is a rare occasion for them. A photo of the group of friends out and having a good time at a nightclub and toasting each other ends up on Facebook. Suddenly, that photo is being introduced as evidence in a child custody proceeding in an effort to suggest that the person is an irresponsible parent who drinks too much. As the old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and without the proper context, such a photo could certainly create a less than flattering impression.

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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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3 Ways to Remind Your Child That Your Divorce Is Not Their FaultWhen faced with the reality of divorcing parents, many children internalize the struggle between the parents. They are usually not privy to the countless closed-door disagreements and difficulties that may have existed for years. Instead, children will often turn inward, blaming themselves for their parents’ inability to get along and, ultimately, for the divorce. While you and your spouse may understand that it is not your child’s fault, it is your responsibility to make sure that your child understands as well.

#1: Talk Openly, But Carefully

If possible, you and your spouse should talk to your child together about your impending divorce before it becomes a reality. The two of you need to make clear that the divorce is based on issues between the adults. Your child did not cause it, and your child cannot fix it. It is also important to be age-appropriate when considering what details to share with your child. For example, the challenges of raising children may have, in fact, contributed to the breakdown of your marriage. Your first-grader, however, may interpret that as being to blame by nature of his or her existence.

#2: Invite Communication

Once your child knows about your divorce, it is important not to place expectations on him or her regarding how to handle the news. Everyone — adults and children — will need to deal with the situation in their own ways. Do not ask your child to keep secrets; instead, share only as much as you would be comfortable with other people knowing. Do not demand that your child talks to you. Instead, provide a safe environment for him or her to express feelings and concerns without judgment or consequences.

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How You Can Tell It May Be Time for a DivorceYou need to be certain about your decision to divorce before you tell your spouse or prepare to file the necessary paperwork because couples rarely turn back once the divorce process starts. It may be worth trying marriage counseling or other forms of reconciliation if you believe your marriage can still be saved. Even when the evidence shows that you need to divorce, it can be difficult to accept that conclusion. If you are uncertain about whether you should divorce, the following signs suggest that your marriage is beyond repair:

  1. You No Longer Have Healthy Communication: Marriages survive and thrive because couples are willing to talk to each other when they disagree and consider what the other side has to say. Couples in an unhealthy relationship may mostly communicate through heated arguments or refuse to communicate at all. The lack of constructive communication may become so bad that even minor disagreements have the potential to escalate into major arguments. Not communicating in order to avoid conflict means you have resigned yourselves to the fact that you cannot agree, which may cause tension and resentment.
  2. You Cannot Trust Your Spouse Because of Past Mistakes: A betrayal of trust, such as infidelity, will often lead to a decision to divorce. Whether that is true in your case depends on whether your spouse is willing to change and whether you are willing to forgive them. Even if your spouse has done everything right since their mistake, you are not obligated to forgive them or to continue your marriage. It is okay to divorce your spouse if you have lost all trust in your relationship.
  3. The Bad Times Far Outweigh the Good Times: Every marriage has highs and lows, but a sign of a healthy marriage is when you feel like the high points make up for any low points. You need to ask yourself how often you are able to be happy in your marriage and whether that happiness is worth all of the times you are unhappy. If you find your marriage is more likely to fill you with contempt and sadness, you may be happier if you end the marriage.

Contact a McHenry County Divorce Lawyer

You should take your time before deciding whether to divorce because it is one of the most consequential decisions you will ever make. A Crystal Lake, Illinois, divorce attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, is available to answer your divorce questions and represent you if you decide to move forward with a divorce. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

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Creating a Parenting Plan That Enables CooperationIf you have a high-conflict relationship with your co-parent after your divorce, a well-crafted parenting plan can help you better cooperate in raising your children. Conversely, a poorly crafted parenting plan can create conflict in an amicable co-parenting relationship and make a high-conflict relationship even worse. Your parenting plan will determine important issues such as how you will divide your parenting time and who is able to make decisions about how to raise your children. If you are unsure whether your parenting plan could cause conflict, you can ask the following questions:

  1. Does the Parenting Plan Put Your Children’s Needs First?: You make a parenting plan with your children’s best interests in mind. Parents sometimes make the mistake of thinking that what is best for them is also best for their children. For instance, you may want a parenting schedule that gives you an equal amount of time with your children, but such a schedule may force them to switch between homes several times a week, which can be stressful for them. In this situation, what is best for your children may be different from what is best for you.
  2. Does Your Parenting Schedule Consider Special Situations?: It is rare for divorced parents to stick to the same schedule every week of the year. You may need to deviate from your schedule for holidays, vacations, and other special circumstances that conflict with your normal schedule. Your parenting plan should anticipate special situations by creating an alternate schedule for holidays and vacations and explaining when you are allowed to make a one-time change to your schedule because of an unexpected conflict.
  3. How Clear Are the Instructions in the Plan?: Conflict can happen in a parenting plan when the co-parents disagree on what the plan allows. Who is responsible for dropping off or picking up the kids when they are switching homes? When are you required to get permission before making a decision about your children? Who will pay for expenses that are not covered by child support? If your parenting plan does not clearly answer questions such as this, you should talk to your co-parent about it before the plan is legally approved.

Contact a Crystal Lake, Illinois, Divorce Lawyer

A well-crafted parenting plan should provide a structure for co-parents to follow while allowing some flexibility to make sure that the plan is always serving the children’s best interests. It can be difficult to balance the structure and flexibility, and co-parents with a high-conflict relationship may need more structure in their plan than other parents. A McHenry County divorce attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, will work with you on crafting a strong parenting plan. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.

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