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Is My Co-Parent Purposely Damaging My Relationship with Our Child?When parents get divorced, their ongoing relationship can be tricky to navigate. Unlike other divorced couples, co-parents do not have the option of living completely separate lives. Maybe they spend time with their kids together or perhaps they only communicate regarding parenting arrangements and other necessary decisions. While it is always advisable to have an amicable co-parenting relationship, this is not always the case. In fact, some parents will go so far as to create a division in the relationship between their child and their co-parent in a tactic known as parental alienation.

What is Parental Alienation?

The term parental alienation syndrome (PAS) was coined in 1985 by child psychologist Richard Gardner to describe the behaviors seen in a child when they are subjected to parental alienation. When one parent discredits the child’s other parent, this can directly influence the child’s relationship with the discredited parent. The words and actions that are done to damage this relationship are known as parental alienation. This can come in many forms, a common example being one parent telling the child that their other parent does not love them or care about them. He or she can also provide in-depth details of why their marriage failed in an attempt to turn their child against their other parent. The severity of parental alienation tactics can vary and may not always be intentional. However, these criticisms can leave a lasting, damaging impact on the quality of the child-parent relationship.

Signs of PAS

Parental alienation syndrome is not an officially recognized mental health condition, but a court may acknowledge one parent’s efforts to damage the other parent’s relationship with their child. If you have suspicions that your child is being subjected to parental alienation, look for the following signs:

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4 Tips For Creating a Successful Parenting Plan For Your TeenFiling for divorce when you and your spouse share children together always makes things more complicated. Add in the challenges of raising a teenager and the process only becomes more difficult. Divorcing as a parent requires additional legal considerations to be made, including the drafting of a parenting plan. If you and your spouse are involved in a collaborative divorce, you will be able to build this plan together as you see fit. The unpredictability of kids when they are in their teenage years may leave you feeling overwhelmed when trying to determine what is best for your child moving forward. The following four tips can help you tailor your parenting plan to meet the needs of your teenager and maintain a relationship with them even though they may be living under two separate roofs:

  1. The More Detailed, The Better – Without a detailed plan in place, things can quickly go awry. Be sure to have a parenting schedule that outlines when your child will be with each parent and determines which holidays will be spent where. Since your child is of the age where they have their own circle of friends and life outside of your home, penciling in designated family time can make sure that your teen is still spending time with each parent.
  2. Consider Their Schedules – When creating your detailed schedule, it is important to take your teen’s schedule into account. Your child is at the point in their life where they have their own interests and activities. Failing to consider these key parts of their life will not end well. Have a copy of you, your spouse, and your child’s schedules in hand while designating each parent’s scheduled time.
  3. Financial Implications – Your teenager comes with some significant costs, especially if they do not have a job. Those over the age of 16 will need financial assistance for academic and social activities and college tuition costs if they intend on going in that direction. Consider these incoming costs and outline who will be responsible for what to avoid future conflicts in this area.
  4. Life Changes – You should include a clause regarding how things may change within your parenting plan and how you and your co-parent will make these decisions. The life of a teenager changes from day-to-day. From their academic responsibilities to their social lives, your teen is only going to become busier and more independent as the years go on. Take this into account when creating your plan so that you are prepared for any changes that may come your way.

Contact a Joliet Family Lawyer For Help

Whether you are in the process of filing for divorce or need help adjusting your parenting plan to meet your teen’s needs, The Foray Firm is here to help. Divorce is an emotionally taxing experience, especially when you have a teenager who has grown up with married parents up until this point. The best way to handle your divorce when you have a child is to have a detailed plan in place. Our Will County family attorneys believe in preserving the dignity of families, even in the instance of divorce. For help with your parenting plan, contact our Joliet divorce attorneys at 312-702-1293.

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How to Successfully Co-Parent After a Contentious DivorceRarely do couples walk away from their spouse without some conflict arising in the divorce process. For some, the property division process can reveal hidden assets or greedy intentions that you never experienced with your spouse throughout your marriage. For parents, deciding their future parental arrangements can bring out an ugly side of them. You may argue over who will be the primary parent, what legal rights you each have, or how often each parent will spend time with the kids. Whether you deliberate over every little detail or have one, large argument that damages your relationship further, it can be difficult to move forward as co-parents. With a combination of good communication and self-recognition, you and your co-parent can begin to transform your damaged romantic past into a well-working, co-parenting relationship.

Self Responsibility

As silly as it may sound, taking good care of yourself – mentally, physically, and emotionally – can in turn improve the way that you treat others. It is important to recognize your successes and faults from your marriage so that you can make progress moving forward. Many divorcees will continue to blame their ex for the breakdown of their marriage and age-old arguments will never be left in the past. If you do not take the time to heal or work on yourself, your past can continue to damage your future relationship with your former spouse. 

Focus on Common Goals

The reason that you and your spouse filed for divorce was a lack of romantic or lifestyle compatibility, not your inability to care for your kids. Even if you still see and do things differently in the parenting department, recognizing that you have a common goal – your child’s happiness – can help bring you back to the real purpose of your continued relationship. If you both acknowledge that your child is your priority, this can help mitigate any other disagreements that you may have about how to raise your child.

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How to Conduct Yourself in Court During Your Parenting CaseFor many, a divorce may be their first experience in a courtroom with a judge making decisions for them. While you have probably seen television shows that depict court proceedings, this is not an accurate representation of court and the characters’ actions are likely something that you should avoid following. No matter the reason you are in court, your conduct can greatly affect the outcome of the case. This is especially crucial for those discussing parenting arrangements for their children. In these parenting cases, the way you hold yourself is your first impression on the judge and likely the most important. Courtrooms and legal proceedings often make those who are unfamiliar with the process nervous and uncomfortable, causing them to act differently than they do in normal life. While you may not be able to keep yourself from being on edge, keep in mind the following tips that can help you present yourself in a good light:

  1. Clothes Matter: In a similar fashion to a job interview, your outfit can be used to gauge your personality, commitment to the case, and overall capacity to appear professional when necessary. It is important to wear business attire to court — no jeans, t-shirts, or sweatpants. By dressing for the occasion, you are showing the judge that you take this court proceeding seriously and are able to put yourself together when necessary: an important parenting quality. It may be a good idea to show another person your chosen outfit before showing up in court.
  2. Timeliness Is Key: Being on time to your court hearing and being present shows your respect for the legal team working on your case and that you take the matters of parenting seriously. This is also reflective of your ability to make time for your children, even if it means showing up to court. The judge will be analyzing all of your words and movements, and being on time says “I care and I will be there for my child.”
  3. Respect the Judge: There are a few things that those involved in a court case should know before the hearing starts. Everyone in the courtroom should stand when the judge enters or leaves the courtroom. This is age-old etiquette that is still followed today. Anytime the judge speaks to you, stand and respond, calling them “Your Honor.” They will let you know when it is your time to speak, and you should avoid speaking out of turn. Showing disrespect to the judge will only work against you in the decision making process.

Call a Naperville Parenting Attorney Today

The best way to prepare for your courtroom hearings is to speak with an experienced attorney. They will be able to provide you with the basic etiquette information as well as any additional tips for the particular judge working on your case. Because they are familiar with the judges in the area, they will likely have some hidden tips that they can provide you with that cannot be found elsewhere. The Foray Firm has extensive experience working in the family courts throughout the south suburbs of Chicago and we assist our clients before every courtroom appearance. If you are fighting for your rights as a parent, contact our Joliet divorce lawyers at 312-702-1293 to schedule a free consultation.

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Markham parenting time attorney supervised visitation

During a divorce, parents must decide how they will continue to parent their child moving forward. This can be difficult for parents since they are likely used to seeing their children on a daily basis. Ideally, courts try to keep both parents in the child's life since this is often deemed beneficial for the child. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If the court determines that you are unfit to take care of your child alone, they may grant you supervised visitation or deny you from seeing your child at all. Typically, the court will allow supervised visitation before taking such drastic actions as banning you from spending time with your child. Having another party in the room while you are taking care of your kids can be uncomfortable, and the nerves may bring out the worst in parents. Staying calm and having a game plan for your supervised visit is the best way to move towards removing those restrictions.

Create an Active Visit

You will have a certain amount of time to spend with your child, so it is important to make the most of it. It is a good idea to have a few activities planned for your child so that you appear prepared and invested in spending time with them. These “events” do not have to be anything out of the ordinary, but they should tailor to your child’s interests. Even if you just color or play Legos, that shows that you are willing to set aside time for your kids.

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