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Are You a Victim of Parental Alienation?Your children are some of the most important people in your life. Their happiness, safety, and security are often placed well above your own. During a divorce, some parents may be overwhelmed with emotions that they may not know what to do with. If the divorce is especially contentious, parents may begin to lose sight of what is truly important – the children. In these situations, the parents’ hate and contempt for each other overshadows their love for their children, and certain actions are taken that can be detrimental to the children’s wellbeing. One of the most common things that happens during these kinds of divorces is called parental alienation.

What is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation happens when one parent tries to get their child to turn against the other parent. This often occurs because one parent is mad at the other parent and is trying to hurt them in any way they can. Essentially, parental alienation is when one parent uses their child as a weapon against the other parent. The alienating parent may use bribery, false allegations, negative comments or keeping the child from seeing the other parent to paint a negative picture in the child’s head of that parent. Both mothers and fathers are equally as likely to be the alienating parent, but the alienating parent is also likely to suffer from a personality disorder, such as narcissism.

Parental alienation is detrimental to a child’s mental health and wellbeing. Children who are victims of parental alienation become almost brainwashed, hating the alienated parent in an almost irrational way. Children have the right to have a relationship with both of their parents – they naturally want to have a relationship with both parents. When one parent destroys that relationship with the other parent, the child suffers.

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Helping Your Child Cope With the Stresses of Your DivorceDivorcing is never easy and is even more difficult when you have children to worry about. Most divorcing parents’ number one concern during divorce is how their children will deal with the news that Mom and Dad are no longer together. While some children are able to accept the divorce and adapt to the life changes that come with the situation, other children may need a little more guidance and attention during the transitory period following the divorce. Just like adults, no two children are the same, so a one-size-fits-all approach does not work. Still, many children of divorce go through issues that are similar to each other. Here are a couple of tips to help your child cope with the stress of your divorce:

  1. Do Not Overshare: There is a fine line between what is appropriate to share with your children during a divorce and what is not. What you tell your child should be based on their age and maturity level but also on how appropriate the information is. Your child does not need to know if their parent had an affair with another person. Your child should mostly just know about changes in their living arrangements, schools or parenting time – not the messy details.
  2. Make Sure They Know It Is Not Their Fault: It is common for children to believe that they are somehow at fault for the divorce. You should be sure to clearly explain to your children that the divorce is a parent issue, not a child issue. Reassurance can be key here – try to periodically reassure your child that both you and your co-parent still love them very much, even though you are no longer married to each other.
  3. Maintain a Sense of Stability: Divorce is a time of great change, which can really throw some children off. Many children are flexible and can adapt to change, but several changes at once can be hard for anyone. To help alleviate some of this stress, try to maintain as much of a sense of stability as possible, especially during the divorce process. Keeping parenting time schedules consistent and routines the same in both households can help your child feel safe and secure.

A Will County Divorce Lawyer Can Help

Children can be some of the most affected family members during a divorce. Depending on their age and maturity level, they may not completely understand what is going on, which can make things difficult. If you and your spouse are planning on getting a divorce, you should talk to a skilled and compassionate Homewood, IL, divorce attorney. At The Foray Firm, we know that everyone in the family is affected by divorce, though children can be especially vulnerable. Call our office at 312-702-1293 to schedule a consultation today.

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How Shared Parenting Time Can Benefit the Children After an Illinois DivorceEvery parent wants what is best for their child. Some parents may think the best thing for their child is for them to spend all or a vast majority of their time with them and not their other parent. While this can be true in some cases, the majority of divorce cases will end with both parents having shared and fairly distributed parenting time.

When making decisions about child-centered issues such as parenting time, the judge will decide based on what is in the child’s best interest. This is why Illinois courts assume that a shared parenting time agreement is in the child’s best interest unless there are reasons that would point to otherwise. Studies have shown that children do their best when their parents each have at least 35 percent of the parenting time. Here are a few ways your child can benefit from a shared parenting time schedule:

  1. The Child Gets to Have a Relationship With Both Parents: When the parents split up and no longer live together, children often fear that they will not be able to have the same type of relationship with the parent who moved out. This creates unnecessary stress for the child that could lead to other issues. With shared parenting situations, the child gets to foster a relationship with both of his or her parents, which is important for healthy development.
  2. The Quality of the Parent-Child Relationships Is Better: A shared parenting agreement also helps to ensure that the relationships between the child and each parent are good relationships. With sole parenting arrangements, the parent who moves out often feels distanced from the child and vice versa. The parent who is now acting as the single parent for the majority of the time can begin to feel stressed and overwhelmed by being responsible for all of the caretaking duties. These feelings can cause strain on the parent-child relationships and can cause stress in the family.

Create a Parenting Time Agreement With a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Perhaps one of the biggest decisions you will have to make during your divorce is how you will care for your children. While a sole parenting time agreement is not out of the question, it may not be what is best for your child. At The Foray Firm, we understand that the decisions that are made about your children are not made lightly. Let our compassionate and skilled Plainfield, IL, parenting time lawyers work with you to develop a parenting time agreement that will benefit both you and your child. Call our office today at 312-702-1293 to set up a consultation.

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Dealing With Custody Evaluations in an Illinois DivorceAs times have changed, so have laws concerning divorce and child custody, which Illinois now calls the allocation of parental responsibilities. Rather than just assuming the mother is the obvious caretaker for the children in a marriage, the state of Illinois believes that children will thrive and do their best when both of their parents have an active parenting role in their lives. Because of this, it is assumed that it is in the child’s best interest to spend time with both parents unless there are other reasons why a shared parenting time arrangement would not be in the child’s best interest. If the court has reason to suspect that such a restriction on parenting time may be warranted, they can order a professional evaluation of the situation to be completed.

Basics of a Professional Evaluation

If a professional evaluation is ordered by the court, often, a mental health professional will be hired. These professionals may be psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists or counselors trained in family disputes. Depending on the information the court is looking for, the evaluation can be focused on the parents, the child or a combination of the parties. 

The evaluator’s job is to observe and gain an understanding of the relationships and interaction between the two parents, the child and any other family members, such as siblings. The evaluator will likely use multiple methods to conduct his or her study, which can include:

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Four Tips For Successful Co-Parenting After Your Illinois DivorceWhen you have children, one of the hardest aspects of life after a divorce is figuring out how to be a successful and effective co-parent. This can be especially difficult for couples who no longer get along with one another or who had a very contentious divorce. Though you may wish you were rid of your spouse, having children with them prevents that from being possible. It is your job to work together with your ex to make sure you can provide a secure and loving childhood for your kids. Co-parenting after your divorce is one of the toughest things you will learn to do, but it is also one of the most important. Here are a few tips to help increase your chances of co-parenting success:

  1. Put Your Feelings Aside: This is perhaps the most important tip of all. You and your spouse need to make sure you are putting your feelings to the side and focusing on the wellbeing and happiness of your children. Your children should be the most important part of your life, and ensuring their happiness is more important than the issues you have with your ex.
  2. Work on Communication With Your Ex: Though it may be tough, communication is key when it comes to co-parenting. You should be aiming for peaceful and purposeful communication between you and your ex, all for the benefit of your children. You should keep your ex in the loop when it comes to your child and you should make sure you are including them in any major decisions involving your child.
  3. Stay as Consistent as Possible: It is also important to keep a sense of consistency between the two households for the sake of your children. Obviously, not everything will be the same at both your and your ex’s homes, but general routines and rules should stay the same so your child has a sense of consistency and familiarity.
  4. Remind Your Children That You Love Them: This is also important because it is common for children to blame themselves for the divorce. You should reassure your children every now and then that both you and their other parent still love them very much and that your issues have nothing to do with them.

Hire a Compassionate Will County Family Law Attorney 

At The Foray Firm, we understand that it is often difficult for divorcing parents to transition to life as a single parent, while still taking into account the other parent. Our skilled Joliet family law lawyers can help you and your spouse have a solid and comprehensive parenting plan in place to help reduce any uncertainties after the divorce. Call our office today at 312-702-1293 to schedule a consultation.

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BBA Of Will County Illinois State Bar Association Cook County Bar Association The National Bar Association BWLA
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