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Will County family law attorneyFor many divorcing parents, decisions related to their children are not only legal matters, but extremely personal matters. This is especially true when it comes to what the children’s living arrangements will be after the divorce, as the outcome can have major ramifications on parent-child relationships and the day-to-day lives of both the parents and the children. As you attempt to resolve the question of parenting time in your divorce, you should consider a few important questions.

Can You Reach an Agreement With Your Spouse?

If you and your spouse are on fairly good terms, you can work together to create a parenting time schedule that meets the needs of the whole family. Doing so can help you save time and stress during the divorce process, and it can also help you be better, more cooperative co-parents after the divorce is complete. As you work toward an agreement, it may be important to discuss who, if anyone, will continue to live in the family home, how parenting time can be balanced with each parent’s work schedule, how you will share holidays and special occasions, and how you will resolve any future disagreements.

What Are the Children’s Best Interests?

When creating a parenting plan, your top priority should be your children’s best interests. If you and your spouse create an agreement together, the court will need to review it to determine whether your children’s interests are protected. If you are not able to agree with your spouse, you will need to prepare to demonstrate in court that your proposed arrangement best meets your children’s needs. Among other things, it is important to consider the living environment in both parents’ homes, the proximity to the children’s school and other important activities, the children’s preferences and unique care needs, and the ability for the children to maintain a relationship with both parents. In some cases, it is also important to consider whether time with a parent could put the children at risk of physical, mental, or emotional harm.

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Will County family law attorneyDivorce is an emotionally-challenging life experience that, unfortunately, many couples go through. Regardless of the number of years that you have been married, recognizing that the promise of “till death do us part” has been broken can be devastating. This is especially true for those who share children together. Divorce does not just affect the married couple’s relationship, but also each parent’s relationship with their children. This decision does not need to have a damaging impact on your relationship as a parent, however, and the way that you choose to discuss this decision with your kids can be a key factor in the ramifications of your divorce.

Breaching the Topic

When you and your spouse have made the definitive decision to move forward with your divorce, it is important to be upfront with your children from the start. If they find out about your divorce through the grapevine before you have had the chance to talk to them, this can be damaging to your relationship and their trust in you. If you and your spouse are filing for divorce, it is highly unlikely that your child has not sensed your distance or tension in the past. They may even suspect that divorce is on the horizon. 

Before telling your kids the news, you and your spouse must be on the same page about how the discussion will go. Presenting the news as a united front will send the message that you are both their parents, despite your impending divorce. The details of the conversation will shift depending on your kids' ages, but be sure to stress that your decision to divorce is not reflective of your love for your child or a result of their actions in any way. 

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