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Wheaton divorce lawyer child issuesOften, when couples who are married begin thinking about a divorce, the topic of children comes up. Do you stay together for the kids, or do you divorce? Every divorce is different, and so is every child--that is why there is not really any way of knowing what exact effect a divorce will have on your child. However, many studies have shown that staying in an unhappy marriage can be more damaging to children than the effects of a divorce. Some of the effects that children may experience in this type of situation include:

1. Chronic Stress

Parents play a crucial role in a child’s development--their relationship with their parents is one of the most important parts of their upbringing. When a child is raised with parents who are constantly at odds, they internalize the conflict. This means that rather than feeling at ease and comforted when they are with both parents, they feel tension and stress. Such constant stress can also cause physical symptoms in children, such as depression or chronic fatigue.

2. Mood Problems or Behavioral Issues

Parents who are constantly fighting teach their children to forgo optimism and expect the worst at a very young age. This can cause problems in children such as dysthymia, which is a mild, but long-term form of depression. These problems can also be the root of many adult issues, like personality disorders or substance abuse.

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Winfield divorce attorney unfit parentWhen a divorce is contentious and can only be resolved through litigation rather than mediation, allegations concerning a parent’s “fitness” to raise a child can often be a flash point. “You are not fit to raise our child” are words that cut deep and may turn an already hostile process into the most bitter of contests. If you believe that your ex-spouse is unfit to raise your child, know that parental fitness is a legal question. In other words, you cannot unilaterally decide that your ex-spouse is unfit as a parent. Lack of fitness is a multi-factor inquiry that is considered formally and has important legal ramifications.  

Illinois Law Provides Criteria By Which to Establish If a Parent Is Unfit

On the ground in the real world, there are words that speak clearly to a lack of parental fitness: abuse, addiction, incarceration, and psychological instability, to name but a few. These blights on the welfare of a child are the true metrics by which the state of Illinois evaluates whether one or both parents of a child are legally unfit to have parental responsibility for their child. Here, the toughest of questions are asked: 

  • Does the parent have a substance abuse problem?
  • Has the parent physically abused the child?
  • Has the parent sexually abused the child?
  • Has the parent psychologically abused the child?
  • Has the parent been convicted of crimes of abuse? 

Obviously, a pattern of severe abuse will trend sharply towards a finding that an abusive parent is an unfit parent.

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Warrenville divorce parenting agreement attorneyDivorce is a foundation-rupturing event, especially for spouses who have children together. Whole worlds are upended for all involved – parents, children, and even grandparents and friends. Day-to-day life, living arrangements, holiday plans, and so much more are all subject to change in the wake of the dissolution of a marriage. This is especially the case when both spouses move out of what had been the family home or apartment, whether to new residences in the same town or city, or to a new state or even new country. 

When the spouses have children, parental responsibility (formerly known as child custody) must be allocated between the parents. In some cases, one spouse is awarded primary parental responsibilities in the areas of healthcare, education, religion, and extracurricular activities. In most cases, however, parental responsibility is shared between the parents. 

As you are surely already aware if you divorced, separated, or even considering a divorce or separation, working out an agreement for the allocation of parental responsibilities can be a complex matter, and in some instances, it can be an unfortunately contentious process. Here, a court approved parenting plan is a must. With so much already on your plate in terms of adjusting to life changes caused by a divorce, an experienced divorce and family law attorney is a valuable resource who can help craft a parenting plan that is compliant with the requirements of Illinois law.

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DuPage County divorce mediation lawyerDivorce is a difficult matter. If you have gone through a divorce or are currently in the midst of the divorce process, you know this truth all too well. Besides the emotional toll of a divorce, there are numerous complexities associated with the dissolution of a marriage. If there are dependent children involved, the issue of parental responsibilities and parenting time is of primary importance and one that becomes challenging to solve if one parent has moved or intends to move to a different state or country. Courts, as they should, consider the best interests of the child when crafting an order to allocate parental responsibilities – a calculus that can drastically alter parenting plans.

Whether or not the responsibility for dependent children is an issue in your divorce, property division almost certainly will be. Your primary residence, any secondary properties, vehicles, personal belongings, and items of sentimental value will likely be at issue as you and your spouse cease to live under the same roof. Dividing this property can be difficult, especially with regard to items that cannot easily be split in half. When division gets difficult, a certified Illinois mediator can prove invaluable in helping divorcing spouses to make difficult decisions and reach resolutions that are fair and agreeable to both parties.

Not All Property Is Equally Divisible During the Dissolution of a Marriage

Some pieces of property are easy to divide. Matching dressers?  No problem – each spouse can take one. But what about the family dog? Or a family heirloom, such as a collection of rare coins? Or an oil painting? How does one divide such items, especially if neither spouse wants to sell the item in question and split the proceeds?  These are difficult questions with difficult answers. Yet, one must ask and answer them. Here, a certified Illinois mediator can be of great assistance, overseeing even the most challenging aspects of property division.  

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