Illinois family law attorneysDivorce can be a mentally, emotionally, and financially complex process for all involved parties, but children tend to be the most vulnerable. Age, developmental stage, and family dynamics all may play a role in a child's ability to cope and understand the changes happening within their family, and that can impact their likelihood of experiencing maladjustment during or after the divorce. Learn how you can mitigate against the adverse effects of divorce in your child, based on their age, and discover what an experienced divorce lawyer can do to help.

Infants and Toddlers

Infants and toddlers may not understand the changes that are occurring in their family during the divorce process – nor could they, really – but that does not mean they are immune from the negative effects. In fact, they may be more prone to long-term issues if there is a great deal of stress and contention during the divorce because their brains and immune systems are still developing. As such, parents should be especially diligent in protecting their child from the potential consequences of divorce. You can do this by maintaining a routine that is as close to "normal" as possible and ensuring the child has ample time with both parents (unless the environment would be considered unfit or unsafe).

Younger Children (Elementary School)

While younger children may still lack the ability to fully grasp the impact of divorce, they do typically recognize that their life is going to change. Perhaps they have a friend at school who has experienced a divorce, or maybe they have watched a family go through it on television. In either case, they may develop fears, anxieties, or worries over what life will look like once the divorce is over. Parents can help ease these concerns by being honest and straightforward with about the upcoming changes. Just be sure to keep in mind that your child does not need every detail, as this could do them more harm than good. Instead, focus on the changes that will directly impact your child and strive to ease any worries they may have over losing a parent.

Tweens and Teens (Middle School and High School)

Older children have almost undoubtedly watched a friend go through a divorce, and they have a better understanding of how relationships work. Because of this, some teens and tweens will make snap judgments about the divorce and why it has occurred. Alternatively, a child in this developmental stage may become depressed or they may develop anxiety; changes in social life and pressures, fears over the future, and contention within the family can further increase the odds of such issues. Parents can mitigate against the ill effects of divorce in tweens and teens by being open and honest about the divorce (while also being mindful of the child's feelings for both parents), and by being supportive and listening to their child's fears and concerns.

How Our DuPage County Divorce Lawyers Can Help

Divorce can be difficult for any couple, but those with children have additional challenges and obstacles to overcome. Life together does not simply end; it changes. You become co-parents instead of partners. Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC help you transition successfully by providing your family with the support, knowledge, and experience you need. Schedule your initial consultation with our DuPage County divorce lawyers to get started. Call 630-665-2500 today.



Posted in Child Custody | Tagged , , , , |

Wheaton divorce lawyersThe percentage of couples who have decided to forgo having children has increased dramatically in the last several years. Yet, because some of them still crave the nurturing aspect of parenting, many decide to adopt a pet. In such situations, the animal often becomes more like another member of the family than an animal that is owned. Unfortunately, some of those same animals have been ripped from the owner that cherished them (and worse) during divorce proceedings. That is because, in the past, pets have been treated more like a piece of furniture – an asset that cannot be divided – than a living being. Thankfully, a new law is changing that. Learn more, including how an experienced divorce attorney can assist in your divorce case.

Animals as Assets – How the Old Law Affected Divorcing Parties and Their Pets

Pets are just like any other animal – they develop bonds to the people that train them, play with them, and give them affection. Yet, in divorce, the ownership of a pet was often determined by looking at who covered the financial aspects of ownership, such as vet visits, immunizations, and adoption fees. In some instances, this resulted in a pet being taken from the owner that had the bond. Tragic cases in which the pet was then abused, neglected, abandoned, or surrendered to a shelter also occurred – often without the loving owner's knowledge or consent.

In short, the welfare of pets could be compromised under the old law. Vengeful spouses and abusive spouses that controlled the financial aspects of the marriage could use pets as a pawn in the divorce, perhaps to punish their spouse or to simply attempt to get more in the divorce settlement. Illinois saw how this was affecting pets and their owners, so they decided to do something about it; they changed how pet custody is determined in divorce.

Animals as Living Beings – How the New Law Improves Circumstances for Pets

Starting January 1, 2018, Illinois changed how pet custody is determined in divorce. Instead of focusing only on the financial aspects of pet ownership when deciding where the pet should live, judges can now consider the best interests of the animal. Factors like who trained the pet, who walks and feeds them, and who takes the animal to their vet visits (instead of just who pays for it) may all be considered. Additionally, judges can consider joint ownership and visitation schedules in situations where both pet owners have a loving bond with the animal.

Contact Our Wheaton Divorce Attorneys

If you are planning on filing for divorce and have a pet, contact Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC for legal assistance. Dedicated to protecting your rights and the best interest of your beloved companion, our Wheaton divorce attorneys can aggressively pursue the most favorable outcome possible in your case. Call 630-665-2500 for your personalized consultation.


Posted in Divorce | Tagged , , , , |

Wheaton family law attorneysParenting a child with disabilities can be a joy, but there are numerous challenges as well. When a two-parent household becomes one because of a death, divorce, or separation, those challenges can seem overwhelming. To make matters even worse, such incidents may cause severe regression and long-lasting behavioral problems in children with disabilities. Thankfully, it may be possible to mitigate against the risks in situations like divorce. Learn more, including how a well-crafted parenting plan and the assistance of an attorney can improve the outcome of your Illinois divorce.

Challenges That Special Needs' Parents May Face in Divorce

Divorcing with a special needs' child means you not only have the typical challenges in divorce, such as determining how often the child cycles between homes and how you and your ex-spouse will communicate about matters involving your child, you also have the challenges that are specific to your child. For example, if you and your spouse have not always seen eye to eye on the types of treatments or interventions that your child needs, you might be concerned over how medical decisions will be made in the future.

Creating a Parenting Plan That Meets Your Child's Needs

No two families are the same, but parents who have a child with special needs will have even more unique considerations in their parenting plan. Of paramount concern is how parents can work together to ensure that their child's medical, therapeutic, and educational needs are met in the years to come. The following questions, though not a comprehensive list of matters to consider during your divorce, can give you a good place to start:

  • Who will be responsible for taking the child to any medical appointments?
  • Will one parent be primarily in charge of the medical decisions, or will they have equal say?
  • How would disputes over medical care be handled, should they arise?
  • Would your spouse's future mate be permitted to stand in during an individualized educational plan meeting, or should your spouse always be present themselves?
  • How much will each parent pay to cover the cost of school supplies, medical treatments, and therapies?
  • Which parent will pay for the child's health coverage, and how long will it be required?
  • Who will cover any added expenses for respite care or daycare?

Safety can also be an important consideration, especially if a child is prone to aggression, elopement, or other potentially dangerous behaviors. Parents can develop a safety plan and then add its elements to the parenting plan as well. Consider how safety will be handled at both homes, as well as out in public places with the child, regardless of which parent they are with.

Contact Our Wheaton Family Law Attorneys

Parenting plans are, by nature, complex legal documents that can be difficult to navigate. When you add in the considerations for a special needs' child, parents also face the risk of forgetting a crucial element that might compromise their child’s safety or care. Do not let this happen to your family. Instead, contact Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC for seasoned legal assistance. Backed by over 40 years of legal experience each, our Wheaton family law attorneys can handle even the most complex of divorce cases. Schedule your personalized consultation by calling 630-665-2500.




Posted in Children | Tagged , , , , |