If you’re a parent contemplating divorce in Illinois or Chicago, you have a special motivation to consider a collaborative approach. Changes in family structure and living situation can be hard on children. A collaborative divorce can help set the tone for the co-parenting relationship that you and your former spouse will need to create.
Any divorce involving children means hard choices: Where they will live, with whom and who, if anyone, will go back and forth between households. Most couples go into the process of divorce saying they plan to make decisions based on the best interests of the children. However, this can be harder than it sounds in a conventional divorce proceeding where you are often positioned as adversaries from the start.
During your marriage you may have agreed on what’s “best” in terms of education, medical care and saving for college. But after you set up separate households, much smaller things like rules for watching TV or surfing the web easily can turn into flash points. Research shows that the conflict is harder on children than the separation, so you have big incentives to learn to care for them without arguing.
And of course as kids grow their needs change. When they are small it may be too much for them to be away from either parent for very long. It may be harder for children in the middle years to be separated from friends in the neighborhood or from school. Tweens and teens will have opinions of their own—which they’re likely to voice!
New adult relationships bring change, too. If either of you remarries, you will start new shared traditions surrounding holidays and life events. Add to this the challenges of stepchildren whose own custody arrangements may or may not be handled graciously.
Whatever you decide, you’re likely to need to revisit it periodically. The process of collaborative divorce in Chicago will help equip you and your former spouse with the tools to do so on your own over time, as co-parents who start from the premise that you both love your children.
A final bonus: In the process, you will be modeling respectful, constructive problem solving to your children—a lifelong gift to them that they will carry into their own adult relationships.
For more information on divorce or the Collaborative Divorce process please contact Patrick Markey Law Offices in Chicago, Illinois at (312) 223-1763