September 20, 2012

DuPage County Divorce Lawyer: Single Fathers

Every so often a study or article comes along that reaffirms what my practice has known to be true for many years: there are increasing numbers of primary custodial fathers in society. I was fortunate being selected as one of the original directors of Responsible Single Fathers, a national group founded by Vince Regan to inform, educate, and be of support to single and custodial Dads. Through my divorce and custody practice, deserving Father/Clients have been awarded primary custody of their children, and in cases where is it appropriate, I fight for shared parenting orders so that my Dad clients enjoy the same rights, responsibilities and parenting time as the Moms do. Unlike some other states, Illinois has not adopted presumptive Shared Parenting, so the crux of some of my work is in achieving for my clients (both Dads and Moms) a positive custody result that the Illinois statutes don't award.

The Single Dad is Rising Fast: by the National Post

"While eight in 10 lone-family households are headed up by women, the growth in single-households led by males was more than twice as strong between 2006 and 2011. “Men are taking on a much more intense role in child-rearing across all families, so it makes perfect sense that we’re going to see an increase in fathers as head of single-parent households” as married couples divorce or common-law couples split, said Ms. Spinks. “I think we still see that group as an anomaly,” said Janice Keefe, professor of family studies and gerontology at Mount St. Vincent University. “It’s not a huge proportion, but it’s moving up to 3.5% [of all census families].” Women, by comparison, account for 13% overall."

September 18, 2012

Kane County Divorce: 10 Factors to Consider in Divorce

If you are planning a divorce, here are a few items that my colleague, Bill Eddy, recommends be considered. Bill Eddy is the President of the High Conflict Institute and the author of “It’s All Your Fault!” He is an attorney, mediator, and therapist.

1. There's Hope

Divorce itself has not been shown to cause long-term negative effects on children. It is the way that people handle the divorce which makes a difference. Most (about 80%) of children have basically adjusted to the divorce within one to two years after the initial separation. While feelings and issues remain, basic healing and stability usually occur.

2. Nobody's perfect.

People are not trained in how to get divorced or how to be a parent. We live in a changing world and there is no one right answer for what to do, such that many ways work and each situation is unique.

3. The level of conflict is usually the biggest problem.

Research has shown that a high level of conflict between the parents is more disruptive to children's development than whether their parents divorced. This research shows that a high-conflict marriage is harder on children than a low-conflict divorce. A high-conflict divorce is even worse.

4. Stability is a key factor for children of any age.

To the extent possible, parents should try to keep or create routines that the children can count on. Children need consistency on which to base their growth. Therefore, firm rules, regular activities, special time with the child, etc. are very helpful.

5. Explain changes ahead of time, if possible.

Children and adults adjust to change more easily if we can prepare first in our minds. No one likes surprises of the upsetting kind.

6. Make time to listen to your child

Children need to process feelings and worries much like adults do. Listening with interest and without judgment is important. Avoid reacting to what the child says with your own issues or conclusions.

7. Avoid criticisms of the other parent in front of the child.

This is easy to say and hard to do, but very important. Your child needs to have a relationship with the other parent and children do better when they are not caught in the middle.

8. Move slowly introducing children to your new relationships.

Your child already has a lot to cope with. The more pressure to like someone new, the more negative their reaction.

9. Get adult support for yourself.

While you want to inform the child of what is going on, don't rely on the child for support. You need to talk, so find many people to talk to.

10. Do fun activities with your child.
By enjoying time with your child, you will both feel better and be healthier for it. These suggestions won't make all pain go away. They might just help make the decision to divorce manageable for you and your children. If you have more detailed questions or concerns, continue reading on the subject; ask for resources from your child's school counselor or teacher; or seek the help of a trained EAP or mental health professional. You might be surprised at how much help you can get to give you direction and quiet your worries.