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Take steps for a smooth transition to a co-parenting role after divorce

When parents in Illinois are no longer able to work out their differences, sometimes the best option - for both the married couple and their children- is to file for divorce. In such situations, both parents will have to learn to adapt to a new role in their lives, that of a co-parent. While both spouses likely collaborated in raising their children previously, the structure of the arrangement will now change.

While divorce can be a challenging transition for children, there are certain steps parents can take to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible for their youngsters.

Be as consistent as possible with your children

In many ways, certain aspects of your children's lives will change following a divorce. If you and your spouse share joint custody, the children will now live in two different locations. Although this may be a difficult adjustment, it may be made easier by ensuring other aspects of their routines are kept consistent.

For instance, whenever possible, attempt to retain a similar schedule as the children had previously - from keeping a regular bedtime to ensuring they complete their homework every day. These normal activities will help the children focus on their day-to-day activities, rather than consistently worrying about the consequences of their new living situation.

Try to maintain a positive attitude when around your children

Children can be very sensitive to changes in the way you speak about your former spouse following the divorce. Particularly when couples are sharing custody, it can create confusion and tension for your children if you speak negatively about their other parent when they are around. Rather, it is best to save your frustrations about your former significant other for other family members and close friends.

Maintain open lines of communication with your ex-spouse

While the ability of spouses to continue open communication following the divorce is particularly helpful, it may not be possible in every case. If you are not comfortable speaking directly to your spouse, you can consider email and other text-based forms of communication to discuss your children's schedule and other issues.

In some cases, it may be wise to pick and choose which issues to discuss with your spouse, particularly if it has to do with differing parenting styles. You may find that you have less control over parenting techniques when your children are with your ex. While you may take issue with many of your former spouse's choices, picking the most important to address may be a more successful technique.

If you are facing difficulties co-parenting or are dissatisfied with a child custody arrangement, seeking the advice of an experienced family law attorney is a wise step.

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