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Naperville parenting plan attorneysIf you are a parent who is considering a divorce, there is a good chance that you probably worried about how your divorce will affect your children. While you most likely realize that children are resilient and able to adapt, it is understandable that you might have fears about how your kids will handle your divorce and the related concerns.

One of the best things that you can do for your children is to commit to cooperating with your ex-spouse when it comes to child-related issues. Cooperative parenting—also called co-parenting—starts with a comprehensive parenting plan. A parenting plan is also required under Illinois law for divorcing parents who wish to share parental responsibilities. Your parenting plan must contain provisions for dividing decision-making authority, each parent’s days with the children, and other important matters. It must also address whether one or both parents will have the right of first refusal for extra parenting time.

Understanding the Right of First Refusal

The phrase “first refusal” might sound negative, but the right of first refusal can actually be a very good thing. The right of first refusal refers to the right of a parent to be offered additional parenting time when the other parent requires child care during the other parent’s scheduled time. The parent who is offered the additional parenting time is not obligated to accept it; instead, he or she has the right to refuse it.  

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DuPage County divorce attorneysJust as every marriage is unique, every divorce is unique as well. There is no perfect way to end a marriage and spouses should choose the divorce options and resources which fit their particular needs. Some couples are able to get a divorce without any help resolving divorce issues such as disagreements regarding property division, child custody, or other concerns. However, many couples need help in order to come to an agreement about these issues. In situations such as these, divorcing individuals in Illinois may benefit from alternative dispute resolution in the form of mediation and collaborative law.

Mediation Can Help Couples Communicate About Divorce Issues

Understandably, it can be very difficult for divorcing spouses to come to a resolution regarding divorce issues. They may have feelings of resentment, anger, or blame toward each other which make it hard to discuss issues without the discussion collapsing into arguments. During the mediation process, divorcing spouses work with a qualified mediator who acts as a neutral third party to facilitate productive conversations.

Mediators will help the spouses identify the issues they agree on as well as those which they disagree on. Through a series of meetings, the mediator helps the spouses reach an agreement about the remaining divorce issues. Mediation is generally much more cost-effective than divorce litigation through the court. It is often a better way to resolve issues when children are involved because mediation proceedings are confidential unlike a public court feud.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_millennials-divorce-marriage-cohabitation.jpgSociologists and demographers often struggle to find a specific delineation between one acknowledged generation and the next. As such, it can be difficult for a single person to identify as a member of a “named” generation. The bigger picture, however, is often more clear, as the values, tendencies, and habits of a generation become evident even with a specific demarcation indicating the exact year in which that generation began. For example, the generation known as “millennials,” represents a large group of those born from the early 1980s to the late 1990s, at least according to generally accepted standards. As the millennials are now becoming parents, their views and approach to family life are beginning to impact overall social trends, including those regarding children before marriage and divorce.

The Youthful Face of Change

Every generation represents a departure of sorts from those that preceded it, especially the previous two. Millennials are, for the most part, the children of Generation X, and the grandchildren of the Baby Boomers. Just as Gen Xers challenged the values of their Baby Boomer parents, with the introduction of punk, metal, and grunge music, and the rejection of more conservative religious, political and social views, the trend has continued with millennials. Nowhere has this been more obvious than in the dramatic shifts in family values and what millennials hold as important.

Baby Before Marriage?

Several studies in recent years have suggested that more and more young people are rejecting social pressure to marry. This has led to an increase in the average age of first-time newlyweds and a growing number of cohabitating couples who consider themselves, for all intents and purposes, a family. In fact, according to a Time Magazine survey, only about 40 percent of millennial parents say that is very or extremely important to be married before having a baby. Compare that to the approximately 50 percent of Gen X and Boomer parents who believe marriage is very or extremely important first, and the change over a single generation seems rather large.

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