When Illinois parents get a divorce, they might be concerned about how it will affect their children. It is possible for parents to take steps that can ease the transition.

First, parents should do what they can to ensure that children’s lives remain stable outside of the upheaval of the divorce. If they can agree on basic goals, even if they have different styles of parenting, this can help. They should try to avoid criticizing one another’s parenting decisions. If a child is unhappy about one of those decisions, the other parent should listen to the child but not say anything negative about the other parent.

Parents should also make sure children understand they are not at fault in the divorce and that their parents love them. They may have questions, and their parents should answer them as honestly as they can as long as their answers remain age-appropriate. They should also avoid oversharing or putting children in the middle with too much information about their conflict.

Some parents might be some distance away from their children after divorce. Shared activities, such as watching the same movie, can help bridge that distance. If one parent is absent altogether, the other parent should try to avoid badmouthing the absent one in front of the child.

Family law courts make their decisions based on the best interests of the child. Parents may want to also keep this in mind as they negotiate child custody and visitation. Although it can be difficult to accept that the children will be spending half their time or more with the other parent, it is usually best for them to have a relationship with both of their parents. Negotiating an agreement instead of going to court might make transitioning into a healthy co-parenting relationship less difficult.