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divorce lawyerWhether an addiction involves illicit substances, prescription medication, gambling, or even compulsive shopping, the addiction impacts the entire family. If you are a father and your wife is currently struggling with substance abuse or other addictive behaviors, you know firsthand just how impossible the situation can feel. On the one hand, you want to ensure that your children grow up in a safe, healthy home. On the other hand, you feel like divorcing your wife will leave her feeling abandoned or even lead to further destructive behavior.  

Only you can know for sure if divorce is right for you and your children. If you are ready to get divorced, keep the following factors in mind.

The Children’s Safety Has to Come First

For many families struggling with addiction, the addiction is often the “elephant in the room.” Everyone pretends as if the addicted person’s behavior is normal. Unfortunately, ignoring the problem will not make it go away. When children are involved, downplaying the negative consequences of the addiction may even be deadly. If your child’s mother has an alcohol or drug addiction and you have reason to believe that she is not capable of keeping your children safe, do not leave your children with alone with her. As much as it may break your heart, your children’s safety has to be the priority. This may mean that you will need to petition the court for sole custody of the children both during and after the divorce.  

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divorcing a narcissistGetting divorced is almost never easy, but it can become much more difficult and complicated if your spouse is a narcissist. This mental health disorder can take a variety of forms, but a narcissist will typically act with self-importance and put their own needs and desires ahead of others. They often take advantage of others, refuse to recognize other people’s needs, and demand that other people follow their wishes. Unfortunately, narcissists can also be very charming and persuasive. If your ex has narcissistic tendencies, you may be in for a difficult battle during your divorce. Fortunately, you can protect yourself by understanding the strategies that can expose your ex’s unrealistic expectations and unreasonable demands and make sure you will not be taken advantage of.

Standing up to a Narcissistic Spouse

During your divorce, you’ll need to make adjustments to the behaviors and methods of communication you may have been used to during your relationship with your spouse. What worked (or most likely didn’t work) during your marriage will no longer apply, and to avoid being manipulated, you’ll need to figure out how to put a stop to the strategies your ex normally uses to get their way. As you work to complete the divorce process, you’ll want to do the following:

  1. Stand up for yourself - Your ex may have become used to doing whatever they want and having you agree to their demands. Since you’re no longer in a married relationship, you no longer have to back down in order to keep the peace. Standing up for your rights and interests will let your ex know that you’re no longer going to let them control you and that your needs are just as important as theirs.

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parenting agreement divorce order enforcement lawyerGetting through the divorce process definitely isn’t easy, but once you’ve signed the final divorce papers, you’ll probably breathe a sigh of relief and be ready to move on to better things. Unfortunately, if you’re a parent, the end of your divorce may not be the end of the problems with your former partner. Since the two of you will need to maintain contact and work together as co-parents to your kids, you may encounter new disagreements regarding parenting issues. If these disputes involve your ex’s refusal to follow the terms of your parenting agreement, you may be unsure of how to proceed, but you should know that you can take steps to enforce the terms of your divorce decree.

Options for Post-Divorce Enforcement

Before taking any drastic action, you may want to contact your ex-spouse to discuss your concerns. In some cases, a violation of your parenting agreement may have occurred because of a misunderstanding or miscommunication, and you may be able to work things out between the two of you and avoid these types of problems in the future. If either of you believes that modifications to your parenting plan are necessary, you may be able to use mediation to come to an agreement regarding changes to issues such as child custody or parenting time.

If, however, your ex has violated your parenting agreement on purpose, attempts to reach a peaceful resolution to the situation may not be helpful. Your ex may be committing parental alienation by trying to limit your time with your children, or acting out of spite and attempting to make your life as difficult as possible. In these cases, you may need to take legal action and ask the court to require your ex to comply with your parenting plan. If you can show that your ex purposely tried to interfere with your parenting time, you may be able to make the case for consequences including parenting time restrictions. Repeated violations could result in your ex being held in contempt of court, which could result in penalties such as fines or even time in prison.

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Naperville fathers' rights lawyer for parental relocationAs a divorced dad, you may struggle with the fact that you get to spend less time with your children that you did while you were married. Even if you share custody and have a significant amount of parenting time, you may not get as much time with your kids as you would like, and you will probably do everything you can to make the most of the time you do have with them. Because of this, you will want to make sure you address any issues that could affect your relationship with your children.

One concern that many dads face is the possibility that their ex will decide to move to a new home in a different city or state. If your kids’ mom is planning to move a significant distance away from you, this could limit the amount of time you are able to spend with them, especially if you end up spending a large amount of your parenting time transporting your children between your homes. You will most likely want to prevent major changes like this so you can continue being a primary parental figure for your kids.

Fortunately, you do have legal options in this type of situation, and you can take steps to protect your parental rights. With the help of a DuPage County family law attorney, you can file a petition in court seeking to prevent a move by your ex-spouse, and you can take steps to show why this relocation would not be in your children’s best interests. 

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Domestic violence and orders of protection during the coronavirus pandemicMany families are struggling with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Job losses have caused significant financial difficulties for many people, and requirements to stay at home have caused some family relationships to suffer. The different forms of stress that people are experiencing in their homes may lead to serious relationship issues between family members. Based on trends from previous disasters, some are concerned that the rates of domestic violence will increase as the crisis continues. If you are a father who needs help addressing family violence, or if you have been accused of committing abuse or violence against a family member, you should be sure to understand your legal options and the steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.

Addressing Domestic Violence and Abuse

Domestic abuse and family violence is an issue that can affect both men and women. While one third of the women in the U.S. have experienced violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime, one fourth of men have also experienced this type of abuse. While the jury is still out about whether domestic violence has increased during the coronavirus crisis, the requirements imposed on families during the pandemic may cause a family’s existing problems to intensify, which can lead to dangerous situations.

The isolation that many families are experiencing is likely to be a major factor in domestic abuse cases. A person who commits abuse will often seek to control their partner by cutting them off from other forms of support, such as friends and family members. Stay-at-home orders that limit contact with others may end up increasing the cycle of abuse experienced by a victim. When combined with the stress families are already experiencing, financial difficulties, and the high potential for substance abuse, this situation may turn a relationship that is already experiencing problems into an environment where family members’ safety and well-being is threatened.

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