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4 divorce tips for parents of teenagers

Divorce is not easy under any circumstance. It is especially complex with children. In addition to figuring out custody and child support, you have to handle telling your children about the divorce and helping them adjust to the changes.

Your children's age is a factor in how divorce affects them. For teenagers, follow these four tips as you navigate your new situation.

1. Remember that teens are still kids

You may feel tempted to include your teens more in the divorce because they are older and have a better understanding of the situation. However, they are still children. Do not trash talk your ex in front of the kids, confide in your teens or inadvertently encourage them to step into the absent parent's role. Instead, talk to trusted friends or a therapist to work through your emotions and set healthy boundaries.

Remember that your teens are still developing and may deal with the divorce in ways you find challenging. Talk to them about what they feel and how you can meet their needs.

2. Keep their best interests at the forefront

No matter what ages your children are, it is always best to put their interests first. More divorced parents realize the importance of effective co-parenting. Working together to create consistent rules and discipline can prevent some behavioral problems and give teens a sense of stability. 

3. Be flexible with parenting time

Teens often have busy schedules due to extracurricular activities. They are also more independent. Take into consideration your teens' wishes when it comes to parenting time. You may need to be flexible to work around sports, special events, jobs and holiday fun.

4. Discuss college arrangements

If your children have plans to go to college, you need to discuss this with your ex. You can include your division of payment in your divorce order. Know that in Illinois, the court has the power to order payment for college, as well as extracurricular activities.

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