Top DIY Gift Ideas for Father’s Day as Separated Parents

Separated parents

If you’re part of a two-household family, you’re probably intimately familiar with the struggles of holidays.

Whose house do we celebrate at? Do holiday plans conflict with the schedules of kids’ extracurriculars or the co-parenting schedule?

As a child of separated parents, you have your own difficulties. You want your parents to feel equally appreciated and loved, but it can be hard sometimes to show how much you care.

As a divorced or separated mother, you want to encourage a healthy relationship between your children and ex-husband. Helping them put together a memorable Father’s Day is a great way to do that.

On average, people spend $139 on a Father’s Day gift, but 45% of dads say that they want something unique. You don’t need to break the bank to give Dad exactly what he wants.

A handmade gift lets your father know that you gave time, thought, and hard work to their present. This Father’s Day, show your dad how much you appreciate him in these trying circumstances with one of these DIY gifts.

For the Home

Whether Dad lives with the kids or by himself, he’ll appreciate anything that makes life around the home a little easier or brighter to look at. These fun gift ideas will make him think of you whenever you can’t be with him.

Wondering how often the kids should be away? Check out this helpful guide.

Air Fresheners

Nothing says home like a fresh scent as soon as you walk in the door. Fill spray bottles with 2 cups of water, about 25 drops of essential oil in Dad’s favorite scent, and 2 tablespoons of baking soda.

A couple of sprays around the room make all the difference, and a spray is much safer than a candle. This gift is personalized and useful, and dad is sure to love its comforting smell.

Heart Thumbprint Magnets

Your dad has probably received numerous drawings from his children, and he wants to display them all. The refrigerator door is a classic spot for drawings, but he’ll need magnets. 

These glass thumbprint magnets are easy to make with supplies from your local craft store – ink pads, a permanent marker, class gems, glue, and ceramic magnets.

Make pictures of Dad’s favorite animals, sports teams logos, or a simple heart as a representation of your love.

Popsicle Stick Photo Frame

No family home is complete (whether a split home or not) without family photos. Make sure to take a couple on your next outing with Dad

Popsicle sticks glued together to make a base with the photo pasted on top make the perfect “made it myself” photo frame. Decorate with colored markers, glitter, stickers, and anything else you can find to complete.

Vinyl Record Bowl

Is your dad a music buff? Maybe there’s a specific song that means a lot to you together. A scratched record of significance can be turned into a beautiful gift bowl with these easy steps.

Find a vinyl record (preferably with some damage already done) at a thrift shop or online. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Stack an oven-safe bowl on a cookie sheet and put the record on top of the bowl in the oven. 

Leave it in the oven for about 10 minutes. Take out the vinyl and help press the shape exactly how you want it. Place back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.

Take the vinyl out again and press the now malleable material into the bowl to create your desired shape. 

Let the vinyl cool, and you should have a very special catch-all bowl or candy dish to give to your dad.

Tie Rack

Put your hammering skills to use by making Dad an easy tie rack. Simply take a board of wood and hammer nails in an orderly fashion in the front. Attached a wall fastener to the back and voila! Easy organization for your hardworking dad.

No-Sew Throw Blanket

Throw blankets are easier to make than many people realize – no sewing skills required!

Simply purchase two sheets of fleece from the fabric store in the size and pattern of your preference. Cut out a five by five square from each corner.

With the sheets laid on top of each other cut a fringe a little wider than your finger. Go along the fringe tying the pieces with a double knot to each other to create a no-sew hem.

Now, dad has a lovingly made blanket to put over his legs as he reads or watches TV at night.

For the Kitchen

Is your dad handy in the kitchen? Or maybe he just loves to eat! These father’s day gifts are sure to make him smile whether he uses them to make his own creations or chows down on yours.

Homemade Orange Bitters

An Old Fashioned is a classic Dad Drink. It’s a mix of strong and sweet (just like him) and easy to make at home if you have the right ingredients.

Check out this recipe for orange bitters – a key component of an Old Fashioned and many other delicious cocktails. It’s made with natural and fresh ingredients for a stronger, better taste.

Barbecue Rubs

Father’s Day means that summer is just around the corner. Help Dad get ahead with his summer barbecue plans by making him a signature meat rub.

Experiment with ingredients like brown sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, garlic, onion, and mustard til you get something that smells delicious. Maybe throw in a secret ingredient you know he loves (like chili powder!).

Infused Olive Oil

Another great option if your dad loves to cook is infused olive oils. They can be used as a marinade, on top of pasta or salad, or to dip bread in. 

You can find recipes here for garlic chili, lemon, and rosemary-infused olive oils.

Homemade Cookies

If your dad isn’t so much the kind to cook and more the kind to eat, you can’t go wrong with homemade cookies.

Choose a recipe that you’re comfortable with and ice the tops with “dad” in a heart to get the message across. Fil a box with tissue paper and arrange the cookies nicely inside for a snack you can share on Father’s Day.


Does Dad prefer a savory snack? Pickles are easy to make and satisfy that umami craving. 

Slice cucumbers and put them into a jar with vinegar, dill, room temperature water, garlic, salt, and a little sugar. Close up tight and allow to brine.

For Hobbies and Work

Your dad is thinking about you all the time – at home, at work, and at his hobbies. These gifts will help you contribute to those aspects of his life where he may not get to see you.

Bottle Cap Fishing Lures

Did you know that you can make a functional fishing lure for Dad without any expert knowledge? 

With this easy guide, you can! Choose caps from your dad’s favorite beer, or if you’re of legal drinking age gather them up the next time you and he share a cold one. 

Customized Planner

A busy man like your dad could use a helpful planner, and seeing one that’s personalized by you will make him smile every time he uses it.

Buy a plain planner at an office supply store. Decorate the front with paint pens and leave loving notes in corners where he may not expect them. 

Does your dad use his phone more than paper and pen? Encourage him to try this interactive calendar for separated parents.

Eyeglass Case

If your dad wears glasses, a new case makes a thoughtful gift. You can even make it out of an old favorite tie that he recently got a stain on.

Take an old tie and place a pair of glasses on top. Fold up the bottom of the tie so that the fabric covers the glass. Cut off the excess and finish the edge with a whipstitch.

Then, open up the center seam. Sew the two sides of the center seam to the out edges of the folded tie to create a pouch. Finish off with a bit of velcro to the body of the pouch and the point of the tie.

Customized Playing Cards

Is your dad a fan of card games? Give him a gift to show off to all his friends on Poker Night with customized playing cards.

Choose your favorite photo of the two of you together, and use this site to instantly upload and order your own deck of playing cards. 

If cards aren’t his thing, there are lots of other print options available such as photo books, drink tumblers, mousepads, and calendars.

For Preening

Your dad is a handsome guy! He deserves to look and feel his best this Father’s Day. 

PreShave Oil

While many men skip preshave oil, it’s a great way to avoid ingrown hairs and skin irritation. Once your dad receives this homemade version from you, he may never want to go without it again. It’ll leave him with the cleanest shave he’s ever had.

To make it, combine 3 oz of castor oil, 1 oz of olive oil, and 5 drops of Vitamin E oil in a glass bottle. Swirl to mix.

Include some handwritten instructions for a personal touch. Your dad should apply just a few drops on his hands and then rub them onto his facial hair. Let it sit for a minute to soften the hair before shaving as normal.

Shaving Cream

Speaking of shaving, you could make your dad a whole shaving kit for Father’s Day. Include the preshave oil, a nice hand towel, and some homemade shaving cream from this recipe

This is another recipe that you can personalize to his favorite scents to be sure that it’s something he’ll love.

Your dad will feel dapper and loved as he prepares his face for his next work meeting, interview, or date.

Hand Lotion

Your memory and your dad are probably full of times you’ve hugged, held hands, or wiped tears away.

Keep your dad’s hands soft and smelling good with a homemade lotion. If he works with his hands a lot, you can feel good knowing that you’ve given him something to take care of himself.


You should never underestimate a handwritten card or letter. On its own or alongside another DIY gift, a letter is something that you dad will treasure for his whole life.

Write about your favorite memories with him, your hopes for the future, and an inside joke. A Gallup poll found that 97% of Americans love to receive handwritten mail. So, this is something that your dad will surely love and cherish.

Start the tradition now, and your father will be able to collect letters from you year after year. They could eventually be a beautiful family heirloom to share with your own children. 

Separated Parents Can Still Have Great Holidays

Divorce and separation is difficult on both kids and parents, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on the fun times in life. Father’s Day should still be a celebration of the love between father and child.

Making DIY gifts for Dad shows him that you care and can even be a fun activity to do with Mom. Dad will be sure to appreciate the time and effort put into his gift.

Do you have other worries about navigating co-parenting life? Separated parents have a hard job, but 2houses can make it easier with their planning, scheduling, and communication app.

Custody Schedule and Father’s Day

Custody and father's day

Custody schedules work well until they don’t. No schedule is foolproof. Even Father’s Day sees alterations.

Most changes are due to everyone’s desire to help with your kid’s events or planned activities.

Have you ever wished you had an app that could handle the process?

An app with functions that allow you to send your ex-spouse and kids a schedule change request. And, having it automated from your calendar.

The good news is that the 2houses app automates change requests so you can get quick answers.

This feature is sure to simplify your communication with your ex-spouse. It will also keep the kids happy knowing that mom and dad are working together on their behalf.

Keep reading to learn more about how to keep your Father’s Day intact regardless of any schedule changes.

Sharing Father’s Day With Your Kids

No matter what your current schedule looks like, it might change if you want to share Father’s Day with your kids. It is important that both parents get equal time with the kids over the holiday. After all, Father’s Day in some families is also about the kid’s granddads.

If you’re fighting for more time, you need to do so in a way that makes the kids feel like they’re part of the solution. You don’t want to be the bad guy when it comes to considerations for Father’s Day. Take time to make sure you understand how your kids want to celebrate.

Kids need their mom and dad to have a good time. You may have family or friends visit your home on Father’s Day, and they may not know this need. You don’t want anyone taking sides against either parent during a holiday.

Instead, you want everyone to hold a positive viewpoint for the sake of the kids. You even hope they are proactive in facilitating the kids connecting with their dad.

Connecting With Dad

It is important for kids to connect with their dad during Father’s Day. This might be a few hours for dinner or the entire weekend. The key is making sure the kids get to share their input.

It is important for the kids to take part when deciding on dates and times for visiting with dad.

If the ex-spouse makes other plans to visit their dad, consider working out time for a phone call. Kids can also spend valuable time with dad through Facetime, Skype, and other media tools. Regardless of the venue or format of communication, the kids must be able to visit in a heartfelt manner.

Free to Be Them

The kids might need enough privacy so they can get goofy without anyone making comments. They need to experience the freedom to be themselves in a different manner with mom and dad.

Or, your kid might want to sing a special song and needs to be in an environment that is judgment-free. Scheduling time for your kid’s parental relationships is important to building their self-confidence.

When we allow our kids to express themselves in a personal manner to either parent, they need to feel secure. To help ease that sense of freedom, consider putting the focus on the kids.

Focus on the Kids

When your ex-spouse is reluctant and only allows for a short visit, keep it simple. Focus on your kids and make sure they understand how important they are in your life. Do not put your kids in the middle of the scheduling conflict.

The worst-case scenario is establishing a special time with the kids later in the week. You can turn the late Father’s Day event into a time of affirmation. After all, there wouldn’t be a reason to celebrate if the kids weren’t a part of dad’s life.

The kids will feel loved knowing both parents support their need to spend time with dad. That demonstration of parental unity will empower the kids. They will learn that it is okay for them to love both dad and mom equally.

This holds true even when the custody schedule isn’t equal.

Custody Schedule

Custody schedules are great if you use them efficiently with a plan. The problem arises when the scheduling system doesn’t fit your lifestyle. The biggest culprit challenging your plan is the wonderful, yet unexpected opportunity.

All schedules include activities that don’t always follow an exact schedule.

To add to the confusion, few are able to change custody-based temporary schedules. Making changes is difficult until the parents settle the permanent parenting plan. Another consideration is the changes that happen at various ages.

Your Kids Needs Will Change

The kids tend to lose out during this period. This can put undue stress on them. Both mom and dad must find a way to address the kid’s needs in a non-confrontational manner.

Regardless of the judge’s final approval of the parenting plan, schedules will still change. Your kids’ lives will continue to evolve, as will their schedules. Consider reading more about these issues in similar posts.

To reduce the conflict, you’ll need a tool that speeds up and simplifies schedule alterations. The 2houses app streamlines all communication regarding the custody schedule.

Tweaking the Schedule

Start by putting your agreed-upon custody schedule in the app. When an opportunity that drives change comes up, send a message within the app. Inform your ex-spouse when you need your kids for a specific reason.

If your ex-spouse is onboard with the tool, the response is quick and easy. The app will notify you once the response to your request is complete. There’s no need to be afraid of an automated system. This co-parenting app does not intrude on your parenting techniques.

The app helps ease parenting problems, especially when you don’t know how to talk about them.

It’s a wonderful app and allows for non-confrontational communications. It even works to support those last-second issues when important opportunities pop up. To make sure nothing is missed due to the changes, the app can send everyone in the family reminders.

What About Schedule Changes?

Submit a request for the time change to the parent in charge of the child at the time. In a situation where you don’t know who this is, you can request an alert and a link to the schedule change. In the event the schedule needs to change, it will notify you by email.

There are options for how the schedule is changed, too. This includes a timer that can be set to run for a certain length of time. You can adjust the schedule on a weekly, monthly or annual basis. You also have the option of a full-page download of the calendar and a summary of your kid’s schedule.

The 2houses app can help a separated parent stay connected. The dashboard offers an easy-to-use method to customize the interface. Life gets easier once everyone uses the app for schedules and related communications.

A Technical View

Let’s say you want to send your ex-spouse relevant information. You’d first go to Settings>Timeline and make a note. Then you’d go to Calendar>Timeline and add in the dates, events, and activities. Finally, select Edit and drag the calendar date to where you want it on the schedule.

You can then select Done and your changes are complete.

How Apps Simplify Your Life

Explaining changes to your ex-spouse becomes a chore when your schedule gets busy. All too often one parent might choose to leverage that precarious moment to inflict hurt. A tool like the 2houses app takes the emotional element out of the mix.

Change requests become a familiar and more accommodating process. The app inspires parents to focus on the kids when managing the schedule. It may even change the atmosphere to one of cooperation.

This keeps the kids out of conflict and can reduce emotional triggers.

The Process

Change requests are saved to the appropriate account. This means you won’t have to always ask your ex-spouse to approve a change. When your ex-spouse is cooperative, change requests fast and free of incident.

You can also set up an alert to notify you as soon as your ex-spouse responds. The 2houses app drives civility, which may have been lost during a heated divorce. It also allows you both to regain some level of respect for each other. The type of respect you give to a co-parent addressing changes with the kid’s best interest at heart.

You’ll want to review any changes that alter the parenting agreement. You’ll have to decide what changes are appropriate or may impact long-term decisions. Once you are content with the change requests, you can submit them to the calendar.

Get Your Kids Input

If you wonder about tips for managing a calendar, the app works best when the kids have access. When they feel like the calendar is theirs, they will take responsibility for its content. This shared calendar will also make a great tool for the family to stay cordial with each other.

With full access, the kids can input their school, clubs, and sporting activities. The calendar is ideal for when your kid decides to try out for a sport or musical theatre. They’ll be able to enter the entire schedule for both mom and dad to review.

Within a few minutes, a healthy resolved calendar emerges.

The 2houses app takes the burden off of your shoulders. It saves you time, energy, and peace of mind. It also protects your kids by showing you what they need.

This gained knowledge will help you stay on top of your parenting decisions.

The Best of Solutions

You can start using the 2houses app before your parenting plan is in place. This will help everyone to better understand the civility of the process. They will also see how things are actually playing out.

The app tends to reduce the emotional angst arising from negotiations. This results in everyone seeing what works for the kids and what doesn’t. That gained knowledge tends to make all parents fairer about schedules.

The 2houses app can be a document that tracks official change requests as required. This digital solution will also help you find any change-related problems. Once caught, you can tweak the schedule to help the kids.

In essence, the app becomes a neutral territory for negotiating schedule changes.

Quality Time With Your Kids

Scheduling is all about making quality time with your kids. Changing plans and rescheduling the activities can make for a long weekend. You’ll be able to spot patterns with the 2houses app.

The patterns will help you give your kids the benefit of the doubt with their scheduling needs.

Busyness is no longer a negative thing when you can make everyone’s schedule more cohesive. Your kids will see your interest in them as you alter things to make sure time together is well spent. They’ll also appreciate their ability to populate the calendar with their desires.

Scheduling video calls with your kids is now easier than ever. The 2houses app has the ability to schedule phone calls and Skype sessions. The app can notify you when it’s time to launch your planned call.

Making Father’s Day Work

The 2houses app will help you share a preliminary custody schedule before mediation. The format allows for rapid changes so you and your ex-spouse can settle faster than expected. As a practical matter, your kids shouldn’t be in a constant state of flux when it comes to their schedules.

Having your custody schedule set ahead of time will keep both you and your ex-spouse happy. You’ll both stay happy when the app facilitates surprise opportunities for you around the holidays. Register for the 2houses app and keep scheduling strains away from the family with this co-parenting app.Ask about order

The 2-2-3 Parenting Plan and Other Schedules for Summer Vacations

2 2 3 parenting plan

Shared custody is now the most common post-divorce parenting arrangement, which means divorced parents also share responsibility for planning their kids’ summer breaks.

The school year flies by, so before you know it, your children will be home for the summer—and your normal routine goes out the window. A special summer timesharing plan must go into effect.

Will you and your co-parent choose to 2-2-3, week-on/week-off, or something different? When developing a summer parenting plan, hiccups may arise over vacation, family reunions, and the like. 

You can lessen the risk of these disagreements by working out a plan for summer timesharing in advance. Keep reading to learn how to create a summer parenting plan that works for all parties involved.

How to Create a Summer Custody Schedule

All families are familiar with how the hustle and bustle of summer break changes their daily schedules. However, when co-parenting, these changes become more drastic and concrete. 

If you want to develop a timesharing plan that gives your children a relaxing break while creating the least amount of family stress, you must start with the custody schedule laid out in your court order. Use this as a guide to filling out a monthly calendar according to when the children are with you instead of the other parent. 

Your divorce settlement may also layout who the children will spend various holidays with throughout the year. More often than not, the holidays rotate or alternate. The plans are set up this way so that if dad gets Memorial Day, the mom gets the Fourth of July, and so on. You must also account for Father’s Day and any birthdays that occur during the break. 

You’ll also need to take note of how much summer parenting time is allocated to each parent. For example, if you are a non-custodial parent that lives far away, you may have extended parenting time in the summer. 

Take these dates into account because these are the ones you’ll need to plan around. If your co-parent is entitled to eight of ten weeks of summer break, but with flexible dates, this gives you the room you need to plan a family vacation.

Plan Early

A lot of thought goes into setting a summer co-parenting schedule, so it’s best to start planning early. Remember, you’re planning around more than just your own schedule.

If you are proactive about setting the schedule earlier, you can take the potential stress out of determining schedules. Do this right, and you’re more likely to increase the bonds your children have with you and their other parent.

Plus, planning vacations earlier is just smarter—you can take advanced of reduced prices for plan trips, accommodations, and the like.

Look at Your Personal Schedule

First, take a look at what your personal calendar has on it for the summer. Are there any work or social plans that could affect summer timesharing?

Make sure to jot down any important dates now. These might include a family reunion you want to take the kids to or a conference for work out of town. Finalizing your personal schedule will allow you to work out potential future swaps if needed.

Also, check out your childrens’ activity schedules. Look for birthday parties, sports games, or other events you know they wish to attend. 

Will you want to attend any of these as well? 

There may be some events you’ll attend alone, but others you will together. Discuss this with your co-parent and work out an arrangement that allows you both to be as involved as possible.

Communicate Your Timesharing Wish List With Your Ex

Once you’ve considered your personal schedule as well as your children’s, you can arrange to speak with your co-parent about your ideal summer parenting plan. 

It’s important not to spring this on your kids’ other parent. Give them advanced notice, so they have a chance to come up with a list of their own needs and preferences. 

You both must know the difference between preferences and absolutes, especially when a day would fall outside of one parent’s scheduled days.

Negotiate for High-Priority Family Events

When allocating summer parenting time, both of you need to agree to modifications and exceptions for the benefit of the children. 

If it’s your year to have the kids on Memorial Day, but your co-parent’s family is hosting a reunion that day, your kids may benefit from exchanging that holiday for another that fits into your plan. 

When discussing these types of scheduled changes, strive to keep the amount of parenting time the same for each parent. If you ask for three extra days for a beach vacation, find three days you can give back somewhere else to offset the change.

No Premature Plans

It’s fun to plan vacations, especially when kids are involved. As you ask your children what they’d like to do for the summer, don’t make premature promises. 

Your kids will undoubtedly be excited about some of the potential plans. However, your job as a co-parent is to make sure they know that the plans are tentative until the other parent agrees. Nothing is certain until this happens. 

And if your kids are excited about a plan that your ex-partner shoots down, don’t blame your ex or make it seem like they have the last word. This can be considered alienation or lead to resentment.

Possible Summer Parenting Plans

Now that you know what to consider when determining summer timesharing plans, how do you put one into practice? Here are some examples of summer schedules when co-parenting children.

Regular Schedule With a Vacation Option

One of the most common ways of approaching summer break is keeping the regular schedule through the summer months. In this arrangement, the children remain with the custodial parent. Usually, the parents will each have an opportunity to have extended, uninterrupted time (usually two or three weeks). 

This schedule is popular as it’s not as disruptive to the kids’ routine. It might also be preferable to stick with the schedule to align with the parent’s work schedules. If both parents frequently see the children throughout the school year, there may not be a need for a separate summer arrangement.

A common issue with this schedule is that it can be difficult to manage when parents have to work, and kids aren’t at school all day. 

Planning summer camps, daycare, and vacations can then be complicated and lead to disagreements between parents.

Week-On Week-Off

Another arrangement to consider is a week-on-week-off schedule where children alternate weeks with their parents throughout the summer. This is a good schedule if you and your co-parent live near each other and both have good relationships with your children. 

The benefits of this schedule include equal time for parents, which is healthy for most children. It’s also an easy schedule for all to follow, and there is less back and forth. There is less risk for scheduling conflicts and plenty of opportunities for each parent to plan a vacation.

However, sometimes this is a difficult schedule for working parents. Making camp or daycare arrangements every other week can be complicated, overwhelming, and expensive. If you’re concerned about this, consider a 2-week on and 2-week off agreement instead.

Majority to the Non-Custodial Parent

If you and your ex live in different locations, consider an arrangement where the non-custodial parent exercises most of their timesharing during summer break. Since they’re away from the children most of the school year, visitation is limited. Giving them most of the summer is often an amicable way to approach timesharing over summer break.

Giving one parent a large portion of the summer break allows for the additional time needed to strengthen bonds with their children. It also helps children adapt to new environments and a faraway home from the other parent. They can take the time they need to settle in without the burden of school-related activities and stress.

However, the custodial parent often has difficulty with this arrangement as they’re away from their children for long periods. And for the non-custodial parent, it can seem difficult to maintain a relationship after only sporadically seeing their child during the other times of the year.

2-2-3 Schedule

The 2-2-3 schedule is best for parents who want to exercise long weekends during summer break. In this arrangement, or you have the children for two days, the other has them for the next two days, and then the kids go back to the first parent for a long, three-day weekend.

This works because each parent enjoys two days with the children during the workweek and has a long weekend with the children every other weekend.

Many co-parents enjoy this two-week rotating schedule because they get to have equal time with the children. Yes, there is more switching back and forth, but if the parents live close to each other and the children don’t mind the changes, this may be an attractive arrangement for your family.

3-4-4-3 Schedule

The 3-4-4-3 schedule is another 50/50 schedule that includes your children staying with one of you for three days a week and then the other four days. It alternates each week so that you may have the child for four days and your co-parent has them for three.

Parents enjoy the same nights with their children each week—except for the one that occurs on the exchange day

This is a great schedule because there are minimal exchanges, and children get to spend an ample amount of time with both parents each week. It’s also favored because each parent has equal time with the children and can assist in daily caretaking.

The children benefit from this arrangement because they don’t go long between exchanges. This schedule can work very well for your family if you and your co-parent have different work schedules.

It depends on which day of the week this schedule starts, but in some cases, one parent may have the children every weekend. When a schedule includes a midweek change, you must communicate well about daycare and summer activities. 

Additional Tips for Smooth Planning

Don’t go into a conversation with your co-parent about an alternate summer schedule blind. Here are some additional tips to ensure the conversation goes smoothly.

Be Flexible

While you might have your own hopes and plans for your children’s summer break, it doesn’t mean your co-parent doesn’t. If they want to plan a vacation with the kids, show them the same courtesy you expect from them. Be flexible!

Yes, compromise means you may not get the exact time you wanted or as much as you usually receive, but always consider accepting this in exchange for your wish list.

Of course, the structure helps determine who will have the kids when, but be flexible with that structure to accommodate activity or travel plans that your co-parent or the children may have.

The more advanced planning you engage in and the more willing you are to be flexible and work with your co-parent, the better your summer schedule will be.

Keep Communication Open 

When planning changes to your custody schedule, it’s essential to keep all lines of communication open—this applies to everyone involved.

Just because you’re on vacation with your children doesn’t mean they should be unable to speak to your co-parent. You may not purposefully interfere or prevent the child’s communications, but be aware that it can seem this way. Just make sure you’re encouraging involvement on both sides.

A common example of this is a parent taking their children out of the country for vacation and not bothering to purchase a cell phone plan that allows for international calling.

Your co-parent could take this scenario to court and use it as an example of you interfering with them speaking to your children, which is a type of parental alienation. The other parent can use this against you when modifying a parenting plan in the future.

It’s Possible to Plan a Schedule That Satisfies Everyone

Summer vacations are special—even magical—to children. You’ve committed to co-parenting your child with your ex, and that involves working together to create schedules that satisfy everyone in the family.

Whether you decide on the 2-2-3, week-on-week-off, or another arrangement, do it together so that you can ensure smooth planning and a summer that’s enjoyable for all. If you’re new to co-parenting and just navigating this for the first time, this co-parenting guide may help.

6 Tips To Reduce The Stress Of Co-parenting

Tips for co-parenting

Parenting already is a difficult task, but co-parenting, especially with an ex-partner, may prove to be even more complicated. Adapting to the reality of being a co-parent isn’t always easy and swift. It might take a while to come to terms with it, and you’d occasionally have to make sacrifices.

However, always bear in mind that it’s for the betterment of your child/children. You might have to make some compromises you don’t like.  Being a co-parent comes with a heap load of stress. Luckily, this article will explain six ways on how to deal with stress.

1.  Find a support system to vent your feelings.

The stress and mixed emotions that come with co-parenting can be very draining and infuriating. You will occasionally get mad at the co-parent for not doing things your way or in a way you like.

However, It’s important to understand you can’t be in control of everything. Keeping emotions pent up might lead to harboring ill feelings towards your co-parenting partner.

Thus, a support system to vent your emotions will provide you the soft cushion you need to release all the negativity. That support system could be a trusted friend, a therapist, or even a support group. It will make you feel less alone, and your support system can also serve as a voice of reason or advisor during misunderstandings.

You could also release accumulated stress by treating yourself to some white zinfandel wine. This wine is fantastic, and it contains many ingredients that help the body relax.

2.  Effective communication is vital.

As a co-parent, you always have to be accessible to your co-parenting partner at all times. Communication is the most essential and fundamental part of good parenting. Treat your co-parent as a business partner and be civil with them.

Communicate effectively through a designated medium which you’d both agree on. Talk about everything involving your child, so you and your co-parenting partner can make the best decisions. Never forget they’re your partner in this, so don’t make decisions solely.

3.  Create a schedule or calendar to go by.

Organizing and creating a parenting schedule goes a long way in ensuring both parents get to spend equal time with the child. This helps prevent a dispute over visitations and vacations. Plan, even for the unexpected. The schedules will make your life ten times easier as few circumstances would catch you unprepared.

4.  Don’t view your co-parent as an enemy.

Any bad history or issues you might have with the co-parent should be left behind in the past so as to not affect your child. Don’t do anything spiteful to your ex-partner based on your sentiments alone.

Your children’s state of mind and wellbeing as a whole always come first. So, it would be best to avoid doing things because you want to prove a point to the other parent. Make decisions based on what’s best for your child/children.

Strive to have a healthy relationship with the co-parent. Misunderstandings are bound to happen when two individuals have to decide on the same thing but make sure it’s a peaceful and mature conversation that ensues. Having disputes or quarrels in front of your child/children should be avoided at all costs because there’s a high tendency it will reflect on their behavior.

5.  Leave the kids out of grownup matters.

Keep the kids out of your issues, fights, and decision-making with your co-parent. It doesn’t matter if you’re upset at the co-parent, don’t get the child/children involved. They might be acting unreasonable, but never badmouth or demean them to your child or children. Consider their feelings towards this parent and don’t make a big deal out of minor situations.

6.  Learn to be flexible.

There will be instances where your co-parent might want to switch scheduled parenting days with you due to some unforeseen events. Hence, you should try as much as possible to be flexible. It is essential to understand that not all you plan would follow the order you plan it, and that’s okay.

Above all else, you should put your child’s convenience above yours. Amidst all this planning, it is easy to neglect your child’s feelings altogether.

It would be best if you always had a contingency plan for times when you’re busy. Some of these include dropping your child off at a trusted relative or friend’s place.

Final Thoughts

Co-parenting can sometimes feel like an extra job, but it’s worth the work at the end of the day. Even though you might be busy with your child/children, care for yourself too. Take a time out once in a while to do something for yourself. Go out with friends, get a massage, go dancing – whatever it might be as long as it relieves your stress.

If you don’t relieve your stress and you allow it to accumulate, you would do more harm than good to both you and your child.

Research Article

Challenges of Coparenting in Military Families

coparenting in military families

Military life is challenging yet rewarding. The same can be said for coparenting. 

Since 2001, two million American children have experienced a parental deployment. At least half of these children also experience a separation between their parents. 

This is why coparenting in military families is so important. Separated parents must come together and make sure their kids receive full support. Yet coparents often experience many hurdles as they raise their kids. 

Understanding what those hurdles are is the first step toward overcoming them. Here is your guide to the challenges of coparenting in a military family. 

Separation Proceedings

Divorce is difficult enough for anyone. It is especially difficult for active-duty personnel because of the lack of communication they have with their spouse. 

If you are on active-duty, understand your rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. You can obtain a postponement of legal proceedings if your service affects your ability to engage with the divorce case. When you request this protection, you can automatically receive a 90-day stay. 

If you are a military spouse requesting a divorce, you should still file for a divorce as soon as possible. Keep in mind that it may take time for your partner to respond. 

Both parties should talk to a lawyer who specializes in working with military families. Some law firms offer services for “military divorce.” These services do not differ substantially from civilian divorce, but the term can indicate experience with military members. 

Some military bases have legal assistance attorneys. They can write letters and review legal documents for active-duty personnel. 

But they cannot represent personnel in a divorce hearing. The personnel must find a different attorney. 

The person who is initiating the divorce should file in the state where they live. A service member who has been living in a state for six months can file for a divorce in that state. 

A military spouse can continue to receive military benefits while the divorce case is ongoing. The two parties can communicate with each other. 

Both parties should also remain in contact with their children. Even an amicable divorce can be stressful for kids. 

Affirm that you love them and will spend time with them. Give them books that explain divorce at their level. 

Custody Arrangements 

There are several ways you can consider custody in a military family. Many couples decide on joint custody, even while one parent remains on active duty. In these arrangements, the civilian parent watches over the children while the servicemember is working. 

If both parents are on active duty, they must decide together where their children will live. They can live with a relative or a guardian that both parents decide upon. 

There are several modes of joint custody, including legal custody. The children can spend more time with one coparent. But both can possess the same amount of legal rights. Make sure to look through all of your options before deciding on the best form for you.  

Some spouses decide on sole custody for the civilian parent. The military parent does not have a say in major decisions for their children.

But they do have visitation rights. Both parties should negotiate on when the military parent can visit and how much contact they should have. 

They should also decide on child support. It is up to the coparents to decide on how the military parent should pay.

A child can live with their parent on a military base. This is not ideal for a separated couple, but it is possible if necessary. 

The military parent should have a way of sending the money on time and in full. They can wire the money electronically or they can send a physical check. 

If the servicemember has full custody, they should designate other family members to take care of their children. They should also provide visitation access for the other coparent. 

Drafting Parenting Plans 

Coparenting is possible with a military family. But both coparents need to help draft a nuanced parenting plan. 

The biggest factor is communication. A coparent may be deployed to an area without easy communication. You need to consider how the parent can remain in contact with their child. 

Some organizations offer letter-writing programs for soldiers. If you or your child is not acquainted with letter writing, start practicing.  

A plan should cover travel arrangements. A service member can receive an assignment to another duty station with little notice. They could also be sent back home. 

The plan can ask both parents to set aside money so the member can return home. It can spell out how the military parent will transport themselves. 

What happens when the military parent returns should be defined. They should know where they are going to live and how they can see their children. 

You should also consider how grandparents and other family members are involved. You should loop them in on the plan you are forming. If you need them to watch over the children or provide support, you should specify that.

It may take some time to hash out the details. Don’t rush things. Talk things over carefully with the other party. 

Creating and Revising a Family Care Plan 

Family Care Plan is separate from a parenting plan. It is a document that all service members who have children must file. It is designed for caretakers who do not have a military background but will take care of the children.

You should have a caregiver in mind when drafting one. You must name them and provide their contact information. If the caregiver is not the child’s other parent, you should describe the other parent. 

Detail the arrangements they should make for daily activities. This includes how the caregiver should pick your children up from school. You can also describe extracurricular events. 

In addition to logistics and monetary arrangements, you should provide medical arrangements. Include copies of your children’s medical records and insurance forms. You can discuss religious arrangements if they are important. 

It is important to keep your plan up to date. As your children grow up and their arrangements change, you should edit your plan. You can change caregivers if you need to. 

After a separation, you should absolutely update your plan to reflect your new arrangements. You should include information about what your custody, visitation, and child support rights are. 

If your children are old enough, you can consult with them on your plan. Talk with them about what arrangements they want. 

A Family Care Plan is distinct from a last will and testament. Service members are not required to draft one, but the military strongly advises it. 


People struggle with a range of emotions after going through a separation. Some people experience grief as if someone close to them died. Others feel a sense of relief or excitement. 

Take all the time you need to process your emotions. Spending time with your children can help, especially after the separation process is over.

But give time for yourself and your friends as well. You are in no rush to get over the feelings you are experiencing. 

If your feelings impair your ability to work or take care of yourself, seek help. Servicemembers can request non-medical counseling. They can talk to an experienced counselor about coping strategies and the next steps. 

Do not ask for reassignment or deployment so you can take your mind off your separation. You should try to keep working, but don’t make sudden changes to your life. This may make you feel worse. 

When coparenting, the two exes often remain in contact with each other. This can be awkward. When one person is overseas, communications can be indirect or delayed. 

When you talk to your ex, be as respectful as possible. Keep the conversation short and then move on with your day.

Try not to dwell on negative emotions. Do not get into an argument with them. 

Separation can cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder to flare up. Talk to a psychiatrist if you have ongoing PTSD. You can take medications or adopt therapies that can help you manage your symptoms. 

Doing Things With Your Kids

Spending time with your kids after a separation can be difficult. They may want to talk about the absent coparent.

Explain the absence in brief terms. Be honest but don’t be too specific. Make sure your kids know how much you love them and tell them you will not abandon them. 

Many children are curious about their parent’s military service. This may be difficult for you to talk about.

Keep things light. Talk about funny things that happened during your service. Tell a few short stories instead of long dramatic ones. 

Let your coparent talk about their service. Don’t make guesses as to what they did or didn’t do. 

Make an adventure out of your time with your kids. Go to an amusement park or a nature preserve. Visit the aquarium and eat at their favorite pizzeria. 

You can have your child visit you on a military base. Create an experience that they will remember. 

Make the time you have with them about them. Give them an experience they will remember positively. Project as much positive emotion as you can. 

Try to keep whatever else you are feeling to yourself. Go to a friend, coworker, or medical professional if you have strong feelings of anxiety or guilt.  

Finding New Partners

You do not have to pursue another relationship until you are ready. It is best to calm down and put some distance between yourself and the separation. 

Many people find a new relationship after separating from an old one. You can continue to coparent while living with another partner. 

Maintain boundaries amongst yourself, your new partner, your ex, and your children. You should discuss your new relationship with your ex. Address concerns that they might have and discuss how involved your partner should be in parenting. 

Your ex may not be happy with your partner. Limit contact between the two of them. If your relationship gets serious, do stand your ground, but avoid making things difficult at first. 

Talk to your children before you introduce them to your partner. Allow them to adapt to the new situation through time. Inform your partner about what your child is feeling. 

Consider how much of a coparenting role you want your new partner to have. In particular, consider if you would like your partner to discipline your child. Have a conversation about how you and they discipline children. 

If your partner isn’t willing to step into a parenting role, you can still maintain your relationship. Wait to introduce them to your children.

Your partner may or may not be a service member. It can be difficult to maintain a relationship while both partners are on duty. Do your best to facilitate your relationship with them. 

Your children can engage with you, your new partner, and their other biological parent. Tell your child that they can spend time with all three of you. If they don’t want to spend time with one person, tell them that they don’t have to. 

Coparenting in Military Families

Coparenting in a military family is possible. Affirm your child while you are undergoing a separation. Remain in contact with them as much as possible. 

Set up custody arrangements and parenting plans. Provide specific details on how your child will be cared for. 

Take the time you need to cope with your separation. Touch base with your child and spend time with them. Be careful introducing your new partner to them. 

Coparenting is a marathon, not a sprint. 2Houses provides the facts you need. Read this guide on being a great coparent while having feelings for your ex.

The Role Stepparents Play in Children’s Lives.

The Role Stepparents Play in Children's Lives

Stepparents play a number of important roles. The nature of the situation and the dynamic of the family relationship all dictate how those roles play out. 

It can be difficult to fulfill the role, though. Separations are difficult on children as well as adults, and it’s never easy stepping into that situation from the outside. Regardless of how long a set of parents have been separated, there are wounds to address and bridges to gap when someone new enters the picture. 

We’re going to talk about the role of stepparents in this article, giving you some ideas to work with as you try to become a stepparent or incorporate one into your family. 

The Roles of Stepparents

It’s difficult to give one-size-fits-all solutions to issues in family dynamics because all families are so different. 

All individuals are unique, making each combination of people in a family very unique as well. Throw the trauma of divorce or separation into the mix, and you’ve got a delicate, very personal situation. 

That said, single parents can’t just isolate themselves and avoid the potential of relationships. When the time comes to introduce a new stepmom or stepdad to the picture, there a few things to consider that will make the process go a little smoother. 

Again, you can’t put a stamp on any one solution because your approach has to adjust to the situation you and your family are in. There are, however, a few ideas to keep in mind that might make the process a little smoother. 

Let’s take a look at some ways to imagine and develop the roles of stepparents. 

Don’t Rush Things

You’ve established a good relationship with your new partner, but you don’t know how the children will respond to the situation. 

They’re still grieving the loss of their parent’s relationship, and they might not appreciate the idea that there’s a “new mom” or “new dad” in the picture. It’s natural for them to show a little resistance to the idea — especially at first. 

Rushing into the situation and trying to force a positive relationship between the stepparent and stepchild cannot work. When you start to break down what a “parent” is, it’s clear that there are longstanding bonds that have to be made before that role can be established. 

Slapping a parent-child label on a relationship without any foundation will lead to resentment and difficulty later. It’s natural for that to happen, too. When someone is a parent, they’re expected to provide various means of physical and emotional support. 

When those expectations aren’t met, things might go sour. The thing is, someone a child doesn’t know and trust can’t fill that emotional space for them. 

Solution: Allow Relationships to Form Naturally

You can be in a relationship with a new person and have them around your children without calling them a stepparent. Sure, you want that relationship to develop in the future, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait to introduce them until then. 

A new adult in the picture can serve as a friend, mentor, or just someone who cares. That’s all it has to be at first because that’s all it can be. 

A low-pressure, enjoyable time spent together is the best way to start establishing a bond that will last. It’s important for both the biological parent and the stepparent to understand this. 

Odds are that you both want to establish the stepparent-child relationship and that you both have your own ideas of what that looks like. It’s important to stay on the same page and regularly discuss how both of you are treating the situation.

It’s great to show affection and allow the relationship to develop, but tap your foot on the brake when you start to see yourself forcing different elements of the relationship. 

Discuss Family Dynamics

Whether you’re the biological parent or the stepparent, it’s crucial that you talk deeply about how the family came to be. Discuss each member of the family, their roles, how they were affected by the separation, and the relationships that they have with everyone else. 

As a stepparent, you have to appreciate the emotional difficulty that your new family has gone through. Your personal opinions and contributions are important, but they’re not going to solve the issues that the others have experienced. 

This can be a really painful thing to go through because it’s easy to feel powerless in that situation. Know that the situation is complex, and you might not be able to improve things very much at first. Let’s use an example. 

Imagine the family as a big beautiful house. The house was once brand new, everything was working, and there was no reason to think that things would ever stop working. 

Then, one day a massive storm came through and shattered some windows, messed with the wiring, and shook the foundation, creating a few deep cracks. The house is still standing up, but it needs a little repair. 

You can live in this house, but you can’t fix the house yourself. You can’t come to plant your flag and say, “I’m here to save the day! Here are all of my important ideas that will make everything better!”

You’re not a carpenter, and only a professional or someone who built the house in the first place knows how to fix those cracks and windows. 

Ask Difficult Questions

The best way for stepparents or biological parents to create a healthy new dynamic is to have discussions

The trouble is, the discussions aren’t easy and they drudge up a lot of emotional subject matter. You have to appreciate that divorce and separation are the hardest things that any child has ever had to face. 

They might not understand the nature of the divorce, which makes it even harder to stomach. Lack of understanding, though, doesn’t equate to emotions that are any less intense or severe. 

Left unchecked, that confusion and emotional turmoil will manifest in other ways and remain unresolved. When someone is in that state, the last thing they want is for a new person to come in and take the role of the person they’ve lost. 

Further, someone who doesn’t appreciate the trouble you’re going through should not try to insert themselves into an important role in your life. 

So, the first step for a stepparent is to appreciate the situation in earnest. Don’t force the conversations, but ask questions where you can and begin to understand what the family members are going through. 

Once you’re more aware, you can start to see where you will fit. You might find that your spot isn’t exactly what you imagined it would be!

Family Roles Aren’t Uniform

Note that unique families call for unique roles. 

Just because you’re a stepmom or a stepdad doesn’t mean you have to behave like your dad or mom. Further, you might not wind up filling a role that you could even imagine at this point. 

We often get caught up with what we think we’re expected to do when the reality of the situation calls for something else. Your role as a stepfather, for example, could be a quarter father figure and three-quarters best friend. 

The way you end up fitting into the family will probably have different elements of what you expected, but a lot of what you didn’t. You might never get the title of “dad” or “mom,” but that doesn’t mean that you won’t fill pieces of those roles.

In many cases, both biological parents are in the picture, and they both hold up their ends as parents. The stepparent is still a parent, albeit one that fits a different role than they would if the other biological parent weren’t in the picture. 

The situation will unfold and call for stepparents to step up to the plate. This all plays out according to the needs of the children and the biological parent. That isn’t to say that a stepparent is beholden to the family and can’t be themselves. 

Stepparents may have interesting family traditions, great parenting instincts, and other wonderful qualities to bring to the table. Those are all positive things and should be embraced. The idea we’re getting at, though, is that the position that the stepparent holds does depend on the existing environment of the family and its needs. 

Respecting Former Partners

There isn’t a shortage of issues in relationships between divorced or separated people. Throw a few children and a new partner or two into the mix, and there’s a lot of room for things to get heated. 

It makes sense, too. Loving relationships and children are some of the most important, emotionally charged factors in any person’s life. If your situation is tense right now, know that there are ways to get through it and find a healthy balance. 

Again, this issue is helped by having discussions. There would be a sense of mutual respect in an ideal situation. When it comes to someone else having a hand in raising your child, that respect has to be earned. 

There isn’t an excuse for an ex to be nasty to a new stepparent, but it’s important to understand where that emotion is coming from. If you know your ex is a reasonable person, and you know that your new partner is a good person, you know that there’s room for peace to be achieved. 

The same goes for situations where an ex introduces a partner to the children and you respond in an intense way. Unless the new partner is an unhealthy influence on the children, it’s important that you find ways to appreciate and accept the situation as it is. 

That means finding respect for the opposite party and having discussions that solve issues. In some instances, that could require therapy. 

Actively Creating Divides

Some stepparents and biological parents have the habit of belittling the opposite parent or their partner to the children. 

Saying negative things about the child’s parent or stepparent to them creates a confusing environment for them. They might start to believe the things you say and internalize them. 

It’s important that you don’t avoid difficult truths about these relationships, but gossiping or venting to a child about your frustrations with an opposite parent doesn’t help anything. 

Even though it sounds like something that you wouldn’t do, it’s easy to slip a little bit and vent your frustrations in an unproductive way. 

Agreeing on Rules

Rules between households are bound to be a little different. It’s important, though, to keep a consistent thread of foundational rules present in both households

It’s important to communicate with the children’s other parent and their spouse to set these guidelines. Varying rules and expectations across households can lead to a difficult environment for the children. 

Additionally, failing to respect the wishes of the other parent and vice versa can lead to trouble among parents. These are bridges that can be gapped, even if the solutions aren’t perfect or permanent. 

The idea is to keep an attitude of mutual respect, standing strong or making sacrifices based on the situation. Even if your relationships with the other adults in the picture aren’t great, you can find a common ground to benefit the children. 

If there’s respect across the board, you’ll create a healthy space for the stepparent roles to grow and thrive. If not, it might be difficult for the children to establish healthy relationships with these new figures in their lives. 

Again, things might not pan out how you would have wanted them to. These new roles and relationships might not look at all how you thought they would. What matters, though, is that there’s an environment of love and support that benefits the children. 

Want More Parenting Insight?

Stepparents have a difficult job, but it’s one that can be incredibly rewarding. There’s a lot to learn, and we’re here to help you work through the tough points. 

Explore our site for more parenting information that will help you bridge the gap in stepparent-child relationships.  

Long Distance Parenting Plan Examples

Long Distance Parenting Plan Examples

There is nothing more difficult for families than trying to make cohesive decisions following divorce. Even the smoothest divorces involving children still end with difficulty. Both parents want equal time and say with their children, but rarely do parenting plans consider the child’s best interests. 

This can only be made more complicated when you add long distances between parents into the occasion. When easy travel back and forth between houses isn’t possible, a long distance parenting plan becomes necessary for all parties involved to have an equal and fair say in their child’s upbringing. 

What is a Parenting Plan? 

A parenting plan is a written set of instructions for how parents will raise their children. They involve specific pieces of information about each child involved. 

Parenting plans can be both formal and informal. Informal parenting plans are an outline of an agreed-upon set of rules for their children. But most parenting plans are more formal than that. 

When parents need a parenting plan, they get outside help through independent consults. This helps them reach agreements through mediation instead of the court. 

Children’s health specialists cite the benefits that parenting plans have on children. They see their divorced parents working together and gain a sense of confidence and security. 

What Needs to be in the Long Distance Parenting Plan?

Each parenting plan, like each set of parents, is unique. Depending on where you live, your state may have standards surrounding parenting plans. 

For the most part, parenting plans contain how much time and when the child will spend with each parent. They’ll have special considerations surrounding school holidays and other special times as well. 

It should have instructions for which parents will make decisions about the child’s wellbeing. It will outline consistent rules between both homes. There should also be a provision about what to do when parents can’t reach agreements together. 

Creating a parenting plan can be hard. To make it easier, here is a list of provisions and some examples you may find useful. 

Travel Arrangements 

Getting the child back and forth between houses is one of the most common gripes in co-parenting relationships. Have a clause in your co-parenting plan so there is no confusion.

For children who will travel by air, your plan needs to include who will go with the child to the plane for each departure, layover, and arrival. Depending on how old your child is, a parent may need to go with them for the entire flight. Older children may fly unaccompanied, in which case you will need to have clear communication with them on what to do in emergencies as well. 

Some other air travel details to include are: 

  • Specific airports to use 
  • Acceptable travel times 
  • How and when tickets are purchased 
  • Who handles travel arrangements

If you plan to use a car to travel long distances, specify which parent will do the driving, where the meetup location will be, and how the trip will be funded. 

Here is an example of a travel arrangement clause in a long distance parenting plan: 

“Each parent will be responsible for driving halfway to exchange custody of the child. The agreed-upon meeting location is the XYZ Diner in Smalltown, USA. The drop-off time is noon.” 

This plan communicates what each parent will be responsible for as well as a neutral meeting place. Parenting plans should not be vague. All details should be included. 

Communication Between Parents 

Another clause to include could be how you plan to communicate with your co-parent. It’s better for your child if you and your co-parent can communicate in a consistent, civil way. A child’s life is always changing and both parents deserve to stay in the loop about those changes, whether they’re the active parent at the moment or not. 

Your communication agreement could include the use of video calls, scheduled calls, or even regular texts and emails to each other. A weekly or bi-weekly meeting to catch up on things in your child’s life helps to keep both parents informed and involved. 

Communication between the non-residential parent and the child should be arranged as well. Decide what times and how the child will communicate with the parent they aren’t currently staying with. 

An example of a communication clause could look like this: 

“Every third Tuesday, both parties will enter a phone call at 8:00 PM to discuss any issues or important items in the child’s life.” 

 “Every weekday after 5 PM, the non-residential parent will be permitted a phone call with the child that lasts for 30 minutes.” 

Custody Agreements

If you have a court-appointed custody agreement, you don’t necessarily have to include it in your parenting plan. But, if you and your co-parent are attempting to work out the custody agreement on your own, it should be included in your co-parenting plan

There are many different custody agreements you can choose from depending on what your child needs. Depending on how far apart your home is from your co-parent, visitation may only be possible during the times when school is out for a break. Maybe 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off schedule is better for you. 

Whatever your custody agreement looks like, it should be listed in clear terms in your parenting plan. Consider adding a shared calendar for both parents to keep updated with important dates and things to consider. 

Your long distance parenting plan custody agreement may look like this: 

“The parties agree that the shared time between parents will be split with 51% for Parent A and 49% for Parent B. The child will remain with Parent A for the school year and alternating holidays. The child will remain with Parent B for extended school breaks and alternating holidays.”


To maintain a consistent lifestyle across both families, a consistent method of discipline is important. A child needs that consistency so they can safely test their boundaries and grow. 

Here is an example of a discipline clause in a long-distance parenting agreement:

“Each parent handles disciplining the child when they are in their care. If any problems surrounding discipline arise, the parent who was made aware of the discipline problem needs to contact the other parent and discuss to agree on an appropriate course of action. 

“Neither parent will allow any third party to inflict punishment whether it is corporal, physical, or otherwise. No discipline can override the parenting schedule unless both parents agree.” 

Child Rearing 

In addition to discipline decisions, the rules should be the same too. If a child is permitted to do something in one home but not permitted in the next, it could become confusing and result in unintentional breaking of the rules. This can cause a lot of undue stress during an already stressful time. 

If you have specific rules involving phone usage, time spent on television or video games, curfew, or other things, lay them out in your parenting agreement. 

Additionally, you may want to include more general aspects of child-rearing, like the availability of food and snacks. This protects both you and your child. 

An example of a parenting agreement clause involving child-rearing may look like this: 

“Both parents are responsible for ensuring that the place the child will stay has all necessities such as electricity, heat, and running water. Each parent will provide a balanced diet during the time the child is in their care.” 

Religious Education

Religious education can get tricky when you are splitting time between two homes. You may not have to include a clause for religious education if neither you nor your spouse is interested in religion. Also, if you both have the same religion and are on the same page about service attendance, you could probably avoid it. 

But if you differ on what religion your child should be raised with, it may be a good idea to get a mediator to work out how you will handle religiously educating your child. 

One example of a religious education clause is: 

“Each parent may take their children to a church or place of worship of their choice when they are in their care.” 

“Neither parent may allow the child to get involved with religious activities without the consent of the other.” 

Other Relationships 

If your co-parent is in another relationship, you may want to include a provision about your child’s involvement in your parenting plan. Whether your child may live with your co-parent’s new relationship is a deeply personal and often emotionally charged issue. 

You could consider including a clause that forbids either parent from openly calling their new romantic partner their “stepmother” or “stepfather” until they are legally married. 

However, “other relationships” don’t necessarily mean romantic relationships. There may be family members, friends, or other people that you wish to protect your child from.

A parenting plan could include a request that your child not be left alone with certain people or that they should completely avoid contact. This can also include a statement about the grandparent’s visitation rights. 

How to Make a Long Distance Parenting Plan 

Now that you know the different aspects that could be involved in your parenting plan, you need to know how to write one. It’s not as easy as sitting down and writing down everything you want out of a co-parenting relationship. It involves you digging deep to consider what is best for your child in this shared arrangement. 

Think of Your Child’s Interests 

Your priority needs to be keeping your child’s best interest at heart. At no point should the long distance parenting plan creation become about spite, jealousy, or pettiness. Divorce is already hard enough on all parties involved. 

Consider your child’s physical and emotional needs. Then, consider what you would like to see. Try to connect these two goals, the goals of the other parent, and create a road map that will get you there. 

Open Up Communication 

It’s important that during the creation of a long distance parenting plan that you keep the lines of communication open. Allow all involved parties to be candidly honest about their feelings and their needs. This is how you will create a plan that makes everyone happy and creates a safe, loving environment for your child. 

Consider Outside Help

Sometimes, coming up with the best plan of action requires mediation. Divorce can be messy. It’s often an emotional affair that can leave wounds that take time to heal. 

But your child shouldn’t have to suffer because of those wounds. If you and your co-parent are unable to see eye to eye when it comes to the best decisions for your child, involve a mediator. 

A mediator will work with both parents and the child to figure out the best course of action. They will be an unbiased third party who can help you reach an agreement on every aspect of your parenting plan. A mediator isn’t looking to litigate or win for either side, they’re trying to reach a peaceful and mutually agreed-upon solution.

Tips on Long Distance Parenting

At the end of the day, both parents care about their children. It should be the goal of everyone involved to come together and create an environment in both homes that is consistent, safe, and loving. A long distance parenting plan is the perfect solution for co-parents who live far away from each other but still want to create that environment for their children. 

For more information on how you can create a mutually beneficial relationship with your co-parent, read more about our co-parenting tools

Child Custody Schedule by Age

Child Custody Schedule by Age

Did you know that 50% of children in America will see their parents divorce during their lifetime? So if you are going through a divorce, your kids are in good company and there is plenty of support available for them.

Getting a child custody schedule in place is incredibly important for everyone involved. This means that both you and your ex can plan your lives accordingly. It also ensures that your children understand when they are going to see each parent. 

However, a lot of things can affect a child’s custody schedule and your child’s age is one important factor to consider. Want to know more about planning child custody for different age groups? Then you’re in the right place! 

Read on to find out everything you need to know about planning proper care to suit your child’s age.

Common Types of Child Custody

If you and your ex have kids, you will come to some sort of custody arrangement during your divorce.

This may be something that you agree on in the terms of your divorce. If you can’t come to an agreement then a judge will decide for you in family court.

Physical custody determines where a child lives and how much time they spend with each parent.

Joint physical custody is the most common type of custody arrangement in the USA today. This means that your children will still be able to see both of their parents.

Sole physical custody means that your children will live with whichever parent has custody. In this setup, the other parent has visitation rights. Visitation rights let you see your child although they do not live with you.

You can also arrange visitation rights for extended family members, such as grandparents. Visitation rights ensure that both parents can still see their child safely.

Legal custody determines who has control of parental decisions regarding education and upbringing. You can share legal custody of your kids even if you don’t share physical custody.

Deciding a Time-Split in Joint Custody

If you decide on joint custody this does not automatically mean that you share a 50/50 custody schedule with your ex. There are lots of ways that you can organize joint custody. These tend to come down to practicality.

A 50/50 schedule involves your child going between homes at regular intervals. This means you both get an equal share of time with them.

They might spend one week with you and one week with your ex, for example. Or they may move between your homes every few days if you live close together.

A 60/40 schedule or 70/30 schedule tends to accommodate one parent’s working schedule more. In these schedules, your child will stay at one home for most of the week. Then they will spend a weekend or an extended weekend with their other parent. 

If you don’t like the idea of missing out on weekends with your kids, the 2-2-5-5 arrangement may be for you. This essentially works out as a 50/50 split but means that you both get quality time with your kids. This setup involves:

  • Two days with one parent
  • Two days with the other parent
  • Five days with one parent
  • Five days with the other parent

Then you repeat this cycle. This means that you never have to go more than five days without seeing your children.

If you have an intensive working schedule then an 80/20 split could work best for your kids. This means they will be with one parent for two weeks and then enjoy an extended weekend with the other. While one parent gets less time with their kids, this at least means that you can plan properly for this time. 

Putting Together a Child Custody Schedule

When putting together a child custody schedule there are plenty of things you need to consider. This includes: 

  • The amount of time each parent wants to spend with a child
  • Your working schedules
  • What your child wants and needs
  • Your child’s educational and extracurricular schedule
  • Your living situations and where your child wants to live

A successful custody schedule will meet the needs of everyone involved and (most importantly) will put the child first. This might take a little time to work out so try to be patient.

Depending on your relationship with your ex, you may want to get support from a lawyer or mediator. They can help you and your ex to communicate effectively. This is especially helpful during a time that will be emotional for everyone involved.

Why Is Age Important for Child Custody Arrangements? 

It is also important to think about your child’s age while putting together a child custody arrangement. This is mainly because they will need different types of stability at different ages. 

For example, when they are in school, they need to live locally. That way they won’t get tired out moving between households during the school week. 

Their age might also affect the type of support and schedule that you and your ex need as well. For example, a parent to an infant will need more support than a parent to a teenager. This is because the practical demands of looking after an infant are greater.

With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the best custody arrangements for children depending on their age. Of course, it is important to keep other child custody considerations in mind when looking at this. 

The Best Custody Arrangement for Infants (Ages 0 to 12 Months)

Managing custody with an infant can be particularly tricky. This is an incredibly important bonding time for both babies and their parents. Because of this, a baby shouldn’t be away from either parent for longer than a few days. 

On top of this, you also have to manage an infant’s schedule. Disturbing this too much or too often can make it very difficult for a baby to settle. So finding a compromise is key.

Because of this, it is a good idea for an infant to live with one parent. This means that they will sleep in one house for the first 12 months or so of their lives. Then they should have frequent daytime visits from their other parent. 

This may depend a lot on both of your working schedules. It might require to you rearrange your maternity and paternity leave. 

As your baby becomes more settled, you can start thinking about overnight stays with their other parent. Babies all develop at different speeds. So the age that this happens at might vary depending on your baby.

This custody arrangement can still happen in a joint custody arrangement. In that case, you and your ex need to agree to revisit the custody schedule as your baby develops and becomes more settled.

The Best Custody Arrangement for Toddlers (Ages 1 to 3 Years) 

Toddlers are a lot more adaptable than babies, which means that overnight stays are easier during these years. That said, between one and three your child is undergoing important emotional development.

This means that they are becoming a lot more aware of their surroundings and emotions. They may start to experience fear, empathy, embarrassment, and guilt. During this time it is important that they have security and stability from both of their parents. 

Having a consistent schedule throughout toddlerhood is vital because of this. For example, knowing when they are next going to see each parent is extremely important even if you don’t have a fixed schedule. You should avoid your child going for long, unplanned spells without seeing one parent.

You also need to communicate carefully with your children about any changes well in advance. This will add to their sense of security. 

As your child gets older, you should never discuss custody arrangements in front of them. That way they won’t feel caught between two different households.

It is also a good idea to always drop your child off rather than picking them up from the other parent’s house. This means that it won’t feel like one parent is interrupting their child’s quality time with another. This also gives each parent time to say goodbye and emotionally prepare their child for drop-off.

The Best Custody Arrangement for Children (Ages 4 to 11 Years)

As your child gets older their schedule will get much busier. This means that you have a lot more organization on your hands.

While it benefits the child to see both parents, it is also important that they can enjoy a normal childhood life. This might involve:

  • Going on school trips 
  • Attending extracurricular clubs
  • Going to birthday parties or for play dates

On the plus side, however, you will find that your child becomes more flexible as they get older. In fact, it will probably become harder for you to be away from them than vice versa. This can be very difficult but is a great sign of healthy development in your kids. 

If you and your ex live locally, managing a more complex custody schedule is easier. In contrast, if one of you is doing long-distance parenting, this can become more difficult. After all, your children will need to live in one place to attend school. 

In that case, it makes more sense for your child to live with one parent during term time. Then they can visit their other parent for long weekends and during the holidays.

If you are doing this, make sure that you still have plenty of contact with your child. Thankfully, there are plenty of great ways to keep in touch now. You can text, call, and FaceTime your kids to maintain regular contact with them easily.

As your children get older, they will understand more about why they don’t live with both of their parents. This can be a tricky transition but it will also make explaining your arrangements easier.

It is important to talk about this in a positive, unified, and productive way. Over time, this understanding will create an important foundation of comfort and stability.

The Best Custody Arrangement for Teenagers (Ages 12 to 17) 

During their teenage years, your child will gain a lot more independence and freedom. In most cases, teenagers will continue with the same custody arrangements that they had in childhood. However, this isn’t always the case.

In some states, a child can legally decide which parent they want to live with from the age of 14. This can have a serious effect on your custody arrangements depending on your relationship with your child. 

If they do try to start a conversation about moving in with one parent, it is important to handle this carefully. This can be very painful so won’t be easy to do. 

To show your child that you are taking things seriously, you may want to bring in a mediator. That way you have support and can avoid saying anything that you might regret.

You should discuss this with your ex away from your child. Ideally, try to present a unified front that puts your child’s best interests first.

Even outside of custody arrangements, it is important that you and your ex communicate about the type of support you give your child. During these years they will need plenty of wisdom and support so make sure you’re both there to give it, no matter where they live.

Get Help Organizing Your Schedule Today

Organizing your child custody schedule should be one of the first things you think about when going through a divorce. This will create stability and support for everyone involved. So what are you waiting for? 

For more help staying on top of your child custody schedule, check out the 2Houses app. This is a great way to improve communication and make child custody as easy as possible.

Pros and Cons of Every Other Weekend Custody

weekend custody

Following the every other weekend custody schedule is a viable way of making your children feel secure and loved during and after the divorce. That’s something you and your soon-to-be-ex should keep in mind, too, since statistically divorce can be very hard on children.

Fortunately, a healthy adjustment can undo much of the damage. In the following article, we’ll be discussing ways that you can facilitate that adjustment by delineating the pros and cons of every other weekend visitation. Let’s begin!

Pro: Great for Consistency

Children thrive in an environment where they have structure and consistency in their daily routines. A consistent bedtime and a consistent schedule for meals, playtime, and quiet time help kids feel safe and secure. Consistent routines are also beneficial to parents because they help reduce stress.

Children of divorce thrive when they’re surrounded by adults who are consistent. It’s important that they have a consistent home, a consistent school, and a consistent set of friends with whom they spend time regularly. The most important thing is that the adults in their lives understand that consistency is the key to building trust and allowing children to thrive.

Con: Challenging for Joint Custody

If you have a joint custody arrangement, then you may find every other weekend routine difficult. You may find your child gets attached to the parent who picks them up every other weekend and becomes resistant to going back to their other parent.

This can also be difficult for the parent who has to wait until the next weekend for their parenting time. Talk to your ex before etching your agreement in stone. Establish what the expectations are, and make sure you’re both in agreement, especially when it comes to the big issues like religious upbringing, education, and extracurricular activities.

Pro: Good for Fewer Exchanges

Custody exchanges are stressful for everyone, but you can reduce the number of exchanges by alternating weekends with your ex. It reduces the number of times you have to drop off and pick up your kids and makes it much easier for everyone involved. It can also help quell common safety concerns that often surround custody exchanges.

When Mom and Dad still feel tense toward one another, the child can feel it. Reducing the frequency of changes will eliminate that. And it’s easy to do under the standard 80/20, every other weekend custody arrangement.

It can be more challenging under a 2 2 3 arrangement, but you can still get around it by determining when and where the picking-up parent reconnects to the child. For example, picking up the child from daycare after the other parent drops them off eliminates the need to see and interact with one another during the pickup.

Con: Difficult for Tense Parental Relationships

While we would consider fewer exchanges one of the pros of every other weekend custody, it can also breed resentment if one parent is bitter about their reduced time with the child. Noncustodial parents following an 80/20 visitation schedule start to feel cut out of their children’s lives. 

As a result, their bitterness can grow toward the other parent. That bitterness can be felt by the child, and it can impede the child’s development. This is especially true when the bitter parent refuses to seek help and places their pride before the well-being of the child.

It’s a tough place to be in when you really care about your children but aren’t seeing them as much as you’d like. You have to look ahead, though, and remember that the best thing you can do as a parent is to help your child feel stable and well-adjusted.

Pro: Great for Parents With Busier Schedules

Some parents actually don’t mind taking less time with their children if they can feel like they’re capitalizing on the time they do have with them. Quality time over quantity time! 

In these cases, every other weekend visitation schedule can be preferable because it allows the parent to maximize their time. For parents who are naturally better earners and have fewer minutes to spare, this can be a godsend. 

The flipside of this is that if you’re accepting to this role, you have to use a little more grace with how the other parent handles daily routines. They have many smaller decisions to make every single day. While you still have a right to parent as you see fit, micromanaging will set you both up for failure.

Con: Challenging for Parents Who Want to Play a More Active Role in the Weekday Routine

To that last point, one of the cons of every other weekend custody is that it can excise you from the decision-making process. Your child’s daily schedule has a huge impact on the type of person he or she will become. It’s not easy to give that up when you care about your child, though it can certainly be the best thing for them if your strengths as a parent lie elsewhere.

Pro: Good for 20 Percenters Who Want to Support Their Children in a More Financial Role

Spending 20 percent, or less than 50 percent, of the time with your children, provides you with more time to pursue financial opportunities. Parents who run their own businesses, want to launch their own business, or work long hours at a job they’re passionate about, can find the arrangement to be worth it.

Moreover, their children can find the arrangement worth it, too. That’s because the time they do get to spend with their “20 percenter” parent is quality time that often breaks up the monotony of their daily routines. Furthermore, the noncustodial parent tends to be happier and easier to be around from the other parent’s perspective.

This creates a more cooperative environment between the two parents. Better cooperation means less tension. As a result, the child feels like both their parents are equally invested, regardless of who has them more.

Con: Poor for Custodial Working Parents Without a Support System

We’ve already discussed “quality time vs. quantity time.” If you find yourself taking care of the child’s daily needs 80 percent of the time, you can start to feel like you’re spending more quantity time with them than quality time. You don’t get many opportunities to “hand-off” the children to your ex.

That’s not so bad when you have a decent support system backing you up. Think of the child’s grandparents or uncles, aunts, and older cousins who are happy to take you up on free babysitting. However, many single parents don’t have such support in place, and they have the same work obligations time-wise as the noncustodial parent.

Throw in the fact that the alternating weekend visitation means they have the children 11 straight days without a break, and it can be an incredibly difficult arrangement. (Even if being a parent itself is rewarding.) 

Pro: Great for Custodial Working Parents Who Do Have a Support System

Flip the last point on its head. You do have that support system in place, and it gives you the chance to break away for some personal time even as you maintain the most influential role in your child’s life. This can make the every other weekend arrangement greatly rewarding. 

Con: Challenging for Noncustodians Who Wish to Keep Kids Connected to Extended Family Members

A big drawback of the arrangement for noncustodial parents is that it leaves them very little time to bring other people into their child’s life. At least, difficult if their first priority is to spend quality time with their children.

In the 80/20 arrangement, the parent has the child roughly three days out of every 14. That’s not a lot of time to go on extended trips or soak up quality time while also dropping the kid off with grandparents. As a result, the parent faces a choice.

Do they make the absolute most of the one-on-one time they have? Or, do they bring other family members into the mix and further dilute their time? 

Pro: Great for More Nontraditional Employment Routines

The every other weekend visitation schedule does tend to favor nontraditional employment routines. For example, a noncustodial parent who works every other weekend can arrange their off-time around their parental time. 

If both parents are under such an arrangement, which is common for careers like retail or foodservice, then both parents can feel like they’re passing time more quickly. Missing your child when they’re not with you doesn’t become as much of a problem as a result.

Con: Difficult When Child Has an Ongoing Weekend Routine

As your child gets older, they’re going to have a greater number of interests and extracurricular activities. This can throw a monkey wrench into the best of routines. 

Alternating weekends might not be the best choice if the child has to attend sports practices every weekend. The problem becomes even greater when the noncustodial parent doesn’t live in a close proximity to the custodial parent.

It’s a good idea to connect ahead of time and work out any custodial adjustments before your child gets immersed in the activity. More communication and advanced planning will head many of the potential problems off at the pass.

Alternatives to Consider

A straight 80/20, every other weekend arrangement might very well be your best bet. However, there’s nothing wrong with considering other alternatives if you try it for a while and are unsatisfied with the results. The following arrangements could be worth considering. 

Sole Custody

Sole custody isn’t ideal because it removes one parent from the parenting equation altogether, at least on paper. You can still try it out with a spirit of cooperation between one another.

Parents who still get along in spite of not being able to work it out as a couple could use the sole custody arrangement to guarantee adequate time with the child as well as the stable environment they need to thrive. Here’s how to make it work.

The noncustodial parent agrees to allow the custodial parent sole custody for daily activities. However, the custodial parent agrees to use the noncustodial as the first point-of-contact for things like picking up the child from school, babysitting, and other parental duties. Obviously, it will only work if you can maintain trust between one another.

Follow the 2 2 3 Arrangement

More and more parents want to have a role in their child’s life beyond financial caregiver. As a result, you’re seeing a lot more joint custody decisions from family courts. Judges, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals agree to the significance of the child having access to both parents.

Where those parents are willing and capable of being good for the child, such arrangements should be encouraged. (That’s not always the case.) Situations like these are where the 2 2 3 arrangement can help.

Under 2 2 3, one parent will have the child two days before switching to the other and then getting the child back for a long weekend. The two parents then alternate the following week. As a result, you have both alternating weekends and 50/50 custody.

Or the Midweek Visitation

Midweek visitation arrangements are similar to 2 2 3 arrangments in that they allow parents to adjust their visitation arrangements closer to 50/50 while maintaining the every other weekend dynamic. Here’s how the typical midweek arrangement goes.

The child is with one parent all week long from Sunday at set time (say, 5PM) until the following Sunday (same time). During the course of the week, however, the child goes to stay with the other parent for an overnight (usually Wednesday). 

Parents then switch the schedule out the following week. Once again, this gets both parties as close to 50/50 as possible without destabilizing the child’s routines. You can learn about other joint custody models here.

Work at the Every Other Weekend Custody Model for Best Results

We hope this look at the pros and cons of every other weekend custody will give you a better idea as to whether it’s suitable for your custodial arrangement. Keep in mind as you move forward that whether you’re the primary caregiver or not, there are strengths and weaknesses to your role.

You can deal with them if you know what they are and commit to providing your child with as stable and loving of an environment as possible. Are you and your ex looking for a better way to co-parent? Contact 2houses today to see how we can help you and your children.

1st, 3rd and 5th Weekend: How Does It Work?

1st, 3rd & 5th weekend

Determining weekend custody for kids can be complicated. It’s also more common than you may realize. In fact, there are 13.4 million separated and divorced parents in the US. 

With so many moving pieces to consider, it’s important for divorced and separated parents to practice good communication. Depending on your custody arrangement, that can get complicated fast. This is especially true if you end up sharing custody every 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend.

To help you improve co-parenting strategies, we put together this guide to help you navigate your questions. If you need help understanding how to schedule your custody calendar, read on! 

Child Custody Options

When it comes to sharing custody of children, you have a few options. What you end up deciding will depend on what works for you and your co-parents.

Some basic options are: 

50/50 Child Custody

Just as it sounds, this approach is when both parents have an equal amount of time with their children. But the way that actually looks can vary. 

One option is to alternate weeks. One week your kids are with one parent, the next week they’re with the other parent. Choose which day to switch and stick with it. 

This strategy for co-parenting works best when both parents live near one another. Your kids’ schedule is going to be more secure and consistent this way. 

Another option is to split each week in half. This will require more flexibility from your kids to be going back and forth between parents and living situations. But the benefit is that each parent gets equal time with your kid!

In both these scenarios, they work best if parents live near one another to minimalize disruptions. School, hobbies, and extracurriculars should stay consistent, even while living situations alternate. 

60/40 Child Custody

If a 50/50 split between parents doesn’t make sense for your family, another alternative is dividing time 60/40. In this situation, kids spend 60 percent of their time with one parent and 40 percent with the other. 

Again, there are several arrangements to make this schedule work. One popular option is that one parent has their kids every weekend from Friday night to Monday morning. Then, Monday through Thursday would be spent with the other parent. 

The drawback to this is that the same parent has the kids each weekend. For some, this can interfere with fun plans or time spent relaxing together. However, school breaks and holidays are built-in opportunities to enjoy spending time with your kid!

If you don’t want to share custody every weekend, a more flexible alternative is to choose a 4-3 schedule. This is similar to extended weekends but allows for your family to choose which four days are spent with one parent before they spend three days with the other parent. 

The 4-3 schedule means you can split weekends so everyone gets to enjoy that time with your kids! But it does require good communication and coordination, as well as living near to one another. Again, you’ll want to minimize disruptions to other areas of your children’s lives.  

80/20 Child Custody

If you don’t live close enough together to make 50/50 or 60/40 shared custody a possibility, there are other possibilities! Unfortunately, though, that usually means less time with one parent. 

When it comes to 80/20 child custody, you still have some options. What you choose will again depend on your schedules and custody arrangement. 

One of the simplest options is to simply alternate weekends. One weekend your child will be with one parent, then switch the next. 

Another popular option is to share custody every 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend. Although more complicated, this schedule ensures more consistent access to both parents. 

How Does 1st, 3rd, and 5th Weekend Custody Work? 

It might sound easy to understand at first, but sharing custody every 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend can get complicated. But with good communication and scheduling, it can be a great option for your family’s situation!

There tend to be a lot of questions that arise when you go with this schedule, such as:

  • What if the weekend starts in one month and ends in another?
  • What about the fact that the 5th and 1st weekends are back-to-back?
  • What about visits between weekends? 

The options are as flexible as everyone decides they want to be! The most important piece will be to get on the same page early on and stay consistent with your schedule. 

Weekend Start Dates

When deciding on a 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend custody plan, it’s typical that any weekend that starts in one month and ends in another would not count as the first weekend of the month. 

For example, weekends are usually considered Friday through Sunday. If the Friday is at the end of one month (for example, April 30th) and the Sunday is the beginning of another month (May 2nd), then that weekend would not be considered the 1st weekend of the month.

Instead, this would be considered the 5th weekend of April. That means that the first weekend of May would be Friday, May 7th through Sunday, May 9th. 

You can decide if it works better for your family to start on a different day. Maybe you decided to start a weekend on Thursday night instead. Or you end Monday morning. Ultimately, see what works best for your family situation. 

If you’re interested in reading more about how to ensure that your custody exchange day runs smoothly, be sure to read our blog post on the subject!


Creating an effective custody schedule is going to depend on several factors. First and foremost in your minds should be what is best for your child or children. Keeping this in mind can make navigating the complexities of sharing custody of children easier. 

Once you’ve decided on a 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule, be sure to mark down the specific days and times of any custody exchange well in advance. That way, you can plan work schedules and commitments around these dates. 

You should also come up with a plan and arrangements for communication. Having these foundations established early on will help everyone stick to a consistent routine and help navigate any unforeseen obstacles in the future. 


Holidays can be tricky to navigate with a 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule. The easiest rule is that major holidays take precedent over weekends. For example, kids should be with their mom on Mother’s Day and dad on Father’s Day. 

However, it’s a good idea to come up with a holiday visitation schedule in addition to your weekend schedule. That way important holidays and breaks, like Christmas or birthdays, can be split if that’s what you decide. 

Technology Can Make Custody Schedules Easier 

One of the biggest hurdles for improving co-parenting is making sure everyone is on the same page. This is where a co-parenting app can help everyone communicate. 

Using technology to help address communication needs makes it so much easier. It can help keep everyone up-to-date about appointments, school meetings, and extracurricular activities. It can also be customized to help fit everyone’s needs. 

Technology and parenting apps can also help track the budget and money spent on your kids. If your daughter needs to pay a fee for her soccer team or your son needs money for new shoes, that can all be tracked in an app. 

Navigating finances, alimony, and other expenditures can be overwhelming. But it can get easier with the use of an effective app and consistent use by all parties involved. 

Our app also makes it easy to share simple memories that you enjoyed with your kid. This can include funny quotes, heartwarming moments, school information, or documents with one another. And since everything is in one place, it’s easier for everyone to get caught up. 

Another benefit is that using technology can help calculate shared time and finances in a way that creates more equality and transparency. That way, there is no ambiguity or miscommunication to create conflict. 

Pros and Cons 

If you and your family decide to go with a 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule, there are some items to keep in mind. Here are some pros and cons to consider.

Pro: Consistent Schedule

A 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule is consistent, predictable, and steady. This works well to help everyone know when they’ll see each other. While there will always be unknowns, a consistent schedule can be really helpful for your child to navigate between households. 

Pro: Distance

This schedule works well if your two households are not close together. Since custody exchanges are not as frequent as other schedules, it can mean traveling less often. 

Pro: Flexibility

A 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule allows for flexibility. If one parent travels for work or has an unpredictable schedule, there can be advanced planning. In addition, it allows for shifting should something unexpected arise that necessitates a change.

Pro: Reduces Conflict

If there is tension between parents, one benefit to this schedule is that it reduced the number of custody exchanges. That can help ensure a smooth transition for your child each time. 

Con: Time

A 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule means that children go longer stretches between seeing one parent. It also means that children spend significantly more time with one parent.

Con: Weekend Plans

Even with advanced planning, this schedule can disrupt weekend plans, like classmates’ birthday parties. If parents live far apart, it may not be possible for your kid to make it to these types of events.

Con: Weekday Routine

The parent who only sees their child on weekends may feel out of touch with their normal weekday routine. This can also lead to not knowing what’s going on at school or with other activities.

1st, 3rd & 5th Weekends of 2021 & 2022

For a quick overview of all 1st, 3rd & 5th weekends in 2021 and 2022, check out the list below: 

January 2021

  • Friday, January 1st through Sunday, January 3rd
  • Friday, January 15th through Sunday, January 17th
  • Friday, January 29th through Sunday, January 31st

February 2021

  • Friday, February 5th through Sunday, February 7th
  • Friday, February 19th through Sunday, February 21st

March 2021

  • Friday, March 5th through Sunday, March 7th
  • Friday, March 19th through Sunday, March 21st

April 2021

  • Friday, April 2nd through Sunday, April 4th
  • Friday, April 16th through Sunday, April 18th
  • Friday, April 30th through Sunday, May 2nd

May 2021

  • Friday, May 7th through Sunday, May 9th
  • Friday, May 21st through Sunday, May 23rd

June 2021

  • Friday, June 4th through Sunday, June 6th
  • Friday, June 18th through Sunday, June 20th

July 2021

  • Friday, July 2nd through Sunday, July 4th
  • Friday, July 16th through Sunday, July 18th
  • Friday, July 30th through Sunday, August 1st

August 2021

  • Friday, August 6th through Sunday, August 8th
  • Friday, August 20th through Sunday, August 22nd

September 2021

  • Friday, September 3rd through Sunday, September 5th
  • Friday, September 17th through Sunday, September 19th

October 2021

  • Friday, October 1st through Sunday, October 3rd
  • Friday, October 15th through Sunday, October 17th
  • Friday, October 29th through Sunday, October 31st

November 2021

  • Friday, November 5th through Sunday, November 7th
  • Friday, November 19th through Sunday, November 21st

December 2021

  • Friday, December 3rd through Sunday, December 5th
  • Friday, December 17th through Sunday, December 19th
  • Friday, December 31st through Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

January 2022

  • Friday, January 7th through Sunday, January 9th
  • Friday, January 21st through Sunday, January 23rd

February 2022

  • Friday, February 4th through Sunday, February 6th
  • Friday, February 18th through Sunday, February 20th

March 2022

  • Friday, March 4th through Sunday, March 6th
  • Friday, March 18th through Sunday, March 20th

April 2022

  • Friday, April 1st through Sunday, April 3rd
  • Friday, April 15th through Sunday, April 17th
  • Friday, April 29th through Sunday, May 1st

May 2022

  • Friday, May 6th through Sunday, May 8th
  • Friday, May 20th through Sunday, May 22nd

June 2022

  • Friday, June 3rd through Sunday, June 5th
  • Friday, June 17th through Sunday, June 19th

July 2022

  • Friday, July 1st through Sunday, July 3rd
  • Friday, July 22nd through Sunday, July 24th

August 2022

  • Friday, August 5th through Sunday, August 7th 
  • Friday, August 19th through Sunday, August 21st

September 2022

  • Friday, September 2nd through Sunday, September 4th
  • Friday, September 16th through Sunday, September 18th
  • Friday, September 30th through Sunday, October 2nd

October 2022

  • Friday, October 7th through Sunday, October 9th
  • Friday, October 21st through Sunday, October 23rd

November 2022

  • Friday, November 4th through Sunday, November 6th
  • Friday, November 18th through Sunday, November 20th

December 2022

  • Friday, December 2nd through Sunday, December 4th
  • Friday, December 16th through Sunday, December 18th
  • Friday, December 30th through Sunday, January 1st, 2023

You Can Make This Schedule Work

If you and your co-parent have already had the conversations about shared custody arrangements and decided on a 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule, great! Now be sure to prioritize communication and coordination in order to help it go smoothly for everyone involved. 

The easiest way for your family to have all your schedules, communications, and information in one place is to use the 2House app.

This co-parenting app puts all the important information on one platform, helping everyone stay up-to-date. It’s also a great tool to use in case of any scheduling changes, finance discussions, and even sharing memories and moments with one another. 

If you’re ready to take the next step in creating a smooth shared custody plan, be sure to check out our features and sign up today!