Ways to Protect Your Privacy During Divorce

Protect Your Privacy During Divorce

Divorce is challenging and overwhelming as it is. However, if you add in the interference and scrutiny from outside parties, it gets even more difficult. When the divorcing parties are high-profile or affluent, privacy can seem like a luxury.

Working with seasoned divorce attorneys is the first step you can take to maintain your privacy during the proceedings. Other ways you can effectively keep sensitive details out of the public eye include:

Tip #01: Avoid Social Media

If you are not careful, social media can easily derail divorce proceedings. Keep in mind that creating hostile posts about the other party can have negative repercussions in court. For the time being, keep your security settings private.

It is also recommended that you encourage family and friends not to post anything negative about the divorce or your significant other. Also, remind them not to leave any negative or derogatory comments on your profile or the other party’s profile.

As a general rule of thumb, don’t share any details about the proceedings with anyone. Moreover, don’t mention anything about it online. If you want to play safe, it would also be a good idea to deactivate your social media account for the time being.

Tip #02: File a Motion to Have Your Case Sealed

This might not be common knowledge, but the public has access to divorce court records. This means any interested party can have access to information and details about your divorce.

In line with this, it would be a good idea to ask your divorce attorney to file a motion to have your case sealed. However, the court needs to grant the motion first before your divorce records are kept out of the public eye.

Tip #03: Ensure Important Documents are Protected

If you are still living with your significant other or if other people are living with you at home, make sure critical documents are kept inside a locked file cabinet or lockbox.

Some of the essential documents you need to secure include your court documents, social security card, and even your medical records.

Tip #04: Be Careful When Answering Personal Questions

While it is customary to confide in close friends and family members during your divorce, you need to still control the information you share with others. When asked personal questions or any information about your divorce, you can politely tell them you would rather not discuss it.

Keep in mind that the less information you share with others, the fewer the complications that can arise.

Tip #05: Consider Mediation

Not all divorce proceedings have to occur in the conventional courtroom. Mediation will enable both parties to work with a mediator. No record will be made of the proceedings in mediation, and no information will become public knowledge.

It is also crucial that you work with a skilled attorney who can guide you and help you decide if mediation is right for you. If both parties agree to work amicably, mediation is an option you can look into.

Tip #06: Avoid Any Drama

The more dramatic and sensational your divorce is, the more interesting it can be to others. Since emotions can run high, it can be challenging to keep all the drama out of the proceedings. Fortunately, you have the option to minimize opportunities for conflict.

Start by limiting your communication with your ex-spouse to email. You also have the option to communicate with the other party through your divorce attorney.

Securing Your Privacy Online

If you are going through a difficult divorce, it is also recommended that you take steps to protect the integrity of your online accounts so you can move forward with confidence and peace of mind. To secure your privacy online, keep the following basics in mind:

Tip #01: Change Your Password

Change all your passwords for unshared personal and financial accounts. If you suspect spyware on your computer at home, change the passwords from a safe computer. Avoid logging in if you think your computer is compromised.

It would also be best to skip the WiFi at home and use a secure MiFi instead. Ensure you log off from shared devices and don’t tick the “remember me” box.

Tip #02: Purchase a New Mobile Phone and Data Plan

While you have the option to change your password and turn off any shared services, you can also consider purchasing a new mobile phone and data plan for your added peace of mind. This can help warrant your spouse won’t have access to your call history and text messages.

Once you have your new phone, make sure you secure it with a fingerprint or PIN and enable the 2-factor authentication. This way, even if your current password is compromised, no one can access your accounts without your new phone.

Tip #03: Check for Spyware

Spyware is a type of software you can install on your phone or computer, usually for a monthly fee. You can use different kinds of spyware to monitor the content of your outgoing and incoming emails, web searches, and text messages.

It is also important to remember that it is illegal to put spyware on your spouse’s computer or phone. If you suspect you are being spied on, check with your divorce lawyer or contact the authorities.

Tip #04: Turn Off Shared Cloud Services and Shared Devices

Consider disabling information-sharing across services and devices, including iCloud, Google, Amazon, Dropbox, and many more. Clouds can be tricky, especially for those who are not tech-savvy. To ensure you don’t miss any crucial steps, it would be a good idea to invest in the help of a technology specialist.

Tip #05: Check Applications on Devices You Own and Disable GPS Permissions

There are instances when spouses put GPS trackers on the other party’s phone without their knowledge. That said, check your list of apps and double-check if you have shared your location with anyone.

Final Thought

If you find any privacy or technology issues challenging to manage during your divorce proceedings, seek the guidance of your divorce attorney. Your divorce lawyer can help ensure you can navigate any privacy issues with ease and go through the proceedings as smoothly as possible.

About the Author:

Andrea Williams is the Community Manager at The Law Offices of Alcock & Associates P.C., a premier law group in Arizona that provides legal services to clients involved in Personal Injury, DUI, Immigration and Criminal cases. She enjoys cooking, reading books and playing minigolf with her friends and family in her spare time.

Divorced Parents: Share School-Related Expenses

Divorced Parents Share School-Related Expenses

Money– for most of us, it’s our least favorite thing to talk about. When you’re raising kids as participating co-parents, discussing finances can sometimes feel like pulling teeth.

While the concept of child support eventually becomes a normal part of life for families that are raising children post-divorce, certain times of the year always feel like a heightened challenge. Christmas, birthdays and back-to-school season can really weigh on parents who are trying to decide how to fairly and effectively finance an enriching life for their kids. 

You know what? It doesn’t have to feel that way. 

From open communication to implementing a co-parenting app, shared expenses don’t have to be a messy, uncomfortable thing to manage during the school year. Read on to learn how to effectively handle this component of co-parenting your school-aged child. 

Average Cost of Back-To-School Expenses

The average family spends $272-360 per child during the back-to-school season. One in five families will spend more than that, expecting to contribute over $400 in expenses per child in order to prepare them with the proper supplies and clothes. 

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in additional costs for some families. In order to prepare for online school, some families spent thousands of dollars in order to equip their kids with the right technology

Education-Related Expenses 

Education expenses are any expenses required for your child to be enrolled in or participate in school. These expenses may include but are not limited to: 

  • Uniforms
  • Tuition and fees
  • Transportation costs to and from school 
  • School supplies
  • Books
  • Room and board
  • Tutoring
  • Computers and technology

Families are spending more and more on these items every year, especially as their children get older. It’s important that separated or divorced parents discuss what items are necessary for school, and what are unnecessary expenses. 

Extracurricular Expenses 

If they’re anything like the statistics, your kids are likely excited to get back into their extracurricular activity of choice. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 42%  of school-aged children were involved in sports. 30% of children were involved in some kind of private lessons (like music), and 28 percent were involved in clubs. 

Of these kids, 9% participated in all three types of activities. That makes for a busy (and potentially expensive) school year!

Activity costs may include: 

  • Yearbooks, photos, admission to events
  • Sports physicals 
  • Prom, homecoming, or other dance expenses 
  • Registration fees
  • Sports equipment and uniforms
  • Transportation costs to and from activities 
  • Driver’s education costs 
  • Private music, sport or drama lessons 
  • Student activity fees
  • Instruments

Just as you and your former spouse come to a transportation and custody agreement, it’s important to acknowledge the expenses that come with your children’s favorite pastimes. While wildly beneficial for their health, development, and happiness, 46% of parents report spending more than $1,000 on their kids’ activities every year. If you’re co-parenting, it’s time to talk about how that’s going to be split between households. 

Picking a School

After a divorce, a child may need to change schools to satisfy their new living situation or their parent’s expectations for their education. If you’re like 10% of families in the United States, you may consider private school over public school for your family. This will obviously come at a cost. 

On average,  K-12 schools will cost a family $25,000-$65,000 a year. Will this be sustainable once your incomes are no longer combined? 

When determining what school you will ultimately finance, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Is private school a necessity, or a luxury? 
  • What is in the best interest of your child? 
  • What is each parent able to pay? 
  • Can you make this decision without a mediator? 

If the child is already enrolled in a private school, it may be best to keep them in an environment they are familiar with. At the end of the day, you know what’s best for your child. Have an honest conversation as parents– it may make for an easy decision. 

Post-Secondary Education 

Is your child nearing the age of 18? Parental support may extend beyond childhood. 25 states give courts the authority to order a non-custodial parent to pay some level of college expenses. This kind of child support is called “post-minority” or “post-secondary” support.

Have you already established a college fund? What sort of support will you provide to assist with moving or living expenses? Set aside some time and have a sit-down discussion about what kind of future you are expecting once your child reaches his or her college years.  

Spending Philosophies 

How did it feel to discuss money in your marriage? Were expenses split, or determined by income ratios? While determining a fair child support arrangement, courts will consider the following: 

  • The gross incomes of both parents (includes salary/hourly wages, any commissions, rental income, tips, or bonuses)
  • The typical payroll deductions and available tax deductions for both parents
  • The custody agreement 
  • Each parent’s expected childcare costs

If you’re still working out the specifics, start with considering two very general expense-sharing philosophies. 

50:50 Spending 

Do you feel that it is most fair to split costs 50/50? This is most common for separating parents who earn similar incomes. 

If you can work out a monthly payment agreement, or reimburse one another by 50% immediately, you may be able to avoid any conflict involving delayed payments or anything in direct violation of the child support agreement. 

Income Ratios 

If there is a substantial difference in income, it may be the fairest to agree upon an income-based system. A 70/30 or 60/40 split might be the most reasonable arrangement if you expect to maintain a quality living environment while paying off all other bills and debts. 

Did you experience a high-asset divorce? It may be time to discuss the reality of child support costs and what you can reasonably afford. A divorce is an expensive time for both parties– it’s best to stay compassionate and realistic in what you both expect to earn and contribute. 

Dividing by Line Item 

Would you rather just take turns paying for items and activities? If the two of you have been doing this for a while and know what kind of costs should be anticipated, it might be convenient to split expenses based on specific costs. 

Perhaps one parent covers all extracurricular expenses while another pays for a great first day of school outfit. If one parent is more invested in a sport or activity more than the other, they may feel driven to contribute more than their required share. Talk it out! 

How to Determine Shared Expenses  

Are you looking for some quick methods to implement into your shared expenses? Consider some of these tricks to eliminate friction.  

Tracking Spending 

Tracking spending is a core organizational tactic that many households–separated or not– use to keep their finances in line. By keeping receipts and documenting every single charge, you can ensure that both parties are abiding by the agreed-upon child support directive. This can be done both online (spreadsheets or shared docs are convenient) as well as by collecting and keeping all receipts. 

Expense tracking can also be a great communication or “check-in” tool. Keeping the other parent “in the loop” about what expenses have come up and how they were paid for will help to keep things cordial.  No need for surprises or awkward parking lot payouts if you agree to a regular finance meeting. 

Review Trends

If you’re successfully tracking every expense, it’s easy to look back on last year’s expenses. Once you can anticipate what the expected costs are, it’s much easier to come to an exact agreement that doesn’t leave room for frustrating surprises. Managing expectations is one of the best things you can do for this new kind of relationship. 

Reviewing trends is also a great learning experience for you both. By looking over what money was spent unnecessarily or in excess, the two of you can update what might be expected, or budget a little differently. That’s more money in both of your pockets! 

Put Agreements in Writing 

If you are still working out an arrangement, the court may require you to track all expenses to ensure that they qualify for reimbursement or cost-sharing.

If expenses are something your lawyers are keeping track of, it’s best to record them in accordance with your child support agreement, and make any required payments by the date they are expected. 

Even if your arrangement isn’t required by the court, you may want to consider having your agreement added to the court order in order to hold everyone accountable. If this is done, remember that this agreement may need to be amended as the child gets older, and as their expenses start to evolve. 

Co-Parenting App

Are you always on the go? Are you a tech junkie? Do you prefer having everything in one place so it’s easier to track and share? 

If so, a co-parenting app might be the key to a successful school year. 

A financial management system helps you and your co-parent keep track of child-related expenses in one singular place. Name and categorize each expense so it’s clear what each charge is for. Take pictures of receipts for quick uploads and reimbursements on the go. 

co-parenting app like 2Houses bridges the communication gap between households by releasing a wish list feature to keep your co-parent in the loop of upcoming expenses. You can also send a parent a request to reimburse you for their determined portion of any expenses. No more texting back and forth about money, or using your child as the middleman. 

Once it’s time for tax season, exporting all data into a CSV or PDF will make things easier for you or your accountant. You will never again have to ask for financial documentation from a co-parent in order to complete or file your taxes or see if you qualify for a tax credit. 

Potential Challenges 

The confusing aspect of child support is the lack of guidance or prescribed spending provided by the court. As child support intends to provide for a child’s basic needs, it usually only accounts for: 

  • Housing
  • Food 
  • Clothing

This becomes even more apparent when households are trying to determine where their child will attend school. If parents cannot agree on the type of education their child will receive, it is up to the court to decide. 

The courts will consider the following conditions: 

  • The parents’ respective educational backgrounds
  • The age and grade of the child
  • The current enrollment environment of the child and how long they have attended that particular school
  • How a private school education compares to the quality of education at the public school the child would otherwise attend
  • The financial resources of the parents

These questions certainly don’t have to be answered in court. Bringing these considerations to the table on your own can help you two communicate clearly, and effectively. Communicating with respect, patience, and grace will help you and your former spouse solve the labyrinth that is co-parenting.  

Keep Track of Shared Expenses With One Great Tool

The most important part of keeping a handle on co-parenting expenditures and shared expenses is staying organized. While we can’t promise a completely stress-free school year (read: runny noses, lost textbooks, late mornings), an organized approach that involves splitting costs, methods of payment, deciding what costs are necessary together will keep two co-parents on the same team. 

Is your team looking for the right tool to keep your two houses in order? Start your 14-day trial of 2Houses and discover how the right financial management system can ensure your separate accounts operate in sync. 

Back to School: Tips for Easier Co-Parenting Relationship

Tips for Easier Co-Parenting Relationship

According to a meta-analysis of 33 studies conducted by psychologist Robert Bauserman, children of divorced parents tend to be more well adjusted when there is a joint custody agreement rather than a sole custody agreement. Many parents who are getting divorced choose to pursue a joint custody agreement, both for the wellbeing of the child and because they both desire to be involved in their child’s life.

Joint custody can allow a child to grow up with the influence of both of their parents. However, it can also create a logistical puzzle to figure out when you factor in work schedules, school schedules, and more.

As the summer comes to a close and school starts back up again, the rhythm of your child’s life will change. This means that your co-parenting relationship will have to shift to accommodate this change.

Are you wondering what you can do to make your co-parenting easier during the back-to-school time? We’ll discuss a number of tips including how a co-parenting app can help keep your schedule and communications organized.

Have Strong and Consistent Communication

It’s important that both parents are informed about their children’s health, academics, and social developments. For this reason, weekly communication should be established.

There are a number of different ways to regularly and frequently communicate regarding your child’s schooling. There isn’t necessarily a right way to do it, but it is important to establish an understanding of the communication avenues for this purpose.

Depending on your relationship with your co-parent, some communication tools might be more appropriate than others. E-mail, texting, and phone calls might be appropriate ways to stay in touch about how your child is doing in school. You can also utilize a co-parenting app to help streamline communication and reduce confusion and disorganization.

Build a Structured Schedule

Building a structured schedule is important both for divorced parents and for their children. For parents, it helps both people keep track of the child’s activities. For children, it helps give them a sense of routine, security, and certainty that is an important part of healthy child development.

When you have a set and agreed-upon schedule, it helps everyone involved understand what is expected of them. Rather than dealing with constant confusion over misunderstood expectations, a structured schedule makes it clear where and when each person is supposed to perform certain duties.

It is completely fine to have a flexible schedule if that works best for the parents and the child. Allowing for flexibility can be important because work schedules can differ and because life can be unpredictable. However, in order for there to not be holes or mistakes made, communication is key.

One of the ways that you can reduce miscommunication in this regard is by using an interactive calendar that allows both parents to schedule and manage changes while eliminating time clashes.

Be Present For School Activities and Events

Even if you and your co-parent have difficulties in getting along, it’s important to be able to come together when it comes to school events and activities. Whether these are sports games, spelling bees, science fairs, school plays, or any other kind of school-related activity, it’s ideal for both parents to attend and show their support for their children.

During this time, it’s important to put the needs of your child first. However, if you and your ex aren’t able to sit together without getting into an argument, you might choose to sit separately to avoid relationship drama seeping into your child’s activity.

Be Attentive During Homework

One of the most important roles a parent plays for a school-age child is to be there when your child needs help with something, including homework. During the time when your child is living with you, take the time to sit down with them and learn what they’re working on and if they have questions.

When you do this, you are demonstrating that you are there to help in all parts of their lives. It can also be good to coordinate with your co-parent about how you plan to help with their schooling.

Don’t Let Drama Impact Your Child’s Academic Life

Divorce can be difficult in many respects, and it isn’t uncommon for there to be hard feelings between co-parents. That being said, it’s important to ensure that the issues between the two of you don’t impact your child’s academic life or overall wellbeing.

You don’t want your child to be distracted from their studies by relationship drama. For this reason, it’s essential that you and your ex are on the same page when it comes to your child’s social and academic needs. When both parents are engaged, it gives the child an important experience of security.

Coordinate Ahead of Time

One of the best ways to avoid conflict and confusion when it comes to co-parenting a school-aged child is to be on the same page. This means coordinating the details ahead of time. When it comes to parent-teacher conferences, school supplies, and how information will be exchanged, you will want to create an outline and understanding ahead of time.

You will need to create routines for things like extra-curricular activities, pickups and drop-offs, inclement weather, and emergency scenarios.

There are always going to be events in life that you can’t anticipate and plan for. However, you can leave a lot more room for dealing with this type of event by being organized and realistic about routine activities ahead of time.

The better able you are to plan for potential contingencies down the road, the fewer confrontations or miscommunications will occur.

Discuss the Cost of School Supplies

When you are splitting custody of your children, there is obviously a financial aspect to be taken into account. You should be considerate of how the costs of school supplies will be dealt with ahead of time. The last thing you want is for your child to need something for school and for the process to be derailed by confusion or conflict.

Talking about this ahead of time also ensures that your child doesn’t end up with duplicate supplies or isn’t missing particular things they need.

Take a look at this article for more tips on keeping track of shared expenses.

Meet Teachers Together

Ideally, it is best for both parents to get to know the teachers of their children. You can also take this opportunity to let teachers know about your family’s living arrangements and situation.

Divorce can be hard on children, and this can sometimes manifest itself in emotional outbursts, behavioral problems, learning challenges, and more. When you are straightforward with their teachers about what is going on at home, it opens a door of communication and keeps them informed. This also means that you might be better equipped to stay on top of any issues as they are arising.

Disclose Information

In a co-parenting situation, it’s important that both parents are aware of all of the details of a child’s academic life. This includes information about afterschool activities, major projects, grades, and lunch menus. You can help make the job of co-parenting easier for both of you by sharing copies of important deadlines and schedules, which can keep you both up to speed.

Create a Shared Calendar

One great tool that can help make it easy to share information and schedules is a shared calendar. This can also reduce direct communication between you and your ex, which might help to reduce the opportunity for conflict if there are still relationship issues that haven’t been worked out.

How to Increase Your Chances of Co-Parenting Success

One study found that children who are raised by co-parents that work cooperatively together have fewer behavioral issues. These children also tend to have closer relationships with their fathers than kids who are raised by a single parent or hostile co-parents. Here are a few tips to help you increase your chances of success when it comes to co-parenting.

Let Go of the Past

It’s important to never vent your frustrations about your ex to your child. These feelings are best shared with a therapist or close friends or family members. If you have nothing but contempt for your ex, it will be very difficult to successfully co-parent.

Keep the Focus on the Child

The most important thing for you to focus on in the present is what is best for your child. It can be difficult to move beyond past relationship issues but being unable to do so can take the focus away from what matters most.

Communicate

Good communication is absolutely essential as a part of co-parenting. Some guidelines you will want to follow include:

  • Be respectful, clear, businesslike, and concise when you are communicating
  • Keep email and texting communications brief and to the point
  • Set and stick with boundaries you have set up about the appropriate time of day for sending messages to one another
  • Communicate directly if possible rather than through an intermediary
  • Be cooperative when you are in communication

So much confusion, pain, and difficulty can be created when we fail to communicate clearly and with good intentions. For this reason, it’s essential to focus on sticking with these guidelines and the guidelines you’ve set with your co-parent.

Listen Actively

Communication has two halves: one is speaking and one is active listening. Work to make sure that your co-parent feels both heard and understood. Be sure to avoid interrupting them when they speak and take turns speaking.

It can be helpful to repeat what your co-parent said in your own words after they have spoken. You can then ask if you understand correctly what they have said. This helps ensure miscommunication doesn’t occur.

Work Together and Support One Another

For the best interest of your child, it’s important that you learn to work together. Mutually agreed-upon rules should be abided by. These include things relating to bedtime, curfew, screen time, diet, or other aspects of life.

Plan Ahead For Vacations and Holidays

Co-parents can struggle with dealing with vacation and holiday time. However, these times of the year can be made much easier by planning ahead of time and good communication.

It’s best to always give as much notice in advance as possible when it comes to these plans. When you are traveling with your kids, give your co-parent contact information so they will know where you are and how to reach you.

It’s good to practice consistency when it comes to holidays, too. If your child usually spent Thanksgiving with your ex’s side of the family and Christmas with your side of the family before you split up, it’s best to keep the routine the same if possible.

Check out this article for helpful information about creating a schedule for the summer.

Be Willing to Compromise

Compromise is just as important in a co-parenting relationship as it was when you two were still together. It’s always best to work towards a solution that you can both live with when you don’t agree on an issue.

Are You Looking For the Right Co-Parenting App?

When you start a co-parenting relationship, it can seem difficult and overwhelming at first. However, many of the issues that can crop up can be mitigated by organization and communication. Putting in the time and effort to come up with a plan that works for both of you as well as for your child can go a long way.

Staying organized can be one of the biggest challenges when it comes to co-parenting. Using a co-parenting app can be a major help when it comes to removing stress from a two-house arrangement. If you’re looking to improve communication and organization between you and your co-parent, learn more about 2houses here.

Out-of-State Custody Arrangements: Creating a Workable Agreement

Out-of-State Custody Arrangements

Did you know that in 2018, America had roughly 780,000 divorces? That’s about one divorce every 60 seconds!

Consequently, this adds a lot of heartache due to things such as split custody, lawyer fees, and emotional turmoil. Nobody wins in a divorce. However, the ones who usually suffer the most are children.

This is because kids don’t fully understand what’s happening; they can’t quite comprehend the shifts taking place. This is further compounded when moving states and split custody enter the picture.

But, even in the midst of such tragedy, there is hope. The opportunity for a better tomorrow lies beyond the struggles of today.

And while painful, the sting of divorce can be somewhat soothed when split custody schedule ideas and agreements are introduced.

As a result, parents and kids can maintain their relationships with one another. In this article, you will get split custody schedule ideas to help you cope with your divorce.

What is Split Custody?

Split custody is the arrangement for your children following a divorce. Who goes where and for how long?

For example, after a divorce, your child may live with their mother during the school year but then move in and live with you for the summer months.

Split custody is a mutual agreement decided on by the parents and then approved by the courts. Or if the parents are unable to agree, a judge will come to a conclusion for both of them.

Split Custody Schedule Ideas

If your divorce has separated you from your kids by a few states, don’t fret. You have options.

You can set up a split custody schedule for long distances; this kind of arrangement will keep everyone happy. Here are a few things to keep in mind for how to do it.

Travel Expenses

How will your child reach your home? What kind of transportation did you have in mind?  Furthermore, who will cover the cost? You? Your ex-spouse? Or will you divide it between the two of you?

Parents Visiting From Out of State

You could also reach an agreement with your ex-spouse to come to visit your child or vice versa. Your ex-spouse could also come to your neck of the woods, too. This is good for a multitude of reasons.

First, it prevents your child from always bouncing back and forth. That’s not good for their mental health. Second, it keeps the custody arrangement from becoming too lopsided.

And last, it fosters stability in your child when they see their parents acting amicably toward each other.

Holidays, Vacations, and Special Occasions

A good idea you could ponder is to set up visiting arrangements around your kid’s schedule. Ponder your child’s life.

For example, consider summer vacations, Christmas holidays, fall and spring breaks, Easter, Thanksgiving, birthdays, and long weekends. These are prime times for a workable split custody schedule.

By taking into consideration your child’s arrangements, you can plan get-togethers that will result in better experiences.

In the same way you have priorities in your life, your child also has obligations as well. They may not be on the same scale as yours, but your kid still has them nonetheless.

So it’s important to plan around them when it’s most convenient for your young one, and the best times to do that are during holidays and special occasions.

Communicate

You always want to stay in touch with your child, and not just when making plans. If you’re the removed parent, put in the effort to keep the lines of communication open as often as possible.

Whether it’s through a phone call, a casual text message, or a Zoom meeting, try to keep in touch. This is important for keeping the bond intact, and as a result, strengthening the relationship.

More Long Distance Schedule Ideas

When living out of state, your child lives with your ex-spouse and visits you. For this reason, it’s good to have as many ideas as possible to make seeing your child effortless.

So here are a few more things to consider:

  • Living Arrangements – Your child can live with you one part of the year and move in with the other parent for the next
  • Monthly Visits – You allow for visitation monthly on each long weekend (most months have at least one long weekend)
  • When School is Out – Whenever school break commences, the out-of-state parent gets the child
  • Undetermined – When you and your child’s schedules match up, you visit each other

Mix and match these choices as much as you see fit. Each one provides flexibility for both parent and child.

Age Considerations

It’s also important to factor in your child’s age, as this will play a role in your split custody schedule. Younger kids who aren’t in school have more free time, but this changes once they get a bit older.

Middle school kids and teenagers usually have friends, classes, and other extracurricular activities. As a result, it’s important to adjust your schedule appropriately.

In addition, some teenagers may even have a job already; it’s common for kids to start working around that age.

The primary goal is to create a schedule that works for everyone, especially the kids. You don’t want to interrupt their lives too much with the out-of-state moves.

Therefore, it’s crucial to keep a pulse on what’s happening in their lives and actively communicate with each other.

Cooperation is Needed For Out-of-State Moving

Whether you’re moving or your ex-spouse is, it’s important you’re on a similar wavelength. You must be on the same page. With the two of you on good terms, this will give you some leeway in your visitation plans. 

Besides, out-of-state schedule planning is hard, so everybody has to cooperate and be on board for things to work. 

The Importance of a Split Custody Agreement

Try finding common ground with your former partner. Just because you split doesn’t mean you can’t still be amicable with them. In fact, the whole idea behind split custody is to find that meeting point. 

Settling child custody disputes in a polite and good-natured way will make everybody’s lives easier, especially your kids’.

With this in mind, coming to an agreement with your former partner should be the main objective. A good split custody agreement will ensure that everyone’s needs are met. This allows for cohesion to take place.

Which State Makes the Final Call?

Excluding Massachusetts and Vermont, all states adhere to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJA).  This entails that the choice of where the child resides comes from the state where the child was born.

For instance, if the child was born in Texas, but then moved to Florida, then Texas would have the authoritative entity.

But there’s always an exception to every rule, and this one is no different. One exception is if your child needs to be taken away due to security concerns. 

To illustrate, if your ex-spouse was unfit to care for your child and you were living out of state, that would be grounds for your child’s removal. The non-home state may be deemed as your child’s new residence.

Ways to Change Visitations and Custody Arrangements

There is a simple method to change your custody agreement. Talk it out with your former partner. In spite of anything you’ve heard, this is usually the simplest course of action.

Once you clear everything and the two of you are in agreement, get it approved by the courts. If you’re on good terms with each other, this shouldn’t be a problem. 

However, that may not always be the case, especially if your divorce was rather hostile. In that scenario, you’d appeal to the court to have a trial so that a judge can settle the dispute.

Dealing With Logistics

This is important. Managing the distance comes down to having the details of your child’s travel plans sorted out. And the good news is, you have options with this as well. 

Here are a few choices to consider that can be quite helpful in solving this logistics problem.

Negotiate

Generally speaking, the parent who moved pays for the child’s travel. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be compromises. On the contrary, coming to a mutual agreement with your former partner can be easier than you think.

Travel expenses can add up quickly, even for a young child. There is the plane ticket, car rides from the airport, trains, Ubers, or even buses. By negotiating with your ex-spouse, you can work out a deal.

Maybe you can cover certain schooling or other types of expenses for your child down the line. This will more than make up for the financial favor you’re asking for upfront.

Fly Alone Programs

Otherwise known as unaccompanied minor programs, these are tailored to kids who are too young to fly solo. 

The program offers an airline worker to accompany and safeguard your child during the flight. The employee will watch your child from when one parent drops them off until the other picks them up. 

Most airlines offer this service, so you shouldn’t be hardpressed to find one that can help you. But be sure that you’re checking beforehand just to be safe. 

Sustaining a Long-Distance Relationship

Always remain in contact with your children. Even if it’s only a weekly or bi-weekly chat, do it.

When it comes to relationship sustainability, especially with children, something is always better than nothing.

And for the purpose of maintaining the connection with your kids, this is a necessity.

Here are a couple of pointers to keep in mind:

Digital Chats

Everything is conducted online these days. Why not use the same medium to connect with your children? There are plenty of ways to do this; you can use Zoom, Skype, or even your own phone.

With Facetime, WhatsApp, and other face-to-face communication methods, you can always be in touch with your kids.

As a result, you can maintain that connection until you see each other in person again. 

Emotional Support

Encourage your child to contact you whenever something interesting happens. Big or small, it doesn’t matter.

Of course, this will depend on both of your schedules.

However, by encouraging this open communication, it creates the conditions for your child to feel your unwavering love and support.

If your child knows they can contact you for anything, and you’ll always be there, it strengthens your emotional bond. This will cause you to feel like a pillar in their life, and they’ll feel loved and connected to you. 

Start a Ritual

Develop some kind of tradition or routine with your child when they are in town. This builds excitement in kids.

For instance, every time your child visits you, you could take him or her to their favorite restaurant, go to the cinema to watch a new release, or even just go for ice cream.

Show your youngster that your place is not only stable but also fun and refreshing. As a result, it will solidify your child’s fondness for you, and they’ll look forward to visiting every time.

Make Your Out-of-State Custody Agreement Work

Whatever the condition you’re in following your divorce, it’s important to make the most of it. Keep your head up. With a good attitude and cordial communication with your ex, you can turn things around.

And by doing so, find a way to make your out-of-state split custody agreement work for you.

If you enjoyed this article but still feel as if you need extra assistance, don’t hesitate. Be sure to sign up today and join 181,590 other families in 170 countries that we’ve helped so far. 

We look forward to serving you.

Ways to Deal with Your Divorce as a Woman and Manage Finances

Divorce and finances

A divorce is usually harsher financially for any woman. In fact, a divorce means that a woman will have to live with lesser money than she had when married. And at such times, money management can be very difficult.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the gender pay gap in American continues to persist. Currently, women earn only 84 Cents for every $1 that a man earns. This also puts women at some disadvantage.

And women can face more financial problems if they’ve to provide for children too.

Therefore, in this article, I will write about ways to deal with your divorce as a woman and manage finances.

Let’s start by learning a bit about divorce rates in USA.

Divorce Rates in USA

If you’re struggling to manage your finances after divorce, you’re not alone. According to law firm Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, the divorce rate for every 1,000 women in America is whopping 16.9 percent. Almost 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce or separation, according to the WF-Law website.

Furthermore, researchers estimate that 41 percent of all first marriages end in divorce or separation. About 60 percent of all second marriages and 73 percent of third marriages also end in divorce. As a matter of fact, the US ranks fourth in the list of countries with highest divorce rates, with the first three positions being taken by Russia, Belarus and Gibraltar.

The website also has some shocking facts. There’s at least one divorce in America every 13 seconds. As a result, over 15 percent of all adult women in USA are divorced.

The lockdowns of 2020, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic saw a surge in domestic violence leading to an increase in divorce rates across America. However, exact statistics are not yet available for this phenomenon. Most of these divorces during the Covid-19 period are mainly on grounds of domestic violence.

The average age for divorces is 30 years while 60 percent of all divorces involve people aged between 25 years and 39 years.

Dealing with Finances After Divorce

These figures clearly indicate that you’re not the only divorcee that could feel stressed, loneliness & financial issues after divorce. At the same time, not every woman suffers financially after divorce. That because they know how to deal with a divorce and manage finances.

Therefore, let’s look at various ways and means you could successfully use to manage finances after divorce.

Make a Financial Plan

As I mention earlier, women can sometimes bear the financial brunt of a divorce. Therefore, the first thing to do is make a superb financial plan for yourself. Calculate all your income, assets and liabilities. Find ways and means by which you can put the money you have in your savings to work and fetch you some income.

Investing on stocks, Mutual Funds, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), commodities and currencies is an excellent way to grow your money instead of allowing it to lie idle in a savings account. These financial instruments offer high returns over a period of time. However, you need to stay invested for long to make tangible and significant returns.

Find Side Gigs

Bridging the gap between your income as a divorcee and what you had while married isn’t always easy. Therefore, a side gig could help you overcome any shortfalls in money. There’re countless side-gigs that’re available for women. In fact, you can do a lot of them from the comfort of your house.

A side-gig not only gives you enough money but it also keeps you away from financial and other stress as well as loneliness to some degree. Its worth knowing that lots of Americans suffer from anxiety over money. And such anxiety affects divorced women fiercely. You can prevent anxiety over your financial condition by taking a side-gig or a part-time job that keeps you gainfully employed.

Think About Retirement Plans

One thing that most divorced women ignore is retirement plans. As a married couple, you might have had some plans for those golden years. However, the situation changes drastically after a divorce and you’re left to fend for yourself. Therefore, don’t ignore retirement plans. Studies across the US reveal a shocking fact: that more than 90 percent of Americans don’t have sufficient money to retire.

Surely, you wouldn’t want to be caught in this trap after divorce. Therefore, consider how and where you wish to retire, the amount of money you’ll require during those years and start planning for them right away. You could invest on annuities that would offer enough payouts when you retire. That way, you’re keeping away poverty in those golden years when you’ll be no longer working and having an active income.

Use Investment Apps

Understandably, you might not have much money from the divorce settlement and your own job. However, that’s no reason why you can’t start investing on stocks and commodities markets. Nowadays, there’re as many as five superb apps that allow you to start an investment journey with as little as $5 only. These apps include Robin Hood, Acorns, TD Ameritrade and others. You can download these apps on your smartphones for free and start investing.

You needn’t start by investing huge amounts of money if that’s not possible. Even a sum of $5 would be adequate. These apps allow you to invest in fractional shares and fractional ETFs. That means, instead of getting one full share of a company, you get a fraction worth the money you invest. And when you keep buying such fractions over a period of time, they add up to one share. This is an excellent way for any woman who’s divorced to start her investment journey.

Rework Your Health Plan

As a married couple, you might have had a health plan for the family. However, after divorce, this isn’t possible. Therefore, get your divorce attorney to rework the health plan with the insurer. And if that too is impossible, go for an altogether new health plan that suits your needs. All of us are aware that healthcare in America is very expensive. And without a good health insurance, you would have to bear these expenses from your purse.

There’re several excellent health insurances or Mediclaim plans available from various insurance firms. Consider all options before buying one. The best thing to do is shop around and find the best rates. Some insurance firms lower the premiums if you’re going for home insurance, health insurance and vehicle insurance from them. A combined plan costs lower than individual ones.

Build Your Credit

A divorce can leave your credit score in shambles. That’s not always the case, but sometimes you might be left with poor credit scores due to debts and other credit taken during your married days. Therefore, the best thing to do in such a situation is to look at how you could build your credit score once again.

There’re several ways and means to build a healthy credit score. One of these is to expedite the payment of your credit card dues. That’s because credit cards come with a stiff Annual Purchase Rate. And the longer you don’t pay the full dues, the APR keeps adding.

Having a credit card itself is good to build a credit score. However, it requires you to pay all outstanding dues on time and ensure that ARP doesn’t build up and boom beyond your control.

Shun Expensive or Large Purchases

Expensive or large purchases can throw your finances in a tailspin. Therefore, avoid these at all costs. Literally. Often, women go on shopping binges to overcome the loneliness and sorrow that accompanies a divorce. And this occurs even if you’ve been through a turbulent relationship with a partner.

Here, it’s worth remembering that they money you get as settlement or child maintenance could be one-off and hence, you need to utilize it properly. Therefore, I will again emphasize on the need to invest your money wisely on wealth building plans and retirement plans. The more you save and invest now, the more financial security you would enjoy in the future.

Get Financial Advisor

I’m aware that financial advisors don’t come cheap. However, if you’re unsure about what to do with your money and require some good financial planning advise, I recommend you consult a good financial advisor. They’re qualified to help you plan your finances for the future. Though you’ll spend a few Dollars for availing their services, it would prove to be a worthwhile investment.

A financial advisor usually has ties with banks, investment and insurance firms. Therefore, they’re aware of various plans and schemes that’re available in the market. This puts them in an ideal position to guide you on where to put your money and how much to invest on different plans to get high returns. For any divorcee, this advice can make a lot of difference in their financial life after divorce.

In Conclusion

As you can see from the above steps, managing finances for women after divorce isn’t all that difficult. The first thing you need to do is take hold of your finances and work towards securing a happier and better future for self and children if any, after divorce. Before concluding, I will add that a financial advisor can actually help you realize your financial goals. Hence, you can use their services safely, despite the cost. And if you wish, some banks and financial companies also provide robo-advisors for smaller investors to make the best of their finances. A divorce isn’t the end of the world for anyone, including you. It’s possible to get hold of your finances and live happily once again.

All About the 3-3-4-4 Schedule

all about 3 3 4 4

Divorce is never easy, but it gets more complicated when you have children. Navigating the complexities of coparenting can add more stress to one of the most difficult events in a person’s life

The custody arrangement you make can be based on the specific needs of you and your family, custody laws, and even court decisions. For many families, a 50/50 custody agreement is the most desirable so that both parents have equal time with their children. 

If an equal division of child custody is your plan, then consider a 3-3-4-4 schedule. To unpack the specifics, keep reading below.

Benefits of a 50/50 Custody Agreement

When it comes to giving parents equal time with their children, there are many factors to take into account. Make sure you consider the implications of work schedules, frequent communication, and the proximity of parents’ living situations. Depending on your unique agreement, the type of arrangement you need may change over time. 

Sharing time equally between parents and households is a great way to help your children have consistency. It means they get to see both parents and have a predictable schedule that they can count on. During times of upheaval, that can help your children cope with your separated divorce. 

In fact, research shows that kids who spend quality time with both parents following a divorce are better off. They tend to have less stress, which can cause health issues, as well as are better developed and have a better sense of security. 

Of course, there are barriers to 50/50 shared custody that may be unavoidable. If both parents do not live close to one another, then a mid-week hand-off is likely out of the question. Even alternating weeks may not be possible if your children’s school is too far away for one parent to get to during the week. 

In addition, frequent hand-off and exchanges may be required, which may not be a healthy decision if there are lingering tensions. Mid-week exchanges and good communication about school, extra-curricular activities, and other commitments will be necessary. 

How Does the 3-3-4-4 Schedule Work?

If you’ve decided that equal custody is the best way forward for your family, then the 3-3-4-4 schedule is a great option. 

At its most basic, one parent will have the children for three days, then the other parent will have them for three days. After the three days, the first parent will then have the next four days before exchanging again with the second parent for four days. 

While that may sound complicated, it ends up working out much more smoothly than one would think. For most families, the first decision that needs to be made is whether or not one parent will always have weekends or if weekends will be split. 

For a more equitable division, it’s advisable to make sure both families have time during weekends to spend with their kids. Otherwise, the allotted time a parent has with the kids is spent at school and other activities. 

To get started creating a 3-3-4-4 schedule, start with deciding which parent’s days fall first. If it’s Parent A, they can start their three days on Sunday (for example). They’ll get the children Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. At the prearranged exchange time, Parent A will hand the kids off to Parent B for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. 

At that point, each parent will have had their three days with the kids. On Saturday, Parent B will hand the kids off to Parent A for the next four days: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Then, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will be Parent B’s four days. 

The only variation will be every other Saturday. This allows parents to plan ahead for schedules and know when their set days will be from week to week. 

The benefit of the 3-3-4-4 schedule is that your child or children’s school can stay consistent, as well as requires the involvement of both parents. The schedule is predictable and consistent, which can help with transitions. 

Considerations

The start date for the 3-3-4-4 schedule can be any day of the week that works. If parents have non-traditional schedules (such as working weekends), then it may not make sense to start the schedule on Sunday. 

In addition, if both parents don’t live close to one another and your children’s school, then a 3-3-4-4 schedule may not be the best fit. 

You’ll also need to be a strong communicator with your co-parent. You need to be on the same page for drop-off and pick-up times and locations. This is especially true if exchanges will take place after school or following extracurricular activities. 

Good communication is also necessary about school assignments, sports schedules, sleepovers with friends, or grades. Having a plan for how to exchange information, communicate, and be on the same page is vital. 

It might be worth investing in a custody app to help make communication easier for all parties involved. Not only can it help with communication, but can be a great way to compile information in one place for future reference. 

Holidays

One of the downfalls of a 3-4-4-3 schedule is that it does not take holidays and school breaks into account. For the most part, whichever parent has the children on a day when there is also a holiday will get to celebrate with them. 

This can seem unequal and unfair to many parents. For example, one parent may never get to spend Thanksgiving with your kids, since the holiday always falls on a Thursday. The other parent may never get to celebrate Easter as a family. 

You should have a plan in place for how you will deal with these important holidays. There are also court decisions that need to be taken into account, as well as travel arrangements for vacations or visiting family out of town. 

Regardless, there will need to be a certain amount of flexibility and understanding. If you’re not willing to be flexible with the 3-3-4-4 schedule, then another arrangement may be better. 

3-3-4-4 Schedule Variations

Your family’s needs will be unique, depending on your jobs, location, and situation. Your custody arrangement doesn’t have to be exactly what we’ve laid out here. The goal is to have your children spend equal time with both parents throughout the week, but how that looks can vary. 

It will also depend on what days and times you end up exchanging custody. This can also play a role in the amount of time kids spend with both parents, so your schedule may shift to accommodate schedules. 

4-3-3-4 Schedule

If your exchange times are different from week to week, to accommodate a parent’s work schedule, for example, it may work best to have a 4-3-3-4 schedule. 

For the first week, perhaps Parent A gets custody at 3 pm on Saturday. They have the children until 9 am Wednesday, at which point Parent B takes over. Parent B would have the children through Sunday at 3 pm. 

At 3 pm on Sunday, the parents exchange custody until 3 pm on Wednesday, when Parent B takes over again until the 3 pm exchange on Sunday. 

While not exactly three or four full days, the hours each parent spends with their children are equal. 

3-4-4-3 Schedule

If you always want to have a set weekend with your children, then a 3-4-4-3 schedule may help to keep that time set apart and special. In this arrangement, weekend exchanges would always be set (for example, Saturday night). 

The hand-off during the week would change, however. An example schedule is that Parent A would always have custody on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays. Parent B would always have your child or children on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The day in flux would be Wednesday, which would alternate between parents every other week. 

This leave weekends set, which can allow for time spent on more fun activities together. During the week, when many kids are in school, the pick up day can alternate between Wednesday and Thursday. 

4-4-3-3 Schedule

You can also switch the order and have the four days fall first in the custody arrangement. Parent A would have the children for 4 days, from Sunday through Wednesday. Parent B would then have custody for 4 days: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

Parent A then has three days with the kids, from Monday to Wednesday. Parent B then has Thursday through Saturday. The exchange days would still be every Wednesday and every other Sunday. 

Split Weekends

Most parents want time on the weekends with their children outside of school hours and commitments. In that case, it’s important to plan your schedule in such a way that both parents have time on the weekends for activities and time together. 

When you decide to split the time on weekends will depend on your preferences and what works for your family. 

3rd Party Time

As kids get older, they can spend more and more time in school, at sports and extracurricular activities, or even with friends. Depending on the night of the week you have custody, that could mean you spend more time chauffering your kids to sports practice, music lessons, or birthday parties. 

This can start to encroach on your time with your kids. It can be helpful to account for 3rd party time, or time when you kids are with neither parent. Calculating this time can help determine who each parent can get equal time with your children. 

Adjustments can be made, perhaps a later pick up time, to allow both parents to enjoy time together with your kids outside of school and pre-arranged activities. 

Other 50/50 Custody Agreement Options

There are many other possibilities to have equal custody of your children if the 3-3-4-4 schedule isn’t for you. Remember, though, that equal time with your children still requires that parents live close to one another and your kids’ school, as well as good communication. 

Alternating Weeks

Sharing custody every other week is the most straightforward option of equal custory. Custody exchanges can take place every Friday night or Saturda morning. That gives each parent an entire weekend together with your kids. 

This schedule allows children to plan for a whole week at a time at one parent’s home and not worry about a mid-week switch. 

Alternating Week with Mid-Week Visit or Overnight

While alternating weeks is consistent, it can feel like a long stretch to go a week at a time without seeing your children. This can be address by a mid-week whichever parent does not have custody that week. It can be as simple as a dinner together or time working on homework. 

You can also add in a mid-week overnight with the opposite parent. Just make sure that the night in question doesn’t not have other commitments such as music lessons or activities that will reduce the amount of time spent together. 

2-2-3

The beauty of a 2-2-3 schedule is that each parents gets a long, 3-day weekend together with your children. This will alternate, so each parent will be able to count and plan on time outside of school commitments and schedules to spend together. 

2-2-5-5

A 2-2-5-5 schedule allows for longer stretches of time together before an exchange occurs. For many parents, when 3 or 4 days go too quickly, a longer amount of time is needed. 

This schedule works similarly to a 3-3-4-4 in which Parent A has two days, Parent B has 2 days, then Parent A has 5 days and Parent B has 5 days. This does create a bit more fluxuation of days, so it’s important to use a calendar to make sure everyone knows who has custody for which days. 

Sharing Custody: How to choose? 

When it comes time for you and your family to settle on a custody arrangement, take some time to weigh your options. Having a consistent and predictable schedule can work wonders as you help your children understand and accept your divorce. 

While a 3-3-4-4 schedule is a great option, make sure everyone understands what it will involve. And in order to help you and your co-parent navigate a new arrangement, make sure you contact us to see how the 2houses App can make your transition easier and more manageable. 

Shared expenses: How to keep It Simple

Shared expenses

Children are expensive; there’s no denying that fact. And one of the major challenges of coparenting can be keeping track of all of the miscellaneous expenses that are involved and making sure that you are able to share that information with the other parent and make sure everything gets paid. If you’re confused on what expenses are considered shared expenses, aren’t sure when or how you need to notify the other parent of an expense, or are having trouble keeping track of everything, we’ve got the answers and some tools to help.

Types of Shared Expenses

When you’re trying to figure out what expenses are considered shared expenses, the first thing to do is to consult your custody agreement. How shared expenses are supposed to be handled is usually listed in those documents. A few of the most common types of shared expenses are covered below:

  • Medical expenses: Medical expenses are the most common type of shared expense in a copareting situation, and this is one that is almost always listed in either the custody agreement or the child support documents. In many cases, these expenses are split 50/50, but if there is a large income disparity the order may specify a different percentage, such as 80/20. These expenses are usually paid for by the primary residential parent, and then, the other parent has to reimburse the residential parent for their portion.
  • Dental expenses: These are sometimes covered under the umbrella of medical expenses, but certain dental expenses such as orthodontia are handled separately.
  • Extracurriculars: Things like gymnastics lessons, summer camp, school sports fees, and sports uniform costs all fall under the extracurricular umbrella. Extracurriculars are usually not specifically mentioned in court documents and are addressed via agreement by the two parents. In some cases, this may mean reimbursing one parent, but sometimes, both parents are able to just pay their portion directly to the provider.
  • Private school tuition: If the children are already attending a private school before the divorce, this will likely be included in the custody documents as to how the expense will be paid for in the future. If you decide to put your children in private school after the divorce, it’s a good idea to put how the expense will be divided added into the official paperwork because this is usually tens of thousands of dollars over the course of their education.
  • School supplies, clothes, and other miscellaneous expenses: These smaller expenses are ones that parents often don’t think about when going through the divorce process, but they can add up over time. Most of these expenses will be ones that you work out an agreement on who will pay what or what portion with the other parent.

In general, only things that are specifically listed in your custody documents as shared expenses will qualify in a court setting. You may still be able to agree with the other parent that you will split some things, but if they change their minds or don’t pay you back for something, it’s generally not enforceable in court unless it’s an expense covered in the order.

Guidelines for Notifying the Other Parent

In a coparenting situation, there are often times when only one parent is present for a situation that creates an expense. For example, if the residential parent has to take the child to urgent care for an illness, the other parent may not be able to be present and will need to be notified after the fact. How and when you need to notify the other parent of shared expenses might be outlined in your court documents, but if not, here are some possible options:

  • Immediate: If you have a very good coparenting relationship with easy communication and agreement, it may make the most sense to just immediately let the other parent know about an expense so they can reimburse you or pay their part directly as soon as possible. However, this can create a lot of back and forth, especially in the case of multiple children.
  • Monthly: Some parents prefer to cover expenses on a monthly basis. They may meet to present receipts and reconcile who owes who what after everything is calculated for the month. This also may make it easier for both parents to pay their parts of extracurricular fees or classes directly to the provider when the monthly bill is due.
  • Quarterly: If you don’t have great communication with the other parent and have the finances to be able to wait for reimbursement, a quarterly settlement may be a good option. You can either submit expenses as they come in or all at once at the end of the quarter, and then, the other parent usually has a certain amount of time to repay.

Another thing to consider when thinking about how and when to notify the other parent is how to present receipts. It’s generally best to submit photocopies of detailed receipts that include which child the expense was for, how much it was, who it was paid to and the date. This ensures that the other parent has everything they need to repay you or to pay the provider directly, and it also ensures you have documentation of the expense if you need to present it to the courts.

Simplifying Shared Expenses

Once you know what expenses you should be sharing with the other parent and how often you’re going to be dealing with receipts and reimbursements, it’s time to work on your method. While physical copies and checks can give you a paper trail, it’s also hard to keep track of everything and know what has been paid and what hasn’t at a glance. This is where a tool like 2houses comes in.

2houses’ finance tool was designed to give you all of the information you need in an easy-to-read manner, and it lets you handle everything from reimbursement requests to payments all within the app. It also has a variety of reporting tools either parent can use to break down expenses by things like category or time period. Here are just a few of the ways using a coparenting app like 2houses can help:

  • At-a-glance balance management: The app is set up so that you can see a balance summary at any time. This makes it easy for either parent to always know what’s been paid and what’s outstanding without having to go back and forth with the other parent.
  • In-app payments: 2houses has the capability for payments to be made in the app. This ensures that the balance is always correct and you don’t have to update anything when payments come in, and it also provides a record of payment if needed.
  • Wishlist feature: If you and the other parent are splitting expenses like birthday gifts or new clothes, the wishlist feature makes it easy to suggest what your child might want or need. This also comes in handy for the other parent’s side of the family if they need gift ideas or suggestions.
  • The ability to categorize expenses: You can tag expenses to be within certain categories, so it’s immediately clear what the money was spent for. This can also help you budget moving forward for recurring expenses. For example, if you are able to see that you usually have about $1,000 in medical expenses per child per year, this makes it easier for both parents to be able to see that and budget for their portion.
  • Exporting capabilities: While it can be helpful to have everything online where you can access it from any device, there may be times when you need paper copies. An example of this is when you need to show the courts or the child support enforcement agency proof of expenses. 2houses lets you do both CSV and PDF exports for flexibility.

Whether you’re just starting your coparenting journey and trying to make it as easy as possible or are trying to streamline expenses and communication after a few years, 2houses’ coparenting app and finance tracker can help. The key to successful coparenting is open and frequent communication, but being able to access everything with just a few clicks makes a big difference in ensuring that expenses are reported and reimbursed quickly.

Creating a 3-3-4-4 Schedule – a 50/50 Custody Agreement

Creating a 3-3-4-4 Schedule

Filing for divorce can be one of the most difficult events that occur in a person’s life, and it is only made more stressful and emotional when children are involved. Coming up with a co-parenting schedule that works for your kids, your spouse, and you is absolutely essential when your children are going to be spending time with both parents.

There are an endless number of options when it comes to 50/50 co-parenting schedules. However, no matter what you end up choosing, you want to make sure that you are organized and that the schedule is well-communicated between both parents.

Are you interested in creating a 3-3-4-4 schedule but aren’t quite sure if it’s the right method for you and your family?

Let’s take a look at what you need to know.

How 3-3-4-4 Schedules Work

When sharing custody of children, you want to create a schedule that prioritizes the needs of the children while also being practical for co-parents.

This is a 50/50 residential schedule. It has your child or children staying with one parent for three days of the week and then the other parent for the next three days. Then, the child stays with the first parent for four days before staying with the other parent for the next four days.

What this does is creates an equal amount of time spent with each parent over a two-week period. You can make different variations on this schedule, having a 4-3-3-4 schedule, a 3-4-3-4 schedule, a 4-3-4-3 schedule, and so on.

Creating a 3-3-4-4 Schedule

You can start a 3-3-4-4 schedule on whatever day of the week makes the most sense for you and your family. If you start on a Monday, then one of the weekends is split between the parents while the other is entirely spent with one parent. The same is true if you start the schedule on Sunday.

It’s important to be organized when it comes to creating parental schedules. The easiest way to make sure everyone understands the plan for the week or month is to use an online interactive calendar. This can help parents manage changes to the schedule without any time conflicts.

What Are the Pros and Cons of This Type of Schedule For Custody?

There are a lot of different 50/50 split custody models you can use to design your schedule. With each of them, there are some benefits and some drawbacks. Depending on your schedule and the schedule of your co-parent, as well as the schedule and needs of the child, one of these types of custody schedules might be more appropriate for your family.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of a 3-3-4-4 schedule:

  • Every week parents have the same nights with the children except for one night a week that switches
  • Each week, children are able to spend a significant amount of time with both parents
  • Both parents get to spend an equal amount of time with the children
  • The number of exchanges is minimized compared to other schedule models
  • Both parents have the opportunity to participate in daily caretaking
  • This can be a schedule that works well for parents who have different work schedules
  • The children never have to go very long without seeing either of their parents

On the flip side, there are some things that might make this scheduling model less appealing to you and your family. Some of the cons are:

  • It can work out that one parent has the children staying with them every weekend
  • The children have to be able to adapt to living in two separate houses during the same week
  • Co-parents need to be able to communicate about both the schedule and the children frequently
  • Co-parents need to have good communication about both the activities and the schoolwork of the child because there is a midweek exchange
  • Both parents need to live close to the children’s school and fairly close to one another for this schedule to be practical

When you are creating a custody schedule, you will want to take a look at the work schedule of both you and your co-parent. At the same time, you will need to consider the school and activity schedule for your child. This information can help guide you to choose a schedule that best supports your child and allows both parents to spend time with the children.

(Are you experiencing anxiety as a co-parent? If so, check out these five tips to help you cope with your anxiety.)

Different 50/50 Schedules For Custody

If this custody schedule doesn’t seem right for your family, there are a number of other options. You might find that some of the other choices offer more benefits for the needs of your family, while others might be completely inapplicable to your situation.

Alternating Weeks

In this model, your child spends a week with you and another week with your co-parent. Depending on your schedule, this can be an easy to keep track of schedule that minimizes exchanges. It also allows your children to spend an entire week in each house, which might help them feel more settled and centered.

Some of the pros of alternating weeks with children include:

  • Each parent gets to spend a long period of time with the kids
  • The exchanges are limited
  • The amount of time each parent has with the children is equal
  • It can provide consistency for your kids, particularly if they find change difficult
  • You can add overnight or midweek visits so that your children can still see the other parent during the week
  • It can help your children stay current on homework and other school assignments

On the negative side, the alternating week schedule means that:

  • Both parents will need to live near to the school if the children are school-aged
  • Some children might find it difficult and uncentering to have two different homes
  • Both parents need to live fairly close to one another
  • Parents will need to be in good and frequent communication about the children’s activities and school work
  • It can be difficult for both the children and the parents to be apart from their kids for a week at a time

If you like the idea of minimizing exchanges for a 50/50 custody schedule, continue reading to learn about an every two-week schedule.

(Are you confused about what expenses legally have to be shared after you get divorced? Check out this resource to learn everything you need to know.)

Two Weeks Each

This is similar to the previous model except that the children spend two weeks with each parent. Some of the pros of this model include:

  • Parents can limit the amount of contact they have with each other
  • The number of exchanges is limited each month
  • It can be a good solution in high-conflict situations
  • The parenting time is equal which can lead to fewer schedule conflicts
  • The children have the opportunity to live with each parent for an extended period of time
  • Parents don’t have to live as close to one another as with schedules with more frequent exchanges
  • You can add in overnight or midweek visits if desired
  • Both parents have the opportunity to participate in the daily care of the children

On the other hand, some of the downsides of this model can include:

  • Parents who have children that are school-age need to both live near the school
  • Some children and parents might struggle to be apart for two weeks at a time
  • The children have to adapt to having two different residences
  • Parents have to communicate and cooperate about the children

If spending this amount of time apart just isn’t going to work for you, let’s check out some of the schedules that break up each week with both parents getting to spend time with the kids.

2-2-5-5 Schedule

This is a schedule where the children spend two days with one parent, two days with the other, five with the first parent, and then five with the second parent. This means that over a two-week period they spend the same amount of time with the children.

This can be good in a number of ways. For one, it allows the kids to spend time with both of their parents during each week. It means that they never have to go a long time without seeing either of their parents and that the parents can have equal time with the kids over the course of the month.

Many people who have nontraditional work schedules find this to be a fitting schedule. It can also work well for children who are young enough to not be in school yet.

Some of the drawbacks include having frequent exchanges that can be difficult to keep track of and might not be ideal in high-conflict situations. This schedule also means that one parent might end up having the kids every weekend.

2-2-3 Schedule

Another schedule that can work with unusual working hours is the 2-3-3 schedule. This allows kids to spend time with each parent during a typical week and means they never have to go too long without seeing either parent.

This model requires frequent exchanges, however. Some children might not adapt well to switching homes on such a regular basis, as it can be hard to ever feel settled in or centered.

Alternating Every Two Days

This is another schedule that might work for some while not being appropriate for other families. While children never have to go long without seeing either parent, it might be hard for them to adapt to switching homes so frequently. Dealing with the logistics of exchanges so often can also be difficult and time-consuming.

How Do You Choose the Right 50/50 Schedules For Custody?

There are a lot of things you’ll want to take into account when you are sharing custody of children evenly. You will want to honestly consider different aspects of your routine, your relationship with your co-parent, and the needs of your children.

For example, how many days are ideal between visits with your children? On the one hand, you don’t want to go too many days without seeing your child at a time, but you also want to minimize how frequently they are changing homes.

Additionally, how well do you and your co-parent communicate and get along? If you get along just great then you don’t have to worry about this aspect of things. However, if things tend to lean towards conflict, you might want to minimize how much communication and interaction is expected between the two of you as a part of your co-parenting.

You’ll also want to think about how consistent you want to keep the schedule. Is it better to have the same schedule every single week or better to spend the same weeks a month together? It’s important to consider this in conjunction with school, sports, and activities schedules.

Of course, you’ll also want to factor in the ages of your children and what will work best for them. Young children tend to do best with a consistent routine, while tweens and teens typically do better with schedules that allow them to stay in one place for longer at a time.

Schedules For Custody: How to Communicate About Custody in the Digital Age

Creating a 3-3-4-4 schedule can be an appropriate model for many co-parents who are splitting custody. It can allow both parents and children to spend time with each other each week while also minimizing exchanges and disruption to the home life of children.

No matter what schedule you choose, it’s important to have an easy way to make schedule changes and stay organized about your calendar. If you’re ready to minimize confusion and maximize organization and efficiency when it comes to your schedules for custody, check out 2houses today.

Scheduling 101: The Coparenting Calendar

Coparenting calendar

When your children are first born, it can feel like every little thing has to be kept track of, including feedings, diaper changes and how often they’re sleeping. As your children get older, you spend a lot less time tracking these types of things, but their schedules are busy in a different way. There are extracurricular activities, sports practice and games, school events and play dates. All of this is plenty when everyone is under the same roof, but it gets even more complicated when you have to share and manage all of this information between two separate households. Here are some tips on how to manage your coparenting calendar for an easier and more streamlined process.

Managing the Calendar

The first step in creating a coparenting calendar that works for your situation is to make a master list of everything you may need to share with the other parent. We’ve covered some of the most common activities and events below, but keep in mind that every situation is different. If your child regularly attends therapy, it’s a good idea for both parents to know when those appointments are. It can also be of benefit to have a daily schedule for young children that’s shared between the two parents so that their routines can be kept similar. This ensures that the children feel safe in both spaces and know what to expect.

Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities involve anything from sports and music lessons to debate team and theater. Even with young children, these activities can involve multiple practices a week as well as games, tournaments, and larger competitions. It’s likely that at least some of these activities will need to happen across both parents’ parenting time, so sharing schedules is important. It’s a good idea to ensure that the time, place, and supervising adult is listed on the event. A phone number for the coach or teacher is also a good idea in case you have trouble finding the location or are running late and need to be let into a building.

School Events

From tea with Mom and crazy hair day to Valentine’s boxes and birthday treats, having school-aged children comes with a lot of events and paperwork to keep track of. This can be especially challenging if you have a shared parenting schedule, such as one week on and one week off or 2-2-3 schedule. Sharing all of this information online through a data bank or shared calendar like 2houses offers can ensure everyone knows what’s coming no matter what house the kids are at that day, and it also makes it easier for you to keep track of everything when you can deal with digital information instead of endless paper fliers and notices.

Doctors Visits

Any kind of important appointment for your child should probably be on the shared coparenting calendar, but medical visits are especially important. Many custody agreements require both parents to be notified and to have the chance to be present at doctors visits, and putting it on the calendar as an event lets you do that without having to worry about whether the other parent remembers. You can also include other important information like the phone numbers and a summary of the visit if the parent isn’t able to attend so they can ask the practitioner any questions directly and request medical records.

Sharing Information With the Other Parent

When you’re starting to get everything together for your coparenting calendar, it might feel a little strange to be giving the other parent so much information about your life and where you’re going to be when. But unless there is a safety issue or a restraining order in place, it’s a good idea to think about it in terms of what’s best for the kids and what makes it easier on you. For example, if you have to deal with a lot of texts or calls from the other parent because they can’t remember when practice is or what building the parent teacher conference is in, providing all of that info in a digital format that they can check themselves can cut a lot of that back. It’s also a good way to ensure that everything is communicated in writing to cut down on he said she said situations.

When you’re getting information ready, try to stick to the facts and provide as much information as possible. It’s a good idea to cover all of these basics:

  • Who: Make sure to note which child is involved, which parent’s time the event is happening on and what other people are going to be there that they need to know about.
  • What: Note what the event is and what’s required, such as a uniform, musical instrument or homework assignment.
  • Where: Be as detailed as possible here, providing an exact address that can be put into a GPS and other information such as “Field A” or “Enter through Door 3.”
  • When: Provide start and end times if possible, or let the other parent know that it’s an all-day event so they can think about if they need to bring snacks or plan around other things.

Keeping Track of Information

A digital coparenting app is the gold standard when it comes to communicating the children’s schedules with the other parent, and 2houses has thought of everything you need when developing theirs. In addition to all of the other tools the app offers — from finance trackers to in-app messaging — the calendar has the following features:

  • Color-coded dates to show who has the children when at a glance: Keeping track of which parent the children are with is crucial to knowing who is going to be taking them to events. 2houses lets you automatically create a color-coded version of your custody schedule superimposed into the calendar based on popular schedule breakdowns, or you can create a custom schedule to fit your needs.
  • In-app schedule change requests: This feature lets you ask the parent for a change in the schedule, such as for a family event or holiday, so that there’s a record of the request, receipt of the request, and a record of the other parent’s response. It helps to have everything in writing and ready for documentation purposes if at any time anything has to go before a judge.
  • Import special dates: The calendar makes it easy to load all of your scheduling needs at once, with import features for things like school holidays and vacation schedules. This saves you time and decreases the possibility of input errors.
  • Syncing with most calendar applications: The 2houses calendar app can sync with most popular calendar applications, including Outlook and iCal, so you can have your own copy of the kids’ schedule in one place without having to share your personal information with the other parent or copy dates and events one by one.
  • Calendar sharing: If you need to share your calendar with a third party, such as an attorney, family member, or guardian ad litem, it’s as simple as just a few clicks.

If you’re looking for a way to simplify scheduling and know exactly what’s on the agenda for each day without having to talk to the other parent or make a bunch of phone calls, a coparenting calendar can help. Check out what 2houses has to offer to make the coparenting journey easier.

Attachment Styles and Parental Divorce: Everything You Need to Know

Parental divorce

The effects on children of parental divorce are perceptible. They often manifest as disruptions to previously established attachment styles. Intentional and conscious parenting aims to alleviate the unconscious pressure put on children of divorced parents.

After knowing what attachment styles are and how they can change after going through a divorce, you can parent more effectively to reduce psychological distress on your kids. There are preventative measures to take during the divorce to reduce effects. 

The relationship you have with your children before, during, and after the divorce will either reinforce their latent insecurities or comfort their securities. Keep reading to identify parental attachment styles and support your children through the divorce process. 

What Is Attachment Theory?

Attachment is the emotional or psychological bond one has to another person. Infants attach themselves naturally to their parental figures. Attachment is the way in which humans feel and grow their connection with one another. 

Connection is innate to the human condition. A healthy emotional relationship with parents translates to healthy relationships later in life.

According to attachment theory, the emotional response to a caretaker is partially developed for survival. When the primary caretaker is near, the more likely the child will have their needs met. They feel safe with the presence of their primary caregiver. 

In addition to survival, attachment style develops from how the child is being cared for. Attentiveness and nurturance influence attachment style. The ability to focus on and care for your child allows them to feel emotionally safe. This emotional safety is important for their psyche’s way of responding to the outer world. 

If a young one is not properly nurtured, it feels abandoned. This goes beyond having basic needs met. Humans are emotional creatures. Babies and kids need the space to receive love and assurance from their parents. 

Abandonment occurs when their needs have gone ignored. Babies who cry it out at night often feel abandoned. They stop crying because they have given up hope. They feel abandoned, so what is the point anyways?

Through their attachment and connection, they develop how safe they view the world. The kind of responsiveness you give them to their emotional needs shows them how the world will be. If you dismiss them, they feel abandoned. If you comfort and listen to them, they feel validated, important, and safe. 

The theory is a bit complicated. Older generations may not fully grasp the importance of nurturing children emotionally because they may not have been taught that themselves.

What Are The Attachment Styles?

The development that Bowlby and his successors came to find changes how parents can behave to give their kids the best chance at being successful later on. (Bowlby was the founder of Attachment theory).

Before learning ways to positively affect your children during the divorce process, being able to identify attachment styles is important.

Attachment styles are developed during the critical time period following postpartum. As nurturing and comforting behavior coincide with how safe a child will feel, these are the actions that determine a child’s attachment style. Responding to a child’s request for engagement with consistency and attentiveness leads to secure attachment. 

There are typically four types of attachments: ambivalent, avoidant, disorganized, and secure. 

Ambivalent attachment is caused by parents who are unavailable. Children display this by becoming extremely distressed after a parent has left. Children with ambivalent attachment cannot rely on their parental figures for security and safety. 

Avoidant attachment occurs when primary caretakers are neglectful and even otherwise abusive. Children tend to avoid them. They act indifferently in and without their presence. They do not prefer their primary caretaker over a stranger.

Disorganized attachment is seen in children whose parents are inconsistently available. They may sometimes be a source of love and comfort. At other times they may be a source for neglect and unavailability. Children with these types of parents become confused and disoriented. They can act resistant and avoidant when in the company of their caretaker.

Secure attachment is caused by dependable caretakers. Children become distressed when in their absence and joyous when reunited. They are typically wary of strangers. They are not afraid to find comfort with their caretaker and be assured they will return after they leave.

How Parental Divorce Influences Attachment Style 

While attachment styles develop as an infant, they can be revised when traumatic events occur. Kids of divorced parents go through a drastic change in the way they see the world post-divorce. All of a sudden, they are taught that not every couple stays together. 

This sudden instability can cause children to self-sabotage their own relationships. If they feel that all relationships are temporary, even serious ones, they unconsciously or intentionally ruin relationships. This occurs as an attempt to protect themselves from the inevitable fate that the relationship is doomed no matter what.

Their sense of safety is threatened by the added stress of change in living situations. Going back and forth between homes creates a sense of instability in their lives. So when a child may have previously had a secure attachment, this instability could spark a new attachment style.

Depending on how each parent acts, their behavior toward one parent may differ from the other. They may become more attached towards one parent and avoidant towards another. This is entirely dependent on how the divorce process and the time period before the divorce have been portrayed to them. 

When at different parents’ houses, there may be difficult rules to abide by. This results in children having to plan on how their needs will be met instead of having the reassurance that no matter where they are, they will get what they need.

This Is Not To Guilt Trip You

Yes, attachment theory and divorce have an intricate relationship with each other. It’s scary to think that this serious change in your life is affecting the emotional well-being of your kids for their potential futures. But, there are ways in which to avoid having extremely negative effects on your kids’ emotions. 

Parental divorce doesn’t have to be as traumatizing as possible. The way you handle presenting the divorce to your kids has an impact on how they will react emotionally. 

Most parents don’t plan on getting divorced. If it has come to the point where reconciliation is not possible, there are ways to show your kids that the divorce was the best possible outcome for the situation. 

If your kids are older, they may have seen and understood the reasoning for the divorce. They can understand that getting divorced is better than the alternative. Staying together while fighting, bickering, abusing each other, or just generally being unhappy doesn’t teach your kids a good lesson either. 

In fact, staying in a relationship where both parties are being neglected or mistreated teaches your children to settle. So, while a divorce is a hard process and affects your kids, so does the alternative. 

Take comfort in knowing you can actively influence how your kids respond emotionally to the divorce. 

Support Your Kids

Here are the ways that you can comfort your children before, during, and after the divorce. Having a solid emotional relationship with your kid is a good beginning.

If you don’t already have this foundation, find ways to establish one. Connect with your kids outside of the divorce. Be interested in their interests.

Just because you are all experiencing a life change doesn’t mean life has to always be negative. Find ways to find the good in the bad. Uplift each other’s spirits. Have one night where you do an activity to connect.

Planning out time for connection helps so that it doesn’t slip by. Kids appreciate attentiveness beyond infancy. If you are overwhelmed and caught up in your divorce, you might miss this time in your kids’ lives. 

Remember, they will never be the same age they are right now. Enjoy these precious moments with them.

Try having an open dialogue as a great way to share feelings. Do not leave your children to process the divorce by themselves. While they will go through their own experience on their own terms, you can help give them a safe place to feel their emotions. 

How to Consider Attachment While Going Through a Divorce

Encourage your household to have a safe environment to feel grief, pain, hurt, sadness, anger, and any other negative emotions. The only way to the other side of this difficult time is through. By not reprimanding the portrayal of negative emotions, your kids learn that it is perfectly okay to feel how they do.

Remember, this is how a change in attachment style could occur. If they do not feel safe and taken care of in their emotions, their attachment style will change.

If possible, maintaining a cordial relationship with your ex-partner will go a long way. Not all situations make this possible. Communicate with your ex-partner and be on the same terms as far as raising your kids goes. This accounts for any inconsistencies across households. 

Diminishing the number of inconsistencies in rules gives your kids a better chance at having their needs met no matter what.

Try having full transparency when it comes to divulging information to your kids. This honest line of communication helps build their trust levels. If your kids are young, they might not understand the dynamics leading to divorce.

Explaining things honestly gives them a chance at having that understanding. Not every detail needs to be uncovered. Approach telling the story in an unbiased way without sharing details that would harm them.

Don’t put all of the blame on the other spouse. Know that what you say about your ex influences your kids’ relationship with your ex.

Consider Family Therapy

With the emotional support given above, your kids should have a solid foundation to express emotions in a safe way. However, your situation might be more complicated. You may find it hard to manage your own emotions. 

It’s okay. This time is heightened with sensitivity. Seeking help through family therapy may be the thing you need.

Family therapy aims to provide a monitored setting for sharing feelings. Therapists can even see you as a group, but also one-on-one. Seeing family members individually allows people to open up more. 

The goal of family therapy is up to the family. Whatever area you are struggling with, you can work on. You can see a therapist with your ex to work on co-parenting. Or you can see a therapist with your children. 

Therapists help to start a conversation. They are good at asking questions to dive deeper. Kids may not understand their emotions during the divorce process. A therapist can guide them.

Therapists are familiar with attachment theory. They can help you come up with a plan to maintain secure attachments in your children. They can also spot signs of insecure attachments.

It’s nice to have a professional, objective lens. Family therapy isn’t for every family. But, it’s good for those who need additional support. 

You Are Not Alone

Remember that you are not alone. You are not the only people to experience divorce. You are lucky there is so much research on the effects of parental divorce. 

Utilize this research to your advantage. Encourage your children to use the blog linked below as well.

There’s a plethora of information on making everyone feel safe and comfortable during the divorce. For more advice on coping with divorce, check out our blog page.