How to Create a Custody Schedule That Works for Your Family

Create a Custody Schedule That Works for Your Family

When it comes to divorce or separation, often one of the hardest tasks that you can sit down to do is create a custody schedule. There are a lot of layers to it, which can include court orders, work schedules for both co-parents, and the kids’ own schedules. There is a lot of juggling that can be done just to iron out a schedule and keep it running on the day to day, whether you are running through a co-parenting app, such as 2houses, or through a basic calendar. In this article, we will go through some key points to creating a custody schedule that works for your family.

Step One: Map out Schedules

The first thing that you should do is write out, or map, the schedules of everyone involved. Your work schedule, your ex-partner’s work schedule and then the kids’ school schedules. Add in any extra curricular activities that you, your partner or kids have on a weekly basis. Also be sure to add in any vacation time that you know about. This might have to added later or revised on a yearly basis, but if you know now, put it in.

While it may seem a bit daunting writing this out before you even set up the schedule, having everything at hand when you create a custody schedule will help it go smoothly without as many last minute changes to the schedule when you realize something was forgotten. That isn’t to say that things won’t be forgotten, or even added depending on the time of year, but having the majority of it will make planning go smoother.

Step Two: Discuss the Joint Activities

Although we often think of custody schedules as two houses having separate time with the kids, this isn’t always the case. For instance, before the separation, one parent may be volunteering as a soccer coach, which means that every weekend, whether it is their weekend or not, they will be seeing the kids. Or maybe there is a regular event that both parents always attended, such as swimming lessons, and you want to keep that same routine for the kids.

In the event of these joint activities, you need to look at how it will go work logistically. Will you schedule transitions after the event? For instance, you go to the soccer game at 10am every Saturday but there is a weekend visitation with the other parent. Do the kids stay at their primary residence on Friday night and just go to the game with their primary caregiver before leaving with the other parent, or would they come in with the other parent after leaving for visitation the night before?

Step Three: Think of Logistics

Once you have the loose schedule made, think about the logistics. Some activities might be closer to you than to your ex-partner so it may be easier to create visitation days around those activities for logistics. For instance, if music class is 10 minutes from your house but 45 minutes from your ex-partners every Thursday evening, you may want to shift a 50/50 arrangement so that you always have the child on that Thursday evening so there is less rushing to do for the other parent and vice versa.

It may seem like a minor thing but not having to lose a lot of one on one time with your kids through thinking of the kids’ activities in relation to where everyone is living will actually build a positive relationship. Everyone will feel like they are getting ample quality time with the kids, regardless of how busy the schedule is.

Step Four: Explore the Custody Agreement

If you have drafted a custody agreement, or it has been court ordered, make sure you explore the ins and outs of it to meet the agreement. This will help prevent any problems in the future with custody agreements and will also give your kids a lot of stability.

If there are set days of the weeks in the court agreement, you’ll have to stick to that, unless there is room for adjustments if both parents agree. If the agreement is down to numbers such as 50/50, 40/60, etc., you can simply plan the schedule so it works best with everyone’s schedules, including choosing time when parents have days off to possibly reduce expenses of childcare or to have those full days with the kids.

One thing to note, if you have people who do pick up and drop off, or after school childcare, make sure you factor that into the schedule as well since they will be an important part of your support team as co-parents.

Step Five: Discuss the Schedule with Your Kids

This varies depending on the age of your kids but, if they are old enough, take the time to discuss the schedule with them. I always recommend discussing this when the schedule has been drafted and take their thoughts into consideration. On things that can be changed to reflect their needs and wants, make those changes. On things that can’t be changed, sit down and discuss why it can’t be changed and why it was decided to work in this manner.

Unfortunately, kids may not like all the things in the schedule but knowing that they’ve been heard and considered really does help them with accepting the schedule.

Step Six: Test Drive that Schedule

Once you have finished drafting the schedule, it’s time to test drive it. This varies depending on the family, but I always recommend testing it for 1 to 3 months. Make note of what works, what doesn’t work and what things could use some refining. A great way to do this is through a communication journal.

Every month, go over what was working and can stay, what still needs to be looked at and what needs to be changed completely. By doing this, you can really set the schedule so it works for your kids. Even after you have it fine tuned, take the time every 6 months or so to go through the schedule and adjust it by what has changed you may even have to do it more than every six months with changing activities through the year, changes to work and so on. If there is a major change, review the schedule and adjust as needed. By following these steps, you can create a schedule that not only works for your family but is tailored to its unique and individual needs. And creating a working custody schedule will also help in building a positive co-parenting relationship between you and your ex.

Creating a Positive Co-Parenting Relationship: Lessons from Successful Australian Families

Positive co-parenting

Co-parenting is full of highs and lows and moments when you aren’t sure if you will ever get things right. And that is okay. Co-parenting is a learning process and one that most of us never expected to be on. If you are starting off on your co-parenting journey with an ex-partner, don’t be discouraged by bumps in the road or feelings of confusion or being alone in this journey. Every single co-parenting family has been in this position but the great thing to remember is that you are not alone, which we will explore in these amazing stories from two Australian couples who’ve gone through separation and divorce and have created a great relationship as co-parents.

Liam and Olivia

When my ex and I got divorced, it was pretty rough. We had a complete breakdown of our marriage after 20 years together and found ourselves fighting constantly. When we finally split, it was hard to break out of that cycle of fighting, even where the kids were concerned. We couldn’t agree on anything and the kids really felt the need to pick sides between us because they felt that pressure.

After nearly a year of pretty awful behaviour on both of our parts, we realized that if things didn’t change, we’d have no choice but to head to court, and that was not something we wanted to do in regard to co-parenting. Two of our kids were teens, the other one was 8. It meant at least 12 years of co-parenting until they were all off living their own lives and it wasn’t healthy to put our kids through this.

So we went and found a mediator who could help us iron out the poorly crafted custody schedule and agreement we’d made between us. The mediator really helped us focus on the kids and not on our own hurt, which is what we were really focused on for the last year at least. Once we were done creating a new custody agreement, the mediator recommended that we try a mediation app to stick to the agreement. Liam found the 2houses app and he set it up, opting to rotate the yearly cost with him paying the first year and me the second.

There were some hiccups along the way as we finalized our divorce and alimony and child support payments but even when we couldn’t be civil in person, we were able to do so through the app. It helped that the kids also had access to the account so they could have input in what was happening and it kept us focused on putting their needs above the negative emotions they were having.

Now that the divorce is finalized, Liam and I have found our stride with co-parenting. The kids are happy and thriving and we even go to joint events together without any of the tension that we had before.

Noah and Christine

Noah was married long before we were together and brought a 5 year old boy and 8 year old girl to our relationship. We ended up having another baby together to make our home a blended family. Unfortunately, five years into the relationship, we ended it with a 3 year old, 10 year old and 13 year old. I thought it would be easy moving into the co-parenting role since I’d been a stepmom already but it became even more complicated because there were three parents involved: myself, Noah and Noah’s ex Michelle.

Although the older two kids weren’t mine, we’d had a strong relationship when the marriage ended and I still wanted to have visitation rights to them. Through our relationship, the kids had lived in a 50/50 arrangement with Michelle, which meant that I spent as much time with the kids as she did.

Since we’d worked through a lot of co-parenting hiccups with Michelle prior to our split, entering into co-parenting for our youngest was easy. We followed the same 50/50 visitation schedule we’d used with the oldest two, kept our personal issues away from topics about the baby and put her best interests at heart with every decision. It was incredibly easy.

However, when Noah and I split, the sticking point was my stepchildren. He didn’t understand why I wanted to still have visitation rights to them and Michelle didn’t believe that we should have a 30/30/30 split since the oldest two were not mine at all. This was where we ended up having the most arguments because I wanted to see the kids and didn’t see the problem with them having a third parent as invested in them as their other parents.

Eventually, we realized that we needed to talk to the kids about the situation. What did they want to do? The answer was that they wanted all three of us in their lives on a regular basis so together, we came up with a custody schedule that meant the kids see all of us on a regular basis and attend all their big events together. The extra bonus was that my youngest was able to see her siblings a lot more than even before the divorce because a lot of the visitation times were all together whether with their dad or with me, which helped them build a connection as siblings.

With separating, the main advice that I would give is to be open to ideas but to also listen to what your kids want if they are older. Whether you realize it or not, even an 8 year old has a pretty good idea of what he wants and while some things can’t be accomplished, listening to them really helps them adjust to the divorce.

The second advice I’d give is to really have a good co-parenting app to schedule everything because with 3 kids and 3 adults, we definitely have a busy house…especially with it spread out over three homes. As you can see, everyone has ups and downs with co-parenting but there are things that you can do to really make co-parenting work with you. The main points are to listen, put the kids first to avoid those harder emotions and use the tools that you have available to you. Co-parenting isn’t easy but there are many out there who are cheering for you to succeed.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Co-parenting After Divorce/Separation In The USA

Mistakes To Avoid When Co-parenting After Divorce/Separation

Co-parenting is a difficult task. After a breakup or divorce, parents’ emotions may run high, making it difficult for them to work together for their children’s sake. You may expect to err. All of us do. Real maturity consists of admitting guilt and making atonement when wrongdoing has been done. This will not only set a good example for your children to follow when they encounter challenges in life, but it will also demonstrate your commitment to being the best parent you can be.

Don’t Respect Boundaries

We recently encountered a mother who, to facilitate her ex-husband’s increased contact with the children, was planning to allow him to see the children in her home. They used to live in this home together. She often returned home to discover him occupying her bed with the kids. Despite her best efforts to explain to him otherwise, he refused to stop violating the limit she had set and refused to accept that the room was no longer his. His spare time with his family suddenly evaporated.  Although this seems like an extreme example, the same thing might happen if you don’t pay attention to limits.

Losing your temper

Divorce may make it difficult to set your wants and feelings aside and concentrate on your children’s best interests while co-parenting. You’ll inevitably lose your cool as a co-parent. Your co-parent, second only to your kids, is an expert at getting under your skin. Their words and actions may sometimes provoke you, causing you to lose perspective and control over your actions and emotions. It may be your fault occasionally, or it may be theirs.

Keep Children and Money Entangled

It requires self-control to avoid falling into this trap. Some states calculate child support based on how often each parent sees their kid. Although there are positive outcomes to this strategy, it teaches parents to combine child care with financial concerns. When disputes include both finances and parenting time, finding a solution might seem like going through the divorce process all over again.

Don’t be afraid to admit it when you’re wrong. If one parent is in the wrong and the other does not accept an apology, that parent should nonetheless make one. As a bonus, you’ll be setting a good example for your kids about how to handle disagreement and the value of being able to acknowledge when you’re wrong. An additional benefit is that you and your co-parent may begin to establish communication channels and provide an example of cooperative parenting.

Making it more about the power struggle than the children

Emotions might run high after a divorce or separation. Even the most caring parent may unintentionally use their kid to get revenge on their ex. Some parents may flout the rules or go beyond presents to seem more “fun” than their counterparts. Staying up late for ice cream or a trip to the toy shop are two simple ways that parents may make their kids happy. Refusing to make adjustments to the parenting plan when they are asked is another frequent error. It’s common for parents to defend their kids’ “unreasonable” demands or to gripe about not being given enough warning. It’s easy to slip into the trap of playing “gotcha” with other parents, and it may be difficult to detect this behavior in yourself.

Using Your Child As A Messenger Or Requesting Their Allegiance

Divorced parents often make the mistake of continuing to talk about their children with one another. You may wish to avoid your ex as much as possible once the divorce or separation is completed. However, you and your child’s other parent will still be working together for some time. It’s tempting to use your kid as a messenger between you and the other parent when you’re running late for the pick-up or just want to get something off your chest. But by doing so, you are expecting your kid to be emotionally mature enough to handle the other parent’s reaction. In addition to demonstrating your continued disagreement, this will leave your youngster feeling torn. Another pitfall is pressuring a youngster to take a stance on contentious issues like who to spend the holidays with or who to see in the event of a scheduling problem. If you give your kids a say in major life choices, you may feel like you’re being fair, but in reality, you’re placing a lot of pressure on them.

How can you avoid making these co-parenting mistakes?

Know your triggers

Identifying your triggers is an important first step. Do you hate it when pick-ups are late? Is the lack of discipline in the other parent’s home a source of anger for you? Tired of constantly replacing misplaced clothing and accessories? Frustrated by the constant eye roll? Once you’ve identified your triggers, you’ll be better able to exercise self-awareness and control over your reaction to stressful situations.

Prepare yourself for the times when things don’t go as planned

Once you and your partner have settled on a set of ground rules, you may discuss how to proceed if one parent violates them. Essentially, you’ll want to make it clear that you’ll each be allowed to hold the other parent to the terms of the agreement and to name names if one of you breaks them. You may come to an understanding along the lines of “Let’s try to keep within our ground rules.” If one parent gets too agitated, having a backup plan is important. Maybe you may agree that it would be better to take a break from the conversation and resume it when everyone’s emotions are more stable. It’s important to prepare for the inevitable unpleasant days since we all experience them.


Make sure your apologies come from a place of genuine regret and contrition when you’ve done wrong. To go from an aggressive co-parenting relationship to one that is more businesslike and courteous, an apology may work wonders.


Divorce and separation may be difficult for both parents. There will be occasions when you lose control of your emotions, namely your rage. Remember your promise to your kids, own up to your faults, and do everything you can to put them first while still growing as a parent despite the setback.

Top Legal Considerations for Separated Parents in Australia

Legal Considerations for Separated Parents

Separation can be a tricky period in a relationship that is difficult to navigate. Unless you know that you are planning to get divorced as an end goal, separation can mean a lot of different things for you, your ex-partner and your children from a short period to solve problems, to a complete break without a formal divorce, to a range of other things. But regardless of what separation means to you, there are a number of legal considerations that separated parents in Australia need to consider, which we will go over in this article.

It’s all About the Kids

First, before we get into some of the legal considerations, parents need to understand that all of these considerations need to come from the side of the kids. That means that kids have to be at the forefront of consideration for decisions and their well-being is important. So any decision, if it goes to the court, will have the kids’ best interests in mind when they make the decision. If you are making the decision privately or with a mediator, keep the children’s best interest in mind for all of them.

Meaningful Relationships are a Right

In Australia, children have a right to a meaningful relationship with their parents, unless there is a concern for safety. What “meaningful relationship” means is a relationship where the child has continued involvement that resembles the close connection they had prior to the split. This should be with both parents but it can also be with other caregivers. For instance, if one set of grandparents always babysit the kids while the parents are at work, this should be continued, even after a split.

Now that we’ve looked at those two points in regard to the kids, let’s look at other legal considerations that parents who are separating in Australia need to consider.

Equality in Parenting Responsibility

In Australia, parents who are separating need to consider that, legally, they both have the same level of parenting responsibility. In addition, this parenting responsibility comes with the same level of power, duty and authority over the children. That means that both need to have input into long term, or life changing, decisions being made for the children, regardless of whether you were married or are separating from a long term relationship.

One interesting point to make is that for decisions that are less life changing, such as moving out of the country, can be made independently. However, to help with the co-parenting relationship, Australian parents should set up communication to make decisions together.

Another point to make is that the courts can decide to remove parenting responsibility if it is in the best interests of the child.

Equal Responsibility Does Not Mean Equal Parenting Time

While parents may have equal responsibility, and everything that comes with that responsibility, unless determined by a judge, they do not have that equality when it comes to parenting time. In fact, unless parents agree without a judge, 50:50 time with the children is not always standard. This is very important to stress because, at one time, this was standard law in Australia; however, that is no longer the case.

Instead, courts are looking at the best interests of the child. If a 50:50 arrangement is not in the best interests of each individual child, then it will not be part of the court arrangement. Instead, a careful look will be taken in regard to the child’s needs, where they will have the best living arrangement and how the meaningful relationship can be nurtured regarding visitation time.

This can be quite overwhelming and parents can often disagree with what this looks like. There are a number of free guides that help you navigate a parenting order, which is one determined by the courts. However, it is always the best option for parents to make a visitation agreement together, being sure to have the children’s best interests, along with opportunity to nurture that meaningful relationship, at heart when you make your parenting agreement.

There is a Financial Duty to the Children

This was touched on already but Australian parents have a financial duty to support their children after the separation. This means that regardless of who the children live with, both parents have to financially support them. This can be done in a number of ways such as agreements between parents on shared expenses. Or there can be court ordered child support payments for the kids.

One thing that parents should understand is that in Australia, the Department of Human Services administers child support payments. They also have a number of resources to understand how much support should be given, and how parents can navigate the financial obligations that they have for their children.

Family Law is Gender Neutral

A final point that should be made about the legal system in Australia, when it comes to family law, is that it is gender neutral. This was determined in the Family Law Act 1975. With this law, there are no assumption in regard to gender of the parents or gender roles. What this means for parents who are separating is that traditional roles of parenting are not taken into consideration and the courts will look at relationships and the best interests of the children when determining the parent who will provide the primary care and residence.

This gender neutrality of the law enables dads to have as much say as moms and it enables either parent to hold the responsibility of primary caregiver. In the end, the courts all agree that the child thriving in a healthy and happy way is more important than traditional gender roles within parenting.

Understanding some of these legal considerations when you are separating assists in making sure that the separation is easier for both you and your children.  We know that separation can have a lot of negative impacts on children, especially when it is not an amicable separation but knowing the legal considerations can make the transition much easier for all of you.

Tips for Successfully Managing Custody Schedules with 2houses

Successfully Managing Custody Schedules

Custody schedules. They can make or break a co-parenting relationship. The reason? Custody schedules are a difficult task to do. They often bring up a lot of emotions that co-parents have to navigate through, along with some situations that can be uncomfortable for everyone—including those shared events where both parents have to be present. Once they are made, co-parenting schedules can still have a lot of hiccups, which is why the 2houses app and digital platform is a must have tool for any parents who are separating or divorcing.

So what is so good about 2houses when it comes to managing custody schedules? The answer is really everything. 2houses was designed by a divorced father to make co-parenting with his ex much easier and to minimize the tension between them. Since custody schedules can often be one of the biggest areas where there are tension between parents and 2houses can help reduce that tension.

But while the app is easy to use, there are a few tips that will make the app even more successful with managing those custody schedules.

Tip Number One: Use the Repeat Event Function

Unlike a lot of apps, 2houses allows you to repeat the same event easily. Simply program it in and hit the dates that it will be repeating (such as every week or every day), then save the event. This can be a time saver and really helps with keeping you organized in as easy a way as possible. A lot of other co-parenting apps need even repetitive events to be programmed in, which can take a lot of time.

While it may not seem like a big deal, repetitive events, such as scheduled visitation, happen a lot with custody schedules and can be daunting to constantly enter. So let 2houses make custody schedules easy.

Tip Number Two: Negotiate through the App

Another great way to be successful at managing your custody schedule with 2houses is to let the app do the negotiating whenever schedules need to change. Let’s face it, while the focus is on what is best for our kids, sometimes things happen and we end up needing to cancel or shift schedules slightly, such as work commitments. That doesn’t mean that you have to give up time with your kids. What it means is that you need to renegotiate so that schedules can shift.

2houses is perfect for this. You can make a request for changes in schedule, such as needing to shift vacation time with your kids, right on the app without having to do it in person. The other parent will get the notification that a request has been made and can agree, make a different suggestion or decline. With the app, you can do all your negotiating digitally and that can avoid a lot of the tension that can come with shifts in custody schedules.

Tip Number Three: Let the App Do the Reminding

Like negotiating schedules, the 2houses app is great at making it so parents don’t have to give each other reminders. In fact, reminders can be set in the app so that parents can remember important events when they are scheduled to attend. In addition, when you have to send notes to each other, the app will send a notification to the other parent so they know that it is there.

Finally, reminders and notifications can be sent to the kids directly since 2houses is kid friendly and can be used by everyone in the family to track schedules. So if something changes in the custody schedule, you can put a note in the journal so your kids will see it too, creating stability for them in their schedules.

Tip Number Four: Send Notes Through the App

This touches on the last point but you can send notes to your kids and to your co-parent through the app. That means that you can always communicate directly and, since the app saves the communication, you will be able to have a paper trail of those messages if you ever need them for court.

Being able to send notes, you can let the other parent know if you are going to be late or if the schedule needs to change. Another great thing with the app is that you can send notes and journal about what has happened during your visitation days. This is great for parents to stay connected since transition times when kids go from one house to the other can be quite hectic and it’s easy to forget things.

The notes allow for the best communication and will help you manage both your co-parenting relationship and your custody schedule.

Tip Number Five: Let your Kids have Input

Finally, as mentioned, the kids can go and look at the journal, calendar and many sections of the 2houses app. This allows them to see what is happening with their schedules as well as have input into their schedule. Things may be happening in the kids’ lives as well, such as wanting to attend a birthday party, and they can enter that into the schedule to get both parents signing off on it, even when it cuts into visitation times.

By letting the kids have a way to give input into the custody schedule, you are letting them feel like they have some control in a situation where they often have very little. This will nurture their health and well being and will build their confidence as they navigate through separation and divorce.

In the end, the 2houses app provides families with ways to manage and navigate the custody schedule without a lot of the tension that can come with it. When you follow these tips, you can ensure that your custody schedule is optimized and you will find that life between two houses will be easier for you, your children and your ex-partner…and that is what we all want—ways to make life easier, especially at the most difficult of times.

How Shared Photo Albums on 2houses Help Children Stay Connected with Both Parents

Album photos

Photos are the lifeblood of the world…or at least, that is how they seem. They help us connect to places, people and things. They enable us to capture memories in time that we can enjoy for years to come. Photos allow us to show the world where we’ve been and who we love. And those photos allow us to connect with our kids, especially when we aren’t with them.

Let’s face it, in today’s world, photos have become an important way for us to communicate and they often bring us all together, which is why 2houses felt that they were an important feature to include in their app.

Kids Love Photos

Kids love photos. They love to take them, see them and just share them and the app takes that into account. Kids can do all of these things and share them in a photo album that their parents can access. One of the best things about this is that parents can add to these albums as well so that kids can see what their parents are doing when they aren’t there. For example, if your kids love butterflies and you see one while walking to work, you can snap a photo, send it over and caption it with a note.

Having the option of the photo album can help in creating some stability and predictability in their lives. They can see their world as being as rich as it was when both of you were together and they can capture those photos they love to show both of their parents just how amazing their lives are, even when they can’t be with both of them at once.

Capturing Memories

One things that a lot of parents say when they separate is that they miss out on those important milestones or memories. While the photos can’t put you right there for the memory, it can help with feeling connected to your kids…and with your kids feeling connected with both of their parents.

The reason? The photo albums and journals allow both parents to ad to them, as well as the kids. They can document important memories and share with the other parent so they have a sense of being involved with the memory. And since you are getting photos, the next time you see your kids, you can look at the photos and discuss what happened to help establish that memory as shared for your kids. They will feel like you are invested in them, even when you can’t be together, and this will boost their confidence and help them cope with the divorce much better.

Checking In

Connection with kids is often about being able to check in. You might remember when your kids were younger and how, when playing, they would often look up and over at you or might talk to you. This is part of kids learning how to connect with their parents and is an important part of child development as they grow up.

2houses is aware of how important it is for kids to check in with their parents. It helps build a relationship with both parents and their kids and it creates that stability. They know that you are there even when you can’t be present in that moment.

With the photo albums, kids can check in with the parent they are not with. They can stop and say, “Hey, look at what we did,” and send a photo for the other parent to look at. From there, you can send a quick message to show that you got it and that you are focused on them too.

Letting them know that they can check in and that those check ins will be appreciated will help them feel a connection with their parents. It lets them know that they matter regardless of what is happening between parents or on the day to day…and that connection is one of the best feelings both you and your kids can have.

Allows for Special Messages

As mentioned already, you can send notes to the kids when they share photos so that they know that you are connecting with them. Having the ability to send notes is a great way that the app really highlights the relationship between you and your kids. They can tell you about the day, let you know the photos are in the photo album and even journal about what happened or something funny that made them want to share the photo.

In return, you can respond and talk about the photo, what you liked about it, what it made you think about and you can connect around the story that they tell you about it. This type of interaction, while not face to face, can be done quickly without really cutting into the time your child is spending with their other parent. And this type of interaction builds relationships and connections.

Demonstrates Connection to Your Kids

Finally, the photo albums in the 2houses app is there for parents to share photos as well, and not just with their kids. They can share photos with the other parent, which can be a great way to nurture the co-parenting relationship, which does not have to be negative, and demonstrates to the kids how connections can grow.

By sharing photos of your kids with your ex-partner, you can create a better relationship with them, and help your ex-partner stay connected with things that are happening and vice versa. This demonstrates to the children how to use the photo albums to connect and also lets them know that you are both connecting so that the kids have everything that they need.

In the end, the photo albums may not seem like a big deal when you first spot them on the app, after all, there are plenty of ways to share photos, but having this private little place just for your family will only nurture their feelings of connectedness. And the kids will learn that they are loved, that their parents are focused on them, and that while houses may look different, especially when they are within two, families are still about those shared memories…even if they are only through photos.

The Importance of Communication for Canadian Co-Parents

Importance of Communication for Canadian Co-Parents

Communication. It has become such a strange thing that we often don’t even think about. Our world is all about communicating, yet it seems like many people are communicating less. I found that before I separated from my partner—we’d stopped communicating, even though we were sharing a lot of information on a daily basis. When we stepped into the role of co-parenting, we realized that it is vital that we begin communicating properly…and in completely new ways than we had before.

In fact, to properly separate and create two houses that function as a continuation of the other, communication was key, but it definitely wasn’t easy. In this tip, I will explain why communication is so important for Canadian co-parents as well as some things that really worked for us.

Why is Communicating so Important?

Obviously, everyone has dozens of reasons why communicating is so important, but when it comes down to co-parenting, it is because it is imperative. If co-parents aren’t communicating, they can’t co-parent and if they are not co-parenting to the best interests of their children, the courts can step in as their main concern in Canadian law is the best interest of the children but that can mean that those decisions are not best for parents.

Even without the courts stepping in, there is a lot to cover when Canadian parents are first separating from custody agreements, visitation schedules, financial agreements, and the not-so-simple task for telling the kids about the separation. All of this takes communication and how you communicate can determine how quickly you can move on to the next stage of parenting—co-parenting.

But you may be wondering, how can I make communication one of the most important parts of co-parenting when we are still going through the separation? The easy answer is that it’s not going to be easy. When it comes to the kids, and co-parenting, you have to put a lot of the other things to the side. And there are ways that you can do this.

Separate the Communication

For communicating when it comes to co-parenting, separate the communication. What this means is that you should only be talking about matters that affect the kids. Anything that has to do with your relationship or the separation as it affects the adults should be set to specific types of communication or set times. When it is time to discuss things for the kids, make sure you don’t go into things about the relationship or how you are dealing with splitting the households.

The main reason for this is that it keeps the communication centered and you are less likely to argue over things if you are communicating about the kids.

Leave it in the Past

Along the same lines, leave it in the past. When my partner and I first separated, it was difficult to really leave the past where it should be. Unfortunately, every time we brought up behaviours in the past…such as I always took the kids to the doctors…we would get caught up in arguing and not communicating. The fact was, in our new arrangement, sometimes my kids had doctors’ appointments when they were with my ex and sometimes with me, which meant that I had to rely on my ex to handle things that I used to handle.

Instead of focusing on the past, I was able to see the importance of communicating about all the things the kids needed and not just the things my ex handled when we were together. That was where a co-parenting app really came in handy. We could schedule things, but we could also journal important information and communicate needs much better without having to worry about how things were done in the past. New family dynamic, new tools, such as 2houses, to make that dynamic run smoothly.

Focus on the Three Ws

Finally, this was advice that we received a few times from various lawyers and friends who had been through divorce and separation—focus on the three Ws to really make sure that communication is thriving.

So what are the three Ws? These are:

  • Who: The people who need to be part of the communication. For many families, there are a lot of extra people who need to be part of the communication involved with co-parenting. Schools, teachers, extended family, stepparents and even the kids themselves. By expanding on the who, you can really determine how to create strong communication between everyone for the best interests of the kids.
  • What: This really looks at the communication component. What type of information will you be sharing. Co-parents need to set up parameters on what needs to be shared — such as emergencies or test results from the doctors— to what doesn’t need to be shared—such as what the kids ate for dinner. Some of the what will seem insignificant but they are important for nurturing relationships between parents and kids and are an important part of communication.
  • When: Finally, figure out when you need to speak with your co-parent. Does it need to be daily? Just at exchanges or do you need to touch base once or twice a week? By deciding a schedule for when to communicate, you can ensure that all communication is to the point and not meandering into other topics.

While it is not part of the three Ws, how you communicate will help you communicate with your co-parent. If you are finding that face to face conversations are resulting in fights, move to online or communicate through the 2houses app. If you need faster responses, try texting. Trust me, when you find the way to communicate that works best for you and your ex-partner, you will be able to communicate effectively, which will add important benefits to your co-parenting relationship.

In the end, communication is what is going to make you both successful as co-parents so it can be the most important step to supporting your kids.

Top Features 2houses offers to Parents who are Separated

Parents who are Separated

2houses…it’s to the point, effective and lets consumers understand exactly what it is used for—parenting children between two houses. And the app continues the theme of being to the point and effective that the name represents. It is a digital platform that users can access both on their computer through the digital platform or on their mobile device. This easy of use, along with wide applications is one of the reasons that so many separated or divorced parents choose it as their top co-parenting app.

So let’s look at some of the top features that 2houses offer to parents who are separated.

Before the Features…the Savings Make it Shine!

It’s easy to launch into the features and really forget about price, but I often feel like price is one of the top features that 2houses bring. At $14 per month, the app allows for both parents to easily share the expense of the co-parenting app…which means that each co-parent only has to pay $7 per month without having to argue over who is paying for it.

And that $12.50 gains so many features that you get to test for 14 days free of charge! And it is all those features that we really want to dive into.

Oh Baby! The Calendar that Organizes Life Between Two Houses

I love the calendar. I can’t stress that enough. With a lot of calendars, you have to sit there and add every single repeated event or visitation/access times into the calendar one by one. With 2houses, the schedule wizards make it so you don’t have to do this. That makes it such a time saver when I’m setting it up and I know that other parents will appreciate this feature…because, with two houses, there is a lot of things that need to be scheduled into the calendar.

An added bonus of the calendar is that it can be synchronized to any other calendar apps that you use including Google Calendar, Outlook and iCal. This makes it even easier to stay organized with the new schedules of visitations, joint appointments and so much more.

Finally, the calendar allows parents to make requests for changes to the schedule, which sends an alert to the other co-parent to approve or make alternate suggestions.

For all of these reasons, the calendar is really the top feature for me and I know it is one that makes parents love 2houes when it comes to managing their co-parenting needs.

Finances Are Breezy! The Finance Feature Helps Avoid Those Conflict Topics

One of the biggest conflicts that my ex-partner and I had when we were first separated were the expenses. There was a lot of things that needed to be shared jointly and while we had no problem with a 50/50 split, sometimes discussing how those expenses were going to be paid led to a lot of conflict for us.

The 2houses app allowed us to set up an accounting of expenses and payments right in the app. While it does not handle any actual funds, being able to keep track of what is being put toward expenses, including child support and alimony, as well as what is being paid out for the children’s expenses.

For expenses where we had the 50/50 arrangement, we were able to send quick messages over the app to remind the other parent to send a payment to my account or vice versa. We could mark emergency expenses on the app and send a note to the other parents so they knew there was an expense and could make arrangements to play their half.

By having the balance on the app, and ability to create monthly statements of those expenses, could focus on the kids and not get bogged down by all the financials…and we had a paper trail as we needed, which is why I have ranked this as the second top feature on 2houses.

Love the Memories! The Albums Allows Our Family to Continue Sharing

At first, I wasn’t sure about the albums feature. I did love that we could share photos and videos with each other via the albums but I figured it was a minor feature on the app since there are so many other ways that we can share photos and videos, such as Instagram. Then I realized that there are a lot of private photos of the kids that I didn’t want to share on even the most secure social media account.

And that’s when I started using the 2houses album features. When the kids were with me, I could quickly upload a photo or video so that my ex-partner could stay connected. It also allowed him to see how the kids were doing with me and I know I appreciated it when the kids were with him.

Of course, what really sealed the album as a top feature was when my kids were using the app—another thing that makes it amazing with the kids being able to use the app to connect with both of us when they aren’t with us. They loved being able to stay connected with their dad when with me and really enjoyed sharing photos back and forth. It helped them keep their bond with my ex-partner and made them feel that while we were two units in two different houses, where they were concerned, we were still very much a team…a co-parenting team.

So, while there are many other features such as the communication journal, which is attached to the albums, the album feature on 2houses is definitely the third top feature on the app.

In all honesty, however, the entire app and digital platform was amazing for our new co-parenting family. It worked in keeping us organized, helped avoid fights about finances and just created a cohesive team between my ex-partner and I where the kids were concerned.

2houses is an amazing app and is definitely worth the price…although, you can test it out yourself with the free trial…so what are you waiting for?

Dealing with Substance Abuse and Addiction in the Context of Divorce and Child Custody Cases

Divorce and Child Custody Cases

If children are involved in a divorce proceeding and substance abuse is a factor, one spouse may have worries about the other parent’s ability to maintain a secure home for the children. It is not difficult for a parent to exaggerate or make up false claims of drug or alcohol use, which can be challenging to defend. It is essential to have a solid understanding of the implications that substance abuse can have on a child custody battle.

When deciding who gets custody of the children in a divorce, the courts consider several factors. The emotional bonds that each child has with their respective parents will be taken into consideration by the court. In addition, they will investigate the parents’ mental and physical health, as well as their moral character. If the children are at an age when they can express their opinions, the court may do so as well. In the context of determining custody of a kid, substance misuse is a matter of the utmost importance. This article dives deeper into the topic at hand and offers solutions to its challenges in the context of divorce proceedings.

Substance Abuse and Addiction as a Determinant in Child Custody

The management of substance abuse and addiction issues is complex for different reasons. A child is invariably put at risk when a parent who is responsible for child care is addicted to a substance, be it alcohol,  drugs, or any other thing. Not only can a parent’s history of substance misuse weigh into initial choices regarding child custody. A parent’s excessive substance usage may also play a role in subsequent decisions regarding child custody, even after the divorce or custody orders have been issued. 

If a parent with sole or shared custody begins showing concerning signs of substance abuse that could put the child in danger, the other parent has the right to petition the court for a change in the child’s living arrangement. They may do so even if they only have visitation rights. As a co-parent in this situation, you will need proof to support your suspicions if you believe that your co-parent’s use of alcohol or drugs has dramatically altered or if you have just recently found substance usage that was previously hidden. Additionally, you will need evidence to demonstrate that your child may be at risk due to your co-parent’s substance abuse. 

If this evidence persuades the court that a modification is necessary, the judge may alter the living situation of the kid. They can reduce the amount of time the parent misusing substances spends with the children or impose restrictions on visitation rights. If a parent’s substance abuse problem is severe enough to impede their ability to make responsible decisions, that parent risks losing either exclusive or shared legal custody of their children.

Substance abuse can also lead to maltreatment or neglect of children. If a juvenile court decides to remove a child from a parent’s care as part of a dependency proceeding, that parent will typically be given a certain amount of time to seek treatment and take other steps. This is to persuade the judge that it is safe to return the child to that parent’s care. However, if the judge decides that those attempts at reunification have been unsuccessful, the parent faces the possibility of not only losing custody of the child but also losing all of their parental rights to the child.

How Parents Can Address the Issue of Substance Abuse and Addiction

If the parties involved in a custody dispute cannot agree, they always have the option of going to trial and having the judge decide for them. If, as a co-parent, you have any concerns about the drinking or drug use of your co-parent, you may include provisions in your settlement agreement to address those concerns. Most households have at least one parent capable of reaching a parenting agreement on their own or with the assistance of a custody mediator. However, if you are worried about the well-being of your child as a result of your co-parent’s drinking or drug use, you should talk to a lawyer about your situation. 

These disagreements can be complex on both an emotional and a legal level. An experienced child custody attorney can explain how the law in your state applies to your situation. They can help you acquire the kind of evidence you will need to safeguard your children and your parental rights. This type of attorney can also assist you in understanding how the law in your state applies to your circumstance. By doing so, you and your co-parent become aware of what is applicable and what is not when it comes to child care.

For example, you may include an agreement that requires both parents to abstain from alcohol or recreational drugs for some time before and during parenting time. It is usual for the judge to approve your agreement to include it in an official court order. After then, you have the right to return to court to have the order enforced if the other parent breaks any of the terms of the agreement.


Children whose parents are into substance abuse or addiction are at a greater risk of abuse or neglect. Substance abuse and addiction can both impair a parent’s capacity to fulfill their job as a parent. It can make it more difficult for them to control their impulses, making them more likely to engage in abusive behavior. It is possible for the children living in these homes to suffer from a wide range of mental, emotional, and physical health issues. As a result, the decision of who will have custody of the children in a divorce case involving substance misuse or addiction is given serious consideration. Children who are going through the process of transitioning following their parents’ divorce must be raised in a secure atmosphere free from substance addiction.

Addressing the Unique Challenges of Co-parenting a Child with Special Needs after Divorce

Co-parenting Special Needs

When parties to a divorce have a kid with special needs, negotiating child custody, visitation rights, financial support, and property division becomes more difficult. As part of the divorce process, you should make sure that you take a comprehensive look at the unique needs of your child. As co-parents, the purpose is to address the specific situation of the kid to alter the course of the child’s life favorably. 

Every plan must provide the child with appropriate medical care, educational opportunities, and social activities. Children with special needs should be given the same chances as children who do not have special needs; nevertheless, these opportunities may need to be provided differently. To learn more about how to Co-parent a child with special needs after getting a divorce, stay on this resource.

Tips for Co-parenting Special Needs Children after Divorce

When it comes to determining the best course of action for a parenting plan after divorce, a lot of things have to be taken into consideration. The following are helpful tips for co-parenting a child with special needs after a divorce: 

Visitation Rights 

Co-parents are responsible for considering the possibility that the child with special needs requires a more stable schedule. The typical visitation arrangement for children involves the youngster going back and forth between the two parents’ homes regularly. This routine may be too stressful for a child who has special needs. Instead of scheduling brief visits with each parent regularly, it may be more beneficial to schedule lengthier visits with each parent. 

Some children have behavioral issues whenever they deviate from a previously set schedule. Therefore, co-parents need to work together to establish comparable routines. This is to make the transfer between homes go more smoothly. It is also essential that houses and medical facilities be located close. The strategy ought to include the method for housing and transmitting specialized equipment, monitoring devices, medication, and the like from one family to another.

Social Activities

The social life of a child with special needs is vital, and divorce should not affect their lifestyle. It is essential for the general development and maturation of children with special needs to participate in social and recreational activities. These activities should be enjoyable for them. In addition to contributing to their overall social and physical development, recreational sports and activities like art classes also play an essential role. Co-parents are entitled to an equal say in the scheduling, transportation, and participation decisions regarding their children’s extracurricular activities. The parenting plan should include the activities that have been agreed upon and the costs associated with those activities.

Planning Finances

When a couple decides to divorce, one of the primary concerns will sever their financial ties to one another. Most parents are concerned about their children’s futures and whether or not they will be able to maintain two households on one income. If one parent providing more care for the kid with special needs works from home, the financial worries may be even more intense. After the age of 18, your child will still require care. You must include financial provisions for him in the marital settlement agreement. 

In addition to the public assistance and government benefits that are available, you should talk about establishing a special needs trust. Your attorney may also be able to advise you on additional strategies to provide for your child. These include setting up a gifting plan or purchasing long-term care insurance. You can also specify, as part of your estate planning, whether the successor trustee has the authority to change the way the trust is managed if need be. This is something you can do if you want to make sure that the trust continues to be managed in the same manner, even if those conditions change.

Arranging Siblings’ Bonding Time

It is possible that your child with special needs may not adjust to the same custody routine as your other children while you are working out your parenting plan. In most cases, siblings maintain a consistent pattern when traveling between their parents’ residences. As a result, they can cultivate a strong sibling support system because they are always with one another. If one parent’s work is the only one that allows them the flexibility to manage their appointments, then it may make more sense for that parent to spend the majority of parenting time with the child. There is a possibility that an equal parenting-time plan will not be feasible for your family in the same way that it is for other families. Parents with special needs children need to know the importance of sibling bonding time and make adequate provisions.

Getting Outside Support

It is common practice to seek assistance from both within and outside of the family while raising a child who has special needs. Other members of the family may play an essential part in giving care. In addition, experts such as physicians, nurses, or teachers can lend a helping hand when it comes to taking care of a child who has special needs. Co-parents need to reach out to the people mentioned above for support. Your family may find that having the help of professionals is excellent assistance as they navigate this adjustment period. It is vital to make sure that these people are aware of everything that is going on with your child.


Co-parenting a kid who has special needs can be a difficult task, especially after or during the process of a divorce. Nevertheless, there are innovative approaches that co-parenting families can take to serve their children’s best interests. The ideas mentioned above are just a few examples to help special needs children remain unaffected in case of divorce. Families with special needs children should remember that specialists can assist with these concerns and more with the resources at their disposal. With the right plans in place, what seems too complicated a situation can be made easy.