Amicable Divorce: 4 Tips for Keeping Good Communication

Keeping good communication

So you’re committed to an amicable divorce. Congratulations! Maintaining a friendly relationship with someone who used to be your spouse is never easy. It’s worth doing, especially when there are kids involved. No matter your intentions, an amicable divorce can turn nasty quickly – usually due to poor communication. Keep your split civil with these simple tips.

Put Things in Writing

Even when things are amicable, divorce can cause a lot of tension. When your emotions are raw, it’s too easy to say something cruel or nasty to your ex without thinking it through. Relying a lot on written communication is one way to minimize the chance of saying something you regret.

Make an agreement to communicate regularly by email, especially about sensitive topics. This gives you both a chance to express everything you want to say without interrupting each other. It might also be easier to be kind to each other in writing than it is in person.

For example, maybe you really disagree about the holiday schedule. Write out a full proposal about what you want to happen and why you think it’s fair. Include some language about how you know you’re both motivated to spend time with the kids, and that you want to make the holiday schedule work for all of you. Reread the email before sending it to make sure it’s calm and polite. Your ex can process everything you said before responding.

Schedule Checkins

When you were married, you crossed paths every day. It was easy to exchange information and compare notes about something going on with the kids. Now that you’re divorced, staying on the same page takes real effort. Things that you should remember to tell your ex could slip your mind, and vice versa. Then the blame game starts.

That’s why it’s so useful to schedule regular just-because checkins. These could be weekly phone calls, or biweekly emails, or whatever works for your family and your needs. Use each checkin as a time to touch base about any issues going on with the kids, and to look ahead to any challenges that might be coming up for them. Even better, meet up in a neutral place like a coffee shop and talk face-to-face so your kids know you can still be friendly.

Be Honest With the Kids

While you’re focused on having good communication with your ex, don’t forget about communicating with the kids. Having an amicable divorce is great for children in a lot of ways. They’re spared the fighting and tension that kids of nasty divorces live through. But watching their parents go through an amicable divorce can be really confusing for kids, too. If Mom and Dad get along so well, why are they getting divorced? Is it my fault? And if they’re still friends, can I get them back together?

As you work on communication with your ex, make sure to do regular checkins with the children, too. Encourage them to ask any questions they have. Talk about how you and your ex are still family, but you can’t live as spouses anymore, and that’s okay.

Have a Place to Vent

You got divorced for a reason. Even if it’s amicable, you’ll have plenty of low and frustrating moments while dealing with your ex. They might drive you absolutely crazy. In those worst moments, yelling at your co-parent would feel great. They might even deserve it! But in such an intense situation, just one fight could be destructive. It’s not worth ruining your treaty with your spouse just because it feels good to tell them off.

In order to maintain good communication with your ex, you have to have somewhere else to go with your negative feelings about the situation. It could be a friend who is always willing to listen to you talk, or a therapist or another type of counselor. A support group for people going through a divorce is another option. If all else fails, write or draw about your feelings in a journal – anything to keep you from exploding on your ex or kids.

Sole or shared custody: How to create a custody calendar?

parenting schedule

Custody calendar is one of 2houses’s hottest functions! Whether you have sole custody or shared custody, every other weekend, a week, two or three. Whatever it is, it is you who makes the plans, and 2houses can help you from the beginning to the end. We will here create a custom custody calendar.

To create your first custody calendar, just follow these steps:

1) First, click on “Calendar” on the upper menu, then “Parenting schedules“. Finally, click on “Create your first parenting schedule“:Create a calendar

 

 

 

 

2) Now, select children concerned by the custody calendar:Custody calendar

 

 

 

3) Select the parenting schedule model that corresponds to yours and follow the prompts. In this example, we will choose to create it manually:create a calendar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Choose a start date and select a date after “Repeats until…“.  Click on the first day of the week, and click on which parent the children will spend the night at. Do the same for the following days/weeks. Add a week by clicking on “Add a week” to define the second week of the custody. If your custody is defined for more than two weeks, click on “Add a week to this schedule” and configure your calendar. When all information is completed, click on “Create this parenting schedule”. If your custody is not repeating, check the box “Is not repeated and applies until….”shared parenting

 

5) The system shows a list of the exchange times, when your children change from you to the other parent and vice versa. You can choose (or not) a place and time for the exchanges. If you haven’t defined any time and place, leave the box “There is no specified place and time” checked. If it’s not the case, uncheck the box and enter a place and a time for the exchanges you want. Once you’ve added places and times click, “Update exchange times and places” at the bottom of the page.exchange date and time

 

6)  Your schedule is now displayed in the “Parenting schedules” list. You can delete it or edit it by clicking on the pencil to the right.

The schedule is now displayed in your calendar (according to the color the users of the account have chosen).

 

 

 

 

 

Parenting in the Land of The Midnight Sun: What to Know About Alaska Child Support

Alaska Child support

What to Know About Alaska Child Support?

In 2018, Alaska had one of the highest divorce rates in America. Statistics on how many of those couples had children at the time of their divorce aren’t clear. However, a 2019 study found that Alaska’s most searched phrase relating to divorce was “child custody.”

Going through a divorce is difficult. Coping with emotional stressors while also parsing out legal ownership of property is difficult enough. For many couples, helping their children cope with this major life change while also determining issues of custody and child support is the hardest part of a divorce.

We get many questions about Alaska child support. Each state has its own laws and determinations dictating who is required to pay child support and how much they must pay.

Read on for our guide to Alaska child support so you can navigate this difficult time knowledgeably and focus on what is best for your children.

The Basics of Alaska Child Support

Both state and federal laws state that child support is not optional, nor can it be waived. Ultimately, these laws are in place to ensure that every child of divorce is taken care of to the best of both parents’ abilities.

The first thing you and your former partner will need to decide upon is a parenting plan. While this plan will eventually be codified by law, it should begin with an open and honest reflection of both parents’ desires and availability as well as the child’s needs. While some couples are able to figure this out between the two of them, others may request the help of a mediator.

There are two distinct components to a parenting plan.

The first is the parenting schedule. This includes the days and times that a child will be with each parent. It also includes decisions about who will provide transportation of the child and who will fund that transportation.

The second is the decision making. In other words, parents will need to decide who has the responsibility of making major decisions regarding health, education, and social issues for the child. Some parents decide to make these decisions together while others agree that one parent will have more (or all) of that deciding power.

Once the parents have decided on a parenting plan, the judge in charge of their case will weigh in and make the final decision. The judge will consider a number of factors relating to the child’s best interest. These factors range from the love and affection between the child and each parent to the ability each parent has to meet the child’s needs.

Four Types of Legal Parenting Schedules in Alaska

The court will use one of four terms to describe a legally agreed-upon parenting schedule. The one you and your partner settle on will affect the amount of child support you will pay.

  1. Primary physical custody entails that one parent has the child more than 70% of the year. That means that in one year, one parent will have the child for at least 256 overnights.
  2. Shared physical custody entails that the child is with each parent for at least 30% of the year. That means each parent would have the child for at least 110 overnights.
  3. Divided custody applies when the parents have more than one child together. It is considered divided custody when one parent has primary custody of one child and the other parent has primary custody of another child.
  4. Hybrid custody also applies when the parents have more than one child together. It entails that while one parent may have primary custody of one child, shared custody applies to one or more of their other children.

What if One Parent is Moving Out of State?

In some cases, one parent may want to move to a new state. This will affect the judge’s decision about the legal parenting schedule.

Let’s look at an example. Say you and your partner have raised your child in Alaska for the child’s entire life and one parent wants to leave Alaska. The judge may decide that the parent staying in Alaska will receive primary custody if continuity and stability are deemed important factors in the child’s life.

However, if the moving parent had a credible case for bringing the child with them, the judge would examine the reasons behind their choice to move. They would look for reasons that the move was legitimate. For example, if the parent was moving for the sake of a promotion or to access better childcare for the child, the judge may rule in favor of that parent.

The parent paying child custody would be held to the laws the child is living in. In other words, if the child moved to or remained in Alaska, the parent would abide by Alaska child custody laws regardless of their own place of living.

In the event that you and your former spouse will no longer be living in the same state, prepare your child for the absence of a parent. The more you communicate with them, the easier it will be for them to understand why this change has occurred and adjust to their new circumstances!

How is Child Support Calculated?

When you’re calculating child support, you will always start with this basic formula: Gross Income – Deductions = Adjusted Income 

Further along, we will discuss the various expenses that count as deductions in this case. For now, let’s talk at length about the way your Adjusted Income (or AI) relates to the different Alaska child support payments.

The most straightforward child support calculation is in the case of primary custody. The non-custodial will be expected to pay the following:

  • 1 kid: AI x 20%
  • 2 kids: AI x 27%
  • 3 kids: AI x 33%

If you have more than 3 kids, add an additional 3% for each child.

Because child support calculations are more complicated in the case of shared, divided, or hybrid custody, we will link you to an Alaska child support calculator for each one. These calculations will vary based on the separate incomes of both you and your former spouse. They will also vary based on the length of time you each care for your child or children.

How Much Child Support Do I Owe?

In the state of Alaska, child support payments are to be made once a month. In other words, you will need to divide the percentage of your AI that you owe for child support by 12. This will show you the amount you owe in monthly installments.

Alaska child support laws determine that child support is due until the child is 19 years of age in certain circumstances. If the child is still in high school or is living with their custodial parent and unmarried at age 18, child support is still due until their 19th birthday.

We know that there are some months where bills and other expenses pile up. As much as parents want to make every child support payment on time, it doesn’t always happen. Note that in Alaska, you can be charged up to 6% interest on late child support payments.

What is Deductible from My Gross Annual Income?

Calculating your AI can be a bit confusing. Let’s talk a bit about what counts as your Gross Annual Income and what expenses or payments you can deduct from that.

Your Gross Annual Income includes wages and disability pay. It also includes SSDI, unemployment, and work benefits such as meals or housing. Finally, it includes any non-taxable benefits you may receive from the military or similar organization.

Now let’s talk a bit about what you can deduct from your Gross Annual Income. Because this can get a bit confusing, it can be helpful to work with a lawyer or mediator to figure out not only what your deductibles are but how much of your Gross Annual Income they account for.

The list of deductible income includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Federal taxes that are owed
  • State unemployment insurance
  • Medicare and Social Security
  • Mandatory and voluntary retirement contributions
  • Childcare paid for the child or children in question that you cover so that you can work
  • Child support you owe for a child from a previous relationship

Note that this list does not include all deductibles but rather the most commonly cited deductibles.

If you are paying child support for a child living in Alaska but you live in another state, record the taxes you pay. This includes state and local taxes and these are also deductible.

Focus On Your Child’s Needs

Getting through a divorce and figuring out Alaska child support laws can be difficult. Remember, as you go through this process, that things will reach a new normal soon and that this stress is only temporary. In the meantime, focus as much of your attention as you can on your child’s needs.

The Importance of Establishing Healthy Co-Parenting Communication

The Importance of Establishing Healthy Co-Parenting Communication

It might not be easy to establish a healthy co-parenting relationship, but it’s worth it.

Learning how to move past your individual differences to create an environment that helps your children thrive is essential to their development. When joint custody works well, it can help children feel stability, security, and adoration at a time when they need it the most.

One of the pillars of successful co-parenting? Clear and consistent communication.

While it might be easiest to steer clear of your ex-spouse and avoid contact altogether, there will be many important conversations you’ll need to have over the course of your child’s life. It’s easier if you can work through these issues as a team, rather than pinning one parent against the other. Today, we’re sharing why co-parenting communication is important and how you can navigate it together.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

1. Discuss Important Decisions

Maybe you’re in the early stages of parenthood, navigating diapers and preschool. Perhaps you’re in the throes of adolescence, dealing with driving privileges, dating and college applications. Or, you could be anywhere in between.

Either way, there are major decisions at every age that you’ll need to navigate alongside your ex-spouse.

When one ex refuses to communicate with the other, it can lead to one parent making all of the important decisions on their own. Then, this can lead to feelings of resentment down the road, from all parties. To avoid this clash, it’s wise to set aside your differences as much as possible and focus on your children’s needs.

The decisions might start out small and insignificant at first but as your children grow, they will take on more significance. Thus, it’s important to set a communication standard as early as possible.

2. Help Children Feel Secure

Especially in the weeks and months directly following a divorce, your children will be in a state of upheaval. Even if they remain in the family home with one parent, there will be a major disruption to their routine and their sense of normalcy will be shaken.

While you might not be able to schedule family dinners and vacations with your ex-spouse, it can benefit your children to see you speak calmly and openly to one another. This way, any sense of a major rift or fight is dissolved, and they can begin to understand that divorce doesn’t have to mean a terrible change. Rather, it can mark a healthy and beneficial shift in their family dynamics that still leave them feeling loved and cherished by both of you.

This confidence and assurance can help them adjust better and more quickly to the divorce, which can improve their self-esteem. This is an especially important step to take if your children are school-aged, as this is the stage when children begin to analyze their role in your relationship, feeling guilty and wondering if they did anything to cause your split.

You can reassure them privately over and over again that this isn’t the case, but actions speak louder than words.

3. Establish Consistency

“But mom lets me drink chocolate milk before bed!” “But dad lets me stay out past 11:00 with my friends!”

Divorced parents at every stage hear the comparisons all the time. It’s not easy being pinned against your ex-spouse, especially if you’re playing the endless, tiring game of trying to “beat” one other. Instead of seeking to one-up each other and shower your children with privileges you know they don’t get when they’re not in your custody, it’s best to be on the same page.

Playing the cat-and-mouse game when they’re young leads to manipulation when they’re older. Communicating with your spouse helps you set common, shared ground rules that the kids can expect at all times, no matter where they’re spending the night.

From bedtimes and dietary decisions to friend circles and curfews, there are myriad important rules you’ll need to set as your brood grows, and it’s wisest to set them together.

4. Set an Example of Open Communication

Your children are watching your every move, even if you don’t realize it. If you hold a grudge and give your spouse the silent treatment (or receive it), what does that tell them about working through their differences?

You want your children to feel comfortable coming to you and opening up about the issues they’re facing in their lives. This step only gets more difficult as they get older. Any parent, divorced or not, knows that asking a moody teenager about his day is no easy feat!

Set a precedent early on that your family talks through things, even the hard ones. No one has to suffer in silence or internalize feelings because your space if a safe one. They’ll be more willing to follow through on their end if you and your spouse follow through on yours.

5. Coordinate Schedules

What happens if you have a custody plan worked out but one spouse wants to take the kids on an extended summer vacation that cuts into your time with them? Or, what if you have a spur-of-the-moment business trip that will affect your ability to keep the children?

From school schedules to sports practices, family obligations, and more, there are many instances that might require a slight tweak in your plans.

While it’s best to stick to pre-arranged custody terms, there might be instances in which a change is required. It’s reassuring to know that if this happens, you can bring the issue up with your spouse and you’ll work together to create a workaround.

If you aren’t on speaking terms with one another, even the slightest scheduling conflict can turn into a major argument that leads to even bigger problems. This is especially the case during holidays, at a time when families on both sides might want to see the kids. Communication and efficient scheduling go hand-in-hand.

The good news? You don’t have to have an hour-long phone conversation to set and stick to your schedule. Today, there are online scheduling tools that you can both access to share and synchronize your plans.

6. Reduce Tension at Shared Events

Despite your best efforts, you’ll be unable to avoid your ex-spouse completely if you share children. There are many events you’ll likely want to attend together, from parent-teacher conferences to dance recitals and high school graduation.

While you could coordinate ahead of time to be present but on separate terms, it’s infinitely easier (and more enjoyable for the kids), when you can attend side by side. Attending school meetings, sports events, and other milestones together reveals that you’re willing to work past your differences for the sake of your children.

7. Stick to On-Topic Dialogues

One of the facets of clear communication is being able to stay on topic without deviating into outside, off-subject territory. The more that you and your ex-spouse communicate, the better you’ll get at it. Over time, this means you’ll be able to talk about your son’s ball schedule or your daughter’s sleepovers without bringing up past hurts.

At first, this might not be an easy step, and that’s OK. When the issues from the divorce are still fresh, any time that you speak to your spouse might feel like a fighting match. However, if you both make the dedicated effort to keep the dialogue concise and professional, you’ll find that it gets easier over time.

Deciding to work on this together is a mature and important step that can help you stay in the loop about your family’s life, and for that reason alone, it’s well worth the effort.

8. Stop Using Kids as Messengers

It might be tempting to turn your kids into tiny messengers, asking them to relay messages to your ex-spouse so you don’t have to approach that conversation yourself.

Yet, keep in mind that while that option might be convenient to you, it’s also incredibly unhealthy for them. If they’re feeling even a little bit caught in the middle, this approach strengthens that affirmation. Over time, this can cause them to feel torn between both parents, which can affect their identity, self-esteem, confidence and more.

Resist the urge to take the easy way out and play a game of telephone, funneling important information through your kids. Not only does this exacerbate their confusion but in a more practical sense, you can’t be sure that your original message made it all the way through unchanged! What began as “I’ll pick up the kids from school today” could translate to “You’ll get the kids from school today” and where does that leave them when the bell rings?

Navigating Your Co-Parenting Journey Together

Divorce doesn’t have to equal a breakdown in communication. While you might balk at the idea of working with your ex-spouse on a regular basis, keep in mind who suffers when you don’t.

Thankfully, there are resources available to help you communicate from afar if you’re unable or uncomfortable meeting in person.

Not only can resources help you and your spouse work through scheduling and finance issues, but also offer a simple messaging tool that allows you to share ideas, concerns, and comments in seconds.

Get started today and put the communication back in co-parenting.