Top 10 Powerful Divorce Movies to Help Uncertain Kids

Divorce movies

Watching divorce movies together is an excellent way to broach a topic as potentially fraught as parental separation. Children understand the world from a simple but incredibly emotional perspective, and media can help them to make sense of what’s going on in their lives. The most important way you can help kids understand the separation process is through positive, healthy communication.

It’s useful for children to see characters speak openly about their feelings and effectively resolve challenging emotions in a film. In addition to setting a good example, it’s usually much easier to encourage a teenager or tween to be open about their feelings in an indirect way. You can ask them how they perceive what various people in the story are going for and get a solid understanding of how they feel from their insights. 

Subtle Ways Divorce Affects Children

Divorce affects each child differently, with some seeming to find it easy to adapt to the changes and others showing significant signs of stress. Bear in mind that the child who appears to be coping is still likely to be experiencing negative emotions. In most cases, these kids have learned to mask how they feel — either to protect themselves or other people. If you’re struggling to get your kid to express their feelings, watching divorce movies can be a smart way to find out where their head’s at. 

Age plays a crucial role in determining how the child is likely to respond, with teenagers often being the most varied and challenging in their responses. As an adult, it’s your responsibility to maintain a routine in the home and set healthy boundaries.

  • Infants: Young children often find it hard to understand the changes that occur after divorce. Parental separation when a child is this age can instill unhelpful beliefs that persist throughout their life. They might worry that they’re to blame for the situation. There’s also the potential fear that if parents can stop loving each other, they could stop loving them. Parents of divorced children must speak openly about these issues and provide endless reassurance, comfort, and love. 
  • Grade School Kids: Grade school children are also prone to blaming themselves for the situation. However, because they can communicate better than young children, it’s easier to comfort them. Never assume that your child is okay because they aren’t displaying signs of distress. It’s essential to teach them to open up about how they feel so they learn to cope with their feelings constructively.  
  • Teenagers: Expect them to let off steam — their hormones are running wild — and be there to comfort them when they need it. Teenagers can become angry, upset, vicious, and blame one or both parents for the situation. Accept that requests for hugs are likely to be met with squirms and frowns and celebrate positive events. Reassure them that just like all painful emotions, time will be the most effective healer and never deny their experiences.

Divorce brings about astronomical changes to daily life that can feel catastrophic — just remember, it’s not the end of the world. It’s an opportunity to make life even better for you and your child. By approaching the situation with a positive mindset, you’ll help your child to cope with divorce. 

How Can I Help My Children to Cope With Divorce?

The other most effective way to guide your child through this tough time is by finding out how they feel and talking to them about it. Teenagers, in particular, are notoriously difficult to pin down for an in-depth discussion about their internal worlds. They’ll roll their eyes and rarely show appreciation, but it’s still vital that you comfort them and reassure them!  

Never Unload Your Feelings Onto Them

Since it’s your responsibility to provide them stability, you must set healthy boundaries. Divorce is difficult for a child and they need you to be strong now more than ever.

Try always to put them first and never unload your emotions onto them. If you put the burden of your mental health onto your child, they’re likely to repress their feelings and prioritize how you feel instead. You must make it clear that they are the priority and focus your efforts on ensuring they’re meeting their obligations, and you’re meeting yours. Seek advice from family, friends, or a counselor, but never your children — even teenagers.  

Top 10 Divorce Movies for Children

This list of 10 movies gives parents of kids of all ages (and with all kinds of taste) a few ideas of titles that could help children understand divorce.  

1. Night at the Museum (2006)

In Night at the Museum (2006), Ben Stiller plays a divorced father called Larry, who needs to get a job to provide for his son and set a better example to him. The ordinary gig he takes as a security guard at a museum turns out to be extraordinary, as the exhibits come to life and night. All the messages, such as encouraging reading and visiting museums, are positive and constructive. 

Watching a film like this can children as young as seven about divorce by showing them their situation reflected on-screen. Kids don’t like to feel like they’re strange. So, knowing the separation isn’t a result of something being uniquely and individually wrong with them can be incredibly reassuring. 

2. Wilderness Love (2013)

This is a tremendous heartfelt rom-com that explores the theme of parental separation and its effect on children to watch with teenagers. In the story, Mom seems to have found love, but Dad is struggling, and the kids want to give him a helping hand. When the three children sense an opportunity to reunite their parents, they grab it. 

Wilderness Love (2013) gives adults the starting point for an in-depth discussion. You can use the film as a starting point to find out how your child feels about divorce and reconciliation. If they have any misconceptions, you can gently guide them towards the truth.  

3. The Break Up (2006)

The Break Up (2006) is a hilarious rom-com starring Jennifer Aniston. While children aren’t involved, the film explores the financial side of divorce and other films that might be useful for teenagers. This one isn’t for little kids, but it could get help older children develop their understanding of divorce.  

4. Stepmom (1998)

Teenage girls usually love watching rom-coms with their mothers — and so do a lot of teenage boys, secretly! Stepmom (1998) is an excellent weepy movie with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. It explores themes of death and divorce, but perhaps not in the most realistic way. That’s a great way to start a conversation with a teenager: ask them if they think the film is realistic and if they’ve seen any better examples on-screen. 

5. Boyhood (2014)

Boyhood (2014) is a thought-provoking drama that teens with discerning taste are likely to be impressed by. Themes are dealt with maturely and philosophically, posing questions about stepfamilies and overcoming hardships such as abuse and addiction. It’s moving and provides some challenging talking points — but difficult conversations are the most important ones to have.  

6. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

Children’s classic, Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), stars Robin Williams as the man who dresses as a woman so he can see his kids more frequently. It approaches the subject of divorce sensitively while also making light of it. Laughter is another great tool of communication you can impart to your children to help them cope.  

7. The Squid and the Whale (2005)

Indie kids out there of all ages will find The Squid and the Whale (2005) enchanting and deeply insightful. It shows a couple’s divorce from the perspective of the sons as they learn about when a relationship falls apart. It’s a hard-hitting film that could help a divorced parent to bond with their older teenage children.  

8. The Parent Trap (1999)

There’s an old version of this film and a slightly less old version! Modern kids are more likely to relate to the characters in The Parent Trap (1999). It’s a great film for kids of all ages to watch so they can see children of divorced parents depicted in the media. You can ask questions about the film or get them to do a video or written review of it. This way, you’ll get subtle signs about what they feel, even from the most emotionally reserved child.

9. What Maisie Knew (2013)

What Maisie Knew (2013) tells the tale of a family going through a bitter divorce, with a particular focus on how it’s affected the children. Whatever age they were when you went through the divorce, watch this with your child once they become a teenager. It’s emotionally challenging but can start deeply meaningful conversations. 

10. Matilda (1996)

A film like Matilda (1996) doesn’t depict a divorced family — it shows a different kind of dysfunctional family. This movie can help you to teach a child that sometimes children benefit from their parents being separated. It also shows them that parents being together doesn’t automatically bring happiness to a family.

Improve Your Family Life Today

Watching divorce movies with your kids can be a good starting point for engaging them in a discussion about how they feel. This is so important because communication is the most useful skill you can teach your child in a challenging emotional situation.

Download the 2houses app today to help you and your spouse get organized so you can both do the best for your children. 

Couple Break up and Real Estate: What Does the Law Say?

Couple break up

Going through a breakup or divorce comes with a lot of stress emotionally, physically, and financially. It often leaves the couple with a lot of questions, especially if they lived together beforehand. One of the most pressing questions is: What happens to your real estate during a couple break up?

Whether you’re married or not, it’s important to know the standing of your real estate when going through a breakup. Here’s everything you need to know.

Who Gets the House When an Unmarried Couple Splits Up?

Many unmarried couples decide to buy property together.

When doing this, it’s likely the piece of property is jointly purchased. That means there are two names on the loan or mortgage, signifying that both parties hold ownership over the home. If this is the case, it’s likely there could be some arguments over who actually gets the property.

The first thing you have to consider is how you signed the loan. There are typically two ways you can do this.


Some couples will buy a home as tenants-in-common. This method gives each tenant a certain agreed-upon percentage of the home. For example, one half of the couple may own 40% of the home, whereas the other one owns 60%.

In this case, the home might go to the person who owns the majority of the property. The minority party will have to pay off their half of the loan. We’ll go into this more in a bit.

Joint Tenants

Property can also be purchased as joint tenants. This means the property is owned equally — 50/50 — between the two parties. This can make things a little bit messier when it comes to a couple break up.

How Do Unmarried Couples Split Property?

There’s no easy or straight-forward method of splitting real estate after a couple break up. Unless you turn to mediation, you’re going to have to decide who gets the home as a couple. Finances play a key role in determining this.

One party might decide to refinance the loan or mortgage in their name exclusively. In this case, the party taking the home has to have good credit. Doing this absolves the other party of the home entirely.

Another choice is to sell the home jointly to pay off the mortgage or loan. Of course, the home may be worth less than the loan, making this a bad move in some cases.

The riskiest move — especially for your credit score — is to let the bank repossess the property. This gets both parties off the hook, but again, it does major damage to each party’s credit. This should be avoided if possible.

Finally, one party can stay on the loan or mortgage, live in the home, and continue paying it off. They can take the other party’s loan, or have them continue to pay it (although this is unlikely). Either way, both parties will have to remain on the loan on paper, and some parties may not feel comfortable with this if they’re not living in the home.

So, there are a few options for unmarried couples with property, but none of them are easy. What’s more, they each require you as a couple to decide who gets to take on the property. If this can’t be decided, you’re going to have to get a mediator involved.

A mediator will help you decide how the property should be split based on your finances, standing, etc. This is often the best option for couples breaking up, especially if the break up isn’t amicable.

Who Gets the House When a Married Couple Splits Up?

If you’re going through a divorce, it can be even more difficult to determine who gets to keep the property.

The most straight-forward method is for the couple to decide who gets to keep what. If you can do this, you can avoid going to court over the property. However, this may not be viable, especially in a messy divorce.

In this case, the decision is made by the court according to the equitable distribution method. This is a method of splitting maritally owned property, from items to real estate, equally between the two parties. Most states follow this method, except:

  • California
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Arizona
  • Washington
  • Nevada
  • Wisconsin

When going through the equitable distribution method, you’ll both need to appear before the court. Each party will need to present a number of items to find who is most suitable to take on the home.

How Does the Court Decide Who Gets the Property?

The court will have to review a few factors when making its decision. These include:

  • The financial capability and condition of each party
  • How much each party paid toward owning the property
  • Each party’s individual property values (businesses, stocks, etc.)
  • The amount of money each party makes
  • How much money they’ll need in the future to maintain their lifestyle
  • Alimony and child support obligations
  • Who has custody over any kids you may have
  • The employability of each party
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • The general health and age of each party

The court will review all of the above to determine who is best fit to take on the home. They want to give the home to someone who can pay for it and maintain it. The court will want as much information as they can possibly get to help them make their decision.

Another important factor in who gets to take the home is the purchase date. If the home was bought by one party before marriage, there may only be one name on the mortgage. In this case, the home is considered separate property and goes to whoever originally purchased it.

Gifts are also considered the property of the gift recipient. If you were given the house as a gift, it may be yours to live in.

The court won’t always give the home to one party outright, though. Sometimes, they’ll find the home to be marital property, and award both spouses a share in it. What happens then?

What If the Judge Awards Both Parties the Home?

If the judge awards both spouses a share of the home, you have a few options to consider. Since you probably won’t be living together, you’re going to need to do something to pay off the home. These options are similar to what might happen when an unmarried couple splits up their home.

One party may buy out the other’s shares in the home, moving all ownership to them. This can be expensive, but it’s probably the most straightforward way to deal with the issue.

In some cases, the court will let one spouse live in the house for a set period of time even when it’s technically owned by both. The couple is given a date by which the house must be sold. By that date, the spouse living in the home must vacate and have the home sold.

The couple may be told to sell their home as fast as possible. Once the home is sold, the money made from the sale is distributed between each party. The court will decide how this is split up.

Finally, the court may offset the home’s value by giving the other partner more marital assets. For example, one party may be given the home, while the other is given a larger portion of other co-owned property. This may include anything from vehicles to furniture and more.

What About a Deferred Distribution?

With a deferred distribution, the judge sets a future date by which the home must be sold. The judge might do this if you have kids under 18, or if the housing market is in bad shape. The “sell-by” date may fall in line with when your kid(s) turn 18, or when the housing market picks up.

In this case, both parties will continue to pay taxes, mortgage payments, insurance, and maintenance fees on the home. They must keep the home in good shape until the sell-by date. One party is allowed to live there as determined by the court.

Dividing Property During a Couple Break Up Is Never Easy

No part of a divorce or couple break up is easy, especially splitting up real estate.

It’s important to stay strong through the process and remember that this is just temporary. There are plenty of ways to split up your real estate with civility and fairness, whether it’s through the court, a mediator, or through your own means.

Consider the factors above and know that the court will determine the fairest way to go forward. It may not feel like it all the time, but it’s important to remember that these decisions are hard for all parties involved, including the court. Be prepared, get your documents in order, and act with civility, and you’ll get through this in one piece.

If you have kids and have recently gone through a split up, see what 2Houses can do for you. It’s a system designed for easy communication between separated couples, including shared calendars, financial graphs, and a messaging system.

10 Things You Absolutely Need to Avoid When Getting Divorced

Getting divorced

We’ve all heard the infamous, albeit crude, divorce statistics in the US. 

While divorce may be more common than we’d like, there’s something else those ex-couples have in common: getting divorced isn’t easy for any of them. In fact, it’s downright challenging and complicated—whether you’re splitting amicably or not. Unfortunately, many couples go through it, but that also means there’s a lot of insight into how to get through it more seamlessly.

For example, in this article, we provide a list of don’ts for those going through the harrowing divorce process. By observing and practicing these suggested guidelines, you can perhaps make your divorce smoother, allowing you and your ex-spouse to reach the other side with respect, dignity, and integrity. 

Keep reading for advice about habits and actions to avoid at all costs when getting divorced.

1. Be Honest and Transparent

Now is not the time to lie or be vindictive, however tempting it may be.

In fact, lying about certain things like money, assets, or even debts, could be detrimental to your situation. You could potentially get charged with being in contempt of court if you knowingly do something like hiding assets or purchases or rack up credit card debt on your joint account. These actions are illegal.

Be honest about what you have, and try to avoid the tit-for-tat back-and-forth.

Rather than focusing on the little things, use your energy to focus on what matters—the more significant concerns like your home, your will, your children. At the end of the day, it won’t matter who ends up with the CD collection; it’ll matter that you came out free of legal charges.

2. Don’t Badmouth Your Ex-Spouse to the Kids

This action is bad for you, your ex-spouse, and especially your children.

Getting divorced is no easy thing for families. Kids are confused, scared, and resistant to the change that inevitably comes when their parents split. Avoid making it worse by badmouthing your spouse and forcing them to essentially choose sides.

Your children are human beings—not pawns in your divorce. Whenever you’re upset or angry, talk to someone like your attorney rather than your kids. The chances are that later, you’ll regret having said whatever you did anyway.

3. Try to Settle out of Court

Think getting divorced is cheap? Think again.

On average, divorces cost about $15,000 per person. This cost includes legal fees such as hiring an attorney, any court costs, a tax advisor, a child custody evaluator, and more. The factors that affect this cost are things like whether your divorce is contested or not, whether you have to navigate child custody, and whether there’s also alimony (among other factors).

You may be hesitant to hire a mediator, but it may be worth your time and money. If you can settle outside of court, you’ll be able to save yourself a lot of trouble, and especially the financial hit. If possible, try to do as much as you can outside of a courtroom.

Mediation can solve both small and large problems, and it gives you a voice. Additionally, without the litigation, intervention is typically much faster, allowing you and your ex-spouse to start moving on sooner. And of course, the costs are lower, making mediation a more affordable option for many.

Another bonus is that instead of allowing a lawyer to speak for you, you can speak for yourself. 

Of course, if you and your ex-spouse have more complicated problems, such as an uncontested divorce, incidents of abuse, or difficulties coming to a custody agreement, you’ll likely need to hire an attorney. The point here is to solve as much as you can outside of the courtroom, remembering that it’s not your personal space to hash out battles.

4. Consider Your Divorce Like a Business Transaction

It may sound impersonal, but that’s the point!

If you’re undergoing the divorce process in a high emotional state, you’ll be more likely to do things you regret (like setting your ex-spouse’s clothes on fire).

But if you treat the situation like it’s a business transaction, that framework may allow you to approach situations in a calm, respectful demeanor. Using this mindset, you’ll be able to approach every moment like a clear-headed adult.

5. Avoid Telling the World You’re Getting Divorced

Stay off social media!

Okay, fine—you can still be in communication with friends and family on Facebook, and you can still post your food photos on Instagram. The main thing here is to avoid using social media to vent about your divorce online. This point is similar to not badmouthing your ex-spouse to your children—don’t do it to your audience of friends and family, either.

Avoid this not only because you’ll likely regret your actions later, but because this could be used as evidence against you. Similarly, any texts you send to your spouse can be used as evidence. Keep your words calm and respectful, or you could end up seeing your Facebook post blown up on slides in the courtroom.

Plus, you just don’t need the advice of your friends and family. Everyone’s divorce is different. The only people who understand your divorce are you and your ex-spouse.

6. Stop Putting Money Into Joint Accounts

This one may seem obvious, but it could be an overlooked action that winds up being a point of contention.

Once you understand that getting divorced is in your future, it’s time to separate your accounts. Set up your own bank account and begin putting your money there. You don’t want to worry about your ex-spouse taking from your joint account, or racking up a debt on your account, leaving you momentarily dry. 

Advice your ex-spouse to do the same. In fact, anything that’s joint, separate it.

7. Don’t Compare Your Divorce to Others’ Divorces 

If your parents got divorced in the ’70s or even your best friend in recent times, it still wouldn’t be anything like your divorce.

And, taking advice from someone who doesn’t fully understand your situation can be detrimental to your mindset.

This point is true for everything—any future relationships, your relationship with your parents, your children. Each one-on-one relationship is different from the next. Use your gut, your intuition, and your knowledge of the situation to navigate it smartly.

8. Stopping Communication With Your Ex Isn’t Always the Answer

Cutting ties isn’t always the answer unless of course, you’re dealing with an abusive ex-partner.

If not, however, communication is vital for navigating the divorce process.

Try to stay on the same page—this is what will allow you to have successful mediation sessions or come to custody agreements. As long as you each have boundaries about when to talk, and how to talk to each other, try not to stop communication entirely. This doesn’t mean you have to stay friends if it’s uncomfortable, but rather, approaching this in a business-like fashion, as we mentioned earlier.

9. Avoid Jumping Into a Fling or Another Relationship

It may feel like the right answer—get over your ex by getting with someone else, right?

Unfortunately, while it may feel good at the moment, it’s likely not going to feel good later. You need to take the time to process the situation. Additionally, self-care is essential at this time.

What are your hobbies? What do you love to do? What makes you feel alive?

Take this time to fall back into a relationship with yourself. Learn what it feels like to prioritize you and your well-being above all else. Focus on making yourself happy as much as possible during this time, practicing anything that makes you feel good.

10. Try to Resist Playing the Blame Game

This point is similar to the one about treating this like a business transaction.

Unless under extenuating circumstances, such as your ex-spouse was abusive, then it helps to remember that at one point, you two once loved each other. In reality, relationships can fall apart—they don’t always last. No one has to be to blame in this situation. 

Rather, you’re two people who simply aren’t happy together anymore. You would both benefit from living separate lives. Once you accept this fact, it’ll be easier to overcome the hardship and begin to move on.

Most of All, Don’t Make This More Difficult Than It Has to Be

Getting divorced is hard enough without saying or doing things you’ll regret, using the children as pawns, or undergoing expensive court proceedings.

As difficult as it may be, try to remember the love you once had for this person, and when possible, use compassion. Remember, this is hard for your ex-spouse, too! If you can treat them with respect, they’ll be more likely to reciprocate. Avoid making this already trying situation more challenging than it needs to be.

For more insight into navigating the divorce process, keep reading the 2houses blog.

Joint Custody and Father’s Day: How Does it Work When It’s Mom’s Turn?

Shared custody

When it comes to parenting, we dads tend to be underestimated. People assume that a child’s mother is the primary parent and that the dad simply pitches in every so often. That perception is even stronger in joint custody families when the kids spend most of their time living with your ex.

No matter who thinks what, one fact is certain: Father’s Day is your day. It’s an opportunity to celebrate your relationship with your kids. Of course, that’s hard to do if you don’t have the kids with you for the holiday.

How does joint custody work when Father’s Day isn’t supposed to be your day? Before I delve into that topic, you need to find out whether Father’s Day is already one of your days with the kids.

How to Know if You Have Your Kids for Father’s Day

Unless specified otherwise, Father’s Day is just like any other Sunday in your parenting plan. If you’re already supposed to have the kids on that day, you’re in luck.

It’s also a good idea to check your parenting plan. Most families make special agreements for holidays, and that may include Father’s Day.

If following your parenting plan would mean your kids would be with your ex for Father’s Day, hope isn’t lost. You can work it out with your ex to celebrate Father’s Day the right way.

What to Do if You Want to Have Your Kids for Father’s Day

Let’s say Father’s Day this year doesn’t fall on a day when you’d normally have the kids. Use these tips as your next steps.

1. Open a Negotiation

If you want to change your custody schedule with your ex, it’s all a negotiation. Start early, at least a few weeks in advance, so you have time to come to an agreement. If you live in a different state and your kids will need travel arrangements, start the discussion earlier.

The best way to approach the discussion is as an even exchange. Offer to swap with your ex so you can have the kids on Father’s Day and then can have them for another day that they normally wouldn’t.

2. Use Written Communication

This is critical in any co-parenting situation, no matter how you relate to your ex. Even for minor details, always use written communication like texts or emails.

There are several reasons for this. First, it puts your agreement in writing. If your ex tries to back out later or says they don’t remember, you have it in black and white.

The second advantage is that with written communication, there is no face-to-face or vocal communication. The more removed the conversation is, the less likely you are to get into an argument.

Finally, written communication gives you a chance to think through your words before you respond. Is that swap your ex is offering really fair? If they’re trying to bait you into a fight, how can you word your response to stay calm and mature?

3. Get Your Attorney’s Input

You don’t need to lose your family law attorney’s number when your custody arrangement is signed. They should be available as an ongoing resource you can turn to when new issues arise. I can all but promise you that in co-parenting, there will be new issues that come up.

Check in with your attorney about your Father’s Day arrangement. Before texting your ex about it, send the text to your attorney to see if they think you should change the wording. They can give you other tips for handling the situation in a way that maintains your legal integrity.

4. Consider a Long-Term Father’s Day Agreement

No one wants to ask their ex for a favor every year to spend Father’s Day with their kids. Instead, consider asking your ex to amend your parenting plan so that you always have the kids for Father’s Day.

This will cut down on long-term drama and stress. A word, of caution, though: a few weeks before Father’s Day is not the time to start this process.

You can all but guarantee that the change won’t be in place before the upcoming Father’s Day. You could make your ex angry in the process, so they might deny you the ability to have this Father’s Day with the kids.

Instead, negotiate a one-time swap for the upcoming Father’s Day. Then wait until the holiday has passed before you take action toward changing the parenting plan.

Every state’s process for changing a parenting plan is unique. Speak with your family law attorney to see how to move forward. It may require a formal request for a custody modification.

5. Plan Your Special Day

Let’s assume you work things out with your ex so the kids are with you for Father’s Day. You want to make the most of the special day, especially if you aren’t sure you’ll have future Father’s Days together.

Plan something to do for the day with your kids. Take them out to an amusement park, a movie, a fun restaurant, you name it. Make it a fun day for you all to spend together.

6. Have Realistic Expectations

As important as it is to plan your Father’s Day, you can’t go overboard. Don’t assume it will be a magical, flawless day that your kids will cherish forever.

Your kids are still kids. They might be cranky or they may have a last-minute school project they need to finish. Prepare yourself to roll with the punches and make the most out of anything that comes your way.

Your realistic expectations apply to Father’s Day gifts and cards, too. Don’t assume your ex will take the high road and help the kids get a gift for you. If they don’t, realize that it isn’t a reflection of how much your kids love you.

How Does Joint Custody Work in Difficult Situations?

In most divorced couples, negotiating for the father to have the kids on Father’s Day is a no-brainer. You are the kids’ father, after all, so it only makes sense. There are some situations that are more complicated, though.

What if You’re One of Two Fathers?

Without a doubt, negotiating Father’s Day custody is more difficult if your ex is also your children’s father. You can assume that he wants to spend Father’s Day with them as much as you do.

In these cases, it’s often best to trade off. Perhaps you’ll have the kids this year, then your ex will have them next year, and it goes back and forth.

There’s also the option for both of you to celebrate Father’s Day with the kids if you’re on good terms. If you try this, lay out ground rules in advance about having a joyful, conflict-free day.

What if Your Kids Have a Stepfather?

If your ex is married or committed to a new man, he may take on a fatherly role for your kids. That’s all fine and dandy unless he’s trying to push you out in the process.

If the stepfather wants to have Father’s Day with the kids, explain calmly and clearly that this is important to you. Remind him that you’re the kids’ father so this should be a special day between you and the kids.

It may help to come up with a different day that the kids can celebrate their stepfather. Talk to him about making up your own Stepfather’s Day for the kids to celebrate with him.

What if Your Ex Won’t Agree to a Swap?

The reality is that as hard as you try, you’re at the mercy of whether your co-parent agrees to a swap for Father’s Day. If they don’t, you can still make your own Father’s Day.

Simply tell the kids you’re rescheduling Father’s Day this year for a day when they’re supposed to be with you. Show them your excitement and tell them it’ll be a special day between you.

As angry and hurt as you may be by your ex’s actions, remember to never speak about it to your kids. If you badmouth your ex, you put yourself at risk for being accused of alienating them. That will hurt you in future parenting plan negotiations.

More importantly, though, you’re hurting your kids’ precious relationship with their other parent.

If you do need to “reschedule” Father’s Day, it doesn’t mean you have to cross off that original day on the calendar. While your kids are with your ex, use it as a day to celebrate you. Take the day off from housework and do something you enjoy.

Dealing with Joint Custody on Father’s Day

Whether you’ve been separated for a year or a decade, co-parenting can be complicated. Simple questions like “how does joint custody work on Father’s Day?” aren’t always simple.

With this guide, you can make sure Father’s Day remains a special day your kids look forward to every year. They won’t mind if you have to tweak the schedule.

For more co-parenting tips, check out more 2houses blogs.

A Complete Guide to the Different Modes of a Joint Custody Agreement

Joint custody agreement

Facing a divorce can be challenging enough. Anger, rejection, fear, disappointment, and failure are all normal feelings of someone facing divorce. If you are lucky, you have mutually agreed upon divorce, there are fewer emotions to struggle with as you go through the process. 

Adding to the emotions of divorce is how to care for your children. Who will have custody? Will there be an amicable joint custody agreement possible? You worry about not seeing your kids on a daily basis and worse yet, being away from them on some holidays. 

Finding a custody arrangement that can work for both parents and especially the kids is tricky and complicated by the many emotions of a divorce. Most parents want to find a way to co-parent and do what’s best for their kids as they navigate a different way of life. 

Which type of custody will work best for you and your kids? Read on to learn about the different types of custody arrangements and how custody is decided. 

Types of Custody

Aside from dissolving a marriage when divorcing, people with children must also come up with a plan for custody of their children. There are a variety of considerations with custody and ways to set it up. Ultimately, parents should have the goal to co-parent together for the benefit of their kids.

Custody factors in many considerations. These include:

  • Who makes legal decisions for the child?
  • Where does the child physically live?
  • Who else is legally allowed to see a child?
  • How will holidays be divided for each parent?
  • Are there reasons a parent should be prevented from seeing a child? 

While emotions can be hard to navigate, ultimately, what type of custody arrangement should be in the best interest of the child and be workable for the parents of the child. 

Let’s take a closer look at the types of custody arrangements. 

Legal Custody

Physical custody (more on that later) and legal custody are two different considerations when deciding on custody. Legal custody in simple terms means the parent or parents have the right to make legal and long term decisions for the child. 

While sometimes a parent might have physical custody, often parents share legal custody. Legal custody allows parents to make decisions regarding:

  • A child’s education
  • Medical care
  • Dental care
  • Religious instruction

In typical terms, legal custody is usually joint. When a parent demonstrates a reason for the courts to be concerned, they may opt to only grant legal custody to one parent.

A parent who has a drug abuse problem, is violent or is accused of domestic abuse, for example, might not be granted legal custody.

Sole Legal Custody

Remember, legal custody allows a parent or parents to make decisions on behalf of their children. In the case of sole legal custody, a singular parent would be making the legal decisions for the children.  In this case, one parent, for any number of reasons, has been excluded from being involved in the decision making. 

It should be noted that even if one parent has more physical custody time, courts want parents as much as possible to share the legal custody. This requires them to make decisions together on behalf of their kids. 

When a parent is awarded sole legal custody, that parent may not need to take into consideration the opinion or wishes of the other parent.

Joint Legal Custody

Joint legal custody is the most common type of legal custody. In this arrangement, no matter the physical custody arrangement, both parents have equal rights to make legal and long term decisions for their children. 

Often forms of joint legal custody require parents to agree or to make decisions together regarding their children. Even if the child spends more physical time with one parent over another, if there’s joint legal custody, parents would have equal say in decision making for the child. 

Physical Custody

Unlike legal custody, physical custody has to do with where the child lives physically. Who does the child spend the most time with? Which parent’s home does the child live in the most? 

Physical custody explains where the child will live. There are a whole host of ways physical custody can be arranged. Ultimately, arranging physical custody is important for the kids and helping them to maintain their life as normally as possible. 

It can also be challenging for parents to agree on physical custody as it means where the child lives and how much time one parent must be away from them.  

For some parents, they agree easily and do what will work for them and their kids. The kids moving from mom’s house to dad’s house becomes a way of life. For other parents, the child spends more time with one parent and visits with the other parent. 

Courts will look to make amicable arrangements for physical custody often with the goal to be that children get time with both parents.

Let’s take a closer look at some types of physical custody arrangements.

Sole Physical Custody

When a court awards sole physical custody to one parent, it means the child lives with that parent. It does not necessarily mean the other parent does not see or have time with the child. Sole physical custody means the child lives in one household instead of dividing their time between two homes. 

In some sole custody scenarios, the non-custodial parent will not have visitation rights. In this case, the judge has made the decision, likely for the safety of the child, that the other parent doesn’t have rights to see the child. Something pretty significant has happened to bring on this kind of decision by the courts. 

Often, however, the non-custodial parent might not have custody but instead, they have visitation. More on visitation later).  This parent might be allowed one evening a week to spend with the child. Sometimes the visitation will extend to weekends or alternating weekends too. 

Joint Physical Custody

As already explained, physical custody has to do with where the child lives. So, in a joint physical custody scenario, the child lives with both parents. However, it is arranged, the child splits their time between the two parents’ homes. 

There are a variety of ways joint physical custody can be set up. In some cases, the child spends one week with one parent and then the next week the other parent. Some families choose to arrange two weeks at a time. In other cases, a family might have set up a 2-2-3 arrangement where they alternate between the houses for those days. 

The more often the child moves back and forth between houses, the more unsettling it can be for them. Either they must get good at packing and hauling their things between houses. Or they have duplicate items at each parent’s home.  

Bird’s Nest Custody

Bird’s nest custody is an interesting approach to custody. Instead of the child moving from home to home, the child stays put in one home. The different parents rotate in and out of the home when it’s their turn for custody. 

While this is fantastic for the kids and doesn’t require them to move around, it requires some real selfless actions by the parents. Parents must be willing to create and maintain a residence that the children use. Then they also need an alternate place to go when it isn’t their turn for custody.


Visitation is set up when there is a non-custodial parent or another adult who needs or wants time with the child but the child doesn’t live with them. 

Visitation is set up with an official schedule, so parents know when and for how long a child will be the other person. 

There are several different types of visitation. Let’s take a closer look at these. 

Unsupervised Visitation

Unsupervised visitation means the non-custodial parent has the right to spend time with the child alone. This is scheduled time and they are typically allowed to take them from their custodial home so they can spend time with them. This time could be for an evening or a weekend, for example. 

Unsupervised visitation is the most common type of visitation. Occasionally, the supervision doesn’t need to be supervised, yet there will still be some restrictions. For example, if the child is a baby and still breastfeeding from the mother. The visit might be required to happen in the home where the baby lives, so the mother who has custody can still feed the baby during the scheduled visit as needed.  

Supervised Visitation

Supervised visitation is a little more restrictive than unsupervised visitation. This means the non-custodial parent can see the child but another adult who is trusted must also be present. The supervision might be offered by a grandparent or a family friend who is believed to be trustworthy to monitor the visit. 

In some cases, the supervised visit means the child can leave the home with the non-custodial parent and the agreed-upon supervisor.

In other cases, the visit must happen at a court-appointed location. If there are reasons to question whether the parent is safe or trustworthy, sometimes supervised visitation is done in the presence of a court-appointed social worker or another court-appointed designee can monitor the visit. 

Virtual Visitation

Even before COVID-19 made virtual get-togethers something people did, virtual visitation was a part of some custody agreements. This type of visitation might happen if one of the parents is not available to get together in person. It might also happen if the parent is not allowed to visit with the child in-person. 

Obviously, virtual visitation is a little more challenging with a younger child who might not have the attention span for a screen. 

This type of visitation can be scheduled like in-person visitation is scheduled. If the non-custodial parent lives far away from the child or maybe even travels for their job, the virtual visitation is a way for them to see and still spend some time together. 

Grandparents or Third Party Visitation

There are situations where a court might grant custody to a party that is not a parent. Often in this situation, the visitation is granted to a grandparent, a step-parent, another close relative, or even a foster parent. 

States will vary on their stance to this type of visitation. Some states are quite restrictive and keep visitation to parents only.  While other states recognize there may be situations where one of these other adults is very important in the child’s life and continuing to see them is best for the child. 

This kind of visitation will be situational. A court will need to consider the child’s best interests, the motivation of those requesting visitation, and parental involvement too. 

Custody Decisions

Custody decisions can be weighty and challenging. When you add in the emotions of a divorce, for some coming to an agreement about custody can’t be done without their party involvement. 

In the end, a court would much prefer two parents to sit down and work out a custody agreement that they can both live with and abide by. It saves money for the parents to do this and helps to facilitate the beginning of years and years of the co-parenting relationship. 

Sometimes, emotions get in the way, and parents are not able to do this without some assistance. Sometimes, attorneys can negotiate on behalf of the respective parents. Other times the court needs to bring in mediators to help facilitate the custody agreement. 

If parents can’t reach an agreement, the court and judge will make the decision. Parents are much better off working together to get to this decision. Once a judge makes the decision, then they must live with it. It will almost always be in the best interest of the child for the parents to work together on an agreement. 

Legal, Physical and Joint Custody Agreement

Deciding as parents to a joint custody agreement that allows the child to have time with both parents is often what’s best for the child. Divorce can be hard on kids and finding a solution that is amicable should be the goal. It means parents have to keep the goal of co-parenting in a positive and open-minded way at the forefront of their custody conversations. 

If you need help working together for the best interest of your child, we can help. Contact us today about our communication services so you can do what’s best for your child.

The Complete Guide That Makes Managing Co-Parenting Expenses Simple


As 40 to 50% of US marriages end in divorce, chances are many of us will face the changes that come with separating from a spouse. When there are children involved and finances to manage, the situation is far more intimidating.

If you and your ex are co-parenting with a joint custody schedule, you may already realize that agreeing on a fair way to split child expenses it harder than it seems.

Life isn’t linear, especially when it comes to children, so there’s no secret formula to budgeting for co-parents. You can let a mediator or judge decide how to divide your cash—from everything from shoes to college—but what if your child wants to play sports? Or go to an amusement park with friends? It may be no big deal to you, but your ex may not have the resources to support those activities. 

If one of you can’t meet your financial obligations, you may have to suffer through some difficult conversations. Keep reading for tips on navigating these conversations, creating a budget, and saving money as a co-parent.

Tips for Managing Co-Parenting Expenses

When managing co-parenting expenses, both people must improvise and compromise. Every individual, couple, and divorce is different, so there is no single answer. 

As you search for an answer as to how to split clothing, activities, and other expenses, try the following tips.

Learn How to Communicate

Many couples make communication harder than it already is. Both parties should hear out the other person’s point of view. Sure, one parent may “win,” but you also may be able to meet in the middle. 

Parents are more likely to be amicable to each other and agree if the activity and expenses are discussed beforehand. It’s crucial that both parents feel a part of the decision-making process. 

For successful communication, try to limit your demands and any passive-aggressive snarks. Simply talk and listen to what the other parent wants to say. Of course, this is often easier said than done. 

Communication may be the reason you and your ex-partner didn’t work out—some people just aren’t good at communicating. If you’re just learning how to co-parent successfully, here are some communication guidelines:

  • Talk about expectations as early in the divorce process as possible. Being open in the beginning can prevent misunderstandings later. 
  • Determine which expenses are essential and which aren’t. Establish boundaries around your income and personal savings. 
  • Be prepared to choose your battles. You will not always agree 100% on decisions. If you can’t see eye-to-eye, determine whether its genuinely worth fighting over. Be ready to move on and focus on the needs of your child.

Develop a System for Dividing Expenses

Some extra items and activities won’t be covered in court or meditation, so you may want to follow the court’s lead when deciding how to split them. 

Start by looking at your divorce decree. The decree usually spells out the designated responsibilities of each co-parent. It will typically clearly break out specific cost responsibilities. You can use this as your guide to communicating about shared expenses.

Typically, if a judge finds certain expenses to be reasonable and necessary, they will be divided proportionately to the parents’ income. The parent who makes more money will pay more of the extraordinary expense. 

Another way to approach these expenses is for the parent who feels most strongly about the activity should pay most or all of the money. When your ex feels your child should have an expensive item or participate in an extravagant event, they can foot the bill and vice versa.

Also, don’t sweat the small stuff. If your ex owes you a small amount, like $5, you should take one for the team. Then, you may see the other parent adapt in ways you hadn’t expected, like offering to babysit or bringing you coffee to your kid’s next football game. 

The key here is to put out positive and friendly energy because you will usually get it in return. 

Careful Discussing Finances With Children

If you have negative views towards the way your ex spends their money, save it for a friend or your therapist. For example, you might think your ex is a narcissist who splurges for themselves but rarely for your kids.

It might make you feel better to rant about how uncaring and selfish your ex is, but those comments make yourself feel good, not your children.

Parents should avoid involving the children in discussions about why they can’t afford certain activities or things. And they should never, ever throw the “I can’t afford to take you there because I have to pay mommy child support” card. 

You don’t have to keep your kids in the dark about your financial situation due to the divorce. You must, however, talk about it in a way that doesn’t place blame on your ex—or unwittingly, to your child.

Most experts agree that the more parents try to help their children understand finances, the more capable they are in managing their expectations about what they can have—or do—when they are with one parent or the other. 

Put the Kids First

You’ll hear this time and time again but always put the kids first. However, it’s not easy to do. For this reason, each parent should embrace “put the kids first” as their mantra instead of incessantly nickel-and-diming each other.

You don’t have to cast your needs aside. A situation may come up in which one parent unexpectedly picks up a significant expense, and the next time this happens, the other parent is willing to step up and cover it.

If it will work for you and your spouse, track “extra” expenses paid throughout the year, then make it equitable and fair at year-end.

Whichever way you decide to handle your co-parenting expenses, be sure its a system that works for the long haul. As co-parents, you may be splitting expenses for longer than you’d expect. 

Avoid Lawyers if You Can

Whenever possible, avoid attorney fees and go the mediation route unless you can work it out fairly and amicably together. 

Families can waste thousands of dollars in court and attorney fees. If there is any way you and your ex can put your egos aside and agree to a collaborative divorce, this will save you a lot of time and heartache. 

Fees wasted in court could go along way in the family fund—think theme parks and beach trips. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Be Creative

One way to manage expenses is to put all costs related to your children on a credit card held in both parents’ names. You can charge clothes, sports equipment and fees, school costs, dental and eye care, and more to this card. Then, parents split the bill at the end of the month and rarely have to discuss expenses.

Similarly, some co-parents choose to put money into a joint bank account and access the funds using debit cards. When determining how much to put into the savings account, you could choose equal sums or a pro-rated amount based on income.

How to Create a Co-Parenting Budget for a Joint Custody Schedule

You can share expenses without a budget. Having a shared budget for childcare expenses can smooth out the co-parenting process.

Your budget should include all the child-related expenses you’ve agreed to share, and how much each of you contributes. You can also create a budget that consists of the costs that you each assume sole responsibility for.

Commonly shared expenses by co-parents include things such as:

  • Babysitting services
  • Daycare or after-school care
  • Health and dental care
  • Clothing
  • Extracurricular activities (think sports, art classes, music lessons, etc.)
  • Field trips and other school activities
  • Camp fees
  • Birthday parties
  • Private school tuition
  • Contributions for college savings-accounts

How your custody is shared, and your respective incomes will determine how you split these expenses. If you have an equal custody arrangement, a 50-50 split may be the best choice. However, a 70-30 split is popular for situations where one parent makes significantly more. 

You should also include housing and food costs in your co-parenting budget. How you split these costs will also depend and vary due to the custody arrangement, parents’ income, and whether one parent provides financial support to the other. 

For example, if one parent has primary custody of the children, they may be responsible for covering housing and food with child support or alimony supplementation. 

Don’t forget that there are long-term expenses that come with raising children, including purchasing their first car and paying for college. If your written plan covers these expenses, you can view how costs will be divided—in black and white. Then, you can plan your budget accordingly.

Use Digital Tools to Your Advantage

If the idea of a budget on paper intimidates you, there are apps and tools available to help you manage the money side of co-parenting. 

Miscommunication regarding which items each parent pays for is usually the place where co-parents will argue—inputting data into an app that both parties have access to leaves less room for that bickering.

Managing your data digitally also creates a paper trail, which ensures that each parent upholds what is in their decree while keeping lawyers in the loop.

2houses offers a simple financial management tool. For co-parents, 2houses helps you manage shared expenses while continuously displaying the balance. This transparency ensures that accounts are reconciled and healthy. 

The app even includes the capability to send payment invitations to the other parent.

Let’s say you want to suggest the purchase of a new jacket and send a photo, or need advice on a future gift for one of your kids. You can use the wishlist feature to keep track of these situations easily.

It’s also simple to keep track of expenses and export reports—in CSV or PDF format—by period or expenditure category.

Tips for Saving Money

Finding savings while devising a co-parenting budget can make it even easier to get along. To lower expenses, try the following tips:

  • If both parents are on good terms with one another’s family, perhaps a family member could help with babysitting. This arrangement could lessen daycare or childcare costs. 
  • Try to minimize driving time when structuring your custody plan to help lower transportation costs. 
  • Both parents should review their health insurance plans to decide whether their plan is the most cost-effective for covering children. If you have one, take advantage of your Health Savings Account (HSA).
  • Talk through tax filing. It could save you more money to alternate claiming the kids each year, but it might make sense for one parent to always claim them as dependents. Find a tax professional who can find you the most significant savings.
  • Again, work out issues together without turning to attorneys. Separate emotions and focus on your goal: the children. 

Managing shared costs is often stressful, so using these tips can lessen the stress on the parents and kids alike. 

It’s Time to Get on the Same Financial Page

Separation and adjusting to a joint custody schedule isn’t the only factor that can impact family resources. Children grow up in single-home families where a parent loses their job, a parent changes careers and goes back to school, someone gets sick, etc. These are all life changes that impact a family’s budget.  

When co-parenting, talk to your kids in positive, constructive ways about budget changes. Having a can-do attitude will contribute to their healthy resilience when faced with change when they are later adults.

Commit to working together as co-parents to improve family life for you and your children. If you’re ready to try 2houses for your family budget, contact us today for a 14-day trial!

Is An Uncontested Divorce Easier for Children?

Uncontested divorce

From Kramer vs. Kramer to Marriage Story, you’re likely familiar with films about contested family breakups. As these movies artfully point out, everybody loses in a messy divorce with children. 

Not only does the average contested divorce cost $15,000 or more per individual, but it can also take between four months and a year. The lost time, emotional distress, and pain of this process can feel overwhelming for adults.

It can also devastate children, leaving them feeling guilty, confused, anxious, and heartbroken. A contested divorce can also prolong a child’s adjustment to the changes taking place in their life. 

Although not always possible, an uncontested divorce remains a much better solution for former spouses and their children. Keep reading for a full examination of why a peaceful split is easier for kids.

The Cost of Divorce

A divorce can be a costly event, especially if you and your former spouse can’t agree on how your separation should proceed. After all, divorce is technically a lawsuit where one spouse sues the other.

Not only will it cost you and your ex tens of thousands of dollars, but if a trial is required? You and your kids could get stuck in divorce limbo for 12 months or longer. Anxiety, fear, and worry can quickly mount.

What are some of the factors affecting the average cost of a divorce? They include:

  • Whether the divorce is contested or uncontested
  • Mediation
  • Alimony
  • Child custody
  • Child evaluation
  • Hourly rates for lawyers (as opposed to a retainer fee)
  • Where the divorce gets filed (e.g., local filing fees)

As you can see, number one on this list remains whether the divorce is contested or uncontested.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

What if you and your former spouse can come to a mutual agreement about most, if not all, things? Then, you could end up with $14,500 in savings per person.

In other words, an uncontested divorce can cost as little as $500 if you file the paperwork yourself. If you opt for a lawyer, you may never have to set foot in a courthouse. You’ll significantly shorten the amount of time it takes to receive a divorce, too.

Instead of fighting it out in court, use this saved time and money wisely. Establish a new life and provide for your children, emotionally and financially. Divorce can make kids feel as if their lives have gotten wholly uprooted.

Quickly establishing a new routine and a sense of normalcy will help them get used to these changes. It will also ensure a happier childhood with fewer long-term consequences. 

What are some more ways to establish a “new” normal? Start by creating a custody calendar for co-parenting.

Emotional Benefits of an Amicable Breakup

Divorce is never easy. Adding children to the mix only makes a tough situation harder. Research shows there are two main ways that divorce can hurt kids:

  1. The painful split itself
  2. The loss of resources

An uncontested divorce can help mitigate both areas of harm. How? By keeping communications between former spouses constructive and healthy and by avoiding strained resources.

You and your ex should work hard to maintain a respectful, supportive relationship that focuses on your children. When parents do this, children benefit in countless ways.

An uncontested divorce will save you and your family plenty of heartache. It will also put both you and your co-parent in better financial positions to take care of your children.

What if you can come to an amicable understanding of the division of assets? What if you can calmly discuss child custody and support? Then, an uncontested divorce may prove your best option.

It will allow everyone to move on. All parties involved will be able to place their focus and energy on new routines. They’ll also have more time, money, and emotional resources to invest in their children.

Investing in Your Children’s Future

Besides lawyer’s fees and filing fees, divorce proceedings can also come with many other expenses that are easy to overlook. For example, there will be:

  • Transportation costs
  • Lost time at work
  • Baby-sitting costs
  • And more

By avoiding these added expenses, you’ll have more money available to invest in your children’s futures. In the process, you’ll also spare your children the anger, pain, and uncertainty associated with contested divorces.

Finally, you’ll provide an excellent role model. What do I mean? For starters, your children will see first hand how two mature adults can handle a difficult situation.

Situations Where an Uncontested Divorce with Children Won’t Work

What if you and your ex can’t agree on major issues such as custody and child support? Then, a contested divorce may be in order. A few other situations may warrant a contested divorce, too.

They include relationships where domestic violence is a factor. If you are the victim of domestic violence, seek the advice of an attorney right away. Don’t attempt to negotiate with an individual who has proven that they are capable of violence.

If you fear that your ex is abusing your children, this scenario also may call for a contested divorce. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, your children may even need to take the witness stand.

This type of situation can prove devastating for children on multiple levels. They often are made to feel as if they’re picking sides.

What’s more, they may feel emotions like guilt, frustration, and anger. Where a child’s safety is compromised, however, these dangers must be addressed. 

Apart from extreme situations like these, parents should maintain a mature outlook. They should also attempt to work towards an amicable resolution. 

Divorcing with Children

Divorce often makes kids feel as if their whole world has been turned upside down. No matter their ages, the experience can prove traumatic. Yet, staying in an unhealthy marriage for the sake of the children can leave even deeper scars.

How can you help your children through this challenging time? Above all else, kids need to know that you’ll both stay involved in their lives. 

How an Amicable Breakup Can Help

After all, kids want to love both of their parents and enjoy the time that they have with them. An uncontested divorce can help you provide this support to your children. 

Kids also want the fighting to stop. They want to see their parents get along.

They long for their parents to communicate directly with one another and not involve them. For example, passing messages back and forth through children can lead to serious stress. 

Children also want their parents to say only kind things about one another. Otherwise, they may feel compelled to take sides. 

Here are four tips to help you and your ex communicate effectively with one another during an amicable divorce.

Things to Consider During a Divorce with Children Involved

Remember, too, that many children blame themselves when a divorce happens. They may experience feelings of guilt and worry. Fortunately, by opting for an uncontested divorce, you can dramatically reduce your children’s pain.

If your situation warrants an uncontested divorce, do it. It will minimize the tension and turmoil that court proceedings create. Maintaining a working relationship with your ex can help kids experience less anguish and stress overall. 

Few things harm children more than seeing their parents in conflict. (That’s why staying in an unhappy, unhealthy marriage can lead to more harm than good.)

During a breakup, it’s up to you and your ex to make your kids feel loved, valued, and safe. It’s also up to you both to practice good communication skills. Here are some more tips that can make the process of divorce with children go easier for everyone. 

The Value of an Uncontested Divorce with Children

When parents go through a contested divorce, it can lead to severe financial strain. There’s also the potential for extended emotional turmoil.

Court proceedings take precedent over everything else. Children often feel as if they get lost in the mix.

Through an uncontested divorce, you can make your children the top priority (instead of lawyers and judged). An amicable divorce also allows you to present a united front and show restraint by being respectful of your ex.

An uncontested divorce allows your family to adjust to a new normal. Instead of spending countless months dealing with the uncertainty and worry associated with divorce limbo.

It allows you and your ex to make critical family decisions rather than putting them in the hands of lawyers and a family court judge. Contested divorce also permits you to keep a routine, which makes kids feel safer and more secure. 

Getting a Divorce with Kids

Do you feel overwhelmed by the thought of divorce with children? Are you wondering where to start when it comes to creating a custody schedule, agreeing on child support, and more? First of all, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone.

Many other co-parents have already successfully navigated an amicable uncoupling. And they’ve done so to the benefit of their children.

The first step in the process? Developing a parenting plan that works for you and your ex.

How do you craft a document like this? Check out these criteria to help you get started on the road to an uncontested divorce with kids. 

Being a Stepmom on Mother’s Day: You Deserve It, Too!

Being a Stepmom on Mother's Day: You Deserve It, Too

On Mother’s Day, women around the world are recognized for their child-raising efforts; but sadly, stepmoms are hardly acknowledged. 

Step-parents understand they’re not the primary parent; however, most do want others to respect them. After all, step-parents face many challenges. From bad relationships with biological moms to lack of reciprocated affection, it can be difficult. 

That’s why it’s important to celebrate Mother’s Day every year. It’s essential to feel appreciated and recognized.  

With this guide, you can learn how to celebrate Mother’s Day in your own way. Whether that means kicking back in your favorite PJ’s or laying on the beach, you can make your own special memories. 

Now, are you ready to dive in? Here’s an in-depth look at how to celebrate as a stepmom: 

Enjoy the Day with No Expectations From Your Stepkids

As a stepmom, Mother’s Day can be challenging since it can remind you of everything you do but receive little to no recognition. If your stepchildren do indeed show their appreciation, it can be, at times, awkward for their insincere efforts. 

It’s okay to want some kind of praise, after all, you deserve it. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll always receive a present or a card from your stepkids. Sometimes children feel that it dishonors their mother to celebrate their stepmom.  

That’s why it’s best to have no expectations for your stepkids on Mother’s Day. If a child presents you with a hand-written card or a gift of some kind, then that’s amazing! Embrace their offering and thank them for their praise. 

However, if they don’t, try not to take it personally. Instead, remind yourself that the most important gift is not a material one but rather having the privilege to shape a child’s life. 

Husbands Carry the Day

For many stepmoms, the only person who will truly celebrate Mother’s Day is their husband. However, try not to fret about the missed presents, cards, or words of recognition. 

This actually allows you to create your own special day. A day where you can reconnect with your husband, make long-lasting memories, and even feel pampered if you want. By creating your own special day, you can start new traditions and allow your husband to show you just how much he appreciates you. 

It’s important, however, to set the expectations-that way you’re not disappointed or let down.

Tell your spouse if you want flowers or a card in addition to a planned getaway or instead of. Let him know, and he’ll make sure to deliver to the best of his abilities. 

How to Celebrate 

Planning your own celebration is the best. That way, you can select a day that fits within your schedule. You can pick a planned getaway the day before Mother’s Day or enjoy a nice trip on the day itself. 

Just remember to plan around events that might include your kid’s biological parent. Now to get you started here are a few ideas: 

Spend a Weekend at a Bed and Breakfast 

Need some alone time with your hubby? Stay at a cozy B&B for the weekend, and reminisce about the good times your family has had. Enjoy not worrying about chores, early morning wake up calls, or the stresses of work. 

Just relax and enjoy one another’s company. However, wait until you hear the best part you can wake up on Sunday morning to a mouthwatering breakfast that you and your spouse didn’t have to cook! Now, don’t feel guilty for asking for a little time away from the kids.

In fact, in order to be the best mom, you have to take care of yourself emotionally, physically, and mentally. So if you want to be whisked away to a cute B&B and get treated to a restful sleep, let your husband know. Your motherhood efforts need to be acknowledged and recognized accordingly. 

Spend the Day at a Nearby Beach   

As a more affordable option, you can spend a day at the beach. You can sunbathe, swim in the ocean, or play a beach sport. Perhaps even have a picnic on the cozy white sand with your husband too. 

Try not to nitpick on how you’re alike or unlike from your kid’s biological mother. During Mother’s Day, that can be hard to refrain from; however, it’s important to enjoy the moment and focus on you and your stepkids. 

One way you can do that is to set goals with your husband to help you become better connected with your stepfamily. For example, you can start planning family movie nights, weekly game nights, or even family trips. 

Relax with a Trip to the Spa 

Who said being a stepmom isn’t difficult, that’s why a trip to the spa is definitely deserved. You can delight in treatments like a hot stone massage, a facial, or enjoy additional services like hair styling. 

But why go for the basics when you can have specialty treatments? Ask about the Thai massage, mud wrap, or inquire about the salt scrub body treatments. While they may be increased in price, they have incredible health benefits and will make your stay feel even more posh. 

If you don’t want to go alone, enlist one of your friends or even ask your hubby to join you. You can get separate treatments or enjoy a couple’s massage. With a full day of being pampered, you’ll feel relaxed and rejuvenated. 

Find Another Stepmom and Go out for Brunch 

Stepmoms understand navigating Mother’s Day is challenging, so what better way to celebrate than together. You can enjoy some gal time at your favorite brunch cafe or dine at a local eatery. Indulge in some wine and chocolate or simply have a fancy meal. 

Whether or not you want to bring gifts depends on each other’s personality. However, if you want to, you can buy a stepmom themed wine glass, a pair of cozy socks, or a scented candle.  

Just make sure to catch up on the latest family gossip and the best tidbits of married life. That way, you can support one another through this time. Just remember to remind one other that while it might not seem like it, you are valued for all that you do. 

Go to a Fancy Restaurant  

It’s one of the more cliché options on this list, but there’s nothing like eating a good meal. Make a reservation for one of your favorite restaurants or be adventurous and try something new. 

Enjoy a cocktail or two followed by an appetizer, delicious entree, and don’t forget about the dessert! Don’t try and justify each pricey decision; instead, treat yourself. You’ve cooked, cleaned, and helped tirelessly with every decision. 

Now, it’s time for you to enjoy a nice meal. However, don’t just go out in your work clothes; instead, dress up and make a night of the occasion. Go for a stroll after dinner and people watch or drive around town and talk endlessly. 

Spend the Day at Home   

Sometimes the best celebration is simply sleeping in. By staying home, you can do whatever you want when you want. Don’t worry about putting the laundry in the dryer or washing the dishes, instead take the day off. 

Binge-watch, your favorite TV show, eat breakfast in bed or even play your favorite board game. Allow yourself to have some much needed R&R. You’ll find you’ll feel better rested in the morning. 

Take a Couples Class   

Couple classes are perfect for strengthening a healthy relationship. In fact, they’re great for you and your hubby to explore new hobbies together. You can try painting, dancing, or even a mixology class. All classes increase trust and boost communication. 

Learning something new is not only fun, but it can bring people together and keep relationships fresh and happy. That way, when you go back to your usual routine, you can embrace what you learned, whether that be how to make a delicious margarita or slow dance to your favorite song. 

Stepmoms, Are You Ready for a Fun Celebration?  

Step-parents face many challenges over the years, from disputes with biological moms to lack of affection from kids, being a stepmom is no easy feat. However, no stepmom should feel left out on Mother’s Day. That’s why you should celebrate yourself with your hubby. 

Go out and have yourself a wonderful dinner or a spa getaway. Pamper yourself, and acknowledge that you are valued. 

For more information about Mother’s Day for stepmoms, contact 2houses or register today!

Creating a 2-2-3 Schedule – a 50/50 custody agreement

2 2 3 schedule

If you’ve recently separated or gotten divorced from your partner, and you have kids together, then you may be discussing custody plans.

For example, there’s the 2-2-3 schedule. This is a commonly agreed-upon custody schedule, as it keeps things pretty fair. Because of this, it may be ideal for you and your ex to adopt this schedule.

However, there are other alternatives out there, which may be better suited to you and your ex-partner’s lifestyles. But how can you know if they are if you aren’t aware of what your options are?

If you’re trying to figure out a co-parenting schedule with your ex, then keep reading. We’ll discuss the 2-2-3 schedule and other alternatives you can use for better co-parenting.

To help you manage the custody plan, you can always get a custody scheduling app. They’ll usually have a 2-2-3 schedule template.

This makes it very easy to keep track of who the kids should be with and when. You’ll be able to plan and see future events. If there’s a need to rearrange the schedule, you’ll be able to do so ahead of time.

What Is a 2-2-3 Schedule?

As you may have noticed, 2-2-3 adds up to 7; this is a custody plan based on a weekly schedule. It’s also known as the “every weekend” schedule.

One parent gets the children for 2 days. Then, they swap to the next parent to the next 2 days, and then the first parent gets the kids for a long weekend. The next week, it starts with the other parent, and they end up getting the kids for the long weekend.

This makes it fair for both parents, as in the end, they get an equal amount of time with their children.

Who Is the 2-2-3 Schedule Good For?

The 2-2-3 parenting plan involves the kids moving around often. Because of this, it’s great for parents who live close to one another.

On the other hand, it’s still good for parents who live far apart. There’s a long weekend that’s built into this plan. This allows for both parents to get some quality time with their kids, without losing part of their allotted time to work.

However, the 2-2-3 schedule does come with its caveats.

For example, the kids are moving between two houses so often. So you’ll need to get very good at packing (as does your ex).

Or you’ll need to have 2 sets of everything, split between the 2 houses. That way, your children will have they want, regardless of which parent they’re with for the few days.

The 2-2-3 schedule may also be hard on your older kids, especially if they have a busy schedule with lots of extracurricular activities. For example, if they have band practice every Tuesday and Thursday, they’ll be at a different parent’s house each week, and on each day. This can prove to be difficult for them, especially if they have to travel quite a distance from a parent’s house to practice.

Alternatives to the 2-2-3 Custody Schedule

The 2-2-3 custody schedule may not be ideal for all parents. In that case, you’ll want to look into other co-parenting options to make a 50/50 custody agreement work. Here are some popular ones.

Alternating Weeks

With this schedule, each parent gets the kids for an entire week, which can provide more stability for them. Instead of switching houses every 2 or 3 days, they get to double or triple the time with each parent. This can be easier for busy parents, as it means there will be fewer handoffs.

However, this also means that each parent will have to go without seeing their children for 7 days at a time. For many, this is too long. Co-parents will work out slight variations to alternating weeks so no one is left missing their kids for too long.

For example, many parents will allow for an overnight visit to the other parent in the middle of the week. This means their ex-partners won’t miss their kids too much. Plus, they also get some temporary respite for a short period of time.

While this variation in alternating weeks can be referred to as the 4-1-2 rotating schedule, you won’t see many people refer to it as such. For the most part, people just call it alternating weeks with an overnight visit.

3-4-4-3 Schedule

If you want to keep to a 50/50 custody schedule but handoffs for 2-2-3 are too much, then consider a 3-4-4-3 schedule. Instead of 3 handoffs a week, it’ll go down to just 2. It may not seem like a huge difference, but you’ll definitely feel less stress when you cut out that one extra handoff.

In this schedule, you keep the kids for 3 days, then your ex keeps them for 4. At the end of the week, they hand off the children back to you, and this time, you get to keep them for 4 days. After those 4 days, your ex-partner gets them back, but for 3 days.

This schedule allows both you and your ex to keep the kids for longer than a 2-2-3 schedule. But it won’t be as long as the alternating week schedule. This makes it an ideal medium between these two custody plans.

2 Weeks Each

If your kids are very busy with extracurriculars, then 2-week schedules may be best for them. This is also good for children who don’t like change.

Considering there are only 2 handoffs a month, this might be less stressful for them to go through. They get to stay at a house for longer each time.

This is a very good custody plan to consider if both parents have high-pressure and busy careers. They may not have the time to dedicate to frequent handoffs.

However, they wish to have a longer period together with the kids. This can be especially true if some days go by spent mostly at the office.


This is a pretty extreme 50/50 custody schedule, but it does happen for some parents. This may be something to consider if a parent frequently has business trips that take them away for long periods of time.

If this is the case, then it may not always be feasible to do 1 month on and 1 month off. Instead, you’ll have to see when future business trips are and then schedule co-parenting around that.

For example, let’s say your ex knows they’ll have to go to jet off to Europe in 2 months. You can already pencil in that time to be yours. Then, depending on when your ex has had the children, you can make up for their lost time after they get back.

Depending on your personal situation, the monthly 50/50 custody plan may not always be consistent. But it may just be what accommodates you, your ex, and your children the best.

Consider Nesting for Your Custody Plan

Nesting may seem like a strange concept, but it does work for exes who are on good terms. Nesting can provide a stable environment for children, especially after a separation or divorce.

What is nesting exactly? This is where you keep the main residence as the residence for the kids.

Then, each parent takes turns living with the kids in that main residence, while the other parent goes to live in another property. This can be a shared rented apartment.

In this type of custody plan, the children get a stable environment, which is what every parent hopes to provide. It’s true it may create a little more inconvenience for the adults. However, it may be worth exploring, especially for parents who have had an amicable divorce and only want what’s best for the kids.

However, do note that there may be drawbacks to nesting. The kids are in the environment where their parents were originally together in. As a result, they may get false hopes that you might get back together with your ex.

Also, some benign things you may have done in the house may be misconstrued as a malicious act by your ex. So you need good communication, transparency, and trust to make nesting work.

If you do manage to make nesting work, you can either use the 2-2-3 schedule here. Or utilize any of the alternatives we’ve provided you from above.

Work out a Viable Co-Parenting Schedule With Your Ex

Now you know all about the 2-2-3 schedule and other viable alternatives. With this, you can find a solution that works for both you and your ex.

Navigating a separation or divorce can be tough, but at least custody doesn’t have to be. By having all these options available, you and your ex-partner can sit down and figure out which one’s the best. That way, they get adequate time with each parent.

For more guidance on co-parenting, check out this helpful guide.