How to Split and Manage Shared Expenses Between Divorced Parents?

Split and Manage Shared Expenses Between Divorced Parents

Children are expensive. A middle-income family can expect to spend 12,980 dollars every year per child in their household. Expenses increase as a child ages, with families spending 900 dollars more per year on teenagers. 

These costs don’t go away when parents separate. Both must contribute so that all of their child’s needs are met. 

But finding a solution for shared expenses is difficult. Many people don’t want to talk to their ex about anything, let alone money. Others don’t know what to do after having a talk. 

Start with the basics, then work your way to developing a nuanced and comprehensive parenting plan. Here is your guide.

Discuss Shared Expenses With Your Co-Parent 

After a separation, you may not want to talk to your ex. Give yourself time to think things over and get your feelings out of yourself. Rebuild some confidence in yourself and talk to the people you love, including your child. 

But you need to have a conversation with them about finances. As soon as you’re ready, contact your ex and ask to meet with them. You can bring lawyers or friends if you want. 

Both of you should break down all of your child’s expenses, including for emergencies. Then you should decide how each of you will pay toward the expenses.

You don’t have to decide all of this in one meeting. You should have a general understanding of what you will pay, then you should go to a financial advisor. You should then follow up with your co-parent over what to do next. 

Keep in mind that your financial picture may change. Both of you should have an understanding of what you will pay, yet both of you should be flexible. 

You do not have to split things 50-50. If one of you makes more money than the other, that parent can chip in more money. 

If you make such an arrangement, you should not tell your child that. They may think that the parent who pays more loves them more. Do not tell your child what is happening behind the scenes, though you should contact them every day. 

Try to have separate conversations about child custody and other arrangements. Talking about everything over one day can be exhausting and can lead to arguments. You should bear in mind that you can split payments while not splitting custody. 

Write an Agreement 

Once both of you have settled terms, you need to write a formal agreement. Your agreement does not have to be long, but it should be clear. 

Write out what your child’s current expenses are. Then provide thorough details on how each of you will pay toward them. Specify your payment methods and the amounts each of you will pay. 

Touch upon what will happen if one of you cannot make a payment. You should also address what would happen if your child gets into an emergency. Clarify how you will pay for medical expenses and additional support. 

Your discussion of shared expenses can go inside a larger parenting agreement. You can also write a separate document to deal with custody and visitation. 

When you’ve written your agreement out, send copies to your lawyer and financial advisor to review. If one lawyer disagrees with some language, have a conversation about that disagreement. Do not edit the document on your own initiative, as this will cause distrust with your co-parent. 

Deal With Child Support

If you establish a thorough agreement with your co-parent, you do not need to engage in a formal child support process. But if you cannot, you can head to the courts to deal with child support. This is a good option for people who were in an abusive or acrimonious relationship with the other co-parent. 

There are several models you can use to calculate payments. The income shares model divides expenses based on the parents’ combined incomes. If one co-parent earns two-thirds of their combined incomes, then they will pay two-thirds of expenses. 

Child support generally covers necessities like housing and food. Your arrangement may not cover additional expenses like electronics. Try talking with your co-parent about how you will provide for these things. 

Remain In Contact 

You do not have to touch base with your co-parent every day. But you should keep a line of communication open in case either of you needs to adjust a payment. 

If you can’t meet a payment one month, you should notify your co-parent in advance. Tell them how you plan on covering your end of the expenses. Apologize and take action to ensure that that won’t happen again. 

If you or your child gets into an emergency, you should tell your co-parent as soon as possible. Do not let them find out from someone else. Even if they do not have custody, they should know since it impacts their payments and relationship with their child. 

If you are not comfortable talking with your co-parent directly, you can use an intermediary. Consider using a mutual friend instead of a lawyer. Do not use your child to send messages to your co-parent. 

You may want to make edits to your original parenting plan. This is fine.

Talk over what edits you want to make and make sure your ex is happy with them. Then make the edits as soon as possible. If you don’t put the new terms into writing, a court may not accept them. 

Handle School Expenses 

If there is one area you should focus on, it is schooling. Many people think that schooling is an insignificant expense because public schooling is free. But it is more expensive and complicated than it seems. 

While the schooling itself may be free, extracurriculars may not. Athletes are expected to buy their own equipment. Robotics and public speaking tournaments have registration fees. 

Your child will need binders, paper, and pens to write with. As they get older, they will need a laptop and cell phone. 

During the summers, your child may go to summer camp. They may go on a vacation. These activities can cost thousands of dollars, especially if they do them summer after summer. 

If your child is young, you do not need a formalized plan to cover these payments. But you should have one before they enter extracurriculars, especially at the middle school level. 

You should protect your child’s college funds. Specify how each of you will contribute toward them in your parenting agreement. If you are concerned that the money will be misused, you can request a judge to keep your co-parent from accessing the account. 

Remember that tuition is not the only expense for college. You need to cover moving and living expenses, especially if your child goes out of state. Figure out arrangements for those as well. 

How to Save Money

You can save money while co-parenting. Nesting allows the two of you to pool housing money together. 

Most custody models involve the co-parents living in separate houses and the child alternating between them. The co-parent who leaves often buys a duplicate set of belongings for their child so they feel comfortable.  

In nesting, the child stays in one house and the parents swap out. This minimizes disruption for the child and prevents having to buy new belongings for them. 

If money is tight, both co-parents can remain in the house but in separate rooms. There are no moving expenses in this option. This is only good for co-parents who separate on amicable terms. 

Many parents compensate for the disruption by buying their child gifts. Expensive children’s toys may provide momentary relief, but the added expenses will come back to bite you. 

Share experiences with your child rather than things. Take them on a walk in a local park. Invite their friends to come over and play a game with them. 

There is little reason to buy expensive children’s furniture. You can find cheaper options at a thrift store or yard sale. Keep your eye out in your local newspapers for those. 

Both parents should buy a life insurance package for themselves. In case one of you dies, the package will provide payments for your child. 

How to Monitor Payments

You can check your co-parent’s payments through several means. A co-parenting app provides easy access to all documents, including your payment plan. You can get an overview of your financial picture and see if all accounts are balanced. 

You can establish savings accounts or shared lines of credit. You can then check in on the accounts through your bank. 

Do not ask your co-parent when they have paid. Do not tell them that you are monitoring their payments. They may take offense and avoid paying. 

Not paying child support is a crime that can result in criminal penalties. If your co-parent refuses to pay, you should report them to the authorities. 

Center Your Child 

Paying children expenses is frustrating. Talking with your partner about finances may lead to arguments. 

But you should shift your attention to your child. Remain focused on their welfare and take pride in how you are supporting them. 

Do not loop your child in on your finances. If they hear that you are struggling to pay bills, they will become anxious. 

Do not tell your child what the other co-parent’s finances are. Tell them that you two will meet all of their needs without worry. 

Your co-parent may try to take your child’s affection by showering them with toys. Do not do the same thing. 

Have a conversation with your co-parent behind the scenes. Talk to them about how you can accommodate paying for toys and gifts. Try to see if you can both chip in on a gift to present to your child. 

Your child may want to talk to someone after your separation. Pay for them to see a therapist or psychiatrist. Give them all the time they need to build self-esteem and confidence. 

As your child gets older, they may have a paying job. You should not expect your child to contribute to their own expenses. They should save their money for their own life and for things they want to buy. 

Expect to provide for your child after they become a legal adult. Less than one-quarter of young adults are financially independent. You may need to provide support even after they leave home, so make sure you have the resources for this. 

Discuss Terms With a New Partner 

You may have a new partner soon after your separation. Avoid introducing them to your child right away. Try to wait at least a year if you can. 

In the meantime, talk about your parenting arrangements with your partner. It can be hard to balance co-parenting and dating, so make sure your partner knows where you stand. 

Your partner may want to embrace a parenting role with your child. If that’s the case, you can discuss financial obligations with them. 

You should not expect your partner to pay for your child otherwise. They may be okay with paying for a lunch or a toy. But you and your co-parent should cover your child’s main expenses. 

If you have a child with your partner, you need to consider those payments. You are still expected to pay for your first child. Make sure you have enough money to cover everything. 

If your parent has a co-partner who is willing to pay expenses, you can adjust your parenting plan. They may divide your co-partner’s payment between themselves. You should not expect to decrease your own payment. 

The Right Way to Split Shared Expenses

You can split shared expenses without too much hassle. When you’re ready, have a conversation with your ex. Work out a formal parenting plan that lists out everything you need to pay. 

Keep a line of communication with your co-parent. Make edits to your plan as you need to.

Remain focused on your child. Do not tell them information that will worry them. Loop in a new partner if they are willing to assume a parenting role. 

Become a great co-parent with the facts. 2houses offers nuanced guides. Read our guide on successful parenting tips

How to Handle Custody Exchange Day Smoothly

Handle Custody Exchange Day

Around 50% of American children will see their parents divorce during their lifetime. So if you have recently gone through a divorce, your kids are not alone.

This can signal a big adjustment period in family life so it is important to be sensitive to this. Organizing child custody plans as soon as possible will help everyone involved. Nowadays, joint or shared custody is becoming the norm in America.

This involves children spending time with both of their parents on a regular basis, which is great! However, it also means that you have to organize a custody exchange day with your ex.

This can be a challenge for co-parents, especially in the early days of divorce. Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to ensure that every custody exchange day runs smoothly. Read on to find out my top tips for a successful custody exchange!

Plan in Advance 

When it comes to custody exchange day, planning in advance is vital. This ensures that everyone involved in the custody exchange knows what’s happening. It also allows you and your ex to plan your time fairly. 

Ideally, try to stick to a regular exchange day and time. Having a schedule will help your kids adjust to the change easily. This means they will know exactly when they are seeing each of their parents, which minimizes confusion for them. 

As well as drawing up a schedule, you should agree on custody exchange locations. It is much easier for everyone involved to pick up and drop your kids off in the same place each time.

If you don’t feel ready to visit your ex’s house or apartment, you might want to discuss meeting in a neutral place. However, it is most important to choose an environment where your kids feel secure. If they do get upset or are finding things hard, they need to be able to express this.

When planning your schedule, you should include details of who will be doing pick-up and drop-off. This will avoid any confusion in the future.

Using a scheduling app can really help to organize custody exchange days. This ensures that everything is written down in one place so you can check it when you need to. You can also use these apps to request changes to the schedule.

Avoid Making Last-Minute Changes

Sometimes you will have to make changes to the schedule. For example, you may have a work commitment or be planning a family holiday. Whatever the reason, try to make these changes in plenty of time. 

Making unnecessary last-minute changes won’t do you any favors with your ex. This is disrespectful to their time and can leave them feeling frustrated. It also means that they have to rearrange their whole schedule. 

If you do have to make a change to the schedule, make sure you word this carefully. Here are some of my top tips for requesting a schedule change: 

  • Get in touch with your ex as soon as you know you need to make a change
  • Acknowledge that you are changing the schedule to show you appreciate their consideration 
  • Offer an alternative plan and be open to their suggestions
  • Accept that you may not be able to reschedule time with your kids if you miss a custody exchange day or weekend

Avoiding last-minute schedule changes is also important for your kids. Having a schedule and sticking to it boosts children’s confidence, development, and sense of security.

Last-minute changes to the custody schedule can be upsetting for them. After all, they want to spend time with you. Remember, your kids need to know that they are your priority.

Be on Time on Custody Exchange Day

Once you have a schedule, you must turn up on time for it. This means arriving at the specified time for picking up and dropping off your kids. 

This shows your ex that you are respecting their time with your kids. It also allows everyone involved to plan their days more easily. For example, if your kids have a playdate scheduled, they might be late if your drop them off later.

Saying goodbye to your kids can be difficult, which is often why people turn up late for custody drop-off. However, it’s important that you recognize that your ex may share these feelings. If they are also missing your kids, it isn’t fair for you to drop them off late. 

If your co-parent is picking the kids up from you, make sure you have them ready to go on time. This will make the handover smoother. It also means you will have time to focus on saying goodbye rather than hunting for spare pajamas!

Of course, being five minutes early or late shouldn’t be a problem. If you are going to be more significantly late, make sure you let your co-parent know. Or if you are running early, you will still have to wait before you pick your kids up.

Have Everything Ready to Go

Preparing for exchanges will make it much easier to be on time. If your child is out for the day or staying overnight they will almost certainly need to take things with them.

This might include: 

  • Changes of clothes
  • A comforter 
  • A water bottle for their day out
  • Their school homework

Making sure you have packed these things up before drop-off or pick-up will make things smoother. Ideally, try to do this the day before the custody exchange to avoid a last-minute rush. 

If you are regularly exchanging custody it’s a good idea to have your kids take the same bag every time. That way you are only checking in one place before your kids leave or when they come back. You can also leave certain items in there for next time.

At the beginning of shared custody, the parent who has moved out of the family home might not have everything they need. For example, you might not immediately have a baby monitor or spare clothes for your kids.

It’s a good idea to get kitted out with everything you need as soon as possible. That way you minimize how much stuff has to go to and fro between the houses.

At pick-up or drop-off, it’s a good idea to do a quick check in your kids’ bags to make sure everything is there. That way if something is missing you can quickly sort the situation out. This is much easier than realizing you don’t have something important when you’re already out and about.

Don’t Have Private Discussions in Front of Your Kids

After a separation, there will be plenty of things that you and your ex need to discuss. From childcare arrangements to financial support, make sure you keep these conversations away from the kids. 

These conversations can risk sparking disagreements that you don’t want to happen in front of your kids. Even if they don’t, they can leave your kids feeling uncomfortable or upset. Often it leaves children feeling torn between two parents, which is the last thing you want. 

Because of this, it is much better to discuss these matters at other times. It is important that you find a time to talk that works for both parents. For example, you don’t want to have the conversation in a rush or while you’re at work. 

If you are finding communication over the phone difficult, it might be easier to speak via email. When doing this, try to keep the conversation simple and focus on the practical elements in play. A mediator can also help these conversations to run smoothly.

Let Your Kids Know What’s Happening

Shared custody can be emotionally or physically overwhelming for kids at the beginning. After all, this is a big period of adjustment. However, there are plenty of things you can do to help support your kids through this period. 

Sticking to a schedule will do them a lot of good. Talking to them about what is happening will also help. 

When doing this, it is a good idea to present a united front as parents. That way your kids won’t feel caught between two households.

Try to keep these lines of communication as open as possible. Inviting your kids to ask your questions will help them talk about things. For example, you can ask how they feel about the new situation or if they have any questions about it. 

These conversations are not always easy and at times your kids may say things that are upsetting. Try not to take these things personally.

They are adjusting to the situation and might express painful opinions at times. On the plus side, sharing these opinions means they still feel like they can confide in you. This is a great reflection on the strength of your relationship with them.

You might also want to buy them a calendar or show them a schedule for their childcare. That way they can check in with it whenever they need it. If you do this, make sure you put any changes on the calendar well in advance to avoid confusion.

Discuss the Holidays in Advance

During a year, most children in the United States only attend school for 180 days. This means that for a lot of the year your children will be on vacation. During this time your custody plans may change. 

It’s important to plan your custody arrangement during the holidays well in advance. This will give you time to plan what you’re going to do with your kids. It also means you can organize practical plans, such as taking time off work. 

The holidays are a great opportunity to spend some quality time with your kids. While it might feel strange adapting to this change after a divorce, there are plenty of great ways to create new holiday traditions with your kids!

Don’t Bring a New Partner to Child Custody Exchanges

There is no saying when the right time is to start a relationship after a separation or divorce. In fact, nearly 80% of divorcees will go on to remarry at some point in their lives.

Most courts recommend that if you do start a new relationship you wait to introduce your partner to your kids. However, there are no laws against this.

That said, it is a good idea to avoid bringing a new partner to custody exchange days. Bringing a new partner may be painful for your ex-partner.

It can also be upsetting to your kids. If they are looking forward to spending time with you, the last thing they want is to immediately have to share you with someone else.

Over time, this may change. Once you are in a long-term relationship, it can be nice for your kids to see your ex and your new partner getting on. This can do wonders for blended families

However, it is important to be sensitive to everyone’s needs. While it is nice for everyone to get on in a blended family, it is important not to force this. After all, short spells of civil exchanges are much healthier than long spells of underlying tension!

Make Plans for Custody Exchange Drop-Off Days

Dropping your kids back off after a day or weekend with them can be very difficult. So it is a good idea to make plans for after you have done this. That way you will have something to occupy you. 

This might involve meeting a friend for coffee, going for a walk, or practicing some self-care. Whatever you do, make sure it is something fairly flexible. That way if plans do change last minute you don’t have loads of rescheduling to do. 

Keep These Tips in Mind for a Smooth Custody Exchange Day!

Joint custody exchange day can be a difficult day for everyone involved. Often emotions will be running high, especially early on. So it is important to be sensitive to everyone’s needs and feelings. 

Fortunately, there are loads of great things you can do to ensure that these days run smoothly.

For more help scheduling your custody exchange days, a co-parenting schedule app can really help. Sign up for a free 14-day trial of 2houses today to see just how much it could help you!

Co-Parenting With No Communication?

Co-Parenting With No Communication

Communication is critical. A 2017 study found that lack of communication was the single leading cause of marital separations. Some couples were unable to resolve their arguments, while others stopped talking entirely. 

Lack of communication does not end when a relationship does. Many parents are co-parenting without remaining in contact with the other co-parent.

This can be for good reason. But at some point, you have to talk to your ex. 

When should you have a conversation, and what should it be about? How can you co-parent while having little to no contact with your ex? 

Answer these questions, and you can become a terrific co-parent. Here is your guide. 

During a Separation 

People go through a wide range of extreme emotions during a separation, even a mutual one. It is often a good idea to avoid talking to your ex. 

Talk to a friend, neighbor, or co-worker about what you are experiencing. Feel free to be emotional. The more you let out, the less you will take back to your home. 

If it will make you feel better, you can leave your home and find a temporary place to live. Try to stay with a friend or relative so you can talk to someone. Make sure you can remain in contact with your child. 

You should avoid communicating with your ex’s family and close friends. They may have strong opinions about you and vice versa. You should engage with them only if you are concerned about the well-being of your ex. 

Give yourself some alone time. Pray, meditate, or go for a walk. Try to be introspective, naming your feelings and finding ways of dealing with them. 

If you want to talk to your ex, be brief. Focus on your child and what both of you can do to provide support for them.

You may not want to talk to your ex. But both of you should break the news that you are separating. You should appear together, telling your child that you love them and will be in their lives. 

Prepare with your ex what you are going to say. Avoid talking about what led to the separation. Focus on assuring your child and leave it at that. 

Communication Advice

It is okay to avoid communicating with your ex for a few months. After a certain point, you should try to reach out to them. 

Ask to meet them in person in a professional setting. If it makes you or them feel comfortable, you can bring another person to the meeting. They can be a mediator or a mutual friend. 

Keep things formal. Approach the interaction like it is a business meeting. Speak with respect and neutrality, without getting emotional. 

Allow for some back-and-forth. Ask questions to the co-parent, and listen to what they have to say. Be prepared to make compromises and negotiate terms with them. 

If the conversation is not going well, do not become frustrated. Practice some quick stress relief techniques like wiggling your toes. 

Try to follow up on your dialogue, preferably in face-to-face interactions. If that’s not possible, schedule a time where you can talk on the phone. Email and text messages are too indirect and informal. 

Under no circumstances should you use your child as an intermediary. If you cannot communicate with your spouse directly, communicate through a friend or your lawyer. 

Working Out Co-Parenting Arrangements

There are several things you should work out with your ex. The first is child custody.

Nearly all couples resolve on joint custody, yet there are several models you can choose from. You can alternate weeks, or you can assign a few days within one week for each parent. You can pursue an option like nesting, where the child stays in one house and the parents alternate out. 

If you do not decide on joint custody, you must discuss visitation. A non-custodial parent should still play a role in their child’s life. You should discuss how the non-custodial parent and their child will interact, including over the phone. 

You also need to talk about finances. Both of you need to decide how you will pay for your child’s schooling, healthcare, and food. You can share bank accounts, or one can pay child support into the other’s bank account. 

Keep your interactions with your co-parent limited to these topics. Put into writing what you have decided, then run your arrangements by your lawyer. 

Write a formalized parenting plan. Include a schedule with specific times and dates for when each co-parent will assume custody. Describe how you will meet your child’s financial means

It is essential that you talk to your co-parent about these arrangements. If you cannot do so face-to-face, do so over the phone with your lawyer’s permission. If you cannot do that, let your lawyer and theirs talk to each other. 

Presenting a United Front

You may decide not to be in communication with your co-parent. This gives you a clean break from your relationship, which can help your healing process. 

But avoiding communications may pose some problems. You should not let your child know that you are not talking to their co-parent. If your child sees that you two are not talking, they may think that you will not talk to them. 

If they ask you a question about their other co-parent, remain as respectful as possible. Tell them that you are sorry that you and the co-parent live in separate houses. Remind them that you love them and care for them. 

Make sure that your style of parenting is consistent with their style. Curfews and means of discipline should be near identical. Both of you should check that your child is completing their homework assignments and doing well in school. 

Keep your child’s schedule as consistent as possible. Both you and your co-parent should make their meals at the same time. This will make the transition process a lot easier for them. 

Both of you should attend important events for your child. You can sit apart from each other, though your child should be able to see both of you at the same time. Make eye contact and cheer them on. 

Establishing Boundaries 

In front of your child, both of you need to work together. Behind the scenes, you should adopt some boundaries with your co-parent. 

Even if you establish some contact with them, you should not turn to your co-parent for relationship advice. Do not ask them or their friends if they are seeing anyone else. 

If you are seeing someone, you should not volunteer that information. Though your co-parent may be okay with your relationship, you may make things awkward with them. You should only talk about another relationship if it impacts your parenting. 

Avoid checking their social media pages. You can unfriend or block them. 

If they work at a place you frequent, try to avoid going to that place. If they see you, you may get into an argument with them. 

In general, try to avoid thinking about your co-parent’s personal or professional life. It is not relevant to your own. Focus on yourself and your child’s needs. 

Long-Distance Parenting

You will have to engage in some long-distance parenting at some point. Your child may want to make a phone call to you. You may be away on business and unable to fulfill your custody obligation. 

For two co-parents who do not want to contact each other, long-distance parenting is essential. There is no need for the two co-parents to meet and exchange the child. The child can remain in one room and interact with their co-parent from a distance. 

There are several long-distance co-parenting tips you can consider. Use software like Zoom that allows your child to see you. A phone call is okay, but a video feed provides a stronger connection. 

You may be away from your child, but you can still have fun. Play games like “Would You Rather” that let you talk with your child about silly topics. 

Create some fun traditions with them. Designate a night of the week as a game night, or find some way both of you can give back to your community.

Do make sure that you can find time to interact with your child in person. Work out a time with your co-parent where you two can do something together. 

Pick-Ups and Drop-Offs

It is possible to pick up and drop off your child without speaking to the other parent. You should notify them about when you are arriving. 

You can remain outside, then your co-parent can let your child out. Bring your child into a car and drive off. 

If you don’t want to go near your co-parent, you can ask someone to bring your child to your house. A close relative like a grandparent is best for this. 

During Emergencies 

In your parenting plan, you and your co-parent should decide how to handle emergencies. You should determine what custody will look like if one of you cannot assume your role. You should also decide how to contact the other co-parent if your child is in an emergency. 

It is important that you contact your co-parent if your child is sick or injured. You do not have to give full details.

You should tell them what is going on and how your child is doing. If your child is in the hospital, you should tell them which hospital. The co-parent should let you know when they are arriving. 

When both of you can visit your child, both of you should visit. Try to visit them at the same time to show united support. If that’s not possible, decide a time when each of you can talk to your child independently.  

Pursuing a New Life

As mentioned previously, you should not talk about any new relationships you are pursuing. But your partner may want to play a role in your child’s parenting. 

You should talk to your co-parent about this. They may feel uncomfortable with your partner disciplining or preparing meals for your child. Your partner can fulfill another role, like picking your child up from school. 

Your partner should stay within some boundaries. They should not insist that your child call them “Mom” or “Dad.” They should not counteract the parenting style of the other co-parent, though they can voice disagreements privately. 

You should also talk to your co-parent about other children. You may have a new child with your partner, or your partner may have children of your own. 

Your conversation does not have to be long. Your co-parent will not play a role in parenting your partner’s children. But they should know that their interactions with their child may change, now that there are other children in your house. 

You should always look for better communication and better parenting skills. You can talk to your co-parent about what you are figuring out.

But if the co-parent is unwilling to interact with you, don’t force interactions. Move on with your life and remain in touch with the ones you love. 

Co-Parenting the Right Way

Co-parenting while having limited communication with your ex is possible. You should refrain from talking to them during the separation. But you do need to formalize co-parenting terms. 

When you talk to them, be professional and calm. Present a united front while keeping boundaries behind the scenes.

Provide some long-distance parenting tools and drop-off protocols so you both can talk to your child. Touch base with them during emergencies and major life decisions, like having a new child.

Live the best life you can with the facts. 2houses is the Internet’s authoritative service for co-parenting. Contact us today. 

Co-Parenting a Conflictual Siblings Relationship: A Complete Guide

conflictual siblings relationship

If you have more than one child, sibling rivalry is almost inevitable. The reasons for sibling rivalry are plentiful. As are the behaviors that arise as a result of a conflictual siblings relationship.

Managing this conflict alongside managing co-parenting challenges can feel impossible. But you’re not alone.

Many single parents deal with sibling rivalry. Many more deal with it alongside another co-parent. You just need the right information and techniques to do so.

Our complete guide will take you through everything you need to know about sibling conflict and how to resolve it as a co-parent.

What Causes Sibling Rivalry?

We’ll start by saying sibling rivalry is common in all types of family units. Whether that family has married parents, divorced parents, or one parent, one constant remains — sibling rivalry.

It is most common in families where children are of the same gender and close in age. In fact, identical twins are believed to struggle the most with sibling rivalry.

All this is to say, the cause of sibling rivalry is not often the parents or family dynamic. Although, there is obviously less sibling rivalry in homes where children feel they are treated equally.

Knowing the cause of sibling rivalry can help you figure out how to address it. The most common factors are as follows:

Birth Order

It’s true the most common sibling rivalries occur when children are closest in age. But birth order also makes a difference.

This is because the birth order of your children has an impact on them as individuals. Studies have shown this to be true many times. This impact will affect their relationship with you and their siblings. 

The characteristics associated with birth orders influence the likeliness of sibling rivalry. For example, firstborn children tend to be perfectionistic and may feel threatened by a new sibling. While second-born children tend to avoid conflict and be more in tune with other people’s emotions.

There’s no guarantee your children will follow these characteristic patterns. But you can see how these behaviors could create more conflict between siblings as personalities clash.

It’s also worth noting your own sibling position in your family impacts how you treat your children. Your experiences growing up as a first, middle, or youngest child will all affect how you treat your children.

For example, you may find it easier to relate to your oldest child if you were also the oldest child. This isn’t a bad trait, but it can cause jealousy. 

Age Difference

We mentioned age difference as a factor above, but it’s worth expanding on. Age difference affects the intensity of the rivalry.

This is because siblings close in age tend to have more access to each other. This increased access means they’re more likely to get into physical fights. While siblings further apart in age tend to spend less time with each other.

The ages of your children will also affect the likelihood of sibling rivalry. At preschool age, children are in a dog-eat-dog developmental phase. This increases the chance of conflicts. 

The good news is as children develop and grow older, conflicts should decrease. School-aged children are in a law-and-order developmental phase. They can recognize and enforce fairness.

High school-aged children have developed conscience. They should also have developed conflict resolution techniques. This means they’re less likely to fight and parents are less likely to need to intervene.


Every child has their unique temperament. From cheeky to laid-back to challenging, we all characterize our children in some way. It’s a totally normal thing for parents to do.

But because of these temperaments, parents may treat their children differently, as may their siblings. More laid-back or easy children will annoy their siblings and parents less, thus decreasing conflict. While more challenging children will do the opposite and increase potential sibling conflict. 


In some families, a child of one sex is preferred. This may only be by one parent, as opposed to both.

Regardless, children who are not the preferred gender will notice. As will the child who is the preferred gender. This unequal treatment is bound to create rivalry and increase conflict between siblings.

Physical Influences

All humans are affected by physical factors, but this is never truer than in childhood. Physical factors like tiredness, hunger, and illness will all affect sibling relationships. Even children who get on well may suddenly transform into siblings who always fight.

Other physical influences include living conditions. A messy or chaotic home will create more stress for children. Even sharing a room may increase how often children interact and may increase fights.

In co-parenting situations, where siblings share a room at one home and not the other, this complicates the issue further. There may be instances of fighting siblings at one home and not at the other. This can make single parents feel like they’re the issue when it often isn’t the case.

Parenting Style

All of the above said, parenting style does affect the likelihood of sibling conflict. Parenting styles tend to range from very aggressive on one end to very lax on the other.

Either style will increase the chance of sibling conflict. Aggressive styles may see that behavior modeled in their children’s treatment of each other. Lax styles may feel lacking in structure or attention and may fight more.

Transitional Times

Big life changes are inevitable. Children learn to cope with these as they develop and through experiencing them firsthand. Whether it’s a new baby, a divorce, or a house move, children react to change.

This reaction may come in the form of issues with siblings intensifying. It’s important to recognize when your child is going through a big change and plan accordingly.

This doesn’t mean cutting them slack altogether. But instead, teaching them how to express and navigate these feelings in a healthier way.

How to Mend a Conflictual Siblings Relationship

To effectively address a conflictual siblings relationship, it’s so important to start with the cause. From here, recognize the behaviors that have arisen as a result of it, to figure out how to address it.

The most common behaviors from a conflicted sibling relationship included:

  • Name-calling
  • Poking
  • Blaming
  • Lying
  • Stealing from each other
  • Bickering
  • Teasing
  • Arguing
  • Tattling
  • Hiding each other’s belongings
  • Breaking each other’s belongings
  • Hitting
  • Throwing things
  • Kicking
  • Biting

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Any parent can tell you that children find creative ways to torment each other!

The silver lining is that some sibling rivalry is beneficial to children’s development. Children learn to deal with power struggles and resolve conflicts. They also learn to negotiate and compromise when needed.

However, that doesn’t make the behavior acceptable to ignore. Some of this behavior is easy to tackle using normal parenting techniques like timeouts or warnings. Whereas more aggressive behavior, or more frequent displays of these behaviors, may be more concerning.

To begin with, manage your expectations. Ideally, you will do this between both parents. Sit down and discuss what realistic relationships your children may have.

For example, it is unrealistic to expect children to get on all the time. But it is not unrealistic that children know how to share with each other. 

Once you figure out a reasonable expectation of behavior, you need to approach it as a team. This means presenting a united front, whatever your own issues, and being consistent. It can also help you know when to intervene.

The easiest way to know how and when to intervene is with a traffic light system.

The Traffic Light System

Knowing when to intervene in children’s squabbles stops them from turning into a full-blown argument. The traffic light system is a simple technique. It’s designed to help you reflect on your children’s behavior and think about what your children need from you.

We’ll use examples to explain each step.

Green Light

Green light behavior would be normal sibling behavior. Things like minor name-calling, copying each other, or bickering would all fall under this light.

This is natural behavior and nothing to worry about. You don’t need to intervene. Only if your children escalate behavior should alarm bells start ringing.

Yellow Light

The same behavior that was fine a moment ago has escalated. The names have become a bit nastier and you can tell there is some upset. The volume has increased and maybe there has even been minor physical content.

This is the first point you should step in, but not to discipline. Hear each child out and acknowledge their feelings. Reflect on their views and encourage them to do the same.

This should resolve the issue as they feel they have been heard. But you can also encourage them to move on and change the topic to something else.

Orange Light

Orange light behavior sits on the borderline between play-fighting and real fighting. It can often be difficult to tell which children are doing. It can also change in a moment, from play-fighting to real fighting. 

Don’t barge in and demand they stop. Ask whether it’s play or real fighting. Make sure to hear both children out.

If it is play-fighting the break may help them reset to calmer behavior. If it’s escalated to a real fight, help them with conflict resolution, as in the step above.

Red Light

Red light behavior is unacceptable behavior that needs immediate, firm intervention. This could include a physical fight or emotional harm.

In these instances, stop your children and separate them physically if needed. If a child is injured, tend to that child first. Review the rules with both children and impose a consequence as needed. 

Consequences could include time out or confiscating an item thrown. But it’s important to make sure consequences are enforced fairly in each circumstance.

The key to making the traffic light system work is figuring out what your children need from you. Ask yourself why a behavior may be occurring and how your children might resolve it. This will help you know when to intervene.

Consistent Co-Parenting

As we said above, the key to managing conflicting siblings as co-parents is to behave with consistency. This means you have established rules, techniques, and consequences in both households.  

This creates structure for children. Some poor sibling rivalry behavior may still occur, but it will decrease with age and time. It also gives you the tools to manage it which can help you feel more confident.

It can help to come up with family rules to refer back to. These can be agreed upon between parents and even displayed in both homes. You can come up with these with the kids, all together as one unit. 

Common rules would include treating each other with respect, no hitting, and no tattling. But figure out what works best for you and your family.

We all know positive reinforcement goes a lot further than negative reinforcement. So it’s important both parents encourage healthy sibling relationships.  

This means being fair and not showing favoritism, as well as treating children as unique individuals. Encourage communication of feelings wherever possible and praise good communication and kindness.

In co-parenting relationships, it’s common for children to play one parent off the other if they feel they can. Regular, private communication between you and your co-parent is so important for this very reason. It stops this behavior in its tracks and lets your child know it won’t work.

Difficult Co-Parenting Relationships

It should go without saying, many co-parenting relationships are less than ideal. While all of the above advice is helpful if your co-parent is cooperative, it’s not the case for everyone.

In these instances, you can still use the same techniques above in your household. Creating harmony, consistency, and structure in your home will help your children achieve their best behavior. It may take much longer due to a lack of consistency with the other parent.

The easiest way to explain this to your children is by being transparent. Explain you know there are different rules, but these are the rules and expectations at your home. 

Keep It Consistent

It’s important to remember that conflictual siblings relationships are normal. They can be resolved by getting to the root of the problem. Then, applying consistent, fair techniques to address unwanted behavior from both co-parents.

You can find more helpful advice for many common co-parenting issues on our blog.

Divorcing Someone With Mental Illness – What You Need To Know

Divorcing Someone With Mental Illness

Divorce has never been easy. It involves going through tremendous amounts of pain, struggling with mental and physical health, managing other aspects of divorce when you have no energy left. It can strike even worse to the people who are already suffering from mental health issues. For such people, the process can be a little more complicated but remember that there is always the light at the end of the tunnel. And it all gets better with time.

If you’re divorcing a spouse with mental illness, it changes the whole negotiation process and, in some cases, it might get really hard to come to reasonable negotiations. While you’re at it, you could use some tips to make it as smooth as you can. Let’s hear it out:

Tips To Follow When You’re Divorcing Someone With Mental Illness

There are so many things that you need to keep in mind. We have tried to narrow down our list to few tips that prove to be the most effective:

Do Not Try To Change The Person

Well, the one thing that’s definitely not going to work is changing the person with mental illness. You can try to make amends in yourself, your actions, and your divorce process, but you don’t mess up with theirs. Mental issues are something that doesn’t go away that quickly. You have to understand their concerns and take your next step accordingly. If there are a lot of issues in their approaches, you must seek professional help.

Wait For Them To Be In Their Right Mind

People with mental illness have their ups and downs. They have their bad days and good days. So, never ever make a move when their mental state is highly unstable. Instead, wait for them to reach the state of mind when they are able to think clearly. That is the time when they will be able to make reasonable decisions. Therefore, never rush things when you’re divorcing someone mentally ill. Always choose the best time for talking to them.

Do Not Feel Guilty About Yourself

Poor mental health may affect a relationship a lot. You might want to be there for your partner, but sometimes it consumes you all. Then comes the time when you get tired and want an out. Let us assure you that it is okay to feel that way. It is okay to look for your own happiness instead of giving someone your all. So, if you face the feelings of guilt, failure, and loneliness, do not forget to remind yourself that your mental health is important too and that you have the right to be happy no matter what. If that takes moving out of the marriage, so be it.

Keep The Divorce Process Friendly

No matter how complicated the situation gets, always try your best to keep things friendly from your end – especially if you have children to look after. Do not fight over unnecessary details and try to make reasonable agreements with your spouse. Keep their mental situation in mind while you do that. Go for some other more friendly divorce alternatives if you can. It’s okay if you have to lose a thing or two, but make sure the divorce process is easy on both of you.

Starting The Divorce Process

When you’re filing or starting the divorce, you must mention and state the “grounds” for divorce or reasons for the separation – and mental health concerns of your spouse can be one. If you are divorcing your spouse on the faults grounds, you must provide proof of abuse, negles, ignorance, incurable mental illness, infidelity, abandonment, or other fault factors allowed and recognized by your state as the grounds for divorce.

Obtaining a no-fault divorce, on the other hand, is typically a simpler process and doesn’t require you to prove the cause of your divorce. Virtually every state recognizes “no fault” grounds where a couple can simply plead that irreconcilable differences led to the marriage’s breakdown.

However, if you’re seeking a divorce due to a spouse’s severe mental health issues, you may want to file for a fault-based divorce. In certain circumstances, you could be entitled to a larger share of marital assets or a higher support award if you’re able to prove your spouse’s mental health issues caused the marriage’s breakdown. If you’re unsure whether a fault or no-fault divorce is right for you, contact a local family law attorney for advice.

Can Your Spouse’s Mental Illness Prevent You From Obtaining Divorce?

Mental illness can be a legal defense against some of the criminal charges but these rules are not applicable as far as divorce cases are concerned. Your divorce is not assessed on the basis of mental illness of your spouse. Neither you nor your spouse can avoid a certain divorce by pleading mental health issues. Nevertheless, a person going through mental illness may be entitled to some additional privileges and protection under the law especially if the respective spouse is residing in the mental health facility. There are many states in Canada where a judge will appoint a guardian to represent a spouse who has impairing mental health issues or is housed in a mental health facility to ensure that the ill spouse’s legal interests are protected and ideally represented in a divorce.

Mental Illness & Child Custody

A mentally ill person may lose their parental rights due to mental illness under extreme conditions. If the court feels that a parent’s mental illness is affecting the child’s health or well-being or if they feel that the child’s best interest requires them to be removed from their custody, only then one’s parent’s right might be terminated.

Below-mentioned conditions can lead to the termination of one’s parental rights:

  • The parent has not been able to be present for their children due to mental illness.
  • The parent is not able to provide for their children’s needs due to mental illness..
  • The child has been removed from the parent’s care due to mental health concerns in the past and legal expectations have not been met.

Even the persons who are proactively treating their mental illness and have been able to maintain good health, they will be treated the same as the person with mental illness in the court. In general, having a mental illness won’t jeopardize child custody without any reasonable cause.

Just keep in mind that there is no single factor that can determine the result of a custody case. And therefore, your mental health issues won’t necessarily strengthen or weaken your case. On the contrary, a judge will evaluate your family’s overall circumstances to determine the custody of your child. And they will make decisions according to your child’s best interest.

Your mental health issues can be one of various factors that a judge might keep in mind while making a decision in your case. Here are some factors that can be looked upon by a judge to determine your custody case:

  • the child’s need, how developed the child is, and the child’s age
  • the kind of relationship child shares with each of the parent
  • The ability of each parent to meet the child’s needs and provide a good life
  • The age of each parent and their physical and emotional health
  • How well the child adjusts to the school and community
  • The kind of relationship child shares with siblings and extended family members
  • History of domestic violence by either parent
  • The willingness of each parent to allow a relationship between the child and the child’s other parent, and
  • any other relevant factor.

These were some of the many factors that a judge might consider before giving you the custody of the child. Parents with more severe mental health issues may face greater obstacles to obtaining custody. Also, your family’s living environment and unique circumstances may also affect your custody case. The idea is to protect the rights and best interests of the child.

How To Protect Your Mental Health During Divorce?

The entire process of divorce can be mentally exhausting and emotionally draining. It jeopardizes your overall well-being, no matter if you’re mentally ill or not. Therefore, it is very important that you reach out to the therapists or your loved ones for the emotional support you might need at the moment. At the same time, keep a healthy diet, work out whenever you can, and take a walk into nature when you’re feeling low or lost. Maintaining good sleeping patterns and meditating will also help.

7 Useful Road Trip Travel Tips for Single Parents with Kids

Road Trip Travel Tips for Single Parents with Kids

Today the notion of traveling exceeds beyond just the boundaries of fun and adventure. It acts as an anchor to bond with your close ones, finding time for yourself and rejuvenate. Today, a large percentage of single parents are choosing to travel with their kids to fill the gaps and discover a new dimension of family bonding. But easier said than done, traveling with kids can be challenging as a single parent. You will have to take care of a range of responsibilities. To avoid hassles and unnecessary troubles, consider these seven practical travel tips to make the most of your time with your upcoming tour!

1.   Set Your Tour Expectations Right

New parents do not have much experience in managing kids when out for a tour. But the task even gets challenging when you are a single parent and trying, and the journey is long. The biggest mistake is comparing the tour expectations with your travel experience in the past. It is important to set each expectation by keeping the kids in mind. It will ensure you enjoy the tour to the fullest and neither you nor your kids are disappointed.

2.   Involve Your Kids into the Plan

Traveling with children will add to your responsibilities and accountabilities. Some responsibilities like taking care of their health, dealing with the chattering, miscellaneous tantrums are inevitable. While you make up your mind to deal with them all by yourself, you can just have a chat with them about the trip. This way, they shall feel a sense of responsibility. They might even cooperate with you a little if you are lucky!

3.   Add A Little Fun and Free Up Space with a Roof Rack

The more spacious the cargo, the better the trip! There is a range of car accessories out there available today. You can use them to make your road trip a lot more fun! The 4runner roof rackis one of the accessories that you should consider getting installed on your vehicle. It is a lightweight, robust weight rack that extends the flexibility of your cargo. Once attached to the roof, you can store or keep any accessory you want in its slots.

Setting up a tent right at the top of your car is also a brilliant way to clean up a lot of space in the cargo. This will make things easy for you and your kids. You do not have to cut down on the options of carrying luggage for the kids.

4.   Take Care of Travel Sickness

As per surveys, car sicknesses are the foremost concerns parents have when traveling with kids. Many kids are prone to this problem, and it is unavoidable most of the time. So you should be well-prepared. Drivers or front seat users are less likely to get sick. This is because the one engaged in motor skills rarely feels sick, and also, the front section undergoes less bouncing movement.

Motion sickness is more common among back-seat passengers and especially kids. So, you can travel with a couple of disposable bags and some nausea preventive edibles. These can include some peppermint candies, lime juice, and any safe medication.

5.   Indulge Them in Offline Games!

The concept of traveling existed and was cherished long before the emergence of cell phones or tablets. Today’s kids grow up amidst technology. The drive can be an excellent opportunity to take your kid’s eyes off the digital screen. You can plan or arrange for some cool car games that they can play comfortably in the back seat. Alphabet games, card games, memory games, musicals can serve just perfectly to keep the kids entertained and busy!

6.   Take Frequent Breaks

Do not forget that your kids do not have the same capacity as you have while traveling. They are more engrossed in the nitty-gritty of the tour than just reaching the destination. Kids tend to get bored very quickly or begin to feel tired. Hence, single parents should take frequent breaks.

If you are traveling somewhere far and using the highways, you will find many roadside attractions or restaurants. The small breaks might add up a little time to your journey, but they’ll be worth it. You can rest assured that this little trick shall add to the excitement of your kids. Parks, restaurants, pools, lakes, supermarkets are some of the examples that you can consider for your stop-by option!

7.   Keep Fast Food at Bay

People often tend to pick up fast food when they hit the road for a long trip. The casual eatery chains are abundant and affordable when on the way. They are delicious, easy to carry and eat! But, when traveling with kids, they can also get you in trouble. It is not a good idea to load the little tummies with processed or junk food. This can often make them feel nauseous in a long journey. In the worst scenarios, it can make them sick, which you do not want! The best is to replace junk food with home-cooked dry snacks, fruits, and health drinks!

Final Thoughts

Health professionals suggest that traveling can have many positive impacts on budding minds. Thus, traveling has become common practice in single-parent families. It helps to provide the young members the joy, excitement, and lifestyle they truly deserve. Even if you are new to your single parenting role, the above tips will navigate you through the first road trip with your children.

Co-Parenting an Autistic Child: Everything You Need to Know

Co-Parenting an Autistic Child: Everything You Need to Know

Raising a child with autism can be both challenging and rewarding. 

Research shows that 1 in 54 children has autism spectrum disorder. Children with autism experience the world in a number of different ways. Many of them experience their parents’ separation and feel overwhelmed. 

Co-parenting an autistic child does not have to be a burden. You just need to familiarize yourself with strategies for helping autistic children. Then, you can adapt your strategies to your new life. 

It’s important to get the facts you need to help the children in your care. Here is your quick guide. 

Explaining a Separation 

Many children struggle to understand why their parents are getting a divorce. They feel upset, or they may want to be alone in order to process the news. 

Children with autism are no different. You should loop them in on what is going on.

Children with autism are perceptive and introspective. They just express and process information in different ways. 

Practice what you are going to say in advance. You can write notes or record a video rehearsing your thoughts. 

Both parents should tell the child that a separation is occurring. If you each talk to the child individually, you each may provide conflicting information. You should both show that you will support your child for the rest of your lives. 

Remain calm and clear as you’re talking. Do not cast blame on the other parent, and do not frame the separation as being one parent’s initiative. Explain that you both want something different in life. 

Your child may have many questions. Answer them. Assure them that they are not the cause of the separation. 

You can use a social story to help them understand. This is especially good for younger children or non-verbal individuals. 

However, do not talk down to your child. Put things in age-appropriate terms. 

Your child may react in a number of different ways. They may laugh or smile, or they may not show emotions at all. Be prepared for any reaction and provide calming activities for them after you have your conversation. 

Negotiating Custody

While you are negotiating custody, keep things as normal for your child as possible. Both parents should try to live in the same house. If that’s not an option, both parents should contact the child every day. 

Most separations result in joint custody. Joint custody has many advantages, including that it keeps a child in contact with both parents.

If you were not in an abusive relationship, you should opt for some sort of joint measure. This will give a good structure for your entire family. 

You can tell your child informal updates on how things are going, but don’t burden them with details. Keep them focused on school, friends, and therapy. 

Update their therapist, doctor, teacher, and support staff about your separation. It is essential that all of you are on the same page. You do not have to give details, but explain why your child may be unwilling to participate in activities. 

If your child is a teenager, keep in mind their rights during the separation process. Most states allow negotiators and judges to consider their wishes for custody and visitation. 

While deciding upon child support, make sure you talk over terms for your child’s therapy. Everything should be provided for in the plan.


If your child needs significant help from both of you, a bird-nesting arrangement can work. In bird-nesting, the child stays in one home.

Then, the co-parents rotate living in that home based on their custody arrangement. While one co-parent lives in the family home, the other lives in another property. 

You can also arrange to have both co-parents stay in the same home but in different parts of the house. This provides maximum continuity for a child with autism. 

You can also use bird-nesting as a transition into joint custody. While you work out the final terms, you swap out while the child remains in the home. Once those terms are done, you can transition to 50/50 visitations.

Or, you can use bird-nesting as a permanent custody solution, which can be tricky. If you or your co-parent finds a new partner, it is difficult to manage a relationship while living in the same house as your ex. 

Work over boundaries and conditions. In particular, figure out how daily expenses and housing costs will be paid.

One aspect to keep in mind? Bird-nesting can lead a child to believe their parents are getting back together. They may find it confusing that their parents are rotating out.

Explain the arrangements in terms they will understand. 

You may find that bird-nesting is a great short-term solution. But in the long term, it can result in disputes with your co-parent. If that is the case, feel free to adapt, but make sure the whole family is on board. 

Handling Transitions

Many children with autism struggle with changes to their routines. They can become upset when playtime is cut short or lunchtime comes later. Having to live somewhere else can be particularly troublesome.

Make the transition as easy as possible for your child. One way that can help is creating an extended custody schedule. If you share 50/50 custody, trade your child off every week instead of every night.

Develop a little transition ritual you can perform. It can be something simple as reading a book or going out for a walk. Be sure to maintain this ritual so your child understands that it signals a move to another home. 

Give your child a calendar so that they know what the schedule is. Remind them of how many more days they will be at home with you. This gives them time to process their emotions. 


If you do not decide on joint custody, you may decide one parent should have sole custody. The other parent will have visitation time, usually amounting to 20% of parenting time

This can be disruptive to children with autism, who want consistent routines. Select a regular visitation time with your other co-parent.

Keep the time consistent and extended. Rather than having one weeknight visit every week, opt for an extended visit of a couple of weeks. 

If you are the parent with visitation, make things as normal as possible. Give plenty of time for your child to do homework and pursue therapy. Integrate some fun activities, but act in a similar manner to your other co-parent. 

Make sure the child can contact both parents whenever they want to. Your child should have phone numbers and email addresses for both of you. 

The Process of Co-Parenting

Co-parenting by yourself does not have to be different than parenting with your former partner. Give your child the best tools out there to learn, play, and grow in a healthy environment. 

Set boundaries and behavioral guidelines with your other co-parent. Decide how you want to discipline your child and teach them important skills. 

Do your best to keep your child in the same school and with the same medical professionals. Too many changes at once can overwhelm them. 

Your child may test your rules, especially if they want something like a toy or an unhealthy snack. Stick to your guidelines. Both co-parents should present a united and communicative front. 

Engage in floor activities with your child. Many children with autism struggle to make eye contact. Get down on the floor and play with different toys. 

Give them age-appropriate and sensory-appropriate toys. Some children have difficulty with textures, so select soft and adjustable objects. 

When giving instructions, use smaller sentences. It can take a while for a child with autism to process long instructions. 

Keep in mind that your child may ask about the other co-parent. You can talk about them, but be brief and respectful. Do not bash them or jump to conclusions about what they are doing. 

Introducing New Partners

It is never a good idea to introduce your new partner to a child immediately after a divorce. It can be especially troublesome for a child with autism, as it can easily confuse and trouble them. 

Talk to your partner about what sort of parenting role they want to play. They may be willing to get involved in your child’s life. They may want you to take the lead. 

Whatever role they want to play, educate them on what life is like with an autistic child. Talk about your child’s development and what they do for therapy. Notify your partner about any behaviors like self-stimulation actions that they may find surprising. 

When you make the introduction itself, keep things brief and cordial. Notify your child in advance about who they will meet. Let your partner talk for themselves, but intervene if your child reacts badly. 

After the introduction, touch base with your partner. If they feel comfortable continuing a relationship, allow them to interact. 

If your partner is of a different background than the other co-parent, your child may make an uncomfortable remark. Prepare your partner ahead of time so you both know how to approach the conversation together. 

Introducing New Siblings

If your new partner has children of their own, you should also wait to introduce them. Even if you think they will get along, it can be overwhelming for everyone to meet new people. 

Talk to your partner’s children. Tell them that your child may process things a little differently, but they can still play and talk together. 

As with introducing your new partner, you want to preview the introduction for all parties. Provide a space where all of the children feel comfortable interacting with each other. It’s a good idea to play a game or read a book. 

You can move in with your partner and their children, but do notify your child of your decision. In the new environment, hold to the old routines your child had. 

Their new siblings may feel you are neglecting them, so make sure to spend plenty of time with all of the children in your care. Set aside activities you can do with those kids so they don’t feel alone. 

Caring for Yourself 

Raising an autistic child in and of itself can difficult. Dealing with a separation on top of them increases the difficulty. 

Once you and your child have settled into your routine, make sure you take time to care for yourself. During times where your co-parent is watching over your child, do things you like to do. Travel, have dinner out, and pursue creative projects. 

There are support groups for people dealing with a separation and raising autistic children. You can attend both. You can also speak to a therapist who can address both issues at once. 

Talk to an expert about what you can do to help your child with autism. Every child with autism is different, and it’s important to get all the information you need. 

Along the way, make sure that you take time to rebuild your confidence. Accept the past and celebrate the positives that are going on in your life.

Interact with your support network, including your child. They love you and want what’s best for you. 

Find Success Co-Parenting an Autistic Child

Co-parenting an autistic child requires a few different steps. Both co-parents should explain the separation together. During custody, measures should be taken to provide normalcy and routine, like nesting.

Pay a lot of attention to creating smooth transitions. Provide time for your child to do normal things. 

Take time introducing new partners and new siblings. You should also take time to care for yourself and reach out to others. 

You can be a great co-parent once you have the facts. 2houses is the Internet’s leading service for co-parents. Contact us today for more advice and information.