Challenges of Coparenting in Military Families

coparenting in military families

Military life is challenging yet rewarding. The same can be said for coparenting. 

Since 2001, two million American children have experienced a parental deployment. At least half of these children also experience a separation between their parents. 

This is why coparenting in military families is so important. Separated parents must come together and make sure their kids receive full support. Yet coparents often experience many hurdles as they raise their kids. 

Understanding what those hurdles are is the first step toward overcoming them. Here is your guide to the challenges of coparenting in a military family. 

Separation Proceedings

Divorce is difficult enough for anyone. It is especially difficult for active-duty personnel because of the lack of communication they have with their spouse. 

If you are on active-duty, understand your rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. You can obtain a postponement of legal proceedings if your service affects your ability to engage with the divorce case. When you request this protection, you can automatically receive a 90-day stay. 

If you are a military spouse requesting a divorce, you should still file for a divorce as soon as possible. Keep in mind that it may take time for your partner to respond. 

Both parties should talk to a lawyer who specializes in working with military families. Some law firms offer services for “military divorce.” These services do not differ substantially from civilian divorce, but the term can indicate experience with military members. 

Some military bases have legal assistance attorneys. They can write letters and review legal documents for active-duty personnel. 

But they cannot represent personnel in a divorce hearing. The personnel must find a different attorney. 

The person who is initiating the divorce should file in the state where they live. A service member who has been living in a state for six months can file for a divorce in that state. 

A military spouse can continue to receive military benefits while the divorce case is ongoing. The two parties can communicate with each other. 

Both parties should also remain in contact with their children. Even an amicable divorce can be stressful for kids. 

Affirm that you love them and will spend time with them. Give them books that explain divorce at their level. 

Custody Arrangements 

There are several ways you can consider custody in a military family. Many couples decide on joint custody, even while one parent remains on active duty. In these arrangements, the civilian parent watches over the children while the servicemember is working. 

If both parents are on active duty, they must decide together where their children will live. They can live with a relative or a guardian that both parents decide upon. 

There are several modes of joint custody, including legal custody. The children can spend more time with one coparent. But both can possess the same amount of legal rights. Make sure to look through all of your options before deciding on the best form for you.  

Some spouses decide on sole custody for the civilian parent. The military parent does not have a say in major decisions for their children.

But they do have visitation rights. Both parties should negotiate on when the military parent can visit and how much contact they should have. 

They should also decide on child support. It is up to the coparents to decide on how the military parent should pay.

A child can live with their parent on a military base. This is not ideal for a separated couple, but it is possible if necessary. 

The military parent should have a way of sending the money on time and in full. They can wire the money electronically or they can send a physical check. 

If the servicemember has full custody, they should designate other family members to take care of their children. They should also provide visitation access for the other coparent. 

Drafting Parenting Plans 

Coparenting is possible with a military family. But both coparents need to help draft a nuanced parenting plan. 

The biggest factor is communication. A coparent may be deployed to an area without easy communication. You need to consider how the parent can remain in contact with their child. 

Some organizations offer letter-writing programs for soldiers. If you or your child is not acquainted with letter writing, start practicing.  

A plan should cover travel arrangements. A service member can receive an assignment to another duty station with little notice. They could also be sent back home. 

The plan can ask both parents to set aside money so the member can return home. It can spell out how the military parent will transport themselves. 

What happens when the military parent returns should be defined. They should know where they are going to live and how they can see their children. 

You should also consider how grandparents and other family members are involved. You should loop them in on the plan you are forming. If you need them to watch over the children or provide support, you should specify that.

It may take some time to hash out the details. Don’t rush things. Talk things over carefully with the other party. 

Creating and Revising a Family Care Plan 

Family Care Plan is separate from a parenting plan. It is a document that all service members who have children must file. It is designed for caretakers who do not have a military background but will take care of the children.

You should have a caregiver in mind when drafting one. You must name them and provide their contact information. If the caregiver is not the child’s other parent, you should describe the other parent. 

Detail the arrangements they should make for daily activities. This includes how the caregiver should pick your children up from school. You can also describe extracurricular events. 

In addition to logistics and monetary arrangements, you should provide medical arrangements. Include copies of your children’s medical records and insurance forms. You can discuss religious arrangements if they are important. 

It is important to keep your plan up to date. As your children grow up and their arrangements change, you should edit your plan. You can change caregivers if you need to. 

After a separation, you should absolutely update your plan to reflect your new arrangements. You should include information about what your custody, visitation, and child support rights are. 

If your children are old enough, you can consult with them on your plan. Talk with them about what arrangements they want. 

A Family Care Plan is distinct from a last will and testament. Service members are not required to draft one, but the military strongly advises it. 


People struggle with a range of emotions after going through a separation. Some people experience grief as if someone close to them died. Others feel a sense of relief or excitement. 

Take all the time you need to process your emotions. Spending time with your children can help, especially after the separation process is over.

But give time for yourself and your friends as well. You are in no rush to get over the feelings you are experiencing. 

If your feelings impair your ability to work or take care of yourself, seek help. Servicemembers can request non-medical counseling. They can talk to an experienced counselor about coping strategies and the next steps. 

Do not ask for reassignment or deployment so you can take your mind off your separation. You should try to keep working, but don’t make sudden changes to your life. This may make you feel worse. 

When coparenting, the two exes often remain in contact with each other. This can be awkward. When one person is overseas, communications can be indirect or delayed. 

When you talk to your ex, be as respectful as possible. Keep the conversation short and then move on with your day.

Try not to dwell on negative emotions. Do not get into an argument with them. 

Separation can cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder to flare up. Talk to a psychiatrist if you have ongoing PTSD. You can take medications or adopt therapies that can help you manage your symptoms. 

Doing Things With Your Kids

Spending time with your kids after a separation can be difficult. They may want to talk about the absent coparent.

Explain the absence in brief terms. Be honest but don’t be too specific. Make sure your kids know how much you love them and tell them you will not abandon them. 

Many children are curious about their parent’s military service. This may be difficult for you to talk about.

Keep things light. Talk about funny things that happened during your service. Tell a few short stories instead of long dramatic ones. 

Let your coparent talk about their service. Don’t make guesses as to what they did or didn’t do. 

Make an adventure out of your time with your kids. Go to an amusement park or a nature preserve. Visit the aquarium and eat at their favorite pizzeria. 

You can have your child visit you on a military base. Create an experience that they will remember. 

Make the time you have with them about them. Give them an experience they will remember positively. Project as much positive emotion as you can. 

Try to keep whatever else you are feeling to yourself. Go to a friend, coworker, or medical professional if you have strong feelings of anxiety or guilt.  

Finding New Partners

You do not have to pursue another relationship until you are ready. It is best to calm down and put some distance between yourself and the separation. 

Many people find a new relationship after separating from an old one. You can continue to coparent while living with another partner. 

Maintain boundaries amongst yourself, your new partner, your ex, and your children. You should discuss your new relationship with your ex. Address concerns that they might have and discuss how involved your partner should be in parenting. 

Your ex may not be happy with your partner. Limit contact between the two of them. If your relationship gets serious, do stand your ground, but avoid making things difficult at first. 

Talk to your children before you introduce them to your partner. Allow them to adapt to the new situation through time. Inform your partner about what your child is feeling. 

Consider how much of a coparenting role you want your new partner to have. In particular, consider if you would like your partner to discipline your child. Have a conversation about how you and they discipline children. 

If your partner isn’t willing to step into a parenting role, you can still maintain your relationship. Wait to introduce them to your children.

Your partner may or may not be a service member. It can be difficult to maintain a relationship while both partners are on duty. Do your best to facilitate your relationship with them. 

Your children can engage with you, your new partner, and their other biological parent. Tell your child that they can spend time with all three of you. If they don’t want to spend time with one person, tell them that they don’t have to. 

Coparenting in Military Families

Coparenting in a military family is possible. Affirm your child while you are undergoing a separation. Remain in contact with them as much as possible. 

Set up custody arrangements and parenting plans. Provide specific details on how your child will be cared for. 

Take the time you need to cope with your separation. Touch base with your child and spend time with them. Be careful introducing your new partner to them. 

Coparenting is a marathon, not a sprint. 2Houses provides the facts you need. Read this guide on being a great coparent while having feelings for your ex.

The Role Stepparents Play in Children’s Lives.

The Role Stepparents Play in Children's Lives

Stepparents play a number of important roles. The nature of the situation and the dynamic of the family relationship all dictate how those roles play out. 

It can be difficult to fulfill the role, though. Separations are difficult on children as well as adults, and it’s never easy stepping into that situation from the outside. Regardless of how long a set of parents have been separated, there are wounds to address and bridges to gap when someone new enters the picture. 

We’re going to talk about the role of stepparents in this article, giving you some ideas to work with as you try to become a stepparent or incorporate one into your family. 

The Roles of Stepparents

It’s difficult to give one-size-fits-all solutions to issues in family dynamics because all families are so different. 

All individuals are unique, making each combination of people in a family very unique as well. Throw the trauma of divorce or separation into the mix, and you’ve got a delicate, very personal situation. 

That said, single parents can’t just isolate themselves and avoid the potential of relationships. When the time comes to introduce a new stepmom or stepdad to the picture, there a few things to consider that will make the process go a little smoother. 

Again, you can’t put a stamp on any one solution because your approach has to adjust to the situation you and your family are in. There are, however, a few ideas to keep in mind that might make the process a little smoother. 

Let’s take a look at some ways to imagine and develop the roles of stepparents. 

Don’t Rush Things

You’ve established a good relationship with your new partner, but you don’t know how the children will respond to the situation. 

They’re still grieving the loss of their parent’s relationship, and they might not appreciate the idea that there’s a “new mom” or “new dad” in the picture. It’s natural for them to show a little resistance to the idea — especially at first. 

Rushing into the situation and trying to force a positive relationship between the stepparent and stepchild cannot work. When you start to break down what a “parent” is, it’s clear that there are longstanding bonds that have to be made before that role can be established. 

Slapping a parent-child label on a relationship without any foundation will lead to resentment and difficulty later. It’s natural for that to happen, too. When someone is a parent, they’re expected to provide various means of physical and emotional support. 

When those expectations aren’t met, things might go sour. The thing is, someone a child doesn’t know and trust can’t fill that emotional space for them. 

Solution: Allow Relationships to Form Naturally

You can be in a relationship with a new person and have them around your children without calling them a stepparent. Sure, you want that relationship to develop in the future, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait to introduce them until then. 

A new adult in the picture can serve as a friend, mentor, or just someone who cares. That’s all it has to be at first because that’s all it can be. 

A low-pressure, enjoyable time spent together is the best way to start establishing a bond that will last. It’s important for both the biological parent and the stepparent to understand this. 

Odds are that you both want to establish the stepparent-child relationship and that you both have your own ideas of what that looks like. It’s important to stay on the same page and regularly discuss how both of you are treating the situation.

It’s great to show affection and allow the relationship to develop, but tap your foot on the brake when you start to see yourself forcing different elements of the relationship. 

Discuss Family Dynamics

Whether you’re the biological parent or the stepparent, it’s crucial that you talk deeply about how the family came to be. Discuss each member of the family, their roles, how they were affected by the separation, and the relationships that they have with everyone else. 

As a stepparent, you have to appreciate the emotional difficulty that your new family has gone through. Your personal opinions and contributions are important, but they’re not going to solve the issues that the others have experienced. 

This can be a really painful thing to go through because it’s easy to feel powerless in that situation. Know that the situation is complex, and you might not be able to improve things very much at first. Let’s use an example. 

Imagine the family as a big beautiful house. The house was once brand new, everything was working, and there was no reason to think that things would ever stop working. 

Then, one day a massive storm came through and shattered some windows, messed with the wiring, and shook the foundation, creating a few deep cracks. The house is still standing up, but it needs a little repair. 

You can live in this house, but you can’t fix the house yourself. You can’t come to plant your flag and say, “I’m here to save the day! Here are all of my important ideas that will make everything better!”

You’re not a carpenter, and only a professional or someone who built the house in the first place knows how to fix those cracks and windows. 

Ask Difficult Questions

The best way for stepparents or biological parents to create a healthy new dynamic is to have discussions

The trouble is, the discussions aren’t easy and they drudge up a lot of emotional subject matter. You have to appreciate that divorce and separation are the hardest things that any child has ever had to face. 

They might not understand the nature of the divorce, which makes it even harder to stomach. Lack of understanding, though, doesn’t equate to emotions that are any less intense or severe. 

Left unchecked, that confusion and emotional turmoil will manifest in other ways and remain unresolved. When someone is in that state, the last thing they want is for a new person to come in and take the role of the person they’ve lost. 

Further, someone who doesn’t appreciate the trouble you’re going through should not try to insert themselves into an important role in your life. 

So, the first step for a stepparent is to appreciate the situation in earnest. Don’t force the conversations, but ask questions where you can and begin to understand what the family members are going through. 

Once you’re more aware, you can start to see where you will fit. You might find that your spot isn’t exactly what you imagined it would be!

Family Roles Aren’t Uniform

Note that unique families call for unique roles. 

Just because you’re a stepmom or a stepdad doesn’t mean you have to behave like your dad or mom. Further, you might not wind up filling a role that you could even imagine at this point. 

We often get caught up with what we think we’re expected to do when the reality of the situation calls for something else. Your role as a stepfather, for example, could be a quarter father figure and three-quarters best friend. 

The way you end up fitting into the family will probably have different elements of what you expected, but a lot of what you didn’t. You might never get the title of “dad” or “mom,” but that doesn’t mean that you won’t fill pieces of those roles.

In many cases, both biological parents are in the picture, and they both hold up their ends as parents. The stepparent is still a parent, albeit one that fits a different role than they would if the other biological parent weren’t in the picture. 

The situation will unfold and call for stepparents to step up to the plate. This all plays out according to the needs of the children and the biological parent. That isn’t to say that a stepparent is beholden to the family and can’t be themselves. 

Stepparents may have interesting family traditions, great parenting instincts, and other wonderful qualities to bring to the table. Those are all positive things and should be embraced. The idea we’re getting at, though, is that the position that the stepparent holds does depend on the existing environment of the family and its needs. 

Respecting Former Partners

There isn’t a shortage of issues in relationships between divorced or separated people. Throw a few children and a new partner or two into the mix, and there’s a lot of room for things to get heated. 

It makes sense, too. Loving relationships and children are some of the most important, emotionally charged factors in any person’s life. If your situation is tense right now, know that there are ways to get through it and find a healthy balance. 

Again, this issue is helped by having discussions. There would be a sense of mutual respect in an ideal situation. When it comes to someone else having a hand in raising your child, that respect has to be earned. 

There isn’t an excuse for an ex to be nasty to a new stepparent, but it’s important to understand where that emotion is coming from. If you know your ex is a reasonable person, and you know that your new partner is a good person, you know that there’s room for peace to be achieved. 

The same goes for situations where an ex introduces a partner to the children and you respond in an intense way. Unless the new partner is an unhealthy influence on the children, it’s important that you find ways to appreciate and accept the situation as it is. 

That means finding respect for the opposite party and having discussions that solve issues. In some instances, that could require therapy. 

Actively Creating Divides

Some stepparents and biological parents have the habit of belittling the opposite parent or their partner to the children. 

Saying negative things about the child’s parent or stepparent to them creates a confusing environment for them. They might start to believe the things you say and internalize them. 

It’s important that you don’t avoid difficult truths about these relationships, but gossiping or venting to a child about your frustrations with an opposite parent doesn’t help anything. 

Even though it sounds like something that you wouldn’t do, it’s easy to slip a little bit and vent your frustrations in an unproductive way. 

Agreeing on Rules

Rules between households are bound to be a little different. It’s important, though, to keep a consistent thread of foundational rules present in both households

It’s important to communicate with the children’s other parent and their spouse to set these guidelines. Varying rules and expectations across households can lead to a difficult environment for the children. 

Additionally, failing to respect the wishes of the other parent and vice versa can lead to trouble among parents. These are bridges that can be gapped, even if the solutions aren’t perfect or permanent. 

The idea is to keep an attitude of mutual respect, standing strong or making sacrifices based on the situation. Even if your relationships with the other adults in the picture aren’t great, you can find a common ground to benefit the children. 

If there’s respect across the board, you’ll create a healthy space for the stepparent roles to grow and thrive. If not, it might be difficult for the children to establish healthy relationships with these new figures in their lives. 

Again, things might not pan out how you would have wanted them to. These new roles and relationships might not look at all how you thought they would. What matters, though, is that there’s an environment of love and support that benefits the children. 

Want More Parenting Insight?

Stepparents have a difficult job, but it’s one that can be incredibly rewarding. There’s a lot to learn, and we’re here to help you work through the tough points. 

Explore our site for more parenting information that will help you bridge the gap in stepparent-child relationships.  

Long Distance Parenting Plan Examples

Long Distance Parenting Plan Examples

There is nothing more difficult for families than trying to make cohesive decisions following divorce. Even the smoothest divorces involving children still end with difficulty. Both parents want equal time and say with their children, but rarely do parenting plans consider the child’s best interests. 

This can only be made more complicated when you add long distances between parents into the occasion. When easy travel back and forth between houses isn’t possible, a long distance parenting plan becomes necessary for all parties involved to have an equal and fair say in their child’s upbringing. 

What is a Parenting Plan? 

A parenting plan is a written set of instructions for how parents will raise their children. They involve specific pieces of information about each child involved. 

Parenting plans can be both formal and informal. Informal parenting plans are an outline of an agreed-upon set of rules for their children. But most parenting plans are more formal than that. 

When parents need a parenting plan, they get outside help through independent consults. This helps them reach agreements through mediation instead of the court. 

Children’s health specialists cite the benefits that parenting plans have on children. They see their divorced parents working together and gain a sense of confidence and security. 

What Needs to be in the Long Distance Parenting Plan?

Each parenting plan, like each set of parents, is unique. Depending on where you live, your state may have standards surrounding parenting plans. 

For the most part, parenting plans contain how much time and when the child will spend with each parent. They’ll have special considerations surrounding school holidays and other special times as well. 

It should have instructions for which parents will make decisions about the child’s wellbeing. It will outline consistent rules between both homes. There should also be a provision about what to do when parents can’t reach agreements together. 

Creating a parenting plan can be hard. To make it easier, here is a list of provisions and some examples you may find useful. 

Travel Arrangements 

Getting the child back and forth between houses is one of the most common gripes in co-parenting relationships. Have a clause in your co-parenting plan so there is no confusion.

For children who will travel by air, your plan needs to include who will go with the child to the plane for each departure, layover, and arrival. Depending on how old your child is, a parent may need to go with them for the entire flight. Older children may fly unaccompanied, in which case you will need to have clear communication with them on what to do in emergencies as well. 

Some other air travel details to include are: 

  • Specific airports to use 
  • Acceptable travel times 
  • How and when tickets are purchased 
  • Who handles travel arrangements

If you plan to use a car to travel long distances, specify which parent will do the driving, where the meetup location will be, and how the trip will be funded. 

Here is an example of a travel arrangement clause in a long distance parenting plan: 

“Each parent will be responsible for driving halfway to exchange custody of the child. The agreed-upon meeting location is the XYZ Diner in Smalltown, USA. The drop-off time is noon.” 

This plan communicates what each parent will be responsible for as well as a neutral meeting place. Parenting plans should not be vague. All details should be included. 

Communication Between Parents 

Another clause to include could be how you plan to communicate with your co-parent. It’s better for your child if you and your co-parent can communicate in a consistent, civil way. A child’s life is always changing and both parents deserve to stay in the loop about those changes, whether they’re the active parent at the moment or not. 

Your communication agreement could include the use of video calls, scheduled calls, or even regular texts and emails to each other. A weekly or bi-weekly meeting to catch up on things in your child’s life helps to keep both parents informed and involved. 

Communication between the non-residential parent and the child should be arranged as well. Decide what times and how the child will communicate with the parent they aren’t currently staying with. 

An example of a communication clause could look like this: 

“Every third Tuesday, both parties will enter a phone call at 8:00 PM to discuss any issues or important items in the child’s life.” 

 “Every weekday after 5 PM, the non-residential parent will be permitted a phone call with the child that lasts for 30 minutes.” 

Custody Agreements

If you have a court-appointed custody agreement, you don’t necessarily have to include it in your parenting plan. But, if you and your co-parent are attempting to work out the custody agreement on your own, it should be included in your co-parenting plan

There are many different custody agreements you can choose from depending on what your child needs. Depending on how far apart your home is from your co-parent, visitation may only be possible during the times when school is out for a break. Maybe 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off schedule is better for you. 

Whatever your custody agreement looks like, it should be listed in clear terms in your parenting plan. Consider adding a shared calendar for both parents to keep updated with important dates and things to consider. 

Your long distance parenting plan custody agreement may look like this: 

“The parties agree that the shared time between parents will be split with 51% for Parent A and 49% for Parent B. The child will remain with Parent A for the school year and alternating holidays. The child will remain with Parent B for extended school breaks and alternating holidays.”


To maintain a consistent lifestyle across both families, a consistent method of discipline is important. A child needs that consistency so they can safely test their boundaries and grow. 

Here is an example of a discipline clause in a long-distance parenting agreement:

“Each parent handles disciplining the child when they are in their care. If any problems surrounding discipline arise, the parent who was made aware of the discipline problem needs to contact the other parent and discuss to agree on an appropriate course of action. 

“Neither parent will allow any third party to inflict punishment whether it is corporal, physical, or otherwise. No discipline can override the parenting schedule unless both parents agree.” 

Child Rearing 

In addition to discipline decisions, the rules should be the same too. If a child is permitted to do something in one home but not permitted in the next, it could become confusing and result in unintentional breaking of the rules. This can cause a lot of undue stress during an already stressful time. 

If you have specific rules involving phone usage, time spent on television or video games, curfew, or other things, lay them out in your parenting agreement. 

Additionally, you may want to include more general aspects of child-rearing, like the availability of food and snacks. This protects both you and your child. 

An example of a parenting agreement clause involving child-rearing may look like this: 

“Both parents are responsible for ensuring that the place the child will stay has all necessities such as electricity, heat, and running water. Each parent will provide a balanced diet during the time the child is in their care.” 

Religious Education

Religious education can get tricky when you are splitting time between two homes. You may not have to include a clause for religious education if neither you nor your spouse is interested in religion. Also, if you both have the same religion and are on the same page about service attendance, you could probably avoid it. 

But if you differ on what religion your child should be raised with, it may be a good idea to get a mediator to work out how you will handle religiously educating your child. 

One example of a religious education clause is: 

“Each parent may take their children to a church or place of worship of their choice when they are in their care.” 

“Neither parent may allow the child to get involved with religious activities without the consent of the other.” 

Other Relationships 

If your co-parent is in another relationship, you may want to include a provision about your child’s involvement in your parenting plan. Whether your child may live with your co-parent’s new relationship is a deeply personal and often emotionally charged issue. 

You could consider including a clause that forbids either parent from openly calling their new romantic partner their “stepmother” or “stepfather” until they are legally married. 

However, “other relationships” don’t necessarily mean romantic relationships. There may be family members, friends, or other people that you wish to protect your child from.

A parenting plan could include a request that your child not be left alone with certain people or that they should completely avoid contact. This can also include a statement about the grandparent’s visitation rights. 

How to Make a Long Distance Parenting Plan 

Now that you know the different aspects that could be involved in your parenting plan, you need to know how to write one. It’s not as easy as sitting down and writing down everything you want out of a co-parenting relationship. It involves you digging deep to consider what is best for your child in this shared arrangement. 

Think of Your Child’s Interests 

Your priority needs to be keeping your child’s best interest at heart. At no point should the long distance parenting plan creation become about spite, jealousy, or pettiness. Divorce is already hard enough on all parties involved. 

Consider your child’s physical and emotional needs. Then, consider what you would like to see. Try to connect these two goals, the goals of the other parent, and create a road map that will get you there. 

Open Up Communication 

It’s important that during the creation of a long distance parenting plan that you keep the lines of communication open. Allow all involved parties to be candidly honest about their feelings and their needs. This is how you will create a plan that makes everyone happy and creates a safe, loving environment for your child. 

Consider Outside Help

Sometimes, coming up with the best plan of action requires mediation. Divorce can be messy. It’s often an emotional affair that can leave wounds that take time to heal. 

But your child shouldn’t have to suffer because of those wounds. If you and your co-parent are unable to see eye to eye when it comes to the best decisions for your child, involve a mediator. 

A mediator will work with both parents and the child to figure out the best course of action. They will be an unbiased third party who can help you reach an agreement on every aspect of your parenting plan. A mediator isn’t looking to litigate or win for either side, they’re trying to reach a peaceful and mutually agreed-upon solution.

Tips on Long Distance Parenting

At the end of the day, both parents care about their children. It should be the goal of everyone involved to come together and create an environment in both homes that is consistent, safe, and loving. A long distance parenting plan is the perfect solution for co-parents who live far away from each other but still want to create that environment for their children. 

For more information on how you can create a mutually beneficial relationship with your co-parent, read more about our co-parenting tools

Child Custody Schedule by Age

Child Custody Schedule by Age

Did you know that 50% of children in America will see their parents divorce during their lifetime? So if you are going through a divorce, your kids are in good company and there is plenty of support available for them.

Getting a child custody schedule in place is incredibly important for everyone involved. This means that both you and your ex can plan your lives accordingly. It also ensures that your children understand when they are going to see each parent. 

However, a lot of things can affect a child’s custody schedule and your child’s age is one important factor to consider. Want to know more about planning child custody for different age groups? Then you’re in the right place! 

Read on to find out everything you need to know about planning proper care to suit your child’s age.

Common Types of Child Custody

If you and your ex have kids, you will come to some sort of custody arrangement during your divorce.

This may be something that you agree on in the terms of your divorce. If you can’t come to an agreement then a judge will decide for you in family court.

Physical custody determines where a child lives and how much time they spend with each parent.

Joint physical custody is the most common type of custody arrangement in the USA today. This means that your children will still be able to see both of their parents.

Sole physical custody means that your children will live with whichever parent has custody. In this setup, the other parent has visitation rights. Visitation rights let you see your child although they do not live with you.

You can also arrange visitation rights for extended family members, such as grandparents. Visitation rights ensure that both parents can still see their child safely.

Legal custody determines who has control of parental decisions regarding education and upbringing. You can share legal custody of your kids even if you don’t share physical custody.

Deciding a Time-Split in Joint Custody

If you decide on joint custody this does not automatically mean that you share a 50/50 custody schedule with your ex. There are lots of ways that you can organize joint custody. These tend to come down to practicality.

A 50/50 schedule involves your child going between homes at regular intervals. This means you both get an equal share of time with them.

They might spend one week with you and one week with your ex, for example. Or they may move between your homes every few days if you live close together.

A 60/40 schedule or 70/30 schedule tends to accommodate one parent’s working schedule more. In these schedules, your child will stay at one home for most of the week. Then they will spend a weekend or an extended weekend with their other parent. 

If you don’t like the idea of missing out on weekends with your kids, the 2-2-5-5 arrangement may be for you. This essentially works out as a 50/50 split but means that you both get quality time with your kids. This setup involves:

  • Two days with one parent
  • Two days with the other parent
  • Five days with one parent
  • Five days with the other parent

Then you repeat this cycle. This means that you never have to go more than five days without seeing your children.

If you have an intensive working schedule then an 80/20 split could work best for your kids. This means they will be with one parent for two weeks and then enjoy an extended weekend with the other. While one parent gets less time with their kids, this at least means that you can plan properly for this time. 

Putting Together a Child Custody Schedule

When putting together a child custody schedule there are plenty of things you need to consider. This includes: 

  • The amount of time each parent wants to spend with a child
  • Your working schedules
  • What your child wants and needs
  • Your child’s educational and extracurricular schedule
  • Your living situations and where your child wants to live

A successful custody schedule will meet the needs of everyone involved and (most importantly) will put the child first. This might take a little time to work out so try to be patient.

Depending on your relationship with your ex, you may want to get support from a lawyer or mediator. They can help you and your ex to communicate effectively. This is especially helpful during a time that will be emotional for everyone involved.

Why Is Age Important for Child Custody Arrangements? 

It is also important to think about your child’s age while putting together a child custody arrangement. This is mainly because they will need different types of stability at different ages. 

For example, when they are in school, they need to live locally. That way they won’t get tired out moving between households during the school week. 

Their age might also affect the type of support and schedule that you and your ex need as well. For example, a parent to an infant will need more support than a parent to a teenager. This is because the practical demands of looking after an infant are greater.

With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the best custody arrangements for children depending on their age. Of course, it is important to keep other child custody considerations in mind when looking at this. 

The Best Custody Arrangement for Infants (Ages 0 to 12 Months)

Managing custody with an infant can be particularly tricky. This is an incredibly important bonding time for both babies and their parents. Because of this, a baby shouldn’t be away from either parent for longer than a few days. 

On top of this, you also have to manage an infant’s schedule. Disturbing this too much or too often can make it very difficult for a baby to settle. So finding a compromise is key.

Because of this, it is a good idea for an infant to live with one parent. This means that they will sleep in one house for the first 12 months or so of their lives. Then they should have frequent daytime visits from their other parent. 

This may depend a lot on both of your working schedules. It might require to you rearrange your maternity and paternity leave. 

As your baby becomes more settled, you can start thinking about overnight stays with their other parent. Babies all develop at different speeds. So the age that this happens at might vary depending on your baby.

This custody arrangement can still happen in a joint custody arrangement. In that case, you and your ex need to agree to revisit the custody schedule as your baby develops and becomes more settled.

The Best Custody Arrangement for Toddlers (Ages 1 to 3 Years) 

Toddlers are a lot more adaptable than babies, which means that overnight stays are easier during these years. That said, between one and three your child is undergoing important emotional development.

This means that they are becoming a lot more aware of their surroundings and emotions. They may start to experience fear, empathy, embarrassment, and guilt. During this time it is important that they have security and stability from both of their parents. 

Having a consistent schedule throughout toddlerhood is vital because of this. For example, knowing when they are next going to see each parent is extremely important even if you don’t have a fixed schedule. You should avoid your child going for long, unplanned spells without seeing one parent.

You also need to communicate carefully with your children about any changes well in advance. This will add to their sense of security. 

As your child gets older, you should never discuss custody arrangements in front of them. That way they won’t feel caught between two different households.

It is also a good idea to always drop your child off rather than picking them up from the other parent’s house. This means that it won’t feel like one parent is interrupting their child’s quality time with another. This also gives each parent time to say goodbye and emotionally prepare their child for drop-off.

The Best Custody Arrangement for Children (Ages 4 to 11 Years)

As your child gets older their schedule will get much busier. This means that you have a lot more organization on your hands.

While it benefits the child to see both parents, it is also important that they can enjoy a normal childhood life. This might involve:

  • Going on school trips 
  • Attending extracurricular clubs
  • Going to birthday parties or for play dates

On the plus side, however, you will find that your child becomes more flexible as they get older. In fact, it will probably become harder for you to be away from them than vice versa. This can be very difficult but is a great sign of healthy development in your kids. 

If you and your ex live locally, managing a more complex custody schedule is easier. In contrast, if one of you is doing long-distance parenting, this can become more difficult. After all, your children will need to live in one place to attend school. 

In that case, it makes more sense for your child to live with one parent during term time. Then they can visit their other parent for long weekends and during the holidays.

If you are doing this, make sure that you still have plenty of contact with your child. Thankfully, there are plenty of great ways to keep in touch now. You can text, call, and FaceTime your kids to maintain regular contact with them easily.

As your children get older, they will understand more about why they don’t live with both of their parents. This can be a tricky transition but it will also make explaining your arrangements easier.

It is important to talk about this in a positive, unified, and productive way. Over time, this understanding will create an important foundation of comfort and stability.

The Best Custody Arrangement for Teenagers (Ages 12 to 17) 

During their teenage years, your child will gain a lot more independence and freedom. In most cases, teenagers will continue with the same custody arrangements that they had in childhood. However, this isn’t always the case.

In some states, a child can legally decide which parent they want to live with from the age of 14. This can have a serious effect on your custody arrangements depending on your relationship with your child. 

If they do try to start a conversation about moving in with one parent, it is important to handle this carefully. This can be very painful so won’t be easy to do. 

To show your child that you are taking things seriously, you may want to bring in a mediator. That way you have support and can avoid saying anything that you might regret.

You should discuss this with your ex away from your child. Ideally, try to present a unified front that puts your child’s best interests first.

Even outside of custody arrangements, it is important that you and your ex communicate about the type of support you give your child. During these years they will need plenty of wisdom and support so make sure you’re both there to give it, no matter where they live.

Get Help Organizing Your Schedule Today

Organizing your child custody schedule should be one of the first things you think about when going through a divorce. This will create stability and support for everyone involved. So what are you waiting for? 

For more help staying on top of your child custody schedule, check out the 2Houses app. This is a great way to improve communication and make child custody as easy as possible.

Pros and Cons of Every Other Weekend Custody

weekend custody

Following the every other weekend custody schedule is a viable way of making your children feel secure and loved during and after the divorce. That’s something you and your soon-to-be-ex should keep in mind, too, since statistically divorce can be very hard on children.

Fortunately, a healthy adjustment can undo much of the damage. In the following article, we’ll be discussing ways that you can facilitate that adjustment by delineating the pros and cons of every other weekend visitation. Let’s begin!

Pro: Great for Consistency

Children thrive in an environment where they have structure and consistency in their daily routines. A consistent bedtime and a consistent schedule for meals, playtime, and quiet time help kids feel safe and secure. Consistent routines are also beneficial to parents because they help reduce stress.

Children of divorce thrive when they’re surrounded by adults who are consistent. It’s important that they have a consistent home, a consistent school, and a consistent set of friends with whom they spend time regularly. The most important thing is that the adults in their lives understand that consistency is the key to building trust and allowing children to thrive.

Con: Challenging for Joint Custody

If you have a joint custody arrangement, then you may find every other weekend routine difficult. You may find your child gets attached to the parent who picks them up every other weekend and becomes resistant to going back to their other parent.

This can also be difficult for the parent who has to wait until the next weekend for their parenting time. Talk to your ex before etching your agreement in stone. Establish what the expectations are, and make sure you’re both in agreement, especially when it comes to the big issues like religious upbringing, education, and extracurricular activities.

Pro: Good for Fewer Exchanges

Custody exchanges are stressful for everyone, but you can reduce the number of exchanges by alternating weekends with your ex. It reduces the number of times you have to drop off and pick up your kids and makes it much easier for everyone involved. It can also help quell common safety concerns that often surround custody exchanges.

When Mom and Dad still feel tense toward one another, the child can feel it. Reducing the frequency of changes will eliminate that. And it’s easy to do under the standard 80/20, every other weekend custody arrangement.

It can be more challenging under a 2 2 3 arrangement, but you can still get around it by determining when and where the picking-up parent reconnects to the child. For example, picking up the child from daycare after the other parent drops them off eliminates the need to see and interact with one another during the pickup.

Con: Difficult for Tense Parental Relationships

While we would consider fewer exchanges one of the pros of every other weekend custody, it can also breed resentment if one parent is bitter about their reduced time with the child. Noncustodial parents following an 80/20 visitation schedule start to feel cut out of their children’s lives. 

As a result, their bitterness can grow toward the other parent. That bitterness can be felt by the child, and it can impede the child’s development. This is especially true when the bitter parent refuses to seek help and places their pride before the well-being of the child.

It’s a tough place to be in when you really care about your children but aren’t seeing them as much as you’d like. You have to look ahead, though, and remember that the best thing you can do as a parent is to help your child feel stable and well-adjusted.

Pro: Great for Parents With Busier Schedules

Some parents actually don’t mind taking less time with their children if they can feel like they’re capitalizing on the time they do have with them. Quality time over quantity time! 

In these cases, every other weekend visitation schedule can be preferable because it allows the parent to maximize their time. For parents who are naturally better earners and have fewer minutes to spare, this can be a godsend. 

The flipside of this is that if you’re accepting to this role, you have to use a little more grace with how the other parent handles daily routines. They have many smaller decisions to make every single day. While you still have a right to parent as you see fit, micromanaging will set you both up for failure.

Con: Challenging for Parents Who Want to Play a More Active Role in the Weekday Routine

To that last point, one of the cons of every other weekend custody is that it can excise you from the decision-making process. Your child’s daily schedule has a huge impact on the type of person he or she will become. It’s not easy to give that up when you care about your child, though it can certainly be the best thing for them if your strengths as a parent lie elsewhere.

Pro: Good for 20 Percenters Who Want to Support Their Children in a More Financial Role

Spending 20 percent, or less than 50 percent, of the time with your children, provides you with more time to pursue financial opportunities. Parents who run their own businesses, want to launch their own business, or work long hours at a job they’re passionate about, can find the arrangement to be worth it.

Moreover, their children can find the arrangement worth it, too. That’s because the time they do get to spend with their “20 percenter” parent is quality time that often breaks up the monotony of their daily routines. Furthermore, the noncustodial parent tends to be happier and easier to be around from the other parent’s perspective.

This creates a more cooperative environment between the two parents. Better cooperation means less tension. As a result, the child feels like both their parents are equally invested, regardless of who has them more.

Con: Poor for Custodial Working Parents Without a Support System

We’ve already discussed “quality time vs. quantity time.” If you find yourself taking care of the child’s daily needs 80 percent of the time, you can start to feel like you’re spending more quantity time with them than quality time. You don’t get many opportunities to “hand-off” the children to your ex.

That’s not so bad when you have a decent support system backing you up. Think of the child’s grandparents or uncles, aunts, and older cousins who are happy to take you up on free babysitting. However, many single parents don’t have such support in place, and they have the same work obligations time-wise as the noncustodial parent.

Throw in the fact that the alternating weekend visitation means they have the children 11 straight days without a break, and it can be an incredibly difficult arrangement. (Even if being a parent itself is rewarding.) 

Pro: Great for Custodial Working Parents Who Do Have a Support System

Flip the last point on its head. You do have that support system in place, and it gives you the chance to break away for some personal time even as you maintain the most influential role in your child’s life. This can make the every other weekend arrangement greatly rewarding. 

Con: Challenging for Noncustodians Who Wish to Keep Kids Connected to Extended Family Members

A big drawback of the arrangement for noncustodial parents is that it leaves them very little time to bring other people into their child’s life. At least, difficult if their first priority is to spend quality time with their children.

In the 80/20 arrangement, the parent has the child roughly three days out of every 14. That’s not a lot of time to go on extended trips or soak up quality time while also dropping the kid off with grandparents. As a result, the parent faces a choice.

Do they make the absolute most of the one-on-one time they have? Or, do they bring other family members into the mix and further dilute their time? 

Pro: Great for More Nontraditional Employment Routines

The every other weekend visitation schedule does tend to favor nontraditional employment routines. For example, a noncustodial parent who works every other weekend can arrange their off-time around their parental time. 

If both parents are under such an arrangement, which is common for careers like retail or foodservice, then both parents can feel like they’re passing time more quickly. Missing your child when they’re not with you doesn’t become as much of a problem as a result.

Con: Difficult When Child Has an Ongoing Weekend Routine

As your child gets older, they’re going to have a greater number of interests and extracurricular activities. This can throw a monkey wrench into the best of routines. 

Alternating weekends might not be the best choice if the child has to attend sports practices every weekend. The problem becomes even greater when the noncustodial parent doesn’t live in a close proximity to the custodial parent.

It’s a good idea to connect ahead of time and work out any custodial adjustments before your child gets immersed in the activity. More communication and advanced planning will head many of the potential problems off at the pass.

Alternatives to Consider

A straight 80/20, every other weekend arrangement might very well be your best bet. However, there’s nothing wrong with considering other alternatives if you try it for a while and are unsatisfied with the results. The following arrangements could be worth considering. 

Sole Custody

Sole custody isn’t ideal because it removes one parent from the parenting equation altogether, at least on paper. You can still try it out with a spirit of cooperation between one another.

Parents who still get along in spite of not being able to work it out as a couple could use the sole custody arrangement to guarantee adequate time with the child as well as the stable environment they need to thrive. Here’s how to make it work.

The noncustodial parent agrees to allow the custodial parent sole custody for daily activities. However, the custodial parent agrees to use the noncustodial as the first point-of-contact for things like picking up the child from school, babysitting, and other parental duties. Obviously, it will only work if you can maintain trust between one another.

Follow the 2 2 3 Arrangement

More and more parents want to have a role in their child’s life beyond financial caregiver. As a result, you’re seeing a lot more joint custody decisions from family courts. Judges, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals agree to the significance of the child having access to both parents.

Where those parents are willing and capable of being good for the child, such arrangements should be encouraged. (That’s not always the case.) Situations like these are where the 2 2 3 arrangement can help.

Under 2 2 3, one parent will have the child two days before switching to the other and then getting the child back for a long weekend. The two parents then alternate the following week. As a result, you have both alternating weekends and 50/50 custody.

Or the Midweek Visitation

Midweek visitation arrangements are similar to 2 2 3 arrangments in that they allow parents to adjust their visitation arrangements closer to 50/50 while maintaining the every other weekend dynamic. Here’s how the typical midweek arrangement goes.

The child is with one parent all week long from Sunday at set time (say, 5PM) until the following Sunday (same time). During the course of the week, however, the child goes to stay with the other parent for an overnight (usually Wednesday). 

Parents then switch the schedule out the following week. Once again, this gets both parties as close to 50/50 as possible without destabilizing the child’s routines. You can learn about other joint custody models here.

Work at the Every Other Weekend Custody Model for Best Results

We hope this look at the pros and cons of every other weekend custody will give you a better idea as to whether it’s suitable for your custodial arrangement. Keep in mind as you move forward that whether you’re the primary caregiver or not, there are strengths and weaknesses to your role.

You can deal with them if you know what they are and commit to providing your child with as stable and loving of an environment as possible. Are you and your ex looking for a better way to co-parent? Contact 2houses today to see how we can help you and your children.

1st, 3rd and 5th Weekend: How Does It Work?

1st, 3rd & 5th weekend

Determining weekend custody for kids can be complicated. It’s also more common than you may realize. In fact, there are 13.4 million separated and divorced parents in the US. 

With so many moving pieces to consider, it’s important for divorced and separated parents to practice good communication. Depending on your custody arrangement, that can get complicated fast. This is especially true if you end up sharing custody every 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend.

To help you improve co-parenting strategies, we put together this guide to help you navigate your questions. If you need help understanding how to schedule your custody calendar, read on! 

Child Custody Options

When it comes to sharing custody of children, you have a few options. What you end up deciding will depend on what works for you and your co-parents.

Some basic options are: 

50/50 Child Custody

Just as it sounds, this approach is when both parents have an equal amount of time with their children. But the way that actually looks can vary. 

One option is to alternate weeks. One week your kids are with one parent, the next week they’re with the other parent. Choose which day to switch and stick with it. 

This strategy for co-parenting works best when both parents live near one another. Your kids’ schedule is going to be more secure and consistent this way. 

Another option is to split each week in half. This will require more flexibility from your kids to be going back and forth between parents and living situations. But the benefit is that each parent gets equal time with your kid!

In both these scenarios, they work best if parents live near one another to minimalize disruptions. School, hobbies, and extracurriculars should stay consistent, even while living situations alternate. 

60/40 Child Custody

If a 50/50 split between parents doesn’t make sense for your family, another alternative is dividing time 60/40. In this situation, kids spend 60 percent of their time with one parent and 40 percent with the other. 

Again, there are several arrangements to make this schedule work. One popular option is that one parent has their kids every weekend from Friday night to Monday morning. Then, Monday through Thursday would be spent with the other parent. 

The drawback to this is that the same parent has the kids each weekend. For some, this can interfere with fun plans or time spent relaxing together. However, school breaks and holidays are built-in opportunities to enjoy spending time with your kid!

If you don’t want to share custody every weekend, a more flexible alternative is to choose a 4-3 schedule. This is similar to extended weekends but allows for your family to choose which four days are spent with one parent before they spend three days with the other parent. 

The 4-3 schedule means you can split weekends so everyone gets to enjoy that time with your kids! But it does require good communication and coordination, as well as living near to one another. Again, you’ll want to minimize disruptions to other areas of your children’s lives.  

80/20 Child Custody

If you don’t live close enough together to make 50/50 or 60/40 shared custody a possibility, there are other possibilities! Unfortunately, though, that usually means less time with one parent. 

When it comes to 80/20 child custody, you still have some options. What you choose will again depend on your schedules and custody arrangement. 

One of the simplest options is to simply alternate weekends. One weekend your child will be with one parent, then switch the next. 

Another popular option is to share custody every 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend. Although more complicated, this schedule ensures more consistent access to both parents. 

How Does 1st, 3rd, and 5th Weekend Custody Work? 

It might sound easy to understand at first, but sharing custody every 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend can get complicated. But with good communication and scheduling, it can be a great option for your family’s situation!

There tend to be a lot of questions that arise when you go with this schedule, such as:

  • What if the weekend starts in one month and ends in another?
  • What about the fact that the 5th and 1st weekends are back-to-back?
  • What about visits between weekends? 

The options are as flexible as everyone decides they want to be! The most important piece will be to get on the same page early on and stay consistent with your schedule. 

Weekend Start Dates

When deciding on a 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend custody plan, it’s typical that any weekend that starts in one month and ends in another would not count as the first weekend of the month. 

For example, weekends are usually considered Friday through Sunday. If the Friday is at the end of one month (for example, April 30th) and the Sunday is the beginning of another month (May 2nd), then that weekend would not be considered the 1st weekend of the month.

Instead, this would be considered the 5th weekend of April. That means that the first weekend of May would be Friday, May 7th through Sunday, May 9th. 

You can decide if it works better for your family to start on a different day. Maybe you decided to start a weekend on Thursday night instead. Or you end Monday morning. Ultimately, see what works best for your family situation. 

If you’re interested in reading more about how to ensure that your custody exchange day runs smoothly, be sure to read our blog post on the subject!


Creating an effective custody schedule is going to depend on several factors. First and foremost in your minds should be what is best for your child or children. Keeping this in mind can make navigating the complexities of sharing custody of children easier. 

Once you’ve decided on a 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule, be sure to mark down the specific days and times of any custody exchange well in advance. That way, you can plan work schedules and commitments around these dates. 

You should also come up with a plan and arrangements for communication. Having these foundations established early on will help everyone stick to a consistent routine and help navigate any unforeseen obstacles in the future. 


Holidays can be tricky to navigate with a 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule. The easiest rule is that major holidays take precedent over weekends. For example, kids should be with their mom on Mother’s Day and dad on Father’s Day. 

However, it’s a good idea to come up with a holiday visitation schedule in addition to your weekend schedule. That way important holidays and breaks, like Christmas or birthdays, can be split if that’s what you decide. 

Technology Can Make Custody Schedules Easier 

One of the biggest hurdles for improving co-parenting is making sure everyone is on the same page. This is where a co-parenting app can help everyone communicate. 

Using technology to help address communication needs makes it so much easier. It can help keep everyone up-to-date about appointments, school meetings, and extracurricular activities. It can also be customized to help fit everyone’s needs. 

Technology and parenting apps can also help track the budget and money spent on your kids. If your daughter needs to pay a fee for her soccer team or your son needs money for new shoes, that can all be tracked in an app. 

Navigating finances, alimony, and other expenditures can be overwhelming. But it can get easier with the use of an effective app and consistent use by all parties involved. 

Our app also makes it easy to share simple memories that you enjoyed with your kid. This can include funny quotes, heartwarming moments, school information, or documents with one another. And since everything is in one place, it’s easier for everyone to get caught up. 

Another benefit is that using technology can help calculate shared time and finances in a way that creates more equality and transparency. That way, there is no ambiguity or miscommunication to create conflict. 

Pros and Cons 

If you and your family decide to go with a 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule, there are some items to keep in mind. Here are some pros and cons to consider.

Pro: Consistent Schedule

A 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule is consistent, predictable, and steady. This works well to help everyone know when they’ll see each other. While there will always be unknowns, a consistent schedule can be really helpful for your child to navigate between households. 

Pro: Distance

This schedule works well if your two households are not close together. Since custody exchanges are not as frequent as other schedules, it can mean traveling less often. 

Pro: Flexibility

A 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule allows for flexibility. If one parent travels for work or has an unpredictable schedule, there can be advanced planning. In addition, it allows for shifting should something unexpected arise that necessitates a change.

Pro: Reduces Conflict

If there is tension between parents, one benefit to this schedule is that it reduced the number of custody exchanges. That can help ensure a smooth transition for your child each time. 

Con: Time

A 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule means that children go longer stretches between seeing one parent. It also means that children spend significantly more time with one parent.

Con: Weekend Plans

Even with advanced planning, this schedule can disrupt weekend plans, like classmates’ birthday parties. If parents live far apart, it may not be possible for your kid to make it to these types of events.

Con: Weekday Routine

The parent who only sees their child on weekends may feel out of touch with their normal weekday routine. This can also lead to not knowing what’s going on at school or with other activities.

1st, 3rd & 5th Weekends of 2021 & 2022

For a quick overview of all 1st, 3rd & 5th weekends in 2021 and 2022, check out the list below: 

January 2021

  • Friday, January 1st through Sunday, January 3rd
  • Friday, January 15th through Sunday, January 17th
  • Friday, January 29th through Sunday, January 31st

February 2021

  • Friday, February 5th through Sunday, February 7th
  • Friday, February 19th through Sunday, February 21st

March 2021

  • Friday, March 5th through Sunday, March 7th
  • Friday, March 19th through Sunday, March 21st

April 2021

  • Friday, April 2nd through Sunday, April 4th
  • Friday, April 16th through Sunday, April 18th
  • Friday, April 30th through Sunday, May 2nd

May 2021

  • Friday, May 7th through Sunday, May 9th
  • Friday, May 21st through Sunday, May 23rd

June 2021

  • Friday, June 4th through Sunday, June 6th
  • Friday, June 18th through Sunday, June 20th

July 2021

  • Friday, July 2nd through Sunday, July 4th
  • Friday, July 16th through Sunday, July 18th
  • Friday, July 30th through Sunday, August 1st

August 2021

  • Friday, August 6th through Sunday, August 8th
  • Friday, August 20th through Sunday, August 22nd

September 2021

  • Friday, September 3rd through Sunday, September 5th
  • Friday, September 17th through Sunday, September 19th

October 2021

  • Friday, October 1st through Sunday, October 3rd
  • Friday, October 15th through Sunday, October 17th
  • Friday, October 29th through Sunday, October 31st

November 2021

  • Friday, November 5th through Sunday, November 7th
  • Friday, November 19th through Sunday, November 21st

December 2021

  • Friday, December 3rd through Sunday, December 5th
  • Friday, December 17th through Sunday, December 19th
  • Friday, December 31st through Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

January 2022

  • Friday, January 7th through Sunday, January 9th
  • Friday, January 21st through Sunday, January 23rd

February 2022

  • Friday, February 4th through Sunday, February 6th
  • Friday, February 18th through Sunday, February 20th

March 2022

  • Friday, March 4th through Sunday, March 6th
  • Friday, March 18th through Sunday, March 20th

April 2022

  • Friday, April 1st through Sunday, April 3rd
  • Friday, April 15th through Sunday, April 17th
  • Friday, April 29th through Sunday, May 1st

May 2022

  • Friday, May 6th through Sunday, May 8th
  • Friday, May 20th through Sunday, May 22nd

June 2022

  • Friday, June 3rd through Sunday, June 5th
  • Friday, June 17th through Sunday, June 19th

July 2022

  • Friday, July 1st through Sunday, July 3rd
  • Friday, July 22nd through Sunday, July 24th

August 2022

  • Friday, August 5th through Sunday, August 7th 
  • Friday, August 19th through Sunday, August 21st

September 2022

  • Friday, September 2nd through Sunday, September 4th
  • Friday, September 16th through Sunday, September 18th
  • Friday, September 30th through Sunday, October 2nd

October 2022

  • Friday, October 7th through Sunday, October 9th
  • Friday, October 21st through Sunday, October 23rd

November 2022

  • Friday, November 4th through Sunday, November 6th
  • Friday, November 18th through Sunday, November 20th

December 2022

  • Friday, December 2nd through Sunday, December 4th
  • Friday, December 16th through Sunday, December 18th
  • Friday, December 30th through Sunday, January 1st, 2023

You Can Make This Schedule Work

If you and your co-parent have already had the conversations about shared custody arrangements and decided on a 1st, 3rd & 5th weekend schedule, great! Now be sure to prioritize communication and coordination in order to help it go smoothly for everyone involved. 

The easiest way for your family to have all your schedules, communications, and information in one place is to use the 2House app.

This co-parenting app puts all the important information on one platform, helping everyone stay up-to-date. It’s also a great tool to use in case of any scheduling changes, finance discussions, and even sharing memories and moments with one another. 

If you’re ready to take the next step in creating a smooth shared custody plan, be sure to check out our features and sign up today! 

A Divorced Parent’s Guide to the 2-2-5-5 Schedule

Divorced Parent's Guide to the 2-2-5-5 Schedule

Finalizing your divorce can take a looooong time.

Did you know Californians are legally required to wait 6 months + 1 day after they file for divorce before it can even go to court? Looks like West Coast judges got tired of impulsive celebrities changing their minds.

The already grueling divorce process takes even longer for couples with children together.

No matter where you live, deciding on a parenting plan before going to court saves you weeks of headache and thousands of dollars. So while you wait a few more weeks for you ex’s lawyer to call your lawyer back, it may benefit you to start researching the 2-2-5-5 schedule for physical custody.

In this post, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about this popular custody arrangement. While it definitely will not work for everyone, there’s a reason this custody schedule is so well known.

Keeping reading to learn more about 2-2-5-5 parenting.

But first, let’s review the basics:

What is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is a court order outlining the terms of child custody between two divorced parents. Other words for parenting plan are “custody schedule” or “visitation plan.”

Your parenting plan will cover things like

  • legal custody
  • physical custody
  • visitation rights
  • alimony and shared expenses
  • family members approved for childcare

All of these decisions should be made in the best interests of the child, not just the parents’ convenience. Parents should consider how best to emotionally support their children while apart, as well as nailing down practical aspects of custody.

It’s common for parents to create several temporary parenting plans during the divorce process. However, a clearly defined parenting plan is one of the most essential parts of a finalized divorce. Don’t be afraid to take your time.

Today, we’ll dive into just one small aspect of an overall parenting plan.


Making Your Custody Schedule

Parenting plans come in as many shapes and sizes as the families who make them. There is no ultimate right or wrong custody schedule—as long as the wellbeing of the children is priority number one.

The right custody schedule is one in which everyone is safe and feels at peace with the arrangement. In some cases, it’s best for one parent to have sole physical custody of the children. The other parent may be allowed scheduled visitation rights.

But in other cases, children want to see both of their parents regularly. In shared parenting, a divorce attorney may suggest a number of different custody schedules to help you split time with your children.

You may have heard of children who spend the school year with their mother and summer vacations with their dad. Or, another popular arrangement is one week on, one week off; one week with mom, next week with dad.

But what do you do if both parents want to be as hands-on as possible? What if the children are very small and still need as much time with both parents as they can get?

Introducing the 2-2-5-5 custody schedule.

What is a 2-2-5-5 Schedule?

Here’s an easy way to remember the 2-2-5-5 schedule:

One parent gets Mondays and Tuesdays every week. The other parent gets Wednesdays and Thursdays every week.

Each parent gets to spend Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with the children every other week.

In other words, some weeks you’ll see your children for two weekdays. Other weeks you’ll get them for five straight days. That span of five days will always include the same weekday you always see them, plus the weekend.

That’s two consistent weekdays and alternating custody for the weekends. (So really, it’s a 2-5-5-2 schedule most of the time.)


I know what you’re thinking…

How on *earth* am I supposed to keep track of all those swaps?

Most parents plan custody exchanges around mealtimes or the end of the school day. They also make changing houses as easy as possible for their kids in a few ways:

  1. keeping the kids’ rooms in each house as consistent as possible between visits
  2. having clothes and toys at each house so kids only pack what they need for school / the day
  3. keeping commutes simple and sticking to consistent meal times

Still confused?

Let’s look at some real examples.

How 2-2-5-5 Works (in Examples)

For this 50/50 custody schedule to work, both parents need to live near each other. If the kids are in school, both parents need to live in that school district. Both parents are going to need to enjoy participating in mundane weekday tasks as well as fun weekend adventures.

Parent A

Parent A is has a flexible work schedule. They live 20 minutes from the daycare their two toddlers attend.

Parent A’s custody schedule looks like this:

Monday – Pick up kids from ex’s house at 8am to drive to daycare. Make sure they have everything they will need for a few days at my house. I pick up kids from daycare and bring them home with me.

Tuesday – I have Tuesdays off and spend the day with the kids. My ex will pick up the kids from my house in the morning. Next week, I know I’m getting 5 days of custody from Friday through Tuesday.

Wednesday– N/A

Thursday – N/A

Friday – N/A

Saturday – N/A

Sunday – N/A

Parent B

Parent B does not have a flexible work schedule and work Monday through Friday. Their house is 10 minutes away from daycare. 

Parent B’s custody schedule for the same week looks like this:

Monday – Make breakfast for the toddlers and help them pack before my ex arrives to take them to daycare. My ex and I confirm that I will be spending Wednesday through Sunday with them this week.

Tuesday – N/A

Wednesday– I pick up kids from ex’s house to take to daycare today. I always take them to daycare every Wednesday and Thursday. Kids come back from daycare with me and stay at my house.

Thursday – Take kids to and from daycare, stay after and talk to their teacher.

Friday – Dinner at my mom’s house with the children after daycare.

Saturday – This weekend, I’m taking the kids to the zoo.

Sunday – Today we clean up and prepare for the week. I get the kids excited to spend 5 whole days with Parent A. I remind them we’ll be back together on Wednesday morning. 

Pros of the 2-2-5-5 Custody Schedule

Assuming you can make it work, there are so many good things to say about this parenting schedule:

The children get to see both parents every single week.

With frequent custody exchanges, it’s easier for children to still feel like they’re part of both parents’ lives. This can help relieve a child’s anxiety about being abandoned by one or more parents during a divorce.

Both parents get to be fully involved with their child’s progress at school.

This custody schedule is fantastic for parents who want to be there for all the little moments. In the 2-2-5-5 schedule, each parent will always get to participate in the weekday routines at least two days a week. But they don’t have to miss out on weekends either.

We won’t sugar coat it for you though.

There are quite a few challenges with this custody schedule…


If you can’t stay organized, it won’t work.

Out of all the possible custody schedules, 2-2-5-5 definitely has the most moving parts. Although the rotating schedule may be easy enough to memorize, the whole family must be excellent at communicating. One extra appointment, one missed custody exchange appointment, and the whole week could get thrown off.

Location, location, location!

In order for this to work, both parents must live close to each other and close to the schools their children attend. It would be next to impossible to keep this type of schedule if one parent travels often for work, or if one moves out of town.

The 2-2-5-5 Schedule is Best For…

  • parents who live very close to each other
  • parents who can handle frequent contact and face to face exchanges with each other
  • parents who want to be involved in both schoolwork and weekend activities with their kids
  • parents with flexible or alternative work schedules
  • very young children (infants or toddlers) who still need lots of time with each parent and are not yet in school

There’s a reason this is such a popular custody schedule in so many parenting plans. If you can make this type of arrangement work, we highly suggest you try.

This Custody Schedule Will Not Work For

  • parents who have an inconvenient commute between houses
  • parents who do not do well contacting each other many times a week
  • parents and children with busy schedules who have a hard time keeping track of frequent exchanges
  • older children who need housing stability to do well in school
  • children with lots of extracurricular commitments or medical needs that may interfere with exchange times

If your children are already teenagers getting involved with teams at school, it may be best to look at other custody options. Ask them how they would feel about a 2-2-5-5 schedule and see what they say. As much as both parents may want to stay involved, it all comes down to the child’s best interest.

Also, if you honestly don’t believe you’ll be able to keep track of this type of schedule, don’t! Divorce is already one of life’s most stress-inducing events. As much as your children may want to see both you and your ex, they’ll be more excited about your co-parenting when it’s less stressful for everyone.

Before we wrap this up, there’s something else you should know…

Outliers to Consider

Let’s assume you and your former partner talk with your kids and agree on a 2-2-5-5 schedule.


Before you carve that schedule into stone, there are a few important factors to keep in mind.

Your Kids Might Get Tired of it Before You Do

Remember, this is a great option for infants and toddlers. But, as your kids grow older, they’re likely to grow more attached to their personal space. Having to pack all their gear and assignments between houses may become more trouble than it’s worth.

First Right of Refusal

Don’t become dependent on frequent custody exchanges for childcare. If your custody agreement includes first right of refusal, you need to be prepared to watch over your children for much longer than two or 5 days.

First right of refusal means you are the first person your ex-partner asks to watch the kids in the event they need to hire a babysitter. This goes for plans made in advance and last-minute emergencies.

Even if the schedule you agree on is supposed to be 2-2-5-5, there may be many weeks this isn’t the case. Stay flexible.

Remember You Got This

Coparenting after divorce can get messy and emotional, fast. But it doesn’t have to. Choose the right parenting plan for your family and get ready to roll with the punches.

The 2-2-5-5 schedule for shared custody is an excellent choice for some divorced families. It works especially well if the children are very young and both parents live close.

You may need to adapt the schedule to look more like 5-2-2-5. Or, simply think of it as each parent always getting the same two weekdays + alternating weekends.

A 2-2-5-5 parenting schedule might not work if your children need lots of stability. Older children are more likely to get upset having to pack and move houses this often.

If you do decide to try out this parenting schedule, get ready for lots of exchanges each week. Check out our post on how to handle custody exchange day smoothly.

Creating a 50/50 Custody Schedule That Works

50/50 Custody Schedule

Did you know that, according to The Daily Campus, 39% of marriages in the US end in divorce? Considering how common divorce is, it’s clearly the right choice for many people. That being said, divorce can be a little more complicated when children are involved.

If you’re in the middle of divorce proceedings, then you’re probably looking into custody solutions.

For example, the 3-3-4-4 or 50/50 custody schedule. This way, you and your ex-partner can do what’s best for you both and your children.

Divorce can be a challenging time. It’s best to do what you can to make it easier for your children.

But how do you find a custody schedule that’s best for your family? Not knowing what solution is best for you makes this time even more challenging and stressful.

Fortunately, there are several ways you can use the 50/50 custody schedule. In this article, we’ll review the different types of 50/50 custody you can use.

This way, you and your partner will be happy with your joint custody agreement and your children will be too. Finally, you can move on and move forward, starting your new lives. Read on to learn more.

Factors to Consider With a 50/50 Custody Schedule

Before we go into the different 50/50 joint custody schedule examples, it’s important to review factors to consider. This is because, depending on you and your ex-partner, different join custody solutions will work best. The factors to consider include:

  • Distance
  • Communication
  • Work schedules
  • Activity and school schedules

In terms of distance, this custody schedule is best if you and your ex-partner live close to each other. This is because a 50/50 schedule requires frequent exchanges. If you live in the same neighborhood or blocks away, it can work easily.

However, if you and your ex-partner live far away from each other, this solution could easily become complicated. Imagine having to rush across town to drop off your kid. Or having to drive to another state every weekend.

As you can see, a 50/50 schedule is best if you and your ex-partner live close to each other. If you’re still working out the schedule, it may be worth speaking to your partner about this.

You could find a solution that works. For example, renting a room near the main house.


With this child custody schedule, communication is key. Because you will be seeing each other frequently, you need to prioritize getting along well with your ex-partner. The last thing you want is for your children to see more conflict.

If you and your partner have trouble communicating, it’s worth speaking with a professional. This way, if you use the 50/50 custody schedule, you’ll have communication ground rules to follow.

Additionally, you need to be able to communicate in case there are any issues that require patience. When meeting up with your ex-partner, many problems can arise that are out of their control.

For example, meetings running late or unexpected traffic jams. If you think communication might be an issue with these situations, you have two options.

First, you can choose not to go with a 50/50 child custody schedule. Second, if you really want this schedule because it’s best for the kids, use one that has fewer exchanges. (We’ll review the different options later in this article.)

Work Schedules

You will also want to think about your work schedule. Are you often at work late? Does your ex-partner work on the weekends? This will have an impact on your 50/50 schedule. Having a shared calendar can help you decide what works best for you both.

Activity and School Schedules

Finally, there are your children’s activity and school schedules to consider. If they have a long spring break, this might impact the schedule. If one of your children finishes school before the other, this could mean exchanges might be best during the weekend.

You’ll also want to consider your children’s extra-curricular activities. You don’t want your 50/50 custody schedule to interrupt the activities they look forward to throughout the week.

To avoid this, you can get creative and find a solution out of the following examples. This way, the whole family will be happy with the new schedule.

It can also help to speak with your children. If they’re younger, they might not be able to get involved. However, pre-teens and teens might appreciate you reaching out about these arrangements.

Of course, keep in mind that this could be emotional for them—so ensure you are comforting and open when you speak with them.

Example 1: Alternating Weeks

The simplest 50/50 custody schedule is the alternating week’s schedule. With this schedule, your children spend one week with you and then one week with your ex-partner. Parenting exchanges in this schedule are minimal, occurring only once a week.

Even though there are fewer exchanges, you’ll both spend a lot of time with your children.

A full week will give your children the time they want to spend with you. You’ll be able to have dinner together, share their activities, and help them with their homework.

This can free up weekends for each parent if the exchange is during the workweek or on Sunday evenings. If the exchange occurs during the weekend, then each parent can have a weekend day with the kids.

Keep in mind, however, that this schedule is best for older kids. They’ll appreciate the stability that gives them time to focus on their studies and activities. They’ll also be able to manage not seeing a parent for a whole week.

Younger children, on the other hand, might not want to wait so long.

Example 2: Alternating Weeks With Overnight

The alternating weeks with an overnight schedule is almost the same as the alternating week’s schedule. The only difference is that, in the middle of the week, the kids get to see their other parent. It might look something like this over one month:

  • Week 1: Kids see parent A, with a visit from parent B
  • Week 2: Kids see parent B, with a visit from parent A
  • Week 3: Kids see parent A, with a visit from parent B
  • Week 4: Kids see parent B, with a visit from parent A

This works if you want a simple schedule, but don’t want to be away from your children too long. However, it may be stressful for your children. It can be difficult to switch up where they’re sleeping once a week.

For this reason, this joint custody schedule also works better with older children. They might find it annoying, but they’ll understand. A younger child, on the other hand, might not understand.

This said, if you have teens, they may feel more heard if you ask them what they think.

They might say no to the schedule. They might also let you know what nights work best for them. Either way, being involved will help them during this transition.

Note that if you live a bit far from your ex-partner, an overnight once a week could be tricky. However, doing it over the weekend could be a good solution.

Example 3: 2-2-3 Schedule

Another 50/50 custody schedule is the 2-2-3 schedule. It works like this. Children stay with parent A for 2 nights, then parent B for 2 nights, then parent A for 3 nights. Then, you switch. They stay with parent B for 2 nights, then parent A for 2 nights, then parent B for 3 nights.

If you have younger children, this can be a good custody schedule. This is because your children won’t have to go as long without seeing you.

However, there are some issues with this schedule. For one thing, there are more meetings you and your ex-partner will have. Conflict could easily arise.

For this reason, if you choose this schedule, you should work with your partner to avoid conflict. Even though this can be challenging, it’s worth putting in the work.

If this schedule makes your children happier, then it helps to make these meetings less antagonistic. Additionally, it can improve your communication with your partner overall to avoid conflict.

Another issue with this schedule is that the days you and your partner have your children over alternate every week. If you have a busy schedule yourself, this can cause some issues.

With a schedule like this, it helps to have a flexible schedule yourself. For example, instead of doing yoga only on Mondays, you can commit to doing it once a week. Planning your schedule months in advance can also help.

This way, you won’t be blindsided by suddenly having to pick up the kids at school.

Example 4: 3-3-4-4 Schedule

When you’re using the 3-3-4-4  schedule, your children will have a bit more stability than with the alternating week’s schedule. This is because they will be seeing both of their parents more regularly. It’s also a bit easier schedule-wise for the parents.

For example, if the schedule starts on a Sunday, you’d have the kids Sunday through Tuesday.

Then, your partner would have them Wednesday through Friday. The only day when you would meet to exchange the children would be Saturday.

With this schedule, you would be able to have more movie nights, make time for exercise, and focus on your work schedule.

This is helpful not only for you but also for your children. Because both you and your ex-partner will be a little more organized, it’s less likely that there will be too much conflict.

You’ll also be less stressed and more productive with your time, which your children will notice.

Finally, it will also be easier for you to keep track of your children’s activities. This is because your schedule will be more finalized. You’ll be less likely to forget to pick them up from soccer practice.

If you have teens, remember to avoid having the exchange fall on a Friday or Saturday if possible. This may be easier for you or your ex-partner. However, it may be annoying for your teens.

They need some consistency in their social life, too. So speak with them before implementing this schedule.

Example 5: 2-2-5-5 Schedule

The 2-2-5-5 schedule is beneficial for parents in the same way the 3-3-4-4 schedule is. You and your ex-partner will be able to have more consistency every week. For example, let’s say you start the schedule on a Sunday.

In this case, the only alternating days are Saturday and Thursday. Every other day will stay the same, making it easier for your to plan your life. (As well as your children’s activities.)

This can also help your children have a better sense of consistency.

However, keep in mind that 5 days without seeing one parent might be a bit intense for younger children. Keep in mind that with teens, they might not want their alternating day to fall on a Friday or Saturday.

To be sure that your teens are happy with the arrangement, speak with them about what days might work best.

Need More Information?

Now that you know about how to create a 50/50 custody schedule that works, you might need additional information. Perhaps you want to learn about other types of custody schedules where one child is with one parent more.

Or perhaps you want communication advice for recently divorced ex-couples. Whatever information you need, 2Houses can help you.

They can help you communicate, create a co-parenting calendar, and more. To register with 2Houses, find out more now.

Top DIY Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

Top DIY Gift Ideas for Mother's Day

With May 9th creeping closer and closer, you might be turning your attention to Mother’s Day. Every year, across the United States, families take this opportunity to give thanks to their moms.

Coming from a separated family doesn’t mean you have to ignore this occasion. In fact, helping your kids make something special for your ex-partner can be a really lovely way of showing your appreciation for them.

So what should you get them? Each year, Americans collectively spend $25 billion on Mother’s Day gifts! But showing that you care doesn’t have to cost the earth. 

In fact, making something from scratch is a great way to give moms something unique to cherish. Not sure what to make! Then read on to find out my top DIY gift ideas for Mother’s Day!

Bake-at-Home Ceramics

You can find brilliant, funny, or adorable Mother’s Day mugs everywhere at this time of year. Slogans like “World’s Best Mom” are easy to get your hands on. 

However, painting a mug at home can make it extra special. You can easily order ready-to-paint ceramics and paints online. Then all you need to do is sit down with your kids and get painting. 

This is a great option for all ages. If your kids are older you can help them create specific designs. Or for younger kids why not try hand printing or finger painting more “abstract” designs?

Once you’ve finished painting, all you need to do is bake your mugs for about twenty minutes and you’re good to go! This is also a great activity to keep your kids entertained so everyone’s a winner.

Paint Your Own Flower Pots

Creating your own flower pot is a great idea for easy handmade gifts for mom. Again, this is something your kids can have creative control of. And it gives their mom something to cherish and display. 

Having plants around the home also offers serious physical and psychological benefits. So your ex will be getting a two-in-one gift.

For some extra fun, why not take your kids shopping to find a plant they think their mom will like? That way you can have fun while creating meaningful gifts for mom.

Create a Trophy Bouquet

Showing your appreciation for your kids’ mom is a great way to foster a positive co-parenting relationship. And what says appreciation and success more than a trophy? 

This is a fun way to give Mother’s Day flowers a new twist! Simply head online or pop into a local vintage store to find an old trophy. Then you can use this as a vase to present their flowers in. 

This is at the simpler end of homemade Mother’s Day gift ideas, but it will show you’ve put some time and effort into planning things.

Make a Recipe Box

If your children’s mom enjoys cooking, this makes a great DIY gift for Mother’s Day. Recipe boxes are surprisingly easy to make as well. 

All you will need is: 

  • A wooden box with a lifting lid
  • Some nice colored card
  • A removable wallpaper sample
  • Scissors or a craft knife
  • Recipe cards

To decorate the box, you simply need to measure the length of wallpaper that will wrap around it. This should fit snuggly to the box and the design can be your kid’s choice! 

Once you have stuck the wallpaper onto the box, you can personalize it using stickers or 3D letters. Then use the colored card to create recipe sections inside the box (such as ‘Meat’, ‘Fish’, and ‘Desserts’.) 

You can use pre-made recipe cards or create your own design! Just make sure to put plenty of spare cards inside the box so she’s got something to write on. 

Design a Mini Herb Garden 

Herb gardens make amazing DIY gifts for mom, are simple to make, and look really impressive.

All you need are a selection of small, potted herbs and a good quality crate. If your kids want to, they can also decorate and personalize the crate. Or you can help them make little signs for each herb.

For a slick finish, make sure that each plant is in a matching pot that works well with the crate. This will tie everything together. Your DIY herb garden will look as fabulous as anything you’d find in a store!

Put Together a Pampering Kit

Taking care of yourself as a parent is really important and having the tools to kick back and relax can really help! Putting together a pampering kit is super simple but can look amazing if you do it right. 

It’s worth taking the time to put together things your kid’s mom will like. This could include: 

  • Her favorite scented candle 
  • Bath salts or bath bombs 
  • Moisturizer
  • A face mask 
  • Bubble bath 
  • Some sweet treats 
  • Nail varnish
  • Body scrub 

To present it well, you’ll need a nice box and some tissue or shredded paper. You can even finish it with a ribbon and put little labels for each product. This is great if your kids are a little older as they can put their personal touch on the design.

Make Your Own Bath Bombs

Speaking of pampering sets, you can make yours extra special (and save some money!) by making your own bath bombs. This task can also double up as a fun, science experiment with your kids.

These are really simple to make. All you will need is: 

  • 1/2 a cup of baking soda
  • 1/4 of dried citric acid
  • 1/4 cup of Epsom salts (you can use regular or go for a scented option)
  • 2 tablespoons of corn starch
  • 15 drops of fragranced essential oils
  • 1 teaspoon of vegetable or olive oil
  • A silicone mold in a shape of your choosing

You can also add two drops of food coloring and dried petals to your bath bombs. This will make them look extra luxurious. 

Start by combining all of your dry ingredients into a bowl and whisking them together. If you’re using dried petals, you should add them at this point.

Then mix the wet ingredients together separately. Whisk these into your dry ingredient bowl a little at a time. Your final mixture should only just hold together. 

Once it’s ready, you can pack your mixture into the molds tightly. These will take at least two hours to set. You’ll know they are ready when you can press on them without the mixture giving way. 

Then all that’s left to do is to carefully remove the molds and package up your bath bombs!

Create a ‘Happy Memories’ Box

A memory or appreciation box is a great activity for a family to do and is something your kids’ mom will love.

This simple yet effective gift involves writing out happy memories or things you love about a person. Then you package these thoughts up for their mom to open when she likes.

You could make little geometric boxes out of card for each memory. Or you could turn them into little scrolls. Then all that’s left to do is find (or decorate) a gorgeous box or jar to put them in! 

Your kids’ mom will have a lovely stash of memories that she can open with your kids or save for a rainy day.

Customize a Tote Bag

Trinkets and treats are lovely Mother’s Day gift ideas but sometimes it’s nice to give something she’ll use every day. Customizing a tote bag is a great way to give her something unique but useful. 

There are loads of different options when it comes to customizing a tote bag. You could dye, ombre, or tie-dye it in her favorite colors. Or you could use prints (or handprints) to create a personalized design.

If slogans are more her thing, why not print her favorite quote on a tote? Or you can make it even more personal by printing a family catchphrase on it.

Just remember, you should use fabric dyes or paints when decorating a tote. These won’t run in the wash so your design will stand the test of time!

Give Her a Monogrammed Keyring

Here’s another great homemade gift that your kids’ mom can take with her and enjoy every day. Monogrammed keyrings also look really impressive and stylish. 

All you will need is: 

  • Some clay (in either black, white, or granite)
  • A rolling pin
  • Some baking parchment 
  • A clay knife or cutter
  • An embossing kit 
  • A toothpick
  • Jump rings and keyrings 

Start with your clay in a small ball and then roll this out on top of your parchment and a chopping board. Then cut out a shape for your keyring using the knife or cutting shapes. Move the excess out of the way and then you’re ready to emboss your clay.

If monograms aren’t her thing, you can create another personal design in the clay instead. Using professional tools can make this easier but you can also do this freehand. Either way, you’ll come away with an entirely unique design.

Once your design is complete, use the toothpick to make a hole near the top of your keyring charm. Then cut a square of parchment around the clay and bake it at 230F for 40 minutes. 

Once your clay has hardened and cooled, all that’s left to do is attach the jump ring and put it on a keyring!

Get Baking

Every year, we eat nearly a ton of cake and there’s a reason why it’s so popular! Sweet treats make the perfect accompaniment for any Mother’s Day gift. This is a little something extra for her to enjoy on the day and she can share it with your kids. 

This may depend a bit on your baking skills. It’s far better to nail a simple recipe than to go for something extravagant and get it wrong. 

When choosing a recipe, try to think of flavors that she likes. Chocolate, lemon drizzle, and vanilla sponge are all popular choices. But if she has any specific favorites, like carrot or coffee cakes, this can make it feel even more personal.

Remember to give your cake plenty of time to bake and cool before you decorate it with your kids. This is the stage where they can really put a design twist on it. You can stick to simple icing or buy edible decorations if you want to really go for it.

Of course, you don’t just have to stick with cake recipes. Cookies, cupcakes, macarons, and tarts are also great sweet treats that are perfect for sharing. So get ready to think outside the box!

Don’t Forget the Cards!

Whichever gift your kids give on Mother’s Day, make sure they come with a card! Homemade cards are a lovely, personal touch compared to most store-bought ones.

To make things easier you can buy plain, ready-to-decorate cards and opt for good-quality materials. Then it’s up to you (and your kids) how to decorate them! 

You could use handprints, glitter, drawings, or collages. To make them extra-special you could also print out photos of your kids with their mom. Whatever design you choose is sure to please. 

Just remember to give your kids’ cards plenty of time to dry before they try writing in them.

Make It a Special Mother’s Day With These DIY Gift Ideas

As you can see, when it comes to DIY gift ideas for Mother’s Day, the world is your oyster!

Whatever you choose to make, set aside time with your kids to get it just right. Their mom will definitely appreciate the support and it’s a great way to create harmony in a separated family.

Need help coordinating your Mother’s Day plans? Our scheduling app can help you coordinate and keep in touch with your co-parent. Sign up for your 14-day free trial today!

Women’s Rights in a Divorce

Women’s Rights in a Divorce

Going through a divorce without a proper strategy is pure gambling – no favorable outcome exists without substantial preparation. Women have to be prepared to protect their rights if they want to avoid unfair property and child custody settlements and months in court trials. But what are the rights of a woman in a divorce? To answer this burning question, we looked at essential aspects of divorce that deserve the most serious consideration.

A wife’s entitlements for alimony

Spousal support (in different states, it’s also called maintenance or alimony) is money that a spouse with more financial resources pays the other during or after divorce. In the old days, pre-1980s, husbands were the primary breadwinners in a family, while their wives were in charge of the household and children. Naturally, women had neither time nor incentives to work and were entirely financially dependent on men.

The fear of being left without financial support was one reason why the divorce rate was relatively low. Back in 1970, there were 3.5 divorces per 1,000 American citizens, according to a report. For comparison, in 1980 this figure rose sharply to 5.2. 

What happened was that women started gaining their financial independence by entering the labor market, thus, changing the economic roles of wives in the family.

How has the procedure for awarding alimony changed since then? For obvious reasons, the husband was obliged to pay financial support to his wife, who had no employment prospects or earned several times less than her husband. 

Alimony was prescribed for a long time, often for life. Today, there is a trend against permanent spousal support in many states, primarily because of the changing economic roles of husbands and wives.

In many modern families, however, women still play the role of a homemaker, which inevitably affects their professional activities. The need to raise children and take care of the family reduces their professional value in the labor market. After divorce, many women experience difficulties finding a job that would allow them to maintain their previous living standards.

Factors influencing spousal maintenance

Fortunately, a career sacrifice for the family’s sake is a significant factor for awarding alimony and determining its amount and type. Each state has some slight differences, but generally, the factors influencing spousal support are as follows:

  • The length of the marriage;
  • The age and health of spouses;
  • Contributions of a requesting spouse as a homemaker and parent, and to the education and career of the other spouse;
  • Income and future earning capacity;
  • The presence of children;
  • Property left to each party after divorce;
  • Any history of domestic violence with documented evidence.

What are the types of spousal support?

  1. Permanent (which does not mean life-long). In some states, it is also called open durational alimony and cannot exceed the length of the marriage. Typically, it lasts half of the time the spouses were married. It terminates if the spouse receiving it remarries or cohabits with another romantic partner or dies. In some states, divorce laws consider retirement as a reason to stop paying spousal support.
  2. Temporary (pendente lite). This type of alimony is when spouses separate and file for divorce. It ends when divorce is final and can be substituted by another type.
  3. Rehabilitative. A spouse can receive this type of alimony until they become self-supporting, e.g., acquire some skills, education, or training to find a job. A woman typically receives rehabilitative alimony if she sacrificed her career to raise the family.
  4. Reimbursement. It is used for marriages that lasted less than five years. This type is meant to compensate the receiving spouse for the time and contributions they made to help the other spouse enhance their careers.
  5. Lump-sum alimony. It is a one-time payment and usually used to compensate a requesting spouse’s share of marital property after divorce.

Women’s rights to child custody

Until 20-25 years ago, a woman would almost automatically get custody of children after divorce. Today, it depends on various factors. The U.S. Family Law courts began to award joint custody a lot more often than in the past. It is widely believed that the participation of both parents in the child’s life has a beneficial effect on their healthy development.

 For this reason, there is a common tendency to split a child’s time 50/50 between the parents.

There are different circumstances that a judge takes into consideration when determining the child’s fate. For example, suppose a father wasn’t involved in his children’s lives and didn’t express any interest in them before the relationship dissolved. In that case, a judge might consider giving sole custody to a mother. 

Other factors, such as family violence, child abuse, or neglect, would prevent a father from seeing his children often or forbid it entirely. An important note is that even if a father does not spend time with kids, he must pay child support.

Child custody determination is a sensitive matter. These days, the courts are not so concerned about why the marriage failed in a divorce petition. It’s a child’s well-being that gets all the attention. Unless a father is unfit to be a parent and would pose a threat to a child’s physical or mental health, a judge would most likely order joint custody. It means that both parents will have equal roles in raising their kids.

Children usually live with one parent, while the other has visitation rights. If a mother receives primary residential custody, a father would have visitation rights. He could take the kids for the weekend, spend more time with them during the holidays or the summer break. 

It all depends on the court order. In amicable cases, the parents draft a joint parenting plan and file it with other divorce papers. This way, they get more control over the divorce outcome.

Women’s property rights in a divorce

All items that spouses bought or acquired during their marriage are called marital property. The most valuable are houses, cars, money in bank accounts, securities, and retirement savings. 

Unless a couple signed a prenuptial agreement with a detailed description of marriage entitlements, the marital property would be divided between the spouses in a way that the court deems fair.

Is a wife entitled to a family house?

The primary task here is to figure out whether the house belongs to separate or marital property. If a woman bought it before the wedding, it’s her individual asset. But if both parties paid the mortgage or contributed to its increase in value, it may be considered marital property. 

“When it comes to the house and other real estate, the two most common choices are selling and dividing the proceeds,” says Jody Bruns, a certified divorce lending professional. “Or one party can do an equity buy out of the other through a refinance of the property or with the division of other assets.”

A judge can order to sell the house and split the money or grant the residence to one spouse. When a woman has child custody, the court most likely allows her to stay there with the children if that’s what she wants.

How much of the husband’s pension will a wife get?

A portion of the pension that a husband earned during the marriage is also considered a joint asset. To get a share of it, which is not always 50%, a wife has to ask the court for it during a divorce process using a qualified domestic relations order. 

A QDRO is issued by the court and only applies to pension accounts included in the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. For instance, a QDRO is used for 401(k) but not for IRAs. The qualified domestic relations order establishes the percentage an alternate payee will get and can sometimes secure child support.

Who will pay off the debts?

Debt division in a divorce is a somewhat controversial point. It often requires the involvement of an experienced divorce lawyer. It depends on who incurred the debt and whose name is on it. If a wife got the debt in her name for her husband to use, she is still responsible for its repair. The same goes for joint credit cards.

During divorce proceedings, the court will consider all financial liabilities and decide how to divide them between the spouses. When the judge issues the order, a person will be responsible only for the assigned debts. In most cases, it is beneficial to resolve this issue before going to court. 

“If you are able to do this,” writes Brette Sember in her book The Complete Credit Repair Kit, “you can divide your debts in a way that both of you can manage, rather than end up with a plan made by a judge who will not have the same insight into your situation.”

What happens to a wedding/engagement ring after divorce?

As was mentioned earlier, only marital property can be divided after divorce. Gifts such as wedding rings fall under this category. An engagement ring is classified as separate property because a wife obtained it before the wedding. 

It is also a conditional gift – a promise to get married. If marriage was concluded, the condition has been met. Thus, a wife has the right to keep her engagement ring after divorce without compensating its value to her husband who gave it.

Final words

Modern divorce laws are less gender-biased than they were a few dozen years ago. Fortunately, women and men are now in the same conditions. Today, the outcome is all about fairness and using a gender-neutral perspective. 

It does not mean, though, that the court system is perfect. So every decision a woman makes should be weighed carefully to help her build a post-divorce world the way she wishes it to be.