The Importance of Communication for Canadian Co-Parents

Importance of Communication for Canadian Co-Parents

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

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

Why is Communicating so Important?

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

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

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

Separate the Communication

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

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

Leave it in the Past

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

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

Focus on the Three Ws

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

So what are the three Ws? These are:

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

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

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

Top Features 2houses offers to Parents who are Separated

Parents who are Separated

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

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

Before the Features…the Savings Make it Shine!

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

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

Oh Baby! The Calendar that Organizes Life Between Two Houses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Divorce and Child Custody Cases

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

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

Substance Abuse and Addiction as a Determinant in Child Custody

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

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

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

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

How Parents Can Address the Issue of Substance Abuse and Addiction

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

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

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


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

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

Co-parenting Special Needs

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

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

Tips for Co-parenting Special Needs Children after Divorce

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

Visitation Rights 

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

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

Social Activities

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

Planning Finances

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

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

Arranging Siblings’ Bonding Time

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

Getting Outside Support

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


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

Addressing School-related Issues, such as School Choice, Extracurricular Activities, and Parental Involvement

School-related issues

Getting a divorce can be an emotionally trying experience for everyone concerned. Children frequently have the experience of being caught in the drama, and the tension that they feel can hurt their academic performance. However, things do not have to be as bleak as they appear. With clear communication, thoughtful preparation, a heightened awareness of potential problems, and sufficient time, academic challenges may be overcome.

Parents can develop healthy, supportive relationships throughout the school years. It is essential to have a realistic ideal standard in place to guarantee that everyone will accomplish their planned commitments and your larger-scale objectives for the year. Stay tuned to this post for further information on how to deal with problems that arise at school following a divorce.

Handling School-related Issues after Divorce

Divorce can significantly affect school arrangements if proper plans are not implemented. Here are tips for handling school-related Challenges after divorce:

Step up a School Year Calendar

It is essential to have a transparent understanding of who is in charge of taking sign-ups and maintaining the timetable. Some families find that retaining a shared family calendar is helpful.  For the children’s benefit, the parent managing the calendar can compile a list of essential weekly activities, which the children can quickly modify as needed. You and your ex-spouse must review the official school calendar for the entire year. Both parents can arrange for days off and early dismissals and determine who will be responsible for the children in the event of illness or other unforeseen circumstances. 

It is vital to have a conversation with your children about the extracurricular events and key school functions that they would like you to attend. By doing so, you can know how to mark your calendar accordingly. Ensure that you are set up to receive the proper school notifications and that your list of people to call in case of an emergency is up to date.

Plan for Extracurricular Events After School

Create a strategy for schoolwork and extracurricular activities. The most crucial step in reducing conflict and ensuring that everyone is on the same page regarding expectations is to plan. Assisting your child in concentrating on schoolwork also needs an effective plan. The more that can be written down, the better. This includes communication with teachers, household policies around schoolwork and television, who will attend school festivities, and even what children should wear to school. The same homework practices, down to the minutiae, should be agreed upon by both parents.

Parent-to-Parent Communication

Parents must agree on the academic preparation the child should receive while still in school. They should reach a consensus on who will take the child to visit colleges and what types of colleges the child will consider attending. Whoever takes the child should also agree to report back to the other parent. The parents reach a consensus on the children’s after-school activities as well. This includes the number of activities that will be participated in, who will pay for what, and how the children’s academic achievement and the parents’ concerns will impact the after-school activities.

Emotional Support

Outside of the environment of a public school, parents can continue to promote their child’s emotional adjustment by establishing routines at home. It is essential to help children experience the stability that is necessary for them to thrive. Having both divorced parents agree to the same afterschool routine can give their child a more profound feeling of foundation and security. In an ideal situation, children of divorced parents can adhere to the same standards about homework, playtime, and sleep.

Communication between Parents and Teachers

Parents can ask to speak with teachers, principals, school social workers, or guidance counselors. If a student spends time with both of their parents during the week, the student’s parents have the right and the responsibility to request two copies of everything. This includes report cards, school information, and even textbooks. Those students who are having difficulty with an assignment, such as sending in a photo of their family, should let their instructor know how difficult it was for them.

Financial Commitment

The beginning of each new school year often involves many different costs. There are divorced couples who agree to split each expense. Also, some do so in a manner that corresponds with the respective proportion of their income levels. There are also divorced couples who prefer to make a list of all of their expenses and then divide them. Consider carefully the amount of money that your children should put in, whether it be through an allowance, babysitting, or other tasks.

Both parents must be financially responsible, but it is even more essential in situations where the family’s assets and income are being shared between two people. In addition to being aware of and practical regarding the amount each family member ought to contribute to the costs, it is essential to be clear regarding the mechanics of signing up for activities and paying for them. This becomes an even more pressing concern when the children progress through the educational levels of middle school, high school, and college.

Divide your Child’s time appropriately

Make sure that your child gets adequate time with both parents. Children require time with both of their parents. The key to success in child custody agreements, including joint custody, is formulating a plan that enables the child to spend time with each parent. This is done without subjecting children to an excessive number of unnecessary transitions while in school. The children’s timetables, including when assignments are due, extracurricular activities, and emergency procedures, should be made known to both parents. This will ensure no surprises, which will significantly lessen the amount of stress experienced. The schedule ought to include well-defined requirements, but it should, at the same time, leave room for maneuverability.


There are tremendous implications of a divorce involving children. Parents must be actively engaged to ensure their children’s academic life doesn’t suffer. Children can experience emotional damage as a result of their parent’s divorce. But with the right plans and frequent parent-to-parent communication, ex-spouses can appropriately manage things. Also, if parents maintain constant contact with their children’s teachers, they can assist. A child will have an easier time adjusting to the dramatic changes accompanying divorce if parents communicate well with their child’s teacher.

How the 2houses Communication Journal will Improve your Co-Parenting

Communication Journal

Communication journals are a valuable tool that allow parents to communicate information in a brief, effective and to the point manner. By having the ability to use a communication journal, parents can be organized, and can often avoid many of the different scenarios, such as discussing expenses in face to face interactions, which can lead to conflict.

When we look at 2houses, we need to be aware of the whole app as a communication journal. Not only does it allow you to set calendars for visitation arrangements, appointments and other events happening for your children, but it also offers a budgeting feature, albums for apps and a specific communication journal. All of the features together help you become more organized, but the communication journal is the feature we will be focusing on because it has many benefits that will improve your co-parenting.

2houses Communication Journal Allows Families to Connect

During separation and divorce, the feeling of connectedness can be affected for both the parents and the children. Before the separation, kids had access to both parents, often on a daily basis unless work affected this. Afterward, parents and children quickly realize that that access is no longer guaranteed and there can be a significant length of time between visitations.

With this in mind, it is no wonder that parents can begin to feel isolated from their children and from the parenting role. The 2houses communication journal can help with feeling connected to your children in several ways, including having an album to share photos and albums, allows the parent and children to share messages and getting updates from the other co-parent that includes information on news, events and other needed information.

These feelings of connectedness help parents improve their co-parenting relationship. They know that they will still have indirect contact when children aren’t with them and this will enable co-parents to respect each other’s time with the children. This, in turn, can reduce stress and resentment between co-parents, which can make the relationship run smoother than without the 2houses communication journal.

2houses Communication Journal Creates a Sense of Stability for Children

As mentioned already, children have the opportunity to share on the communication journal. The app is very user friendly and this means that kids can use the app very easily. They can share the photos and videos that they’d like to share with the co-parent they are not with during the day, or even with parents where they are. They can also send quick messages to ground themselves.

By having ways to connect to both your children and their other parent, you can create a schedule, routines and rules that provide predictability for your children. And when you have that predictability, you will notice marked differences in your children’s emotional and mental well-being.

2houses Communication Journal Helps During Times of High Tension or Conflict

Another notable feature of the 2houses communication journal is that you can use it during those periods of co-parenting that are full of tension. This can occur during separation and divorce, especially during hearings and other court motions through which you are working. It can also happen later in co-parenting and may be caused by simple events that may not even have anything to do with the kids. For example, having to go through a move can add stress to one co-parent, which can lead to more opportunities for conflicts to occur because stress levels are on the rise.

With the 2houses communication journals, you or your ex-partner can take a step back and move to communication through the app only. This will help prevent conflict and you can recenter your focus to the needs of the children only. It is important to remember that the communication journal should focus on topics regarding the kids and not other arguments that you are having with your ex-partner.

Another point to mention in this category is that the 2houses communication journal allows parents to discuss conflict or tension topics in the communication journal. Some examples of this is changes in visitation dates, and expenses. By using the communication journal, you are less likely to fall into an argument than you would be if you were discussing this in person. As an aside, the budget feature on 2houses is an integral tool for dealing with shared expenses.

2houses Communication Journals Support Busy Schedules

Let’s face it, life is busy and having two houses for your children to switch back and forth from, it can be even busier. For that reason, it can be really difficult to meet to work on the co-parenting relationship. Sometimes, co-parents have only a few minutes as children transfer from one parent to the other…and with the kids being there, it can be difficult to really discuss important issues that parents need a few quiet moments to explore together. Which is why the 2houses communication journal can improve co-parenting because it allows a way for co-parents to mediate and work on their co-parenting relationship without having to set aside large amounts of time from their already busy schedule.

2houses Communication Journals Can Navigate Difficult Relationships

Finally, not everyone has good co-parenting relationships and may have to co-parent with an abusive or high-conflict ex-partner. In these instances, having an ability to communicate with that co-parent, in regard to the children, allows parents to focus on the kids without having to connect with each other. This keeps parents safe, prevents reverting to old patterns of abuse and creates safer dynamics within the co-parenting relationship. Communication isn’t always an easy step with co-parenting. There are so many factors that need to be taken into consideration but the 2houses communication journal offers a wide range of options that make communication easier. And when communication is flowing freely between co-parents, everyone will benefit and your co-parenting skills will only improve.

Tips for managing holidays, vacations, and special occasions after divorce, including negotiating visitation schedules and making new traditions.

special occasions after divorce

Dealing with the aftermath of a divorce is stressful under any circumstances, but doing so over the holiday season adds an extra layer of difficulty. It means spending more time with family members, some of whom may or may not be supportive of the significant changes you are making. It involves listening to opinions you did not ask for, even when the people offering them may have good intentions. It’s also possible that you won’t be able to participate in some rituals you enjoy.

The holidays and vacations typically increase the number of commitments, activities, and other demands on your time. When you factor in all of your usual activities, you may have a formula for disaster on your hands. Nevertheless, you can successfully manage the holidays after a divorce if you plan appropriately. Read this article to learn more details on this topic.

How to Handle Holidays After Getting Divorced

In the following paragraphs, you will find some helpful recommendations that can guide your decisions and preparation for the holidays after a divorce:

1.    Never Spend the Holidays Alone

Avoid going through the holidays by yourself after divorce. Although time spent by oneself can be very therapeutic, it is beneficial to the mind to socialize occasionally with other people and to make an effort to do so. You should try not to be alone with your thoughts for an excessive amount of time, and you should not avoid spending time with your family and friends. Spend as much time as possible with your loved ones during the holiday. This is to prevent your mind from wandering to your failed marriage and the possibilities it once held.

2.    Plan the holiday with your ex-spouse for your children

Cooperate with your ex-spouse so that the best interests of your children can be served.

Your children are the one thing that you and your ex-spouse will continue to share even after you’ve divorced one other. Nobody else is involved in the divorce save you and your spouse-to-be. Permit the youngsters to celebrate the holidays. If you and your ex-spouse work together toward a common objective, the holiday season can be as joyful for your children as it was in years past. Please find a way to maximize everyone’s enjoyment of the holidays so that everyone feels like they got their money’s worth.

3.    Create New Traditions

When there is a change in the dynamic of a family, new holiday traditions naturally emerge. Create brand new customs that are exclusive to your family. Experiment with something exciting and novel. During the holidays, it can be difficult for families that have been through a divorce. One strategy that can help is for the surviving family members to work together to start new family traditions. Single parents and their children should establish a new norm for themselves. Find out what your children want to do. Keep an open mind about new concepts. You could be the one to initiate something fresh that they will never forget.

4.    Maintain Discipline With Holiday Plans

When you finally have a plan, you should try to adhere to it. Remember that you are only one person and that you have certain constraints. Remember not to take on every responsibility. Do not pack your agenda to the point where you feel choked with duties. Ensure that there is room for flexibility. Take some time after each day to reflect briefly on the events. Keep doing what is working, and try to figure out why what you did before wasn’t working.

5.    Make Flexible Plans

Maintain your flexibility in the face of unforeseen scheduling conflicts. Swap shifts as much as you can so that the children can participate in activities that are important to them. Everyone will need to make adjustments to their typical holiday customs to remain healthy and safe. When it is not possible to change your parenting time plan, it is essential to be clear about the reasons why this is the case. You should also ensure that the cause is not simply that giving in to your ex-spouse would not make you happy.

6.    Plan for Gifting

Gift-giving is yet another aspect that can aggravate relationships throughout the holiday season. Many times, parents have varying gift budgets as well as different expectations regarding presents. Gifts received throughout the holiday season can also bring up legal custody problems. Before making significant purchases, you must discuss them with your ex-spouse if your co-parenting arrangement permits it. This will prevent arguments and feelings of letdown.

7.    Pay attention to other people

One more approach to have pleasure in the holiday season is to direct your attention to those who are less well off than you. You could think that you are the unluckiest person in the world at times. However, if you are willing to acknowledge that things are not as bad as they could be, you can make it through both your divorce and the holidays. Volunteering might be something you want to look into doing. When you focus on making the lives of those less fortunate than you more joyful, an incredible thing will happen. You will forget about your challenges and grow more appreciative of what you already have.

8.    Be Cheerful

When getting a divorce, it might appear strange to feel any emotion other than some form of distress. A divorce is a distressing experience that can nearly completely consume one’s life. Nevertheless, if you find that the holiday activities are making you feel happier, savor that emotion to the fullest. You have every right to be joyful and enjoy the holiday season just as much as everyone else.


Your life will go through a period of significant transition after divorce. Most people find that divorce and separation result in an increase in obligations and a drop in financial resources and free time. Make sure you take all of these things into consideration during the Christmas season. If you do, it will be much simpler for you to be realistic about your expectations for yourself, your family, and the holidays. Remember that you do not stand alone. If you are having trouble, you should think about going to a support group so that you may talk to other people who are going through the same problems that you are.

Keeping Your Child’s Best Interests in Mind: Why it is so Important for Co-Parenting


You have probably read many of our other articles on co-parenting and are familiar with the phrase “best interests”. We use it often, as do the courts, and anyone else involved in the health and well-being of children whose parents are going through a separation or divorce. In fact, you may have even said those words yourself when discussing the needs of your child.

Because the fact is no matter how much conflict was present in the separation or divorce, both you and your ex-partner want what is in the best interests of your children. In this article, we will go over why this is important for co-parenting.

What Does Best Interests Mean to Co-Parents?

What best interests mean to co-parents can vary from co-parenting couple to co-parenting couple; however, most agree with the general psychological definition of what best interests is. For most co-parents, best interests means that children will have their essential needs met. In addition, both co-parents will make sure the children feel loved and are free to love each parent. Another idea that is incorporated into the meaning is that children are allowed to grow and develop in healthy ways, which can be difficult during a separation or divorce. Finally, best interests means that even with two homes, children can reach their full potential. In a nutshell, these are really why it is so important for co-parents to keep best interests in mind.

What Does Best Interests Mean to the Courts?

Legally, best interests of the child is a legal term that judges use to decide on the standard of a co-parenting arrangement. Where you live can affect what those standards are and it can shift slightly from judge to judge. If you are heading into any family court cases with co-parenting, be aware of the standards for best interests in your area so you and your ex-partner can come up with a co-parenting plan that reflects those standards.

Generally, the best interests of the children will make sure that the physical and emotional well-being of the child are being met and that they are receiving protection for their mental, emotional and physical state. Their needs such as food, shelter, clothing need to be met in addition to other standards the local court will use. This can also affect visitation and living arrangements if the courts deem contact with one parent is not in the best interest of the child.

Best Interest Allows You to Work through Conflicts

One of the most important things that you can do as co-parents is avoid conflicts or deal with them efficiently when you have them. Agreeing to approach all conflicts with the best interests of your children in mind will help you work through those conflicts in an easier manner. 

Even if you are having a difficult time working through a conflict, when you keep your child’s best interest in mind, you can avoid a lot of arguments in front of the child. By keeping your conflicts to the 2houses app, or when the child can’t overhear, you can help nurture and protect their emotional and mental well-being. 

Best Interest Allows Your Children to Thrive

This ties into the last point but when you focus on best interests, you are able to make decisions that will help your child thrive, even if it is upsetting to you as a parent. It also allows you to be respectful to your co-parent in a lot of different ways. This is particularly important when you look at visitation time; with your child’s best interest in mind, you can simply allow them to enjoy that time with a well-loved parent without cutting into that time with texts and other distractions. This one on one time is very important for children to thrive and feel loved and supported. 

Best Interests Allows You and Your Ex-Partner to Co-Parent Efficiently

As mentioned already, keeping your child’s best interests in mind will help you in many ways as co-parents. You can avoid conflicts, respect time with the children, and you can co-parent efficiently. So why does this happen? Well, the main reason is that you are less likely to fight about the little things. Instead, you will approach things in a more logical manner that takes out your or your co-parent’s ego. There will be decisions that need to be made that don’t take either of you into account and that is okay.

When you can approach co-parenting in this manner, you find ways to work together. You limit interactions if you need to and keep it to an app such as 2houses, or you work with mediators. If you can interact, you look at it as a relationship that orbits your children completely and it makes it easier to leave those negative emotions on the shelf where they belong.  

Best Interests Puts Your Children First and Above both of You

Finally, when your children come first and above both of you, they really do thrive. This doesn’t mean ignoring your needs, it just means that your kids’ needs are met first and then you look after your own. When kids feel supported, loved, and have a healthy co-parenting relationship nourishing and meeting their needs and wants, they can focus on just being kids, regardless of how stressful the initial separation or divorce was. 

In the end, keeping the best interests of your children in mind is beneficial to everyone in the co-parenting arrangement. You, your ex-partner and your children will feel more secure in the relationship and you’ll find that you are able to build trust and mutual respect for your co-parent since you both have the same goal—making sure your children thrive. 

The Importance of Keeping a Communication Journal in Co-Parenting

Communication Journals

When it comes to co-parenting, communication is a huge part of it. We need to communicate, whether it is about visitation schedules, updates on doctor’s appointments, information about school events and a myriad of other reasons, communication helps co-parenting run smoothly. However, sometimes it can be difficult to communicate or there can be times when communication isn’t possible. It is in these moments that a co-parenting communication journal is incredibly important.

What is a Co-Parenting Communication Journal?

A communication journal is a tool that parents use for communication. This can be through the communication journal on 2houses or another journaling app. It can also be just a regular journal that travels with the child as he or she goes from house to house. 

The key feature of the communication journal is to be a mediator or facilitator of information about the children as they go from house to house. Journals usually have short notes in them but you can also incorporate other features into the journal that include calendars and other things.

Co-Parenting Communication Journals Helps Avoid Conflict

One of the best reasons to use a communication journal is in those periods where there is a high level of conflict. This can be at any time but especially useful when you are first separating and going through the divorce progress. When you use a journal, you are less likely to argue in person. Communication can stay focused, such as when you need to discuss expenses, and you can avoid all verbal conversations until that high tension has passed or you work through the final dealings of the divorce.

Co-Parenting Communication Journals Keeps Dialogue Brief and to the Point

When you are communicating verbally, it can be really easy to meander into other conversations or even use language that could increase tension. In emails and other communication methods, it can be easy to fall into that same habit where you just say everything you are feeling at once. A communication journal allows you to collect your thoughts, sift through those emotions and then focus on those key pieces of information that you need to relay.

With communication journals, you can be brief and to the point about the information. The communication journal is not a place to dress down behaviour or make long communications. And, since many older children have access to communication journals and may read it, parents can be reminded to keep all dialogue to the point and brief, which prevents arguments from getting into the journal. 

Co-Parenting Communication Journals Center Focus on the Kids

The main use of the co-parenting communication journal is so that you can effectively parent as part of a team. While the team looks different than it did during the relationship, it is still a team that needs to be present for your child’s mental health. With that being said, all communication that goes into a co-parenting communication journal should be about the kids or the schedule around visitations. If you know you are going to be late for a visitation because of an appointment, you can put it in the co-parenting journal for your ex-partner to know and be prepared for. 

The co-parenting journal allows you to be transparent about things while keeping the entire focus on the kids and not on other things happening in the separation or divorce.

Co-Parenting Communication Journals Enables you to Create Consistency in Routines and Rules

Another great part of having a co-parenting communication journal is that it really enables parents to create stability and predictability for kids. This means that you can list out rules in their communication journal that is followed by both homes. For instance, if the child has a bedtime of 8pm, then that bedtime is 8pm regardless of where they are. 

You can also use the communication journal to make changes to routines and rules. For example, during the summer, you may decide to go to a movie that won’t end until after that bedtime. It is easy to let the other parent know in the communication journal ahead of time that it will be happening. It isn’t to gain permission but just so you are open about the slight change in routine, that way, if the other parent is planning a late night summer event, they can plan it so it isn’t two nights in the row or cutting into pick up time the next morning because kids are sleeping in.

The consistency of a communication journal makes co-parenting much easier than it could be without it. So this is definitely one of the most important reasons to have a co-parenting communication journal because ensuring that your children have the stability, they need will ensure that they are happier and healthier living between two homes. 

Co-Parenting Communication Journals Keep you Organized

Finally, co-parenting journals are a way that keep you organized. You can write out schedules for the kids, if there are sudden appointments that the other co-parent needs to go to, or if there is a sudden expense that came up. Or, in the event of health problems, the communication journal can keep doctor’s appointments and medications organized no matter where the child is staying. The journal can document all of these things. 

For co-parenting communication journal apps, such as 2houses, they expand on the co-parenting communication journals with budget organizers, calendars to schedule everything, albums to share photos and the journal itself so parents can be completely prepared and organized as co-parents. 

As you can see, there are many reasons why a communication journal is so important for co-parenting. You can stay focused on the needs of your kids, keep a sense of stability for your children, which improves their mental well-being, and avoid those conflicts that can arise in co-parenting arrangements, especially at the beginning. So what are you waiting for? You, your kids and your ex-partner will only benefit from having a co-parenting communication journal.

Navigating the UK Family Court System for Co-Parenting Disputes

Co-Parenting Disputes

In a perfect world, co-parenting, once through the more emotional and stressful moments of separation, would be free of disputes. Unfortunately, even with co-parenting relationships that are good, the occasional dispute can happen. And sometimes, those disputes are not able to be corrected without the help of the courts. 

In these instances, understanding how to navigate the UK family court system is important so that co-parenting disputes are worked through quickly and with limited effects on your children. For this reason, while we hope that 2houses would avoid these situations, we are here to give you some important understandings on navigating the UK family court system for any co-parenting disputes that can’t be mediated out of court.

Where Can Disputes Occur?

When you are dealing with co-parenting, there can be a number of disputes. Often, this occurs because of financials, or it could simply be around visitation or one parent moving. If you are the primary caregiver, you may feel that you have the right to make decisions without the input of your ex-partner; however, it should be noted that both parents have to make big decisions together.

And it is these big decisions that often create the higher risk of disputes needing the courts to make the final decision. So what are some disputes that occur_decisions both parents need to make?

  • Large moves: If you are staying in the same city or neighbourhood, then moves are often expected and do not need joint agreement; however, if you are moving the child out of the city, county or country, then both parents have to agree to it.
  • Changing Schools: As parents, you often decide on the education plan of your children from a young age. Once separated, that decision is still made by both parents and neither parent can change or select a school without the input and agreement of the other parent.
  • Authorized Absences: It may not seem like an issue, but any absence from school that is authorised must be authorised by both parents. The school is legally obligated to have both parents sign off on an absence. Often, these don’t land in the family court system, unless there is a high number of absences only authorized by one parent.
  • Living and Contact Arrangements: Once the co-parenting agreement is confirmed, this isn’t a dispute very often; however, occasionally, changes in school holidays can lead to disputes over these arrangements and further arbitration is necessary to overcome these disputes.
  • Changing a Child’s Surname: This has to be agreed upon by both parents. At no time can only one person change the surname of the child.

There are many other reasons that you can end up in the UK family court system, but these are often some of the more frequent reasons. So now let’s look how to navigate through them. 

Understanding the Power of the Court

Before you head to filing an application to the court, you should decide on whether or not your case warrants court action, or can even be heard by the court. If it is something that is particularly minor, you and your ex-partner should look at mediation instead of going through the court. Even larger disputes can be done through mediation and are usually faster and less expensive than a court case is. For more tips on mediation in the UK, read our article on mediation. 

In the event that you cannot go through mediation to work through this dispute, make sure you understand what you are filing. A family lawyer can help you with this, but for a quick understanding, the family court can rule on the following:

  • Child Arrangement Orders: Also known as CAO, this is the order of who the child resides with and what the visitation arrangement (also known as contact arrangement) is part of this order.
  • Specific Issue Orders: This order, also known as an SIO, is used to give decision making permission to one parent so they can make medical decisions without joint permission or can make the decision to take the child out of the country.
  • Prohibited Steps Order: A PSO is an order that is set if there are reasons why a parent should not have the ability to take action in regard to their relationship with their child. This has been seen in cases where one parent is worried another parent will leave the country with the child.

When a court makes these orders, they do so with the child’s best interests in mind. 

Filing an Arrangement With the Court

If you have reached the stage where mediation is not working, you can file an application to the family court to have a judge make the decision. When filing an arrangement, there are a few considerations that you should follow.

Consideration One: Use the Proper Form

Most applications for the UK family court is done on the C100 form. This can be downloaded from the website. However, you can file right online now, or you can submit a paper form. It is important to note that Scotland and Northern Ireland has different steps to file an application so contact a lawyer to do so if you reside in those areas.

One thing to point out is that if there are allegations of domestic violence in your ex-relationship, you will need to file an additional form, which is the C1A form. 

Consideration Two: The Fees

Before you get ready to file, be ready to pay the fees. While the fees can change slightly, as of 2023, the fees to file a C100 form is £232.

Consideration Three: Notifying the Other Parent

Most orders will require a notification to the other parent that you are pursuing this dispute in the UK family court system. However, there are times when you can ask that the other parent is not notified. These are known as “without notice” applications and are usually limited to urgent cases with specific steps order or a prohibited steps order. They are only granted in exceptional circumstances but the other parent will need to be notified once an order is in place. 

In that instance, the order will only be enforced for a limited time until both cases are heard in full and then a final, more permanent order will be set. 

Consideration Number Four: Understand the Stages

Once you have filed your application, there are three, potentially four, stages that you will go through. These are:

  1. FHDRA: The first hearing dispute resolution appointment, which is usually a very short hearing where the judge organizes the case.
  2. DRA: The dispute resolution appointment is the preparation for the case where they hear key issues, the extent the issues can be resolved, filing statements of facts, witness arguments, and ensuring that everything complies with the practice direction 27A.
  3. FFH: A fact finding hearing does not always happen but is often done during cases with domestic violence. Fact finding hearings considers the evidence around any allegations and the judge will decide if the allegations occurred or not. 
  4. FH: The final hearing is where the judge will assess all of the evidence and make a final decision. Not all hearings will end with an order but most will.  

During the entire process, you and your ex-partner will be encouraged to settle the dispute on your own prior to the final hearing. 

Navigating the UK family court system can seem daunting but when you understand the process and understand what you can ask for in regard to court orders, you will find it much easier to navigate. Hopefully, you won’t have to go to the final hearing, but if you do, understanding the process will ensure you are more confident walking into court.