Co-Parenting with Third Parties: How 2houses Can Help

Co-Parenting with Third Parties

One thing that we have realized over the years is that families look different…well, they have always looked different but it seems that we are often more aware of it now. Kids don’t always live with mom and dad but might live with a grandparent, aunt, or uncle. Families don’t always have the nuclear family of two opposite sex partners. In fact, a large number of families break the norm of the traditional nuclear family.

And one of the ways that families are breaking that norm can be with a third party. It can be as mentioned already, the children living with someone other than their biological parents. It could mean that there are three parents listed on the birth certificate—many countries have move to this…Canada being one of them with up to four parents allowed to be listed on a birth certificate. It could also mean that the kids still live with one of their biological parents but a third part, such as an ex-partner who is the stepparent of the kids, may have visitation rights as well.

While this is wonderful for kids to have so many loving people involved in their lives, it can make life a bit confusing and stressful when you are trying to organize a co-parenting arrangement with third parties and not just the regular two party households.

Which is why we always stress getting help when things seem confusing. And that help can come to you in the form of a mediation or co-parenting app such as 2houses, which is what we are going to look at in regard to how 2houses can make co-parenting with third parties easier.

Number One: Documents are Organized and Accessible

When there are more than just two parties in a custody agreement, there can be a lot of paperwork that you need to keep track of. One of the benefits of today’s day and age is that a lot of paperwork is sent as both hardcopies and as electronic. Even when they aren’t electronic, many people opt to have them scanned in to be digital.

And it is these digital files that we want to look at. They can be uploaded right onto the 2houses digital app and into their own folder on the app. This folder can be accessed by everyone who has access to the app and you can all see the same thing in the documents.

This makes it a lot easier to navigate disagreements that were already settled in the court or through mediation. All you need to do is pull the document up on the app and look at what it says to solve it. Since there are multiple parties in this arrangement, having access to documents at your fingertips can help prevent a lot of confusion, frustration and headache for all of you.

Number Two: Calendars are Colour Coded and Easy to Use

The calendar is a big part of how 2houses helps co-parents to be successful and it is integral when it comes to co-parenting with a third party. Being able to see a calendar that shows when everyone has visitation, all the events the kids have and allows for room for notes, pick up arrangements, meeting times and so on allows all parties to focus on co-parenting the kids.

In addition, you can put up the custody arrangement and have it reoccur in the calendar. This can, again, be colour coded to each parent in the arrangement. When you open up the calendar, you can easily see who is taking the kids on that day and it takes a lot of the confusion out of it for everyone.

In fact, it can even make it easier on the kids as they can access the app and check the calendar on their own as well.

Number Three: Everyone Can Journal Together

There is a journal on the 2houses app that is great for parents, kids and anyone else involved in the care of the kids. What it is used for is for everyone to write a journal on what is happening with the kids. You can talk about their day, any big news you need to share for them or if they have any changes to their schedule.

In addition, kids can use the journal to write notes to everyone involved in their care. This is great when the kids are with one person and not the other people. It helps parents feel connected and allows the kids to continue building their bond with parents even when they aren’t together.

Number Four: Kids Can Access the App to Know What is Happening

As mentioned already, the kids can access the app and see what is happening in their world. We all know that co-parenting exists for one purpose and one purpose only…to take care of the kids in a positive and effective manner.

So them knowing what is happening in the co-parenting relationship, especially when there is a third party, is important in helping them adjust to the change of going from one home to several houses. Being able to see the app keeps kids organized, helps lower their stress and helps reinforce bonds for everyone.

Number Five: Budgeting Can be Tracked

Finally, the budgeting tool is excellent because everyone can track what money is being shared with the expenses. What is being paid out. And what is being sent with child support. Knowing finances and have access to seeing the budget will help co-parents avoid tension topics, and it keeps all three parties involved in the day to day costs of raising healthy and happy kids.

While you may have to share the expense of 2houses, it is very affordable even for two parents and is pennies when adding additional parties to the app. Besides the low cost, 2houses allows for everyone to know what is happening, who is seeing the kids and when and helps you all keep track of those important moments and documents while you focus on the kids and their needs.

Using 2houses to Keep Important Information Organized for Co-Parenting

Keep Important Information Organized

Organization is important for parents. They need to know when they have to be somewhere, need to have access to important information about their kids and they have to juggle the lives of their children, along with all their activities, with an ease that doesn’t interfere with their work. It can seem like they are doing it easily; however, when you add that co-parents are doing this between two houses, custody arrangements and a host of other obstacles, it is amazing just how much organization is needed.

Getting Help with the Organization

So how do successful co-parents keep up with the organization of important information? They have help, of course. Sure, family and friends can help. Partners if you are part of a blended family help as well. But the best help that co-parents can have been to use a mediation and organization app or online tool.

There are plenty out there to choose from and as technology becomes a more popular tool for organization, I am sure there are going to be dozens more on the market. However, the one that really stands out on its own is the 2houses app.

What is 2houses?

2houses is an online digital platform and app that helps co-parents be successful in their relationship as co-parents. It offers a wide range of features that include a calendar, budget tracker, journal, albums and more. It is set up and designed to keep your life organized so you can focus on time with your kids and not on the logistics of your co-parenting arrangement.

So now that we know what 2houses is, let’s look at how 2houses can keep important information organized for co-parenting.

2houses Keeps Emergency Information Accessible

First, 2houses allows parents to store the information of contacts, doctors, schools and so on…anyone who they may need to contact about the kids. This can be shared with both parents and can make life easy when you are dealing with an emergency or simply plan a playdate for the kids.

In addition to contact numbers, you can have other information such as insurance, if your kids have special medications, they are on in the event they go to the hospital, blood type of your kids and so on. Having quick access to this information can be life saving in the event of an emergency. And it definitely gives you the peace of mind when there is no emergency but your kids are with the other parent since they have access to all the same information.

2houses Allows You To Store Court Documents

As you know, with divorce comes a lot of paperwork. And there seems to be even more paperwork when there are children, co-parenting arrangements, child support payments and everything else that’s involved in a divorce when you have kids. It can become really overwhelming at times and many co-parents find it difficult to access the information if it is sitting at home in a filing cabinet.

One option that many choose to do is to take advantage of the albums for documents. You can scan in all of your documents (or download them if they were sent to you electronically) and store them on the app.

Then, if you need to search something up in the documents, you can look at them regardless of where you are. And with both co-parents looking at the same files, there is less likely for there to be any confusion if you need to discuss something about the legalities of your arrangement.

2houses Makes Programming in Visitation Agreements Easy

As you know, 2houses has a calendar as a main part of the app, which helps you keep everything organized between two houses. You can plan out who is going to what events, or activities and you can colour code it to make it that much easier to navigate.

Another excellent feature with the calendar is that you can load in your custody agreement and set up where the kids go as per the arrangement, such as 50/50 or 60/40, etc. You can also punch in the time and location of handoffs so that you are extra organized on those days when the kids switch from one house to the other.

If you need to make changes to the days, you can easily send a request through the app and the other co-parent can agree or disagree with the change.

Really, the ease that you can build the calendar is one of the best features because it isn’t frustrating, you can do all of the dates at once without having to program each individual week for those reoccurring events and you can add other people to the calendar, such as extended family, so they know when they are helping you both as co-parents.

2houses Tracks Budgets

Finally, 2houses has an excellent feature that allows you to track the budgets as it concerns the kids. You can mark how much was paid for child support, as well as mark the expenses that go beyond child support. This helps you keep track of what has been paid toward those expenses and what needs to be paid out for anything that is shared.

Another wonderful way to stay organized with the budget is that you can make monthly statements which you can print or save to your own personal files. This is a terrific way to stay organized for tax season. And it allows you to keep documents in case you ever need them in court, which, hopefully, you won’t.

2houses really is the app that helps co-parents organize their co-parenting relationship, lives and information so it is easy to access and right there at the tip of your fingers no matter where you are.

So what are you waiting for, download the app today and get organized.

Tips for Successfully Co-Parenting with a High-Conflict Ex-Partner in the UK

Successfully Co-Parenting with a High-Conflict Ex-Partner

Co-parenting can be challenging in the most ideal situations, however, when you are dealing with a high-conflict ex-partner, challenging is taken to all new levels. Unfortunately, for the sake of the kids, and often because of the courts in the UK, most parents will still need to co-parent with the partner, no matter how much conflict occurs in the relationship.

Thankfully, there are things that you can do to make co-parenting with a high conflict ex-partner successful and we will go over those tips.

Parental Responsibility, High Conflict and the UK Family Law

In the UK, high conflict does not always mean that there will be caveats made in the courts for your parenting arrangement. Both parents have parental responsibility and they need to be able to co-parent above and beyond that conflict.

However, in the event that there is toxic conflict or domestic violence, the parent can seek legal parameters to reduce the amount of contact and possibly gain full parental responsibility of the children. This is set for extreme situations so if it is simply that you are arguing because of the divorce or settlement, then the courts ask that you work through them with the help of a mediator or family supports.

In those cases, you need to just follow the tips and move forward toward success.

Tip For Success #1: Acceptance

Before you do anything else, take a deep breath and accept how things are. Your relationship can’t be changed at this point, and there is a big chance that you are getting divorced because of that. Accept that your old relationship is over and that you need to find some way to navigate these new waters around your ex-partner.

Next, accept that you can’t change your high conflict ex-partner. By accepting that fact, you can step away from arguments and set those boundaries that you need to successfully co-parent. In addition, when you accept that you can’t change your ex-partner, you can begin to focus on what you can control…your life, job, how you raise your kids when they are at your home, and those trivial things. You will stop trying to control who your ex-partner is or setting expectations (good or bad) that affects how you interact with that person.

Finally, you can accept that your ex-partner will only change if he or she decides to change.

Tip For Success #2: Focus on Low-Conflict

This is primarily around communication but it is best to try to be low-conflict, even when your ex-partner is being high-conflict. If you find that you stumble into arguments when you see each other, ask for a third party for handoffs. You can say that you have to work, etc. to avoid an argument about not picking up or dropping off, or you can be honest and say that you don’t want to chance an argument in front of the kids.

If you can avoid arguments at handoffs, give your ex-partner other ways to discuss high-tension topics. You can suggest a mediation app like 2houses, email, or texting. Try to avoid any face to face or verbal conversations.

When you do any type of communication, make sure that it is low conflict. If you are feeling angry, frustrated, hurt, etc., take the time to calm down and then go and email your ex-partner. This is really important if you get a hurtful email or text. Take a breath, ignore it and approach it once you’ve calmed down.

Tip for Success #3: Don’t Take Things Personally

One of the best tips that I can give you is to not take things personally that your ex-partner says. Remember, when they are high conflict, they want to create conflict with you. And they don’t even need to start an argument with you. They can simply say something hurtful directly or in passing that can be devastating if you take it personally.

Instead, take a moment and collect yourself. Give yourself the assurance that what your ex-partner is saying is not true, that you are a different person than who you were when you were both together. Also, make sure that you go back to the statement that you can’t change that person. They are trying to hurt you and it is coming out in these ways.

And finally, don’t try to defend or explain yourself. What he or she thinks about you doesn’t matter. All that matters is what you think of yourself and your relationship with your kids. If you ignore the hurtful things, don’t take it personal and reaffirm who you are to yourself and your kids, you can avoid a lot of the pitfalls that parenting with a high conflict parent has.

Tip for Success #4: Match Conflict with Calm

It can be extremely easy to step into arguments with a high conflict ex-partner but one of the best things you can do for yourself and your kids is to not do it. When you step into the sandbox, as is said, you end up sinking to their level and it can become easy to be as damaging as they are.

Instead, set limits for yourself, disengage when you feel those limits being met and find ways to calm down so that you can match his conflict with calm emotion. The main point is to enjoy your life and the time with your kids and if you are left angry from a fight, you can’t do either.

Tip for Success #5: Set Some Boundaries  

Finally, when you are co-parenting with a high conflict ex-partner, it is important to set some boundaries and follow them. You don’t need to reply to every demand, text, email or answer every phone call. You can have space and you can have a protocol for emergencies if there is one.

Don’t let your ex-partner come to your home. Do all the meetings at public places and try to have someone there with you. This can help set boundaries and, if a conflict does happen, you can leave. It is a lot harder to get your ex-partner to leave if they are at your home.

Use a mediator for those moments when your ex-partner is not paying child support or doing things against the custody agreement. Don’t try to solve it yourself. More than likely, they are doing it to start a conflict and you tackling it yourself only feeds that conflict. Get the lawyers or mediators to deal with it.

While it is difficult, you can be successful when co-parenting with a high conflict ex-partner. You just need to set boundaries, avoid conflict and focus on your kids. Everything else doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of raising your kids.

The Financial Impact of Divorce/Separation on Parents in the USA

Financial Impact of Divorce

For many people, the impact that a divorce can have on their long-term financial condition is one of the most emotionally taxing aspects of the process. When considering divorce, you need to figure out how your assets and liabilities will be split with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. If you want to keep from falling into complete financial disaster as a result of your divorce, you could be forced to make some significant lifestyle adjustments. As your wealth decreases, your credit score may see a temporary decline as well. 

If you are thinking of getting a divorce, evaluate and make plans to deal with the far-reaching financial repercussions as soon as possible. This will help you manage shared expenses between you and your ex-spouse. To have a clear knowledge of how a divorce will be settled in terms of the division of property, it is essential to conduct a thorough investigation. Lay out your assets, liabilities, income, and expenses. 

Find out more about the financial impact of divorce on parents in the USA.

Financial Factors to Consider During Divorce

Focusing on these financial issues will help set you on the path to effectively transitioning to your new life.

Splitting Debts

When the community property or the separate property of one spouse has been used to support the debts belonging to the other spouse, the court has the authority to order that spouse to seek reimbursement from the other spouse. This might happen when the debts were incurred during the marriage. Who is going to be accountable for paying off the debt after the divorce is final is another important question to ask yourself. 

Only the people whose names are listed on the debt can be pursued by credit card companies and other creditors for payment of the loan. If you and your spouse were both named on the debt, the credit card company or the provider of the home loan can ask you to pay up if your ex-spouse did not make the payments when they were due. Even if the divorce decree specifies which spouse is responsible for paying the debt, this rule remains in effect.

Divvying Up Financial Assets and Obligations

In states such as Texas, all property acquired or owned throughout the marriage is considered part of the community property. The judge will decide how the community property should be divided, and it will either be shared 50/50 or in some other manner that the judge deems equitable. This comprises the income received by each spouse from their employment or business, as well as income from their assets throughout the marriage, even if the assets are exclusively in the name of one spouse. 

The family residence is also included in this category. If you are unable to provide evidence that the funds in the separate bank accounts belong to you alone, the divorce will have an impact on your ability to maintain your current standard of living. Only the couple’s individual property will be protected from being split up between them. 

Tax Obligations 

As soon as the divorce is finalized, the couple will no longer be entitled to claim the tax status of married or filing jointly. This change will take effect in the year after the divorce is finalized. This is why financial planning is very important. You will be required to decide on whether you will file your taxes as a single individual or if you meet the requirements, as the head of household. Depending on the specifics of your position, each may provide favorable tax consequences. 

Retirement plans

The funds set aside for retirement are normally divided on an equal basis, although this is not always the case. It’s possible that the money you saved up before getting married counts as your personal property. When a couple is divorcing at age 50 or older, when retirement plan investments may represent a considerable percentage of their total wealth, it is especially crucial to reach a settlement that is fair and equitable for both parties.  

A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) can be used to facilitate the transfer of a portion of the assets held in a workplace plan or IRA to the retirement account of a former spouse. To assist in avoiding a withholding tax equal to 20% of the transaction’s total value, the transfer can be conducted directly from one account to another. A one-time opportunity exists for the person who is receiving retirement assets in this manner to withdraw any amount of money from this account without being subject to the early withdrawal penalty of 10%.

Obligations Post-Divorce

Your divorce could leave you with significant new financial obligations, such as child support and alimony payments to the person you are divorcing. Alimony is financial support paid by one spouse to another after the dissolution of a marriage. This is to compensate for the loss of earning capacity caused by the other spouse’s departure. The goal is to assist your partner in regaining their financial footing following the divorce and in increasing their fortune. Regardless, alimony payments following a divorce are often only made for a set number of months at a time. 

Divorce has substantial repercussions for both the father and the mother in terms of child support obligations. Even when children spend less time with their parents after a divorce, parents frequently need to manage the expenditures of child support responsibilities in addition to the criteria for custody of their children. The duty to pay child support is discharged if a kid attains emancipation.


The process of getting a divorce is not only emotionally taxing but also difficult financially. It is best to employ the assistance of a financial advisor who can accurately appraise your assets and liabilities over time. This is to reach a conclusion that is just and equitable.

If you find yourself in a situation where a divorce is unavoidable, working with the proper financial advisor can help you obtain the knowledge, tools, and projections you need to protect your financial future.

The Role of Extended Family in Canadian Co-Parenting

Extended Family in Canadian Co-Parenting

Every parent knows that their extended family is a very important part of their lives when they are married. They provide childcare, offer advice and can be called on for an emergency if needed. Extended families within Canada serve all of these functions. However, what many parents are surprised to find out is that their extended family are integral to enabling them to co-parent effectively after a separation or divorce.

What are Extended Family?

Often, when we think of extended family, we think of grandparents and maybe aunts and uncles. However, that is not the only people who can qualify as extended family. Think about anyone important in your life and who have been important for your children.

With those thoughts in mind, extended family can include:

  • Grandparents
  • Aunts
  • Uncles
  • Cousins
  • Close Family Friends
  • Daycare Teacher
  • School Teachers
  • Coaches

So what is the role of extended family in Canadian co-parenting?

Well, let’s look at that very important question and go over the answers.

One: They Provide a Support System

The very first role that your extended family will play is the one of support. Remember that you are going from one house to two and this can mean that there are times when you need babysitters, or shuttling to and from places where neither you nor your co-parent can do it.

Extended family often help with this support and they can also be mediators at drop offs if you find that you have a high conflict break up and need someone you can trust to go with you.

It is important to note that extended family should not take sides or bad mouth the other partner, even if they are upset themselves. Around the kids, they should be a united front that is focused a 100% on the needs of the kids and not on the egos that have been hurt in the breakup. It isn’t easy but support should be just that, support.

Two: They Help Build a Child’s Self Esteem

Playing into the same premise of being a support, extended family provide a sense of belonging for the kids and they will look to those adults as role models for them to hold themselves up to. This is a very important role that extended family play because when the kids see their extended family being welcoming to them and their parents, they feel that support. And feeling that support and sense of belonging can increase their self esteem.

Another part of building the child’s self esteem is that extended family can reassure the kids that they are loved and lovable. They can also be people for the kids to talk to about their own fears, concerns and about dealing with the loss of having parents who are together.

With parents, extended family can be united in letting the kids know they are loved, they are welcomed to family events and nothing has changed in how the extended family sees them and all of that will build the child’s self-esteem.

Three: A Sense of Identity

Another important role that extended family play is the role of culture and identity. Children who have links to their extended family can have a sense of belonging to a community and group. This gives them a sense of identity and helps them process the loss that they are experiencing. While their parents are separating, kids can suffer from a sense of identity and being with their extended family can help them find that again.

Something else that is important with this is that kids can be a part of their cultural identity with extended family. Grandparents can teach traditions and language, cultural celebrations with the kids can be shared, and overall, kids can be part of their cultural community through their extended family. 

Four: Feelings of Stability

As you know, separation and divorce affects a child’s stability and their sense of stability as well. Often, houses change as parents move and split property. Schools can change and with that, so can friend groups. Kids feel a lot of turmoil and have a really hard time feeling settled.

That is why it is so important for extended family to be part of their lives. Extended family offer that stability that they need, especially if they were part of the kids’ routines prior to the separation. If there were family get togethers, such as Sunday dinner at the grandparents, kids can still attend and have that normalcy even if only one parent goes to that dinner ever Sunday night.

Another part of this stability is the continuity that they bring with them. Going back to those Sunday dinner, having those traditions continue after the divorce will help your kids setting into being between two houses.

This stability is very important for Canadian co-parents and their kids and will provide a lot of help in being successful co-parents.

Five: Love

While we’ve touched on this many times throughout the entire article, it is a really big one. Extended family provide love for the kids. They can be there when the kids need a break from their parents or when they just want to unwind.

It is important for extended family to provide a place for the kids that is filled with understanding and also to allow the kids time to vent without getting in trouble. When kids have this type of extended family, they can adjust to co-parenting more effectively and their well-being will continue to improve.

There are many ways that extended family members fill important roles in your co-parenting family and it is so important to include them. This helps you, your kids and your ex-partner with their well-being and sense of happiness and it will create a new family dynamic where your kids will always feel the support and love of those around them. So get in there, invite your extended family into your kids’ lives and cheer when you see all the benefits that comes with extended family.

The Emotional Impact of Separation on Children: What Australian Parents Need to Know

The Emotional Impact of Separation on Children: What Australian Parents Need to Know

Separation is never easy. There are a lot of emotions. Anger, sadness, frustration, and even relief when a relationship is dissolved and you decide to finally separate—and that is just for the adults. However, often parents don’t think about the kids involved in the separation or how they might be feeling. Or worse…they try to guess how they are feeling and fix it.

First, you don’t have to “fix” it. Emotions are normal and your kids are going to have their own feelings about the separation and yes, that may even come with some blame toward you, your ex-partner and even themselves.

Second, while you shouldn’t be fixing it, neither should you just ignore it. Kids need reassurance and they need to know that things are going to get better, even if it’s not going to be the same. Supporting your kids, listening and understanding what they are going through is definitely the best way to help your kids get through this…and, surprisingly, it is often the way that we fix the pain around separation for everyone involved.

But what about your kids? While we can’t say exactly how your kids will be affected because of their individual needs and the supports in place for Australian families, we can go over some of the emotional impacts that you can see with your kids.

Emotional Impact #1: Feelings of Guilt

I’ve already touched on this but kids can feel a lot of guilt when their parents are going through divorce. It doesn’t matter their age, unless they are infants, guilt is something that often occurs because kids begin to wonder if their behaviour had anything to do with the separation. Even when parents assure kids that the separation had nothing to do with them at all, kids will still worry.

Another factor of guilt is when they spend time with the other parent and enjoy themselves. They often begin to worry that they are being unfair to the other parent by enjoying time with one or the other parent.

Guilt can lead to many other emotional impacts on kids, which is why it is the first one that we focus on. It can increase the pressure the kids feel, make them worry about minor things, increase their stress and can lead to depression for kids, regardless of their age.

Emotional Impact #2: Becoming Emotionally Sensitive

Emotional sensitivity really does affect children and manifest in children in a number of different ways. Some will act out, others will withdraw, some will cry a lot and others will simply feel overwhelmed and their anxiety can increase. Emotional sensitivity means that your kids are going to be feeling overwhelmed with all of the emotions that they are having and may react to other situations in a more sensitive manner. Things that normally didn’t bother them may suddenly bother them a great deal.

With emotional sensitivity, children are feeling a wide range of emotions from anger to confusion, fear and anxiety and they may even feel relief, especially if you and your ex-partner were fighting a lot before the separation. That last one can lead to feelings of guilt as well. It is particularly important for kids to have a safe outlet to discuss their emotions and it may not be you or your ex-partner in this case.

Emotional Impact #3: Increased Anger

Another emotional impact that kids often feel is anger and irritability. Separation means a lot of change and often very quickly. This can leave kids feeling overwhelmed and many are not sure how to deal with it. And when kids aren’t sure how to deal with a stressor, it is quite easy for them to become angry, frustrated and irritable.

Often, this anger isn’t really directed at one person but at the situation and the feelings of being overwhelmed. However, it often presents itself as being directed at someone or some things and it can be quite scary for parents dealing with the anger.

Parents should realize that anger doesn’t usually last and anger is completely normal. Letting your kids know that they can be angry, but they can’t be hurtful will help them. Getting them someone to talk to will also help them work through those feelings. One of the positives is that anger is usually short lived and for most kids, as new routines are established and they start to feel normal again, their anger will dissipate.

While these are emotional impacts, we should note that these emotional impacts can affect your child both physically and socially. Kids who are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and emotionally sensitive will have an increase of stress. Stress leads to a lot of health problems that can be both short term and long term.

In addition, these emotional impacts can affect them in how well they are adapting to change. If they are unable to adapt to change well, it can prolong the emotional impacts of separation and can lead to behavioural problems and even problems in school or with friends.

Providing them with supports right from the moment you let them know about the separation will enable them to process their emotions. This, in turn, will help them avoid many of the emotional impacts that affect children who are living through a divorce or separation. So find a good therapist for you and your kids and work through these emotions before they seem too large to overcome.

In the end, being supportive, understanding and just allowing your kids to have these emotions is a healthy step toward overcoming the negative impacts that separation can cause. And that is one of the biggest thing that Australian parents want…their kids not being negatively impacted by the decisions their parents have to make.

Co-Parenting During the Holidays: Tips for Australian Parents

coparenting and holidays

The holidays! They are exciting, often long awaited for and many times extremely stressful for co-parents. There are only so many holidays and often, it can be difficult to really align schedules so that the kids can spend time with both parents over their break. Thankfully, while it can be challenging, there are ways that you can make co-parenting during the holidays extremely easy and enjoyable for all…and we are going to go over those tips in this article.

Find a Co-Parenting Mediation App

I am a huge fan of apps that can make like easier for me and this is especially true when it comes to co-parenting. The very first tip that I always recommend for people is to choose a great co-parenting mediation app. For me, that app is 2houses because it has so many features that make scheduling out those holidays a breeze. Plus, with the albums and journals, even if my kids go away with my ex-partner, I can see what they are doing and that really gives me a peace of mind when I can’t be there.

Plan Ahead

This can go hand in hand with a mediation app, but planning ahead is the best tip you can use when it comes to co-parenting during the holidays. First, kids often have time off school around the same time each year. It may fluctuate by a few days every year but it stays pretty consistent. Second, most schools will hand out a yearly calendar that lets you know when those holidays will be.

So with that in mind, there really is no reason why you can’t plan ahead for the school year and for any of the big holidays that they get.

With planning ahead, there are a few things you want to take into consideration:

  1. How the holidays were scheduled the year before? If you alternate holidays, you want to make sure that you are still alternating or splitting them up according to your co-parenting arrangement.
  2. Any special events that are happening. Weddings, special events for your kids, special holidays and so on. Think about the things you want your kids to attend, the events that your co-parent will need to attend as well and then plan the holidays around those dates so the kids can be at those events.
  3. Your own work schedule. Sometimes holidays need to be shuffled around to reflect your own obligations and work schedule as well as your co-parents.
  4. Travel days. If you are planning to travel for vacation with the kids, be sure to take into consideration your travel days so you aren’t eating into the other co-parent’s holiday plans.

Be Flexible

When you are trying to co-parent during the holiday, try to be flexible. Holiday plans can fall through. Work may change vacation time and there can be a dozen other things that can change. As co-parents, plan for contingencies if something happens. This will help cut down on the conflict between you and your co-parent and will also allow you to really enjoy the time that you can get.

With the contingencies, be sure to have another activity the kids can do as a backup plan if other events fall through. This way they will feel less disappointment as they can still do something fun on a day they were supposed to be doing something different.

Negotiate the Schedule

During holidays, schedules can really go out the window. It’s hard to make bedtimes, in hotels you may miss out on bath and bedtime routines, and travel days can wreak havoc on any time of normalcy that you create. However, schedules and routines are really important for kids, especially those going through separation or divorce, and it can lead to conflict if one parent is not following the regular rules and schedules you’ve set up.

However, holidays are a break, and sometimes that means it’s a break from the regular routines so be a little lenient on this. In addition, agree with your co-parent what changes to schedules and routines will happen over the holiday. Be sure to mark routines that are inflexible, but make changes with other ones that aren’t.

In addition, remember to discuss the gradual return to those routines so the kids are ready for school. Both co-parents will need to work the school schedule back into the kids’ routines so make sure you are discussing this as well.

Communicate with your Co-Parent

Finally, make sure that you are communicating with your co-parent. This can be done easily with a co-parenting mediation app but you can also communicate in person, by email and by phone. If you are travelling out of town with the kids for the holiday, have emergency ways to contact you and the kids through giving your co-parent the numbers to hotels you are staying at as well as your trip schedule.

In addition, make sure that you communicate when there are any changes. The sooner you discuss a change, the easier it is to avoid a conflict over the holidays. When you are communicating, be sure to approach it from a place of mutual respect and understanding. Being away from the kids for a longer period can be exceedingly difficult for all and that can lead to some harder emotions surfacing. When you communicate with mutual respect, it allows both co-parents to express their concerns without feeling judged by them.

Communication during the holidays should continue every day, even if you send a quick photo or a quick note to tell them everything is going great. This will help reduce the stress and everyone will feel better about those holidays.

Co-parenting during the holidays does not need to be difficult. It just takes planning, communication and negotiating with your co-parent to create the best holiday for your kids. Once you do all the planning and legwork to get to the holidays by following these tips, you should be able to simply sit back…well…sit back as much as a busy parent can… and enjoy the holiday.

How to Talk to Your Children About Separation and Divorce

About separation

When I was asked what the hardest thing about parenting was, I always answer, without hesitation, talking to my kids about the fact that their dad and I were getting divorced. At the time, my eldest child was fifteen and the youngest was eight with two others in between. They were old enough to understand the tension in the house between me and their dad, but they couldn’t understand why we couldn’t just solve it…after all…people who love each other fight but always forgive each other.

Setting that New Narrative

And there it was. How could we tell our kids that we no longer loved each other enough to forgive the hurt? And would that mean that the kids would wonder if we could stop loving them as well? After all, if we fell out of love once, why couldn’t we fall out of love a second time with them?

It was a harrowing experience but it really taught us exactly how to talk to our children both through the divorce and about the divorce. And these tips are excellent for any parent is faced with the question on how to talk to your children about separation and divorce.

First: Plan Ahead

The very first thing that you should do is plan ahead before you discuss your separation and divorce with your kids. The better prepared you are, the easier the process will be for your kids. Some things to plan are:

  • What will be said to the kids about the divorce. It is important that you keep it age appropriate and also don’t just flood them with information.
  • Where it will be done. I recommend that you choose a place where your kids are comfortable and where you won’t be interrupted. At home is often the best place.
  • When you will discuss it. It is important to set up a suitable time where it is calm and where you don’t have to rush off to an event or something so that the kids can have time to process what has been said.
  • Supports for your kids. Finally, have some supports ready for your kids. Things or people who comfort them and are in your inner circle, such as grandparents. Don’t invite anyone who would cause further tension but sometimes kids need someone other than their parents to go to after hearing the news. Don’t be offended if they are do, simply support them.

Planning for this all in advance will help things go smoother than simply springing it on them immediately after the decision to separate has been made.

Second: Decide Who is Going to Talk

This is really important and it really depends on how well you can both be together. For your children’s sake, if you cannot be in the same room without fighting, don’t try to tell them together. Simply agree on what will be said and then one partner can give the news. You can also do a second talk with them so that both parents can confirm the same thing. It is particularly important to not go off script during this conversation so that you are both saying the same thing and not putting your relationship stressors on your children.

If you are able to discuss things together, sit down and decide who will do the majority of the talking and who will be answering the majority of the questions. This helps keep the conversation calm and to give the kids as little stress as possible.

Third: Reaffirm Your Dedication to Your Kids

Reaffirm, reaffirm and reaffirm that you are dedicated to your kids and so is your ex-partner. This is important because kids can often worry about whether their parents will be there for them or if they are the reason for the divorce and so on. When you reaffirm your kids of your dedication, love and feelings, you are supporting them emotionally, which is so important when talking to your kids about your divorce.

At the end of telling them, the most important thing that they feel and understand is that your and your ex-partner’s feelings for them will never change.

Fourth: Answer their Questions

When you tell your kids, they are going to have a lot of questions and that is perfectly normal. Some will be expected, such as, “Was it something I did?” and some will be completely surprising. I remember my youngest asked me if we’d be able to take the garden stones he’d painted that summer. Something that I didn’t even think was important was a cherished moment where our whole family painted stones and he didn’t want them lost.

Don’t scoff at any question your child asks because there really is no stupid question. Kids think on different levels than we do and things that we don’t think are important could be incredibly important to them. Just answer them as best you can and if you don’t know the answer, tell them and say you’ll figure it out together.

Fifth: Be Clear About What This Means

Finally, be clear about what this news mean. If they ask if you will get back together, don’t lead them on with false promises or non-committal answers. Simply answer truthfully that no, you aren’t going to get back together and this is the new way things are going to be.

Also make sure that you are clear about what will be happening with them. Who they will be living with and how you will be looking at visitations. You don’t have to have it all ironed out and you can invite the kids to share their feedback once they have time to process the news.

Always make sure that you finish the discussion on how much you and your ex-partner love them and how that will never change. That reassurance is really key to helping kids process as they can really get caught up in that fear that they’ll be unloved now that you and your partner are separated.

By outlining things and being clear, you can help set expectations and prevent further confusion, which is very important in ensuring their well-being.

Telling your kids is going to be one of the hardest things that you do but if you do it lovingly, being aware of their feelings and centering it on the needs of the kids, you can get through the news and start building a new life as co-parents to your children. It may take time to find your new normal but coming from a positive first step, your kids may find that new normal even better than the tension filled one they left behind.

Support children’s educational transitions between two households after divorce in the USA

children's educational transitions

Divorce is an unfortunate reality for many American families. As parents navigate this emotional journey, their primary concern is often the wellbeing of their children. One significant aspect of this is ensuring that children’s education is not disrupted by the transition between two households. This article aims to provide strategies that can help parents in the USA support their children’s educational journey during these challenging times.

The Impact of Divorce on a Child’s Education

Divorce can have significant effects on a child’s education. It can disrupt routines, create emotional distress, and shift the focus away from academics. This is particularly true when a child is transitioning between two households. The inconsistency and lack of a stable environment can negatively impact a child’s academic performance and emotional wellbeing.

Strategies for Supporting Educational Transitions

Supporting your child’s education during and after divorce requires patience, understanding, and effective communication. Here are some strategies that can help:

  • Establish Consistent Routines: Regular schedules can provide a sense of security and normalcy for children during periods of change. This includes consistent wake-up times, meal times, homework times, and bedtimes, regardless of which parent’s house they are in.
  • Create a Unified Parenting Plan: Both parents need to be on the same page when it comes to education. This includes agreement on school choice, homework habits, parent-teacher communication, and attendance at school events.
  • Use Technology to Bridge Communication Gaps: Tools like the 2houses app can help divorced parents coordinate schedules, share school-related information, and maintain clear communication.
  • Support Emotional Health: Emotional distress can interfere with academic performance. Be open and understanding, allow your child to express their feelings, and seek professional help if necessary.

Importance of Parental Cooperation

The success of educational transitions for children in divorced households largely depends on the level of cooperation between parents. This can be challenging, especially in the wake of a recent divorce. However, prioritizing the child’s needs and making efforts to maintain a peaceful co-parenting relationship can significantly reduce the impact of divorce on a child’s education.

Deep Dive into Strategies

The above mentioned strategies provide a roadmap for parents navigating their child’s education between two households. Let’s delve deeper into each of these strategies and understand their importance:

Establish Consistent Routines

Consistency provides a sense of security and predictability for children. During a tumultuous period like a divorce, this becomes even more critical. Here’s how you can maintain consistent routines:

Homework Routine: Designate a specific time and place for homework in each house. Make sure this space is quiet and free from distractions.

Reading Habit: Encourage a regular reading habit. This not only aids in their academics but also serves as a relaxing activity that can alleviate stress.

Bedtime Routine: Regular sleep is essential for a child’s physical health, emotional well-being, and cognitive function. Ensure a consistent bedtime routine is followed in both households.

Create a Unified Parenting Plan

A unified parenting plan is a written agreement where you and your ex-spouse commit to a set of guidelines about your children’s upbringing. A few points to consider:

  • Education Goals: Discuss and agree on what educational goals you have for your children. This includes preferences for public or private schooling, college planning, and approach to handling academic challenges.
  • Parent-Teacher Communication: Both parents should remain equally involved in their child’s academic life. This includes attending parent-teacher meetings, staying informed about school activities, and tracking academic progress.
  • Homework and Study Approach: Make sure both parents have a consistent approach to homework and study time. This can include rules about TV or electronic device use, methods for assisting with challenging subjects, and incentives for good grades.

Use Technology to Bridge Communication Gaps

Technology can serve as a critical tool to streamline communication and coordination between two households:

Scheduling: Use tools like the 2houses calendar to coordinate schedules, track school events, and manage pickup and drop-off times.

Document Sharing: Share school reports, permission slips, and other important documents digitally. This ensures both parents have access to all necessary information.

Messaging: Use a dedicated messaging platform to discuss school-related matters. This keeps communication focused and reduces potential conflict.

Support Emotional Health

Supporting your child’s emotional health during a divorce is just as important as maintaining their academic routine. Here are a few ways to do this:

Open Communication: Allow your child to express their feelings about the divorce and the changes it brings. Be a good listener and reassure them that both parents love them unconditionally.

Counseling Support: Consider engaging a child therapist or counselor to provide professional emotional support and coping strategies.

Maintain Positivity: Keep a positive attitude towards your ex-spouse, especially in front of the children. This reduces their stress and helps them adjust more easily to the new living arrangements.

By delving deeper into these strategies, it’s evident that maintaining educational continuity for children in divorced households is a multi-faceted task. It requires effort, understanding, and cooperation from both parents. However, the result is well worth it, providing your child with a stable, supportive environment where they can thrive acadically. Remember, the goal is to make the transition as seamless as possible for your child, allowing them to focus on their education and personal growth.

Building a Support Network

In addition to the strategies mentioned above, it’s vital to remember that you don’t have to navigate this journey alone. Building a support network can provide additional assistance and resources during this challenging time:

Extended Family: Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins can provide additional emotional support and assist with practical matters such as transportation to and from school.

Teachers and School Counselors: Keep them informed about your family situation so they can provide extra support and understanding at school.

Support Groups and Online Communities: Connect with other divorced parents who are going through similar experiences. They can offer advice, empathy, and encouragement.

Professional Help: Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed. This could include a family therapist, child psychologist, or a legal professional specializing in family law.


Divorce is undoubtedly challenging, but with the right approach, it’s possible to minimize its impact on your child’s education. Remember, this is a journey of cooperation and understanding – both parents must work together to provide the best possible educational environment for their children. By doing so, you can ensure that your child continues to thrive acadically, despite the changes in their personal life.

We hope this guide has provided some helpful strategies for supporting children’s educational transitions between two households after divorce. For more advice on navigating the challenges of co-parenting, check out our other blog articles.

Sharing Parenting Responsibilities: A Guide for Australian Co-Parents

sharing parenting responsabilities

Parenting has a lot of responsibilities. In fact, many co-parents will comment on just how many are involved when they sit down and list out the shared responsibilities. It isn’t that they weren’t always there…they were… but a lot of parenting is hidden work—things that you do without even realizing that you are doing it as

So it is no surprise that many parents who are now experiencing co-parenting end up struggling with how to share those parenting responsibilities. Thankfully, we are here to guide you through with some important tips.

Shared Parenting Responsibilities in Australia

Before we launch into the tips, it is really important to understand how parenting responsibility works in Australia. First, parenting responsibilities means all of the duties, powers and authority that you have regarding your children. You are responsible to provide for the best needs of your children and you have the right to make decisions for your child.

Second, parents have the right to make decisions about their child independently from the other parent. What that means is that a major decision doesn’t need to be run past the other parent before it is made.

Third, for parents to have equal shared responsibilities, they need to request a court order (or make one) so that both parents are needed to make major decisions for the children.

Now that we know the parameters of parenting responsibilities in Australia, let’s look at how to share those parenting responsibilities that you have.

Tip Number One: Figure out the Expenses

The first thing that you should do when sharing parenting responsibilities is to figure out expenses. Child support payments often cover the living expenses but none of the extras. Things like school uniforms, school supplies, emergency payments for dental, etc. are not usually factored into the child support payments.

That means that parents have to agree to what they are paying out in addition to child support and how those extra expenses are going to be shared. This is really important as it can often be one of the biggest conflict topics between co-parents. Our advice is to use a co-parenting app that tracks expense spending so everyone knows what their share is and you don’t have to argue about it later.

Tip Number Two: Be Realistic

Parenting can be emotional and co-parenting can add all new layers to how you are feeling as a parent. That is why it is so easy to step into the sandbox and start arguing with your co-parent over decisions and other matters. The best tip that I can give you on this is to be realistic and put those emotions aside.

If you need to, take a step back and compose yourself and work through your emotions first. If you approach your co-parent upset, it can lead to a possible conflict, which is something you do not want to have happen.

With decisions, think about what you want to give your children realistically, what you can compromise on and what you won’t. Then discuss these things either in person or through email or a mediation app. When you take the emotion out of shared parenting responsibilities, you can move forward much easier.

Tip Number Three: Agree to Rules and Routines

Routines change as your kids grow up and they will also change as a co-parent; however, one of the best ways to share parenting responsibilities is to sit down and work out what the kids’ rules and routines will be.

Once you have them worked out, both parents need to follow them. If there are going to be any changes to those routines or rules, both parents need to sit down and agree to them. Don’t change a rule or routine without discussing it with your co-parent first. By doing this, you are showing that you are in a partnership and while it may not be the same partnership you had when you were together, it can be just as nurturing for your kids and filled with respect for each other as before.

Tip Number Four: Divide the Harder Responsibilities

Even if you aren’t with your kids, there can be some responsibilities that you take over completely for the other parent so things aren’t 100% on their shoulders or yours. Things like deciding who will do all the doctor appointments, who will do dental appointments and so on can be split up. You can also work out shuttling to and from events, especially if an activity or event falls on your visitation days.

When you share the busy work, it helps both parents feel like they are involved in their children’s lives, even when they aren’t with them all the time.

Tip Number Five: Share, Share and Share

Finally, share information with your co-parent. Let them know what is happening with the kids, with schedules and if you are doing the doctor’s appointments, with their doctors.

In addition to that, share when you are overwhelmed and need some help with your responsibilities. It is better to ask for help than to allow things to become overwhelming. We all have periods when work is putting more responsibilities on us or there might be life things happening where you need to shift some of the parenting responsibilities. And be open to being that emergency resource for your co-parent. The more you are able to share, the more connected your extended family will feel in this co-parenting dynamic.

By following these tips, you can be sure to provide your kids with the absolute best care they need all while sharing the parenting responsibilities with your co-parent. This will only have continued benefits for you, your kids and everyone involved with your family from stepparents to grandparents and beyond.