How do Co-Parents Make Daycare Choices?

Co-parents

Making decisions concerning childcare can be challenging for parents who are separating or divorcing. Making wise shared decisions about childcare may be complicated by poor communication, frequent arguments, or resentment resulting from past problems. Even though it may be challenging to talk about this subject, it’s crucial that co-parents agree on the best options for childcare.

The great majority of parents use some type of daycare to watch over their young children while they are at work. This is especially true for parents who no longer share a home after a divorce, separation, or custody dispute. In other situations, a child will need to go to daycare because a parent is going back to work for the first time in a long time to support themselves.

A co-parent is not allowed to deny the other parent access to the child’s daycare center or withhold information regarding babysitters. Both you and the other parent have equal rights to information and participation when it comes to childcare when you split custody.

Child’s safety is priority

Your child should feel safe and secure wherever they may be, and whoever is looking after them should be someone that you and  your co-parent can rely on. Make sure the person has prior experience caring for youngsters, or that they are trained in baby or child CPR and other emergency measures, while selecting the best candidate to look after your child.

Ask the persons you discuss this matter with if they are willing to watch your child at one or both of your houses, or if you must bring your child to their house or childcare center. Visit the place before agreeing to leave your child there if they are unable to come to your home. Make sure that the location is both kid- and adult-friendly.

Photo by Naomi Shi on Pexels

Think about various forms of childcare

There are many options for childcare, so you should weigh them all before deciding which one is best for your family. You could hire a live-in nanny if you require full-time childcare. In this case, think about whether they will require access to both of your residences. This might be feasible if you live close enough to one another and your childcare provider is accommodating.

Find a babysitter or sitters that you and your co-parent can call if you don’t require full-time childcare for your kids, for example on federal holidays or snow days, when daycare is closed but parents are still expected to work. You don’t need to deal with further disagreement because of your choice of babysitter, so make sure that these are somebody that you both can agree on.

Consider daycare if you don’t live close enough for someone to commute between your houses or if you and your co-parent are unable to come to an agreement on this solution. You and your co-parent can leave your child at a daycare facility away from the house where they will be watched over by one or more competent adults. Daycare centers usually watch over numerous kids at once, so this is a terrific chance for your kids to meet new friends and develop social skills.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels

Talk about expenses

When co-parents are at disagreement, the expense of childcare can be a major issue as child care is often expensive. If you and your co-parent decide to split these expenses, the amount of time each of you spends with the child and your individual income will probably affect how much each of you will pay. In any case, try to collaborate with your co-parent to find a daycare center that is both reasonable and practical for you both, as well as appealing to your child.

Families with modest incomes can typically access childcare subsidies. Childcare assistance programs offer money to working parents or, in some situations, parents who are enrolled in school to help with the expense of licensed in-home or center-based child care. Qualifying requirements differ by state so if you want to apply, you will have to find out how does child care subsidy work where you live and its benefits.

Put everything on paper

As soon as you and your co-parent come to a decision regarding childcare, it should be put in writing. This is typically accomplished when creating your parenting strategy. Cover each matter on which you have made a choice in your plan. These could include things like a list of the child care institutions you’ve approved, how to pay for the associated expenses, how to get to and from child care facilities, and much more.

Consider including this information in your parenting plan even if you are amending an earlier arrangement for childcare by switching nannies or hiring new babysitters. Consult your lawyer for advice on how to proceed because you might need to file your revisions with the court in order to include them in your existing papers.

In conclusion

All these actions will help you and your child in the long run as you decide how to handle childcare as co-parents. Setting up your child’s care schedule, your parental obligations, and your new connection with the child’s other parent can all be done with the help of a co-parenting plan. Making sure that your child can develop secure and positive bonds with all their parents is crucial.

Parental separation and divorce: how to support children

Divorce or separation

Divorce or separation usually mean significant changes to family life. Children may be upset and depressed as these changes take place. It’s normal for children to be feeling that way. It will help them understand that this is a challenging moment.

Engaging your child in conversation is among the most effective ways to assist them in adapting to the changes. There are a few actions you can take to aid, such as sticking to routines that are familiar. Try including children in making decisions and receiving assistance. Children should be able to talk with their parents about divorce or separation. Here are some suggestions to talk to your children about the changes divorce or separation brings.

Simple is best

Your child does not have to know everything. However, they have the right to know about what’s going on, and who’s going to be taking charge of them. They should also be confident that things will be okay again.

It is best to communicate in a clear, straightforward, and honest language that your child will understand. For example, “We are in love with you, and we’ll take good care of you. We’ve determined that it’s well for us as a family to have Dad and I live separately.”

Make sure you take your time when answering difficult questions

Sometimes, you don’t know the answer to an unanswerable question, so allow yourself to think. Assure your child that you’ll come back to them. It is possible to say, “I do not know at this moment. The truth is that your Dad, as well as I, are trying to figure it out. However, I am sure that you’ll have time with us both”.

If your child is asking you tough questions regarding their other parent, encourage them to speak to their parent directly. You can also inform them that your child may have asked about concerns.

Pay attention to your child’s needs

There could be a specific concern that is behind your child’s question. For instance, if a child is asking when Mum will return, they are worried about when they’ll meet with Mum. Reassure them using simple phrases that let them know that you’re listening. For example, “It’s like you’re concerned about when you’ll be able to see your mother. It’s still a must to visit Mum on a regular basis. I’m sure that’s vital in your life.” It’s important to assure your child that both you and their other parent are there for them.

Keep the conversation in the air

Your child could constantly be thinking about this topic. Be prepared to answer more than one question. If you schedule an established time for talking, it can provide your child an opportunity to share their concerns. It might be during the time your child comes back from school, while you eat dinner with your family. Prior to taking a reading break, or even while you’re on the road. It is also a good idea to use this regularly scheduled time to inform the child to be aware of any new developments.

Talk about your feelings

Your child is likely to feel unhappy, angry, or sad. This is fine and could be beneficial. If your child can see your expression of emotions in a peaceful and healthy manner, they’ll understand that it’s okay. It’s also essential to inform your child that you care about them and that everything will improve.

When your child expresses emotions, listen attentively. This will give you and your child the opportunity to investigate and comprehend their emotions more clearly. It is possible to say things like, “I can see that you’re angry, and I can understand why it is causing you to feel sad”. It may be hard to understand your child’s feelings of hurt or sadness, particularly if you’re struggling with similar emotions. But your child should communicate, and you’ll better understand the needs of your child by listening.

You can suggest someone else speak to

Sometimes, children are more comfortable discussing their thoughts and feelings with someone other than their parents. Your child may be encouraged to speak to a trusted adult – such as a family member or a teacher. If they will likely be speaking with your child, it’s best to request not to be negative about the other parent.

Routines that children can easily remember following divorce or separation

Routines can help children feel secure, at ease, secure and confident, So keeping a routine can help your child deal with transitions like separation or divorce. Make sure you can identify the small things that matter to your child, such as reading books before bed. Inform your child that these habits will never change. If you are able, you can avoid changing major things such as your child’s school.

It is also important to keep routines. How you wake your child up or the words you speak to them before bed are comforting routines. You are able to create new routines or alter rituals, too. It could be necessary in the event of changes in childcare plans or income. When your kid is of a certain age, you can explore establishing new routines.

Children’s decision-making after divorce or separation

If you are to involve your child in day-to-day decisions, it’ll make them feel in control of their life. For children who are older, it is crucial to pay attention and inform them that their opinion is important. It’s important not to burden kids of any age with huge choices, particularly ones which make them feel trapped.

Family time is a great way to bond with your children

Have a moment to enjoy some amusement, even if it’s an instant hug or playing some music and dancing. It’s also a good idea to take a few actions at the occasion like eating a meal as a picnic at the local park. Let the teachers at your child’s preschool, or school be aware of the situation. They’ll be able to spot any changes in your child’s behavior and could offer alternative support options, including school counselors.

If you’re concerned about your preschooler’s or school-age child’s mental health, or your child’s preteen or teenage mental health, speak to your GP whenever you can. They will be able to help you locate other specialists who can assist, including psychologists in your area.

About the Author: Emma Flores

Emma Flores is lucky enough to turn her interests into a job. Editor and proofreader during work hours, as well as a freelance writer during weekends and a mother all the time. She is at her most in the morning, with headphones on. Emma is working with StudyCrumb to provide tips for making academic papers that are of high-quality standards.

Exploring Parenting Style: Authoritative Parenting vs Co-Parenting

Authoritative Parenting vs Co-Parenting

More than 3.6 million babies are born every year in the United States, so there are a lot of children living in America. However, each childhood will be different depending on where a child lives and who is raising them. 

Different approaches to parenting, such as authoritative parenting, can have a huge impact on your child’s development. So it is incredibly important to be aware of your parenting style. 

After a separation, you and your ex-partner need to agree on a parenting style. Talking parents often find it easier to create cohesion for their child across both households. So set aside time with your ex to figure out your parenting strategy.

Want to know more about how to maintain an authoritative approach to parenting after getting divorced? Then you’re in the right place. Read on to find out everything you need to know about authoritative parenting and co-parenting. 

What is Authoritative Parenting? 

An authoritative approach to raising children focuses on boundaries and communication. 

Authoritative parents set rules and consequences but always explain why these rules exist. They also take their child’s emotional reaction to rules and boundaries into account.

For example, you might say, “I understand that you find this frustrating, do you understand why this rule is important?” You may also have conversations about how they feel if they have been told off.

The goal is to create a safe, familiar, and positive environment for your child. Communicating with them validates their feelings and helps them understand the world around them. 

How Do Children Benefit From Authoritative, Talking Parents?

Authoritative parenting helps your children grow up in a secure environment.

Studies show that this kind of parenting promotes secure parent-child attachment styles. So your children feel comfortable discussing their feelings and asking for help.

This also improves emotional intelligence in adulthood.

Authoritative Parenting in a Co-Parenting Arrangement 

Authoritative parenting encourages your child to speak about their emotions. Because of this, it can be very valuable during and after a separation.

It also encourages you to recognize that your children might “act out” for different reasons. So you can explore this with them in more depth. 

However, it is very important that both parents engage in this parenting style. Otherwise, your children may find going between their different households very emotionally confusing.

So can you successfully co-parent while taking an authoritative approach? Let’s take a closer look at ways to integrate this parenting style into a co-parenting arrangement. 

Focus on Your Child’s Relationship With Both Parents 

Authoritative parenting helps to strengthen the relationship that you have with your child. However, after a separation, it is important to focus on the relationship that your child has with both parents. 

As exes can do this by supporting one another’s parenting approach. For example, your child might ask you why the other parent asked them not to do something.

Reinforcing the importance of this boundary and explaining it to your child will help them understand it better. So they feel more comfortable opening up to both parents.

Make Sure That You Are on the Same Page 

Authoritative parenting only works if it is consistent. So you and your ex need to be on the same page about certain rules and boundaries. If you aren’t, this can become confusing for your children. 

Set aside some time to talk to your ex about your parenting approach. You can also use this discussion to create consistent: 

  • Routines 
  • Bedtime schedules 
  • Rewards
  • Rules 
  • Consequences for breaking rules

This also makes it easier for your child to transition from one household to the other. 

It is important that you don’t do this in front of your children. This shields them from any conflict or disagreements that you might have. It also helps your children see you as a united front even though you have separated.

Talking Parents: Communicate About Issues When They Come Up

If your child does open up to you about how they’re feeling be sure to share this with your ex. 

This might involve encouraging them to have a conversation with your child. Or it could be as simple as mentioning that they have been anxious, worried, or confused by something that week.

This helps both of you to stay aware of what is going on with your children. So you can keep an eye out for emotions that might affect their behavior.

You could even set aside some time to talk about these issues together as a family if your child feels comfortable with that. This will support parent-child communication in both households.

Pick Your Battles 

No parent is perfect and even authoritative parenting can slide sometimes. It can be frustrating when this happens after a separation. However, it is important to pick your battles with your ex. 

For example, it probably isn’t worth calling your ex out if your child says they ate ice cream every day on vacation!

Certain rules, such as bedtimes or screen time, may also be less strict during vacations. This is to be expected and you can talk to your child about changes as they happen. 

That said if you notice that your ex isn’t enforcing the same boundaries as you on a regular basis, it is a good idea to discuss this with them.

Try to frame this conversation around your collective approach to parenting. Focus on promoting the benefit of boundaries and consistency for your child. This will help you keep these discussions focused and non-confrontational.

Get Support With Your Co-Parenting Arrangement

Authoritative, talking parents can be incredibly supportive of their children after a separation.

Authoritative parenting gives your children space to talk about their worries and other feelings. This will help to strengthen the relationship they have with both you and your ex. 

Are you looking for more support managing your co-parenting schedule? Then start your 14-day trial of 2houses now. We’re here to help.

Building Kids’ Resilience in Two Homes

Two homes

Sometimes, marriages don’t work out, but we would still do anything for our family. 72% of divorces occur within the first 14 years of marriage, which is when most couples still have minor children.

If you’re working through a divorce with young children, there are a lot of challenges to navigate, especially with your children. However, the good news is that you are not alone. 

Let’s talk about how to build resiliency in your children through separation or divorce.

Why Resiliency Is So Important

Resiliency is an important skill for any child to learn. It can help them find greater success in life and cope with circumstances beyond their control. Learning to bounce back from setbacks and challenges is critical for proper development.

More importantly, separation and divorce require resiliency for everyone involved. Children happen to be the most at-risk in these situations, which is why it’s so important to help them build resilience.

Remember that resiliency is a skill, not an innate personality trait. It’s not something people are born with, which is important to recognize before helping your child along.

Building Children’s Resilience Through Separation

The most important factors in building resiliency for your child are understanding their needs and reducing their stress levels. Children will learn a lot on their own, but only in the right environments. Let’s talk about how to facilitate that.

Reduce Co-Parenting Conflict

Conflicts between co-parents are bound to happen at some point. However, reducing their frequency and ferocity is essential. Your child may have shown resiliency so far in the process, but everybody has their limits.

Separation and divorce are already traumatic experiences that require resiliency. Children will need to learn how to adapt to a different living situation. Adding most stress is the last thing they need.

Never Use Children as Messengers

We live in a world with no excuses. If you have something to say to your ex, you can contact them whenever you want. You should never put your child in a position where they feel trapped in the middle.

While this is especially true for any negative messages, it holds true for all. Your child should never feel responsible for conveying information. We all know how the game of “telephone” works.

Consequently, if the child forgets or misinterprets the message, this could lead to hostility. Your child will then feel they are to blame for escalating conflicts. It’s always best to avoid putting children in this position.

Encourage Consistency

Consistency between the two households is vital for a child’s development. For example, if one parent allows video games before homework and the other doesn’t, this could lead to resentment toward the parent perceived as “more strict”.

Try to sit down with your co-parent and discuss basic rules and expectations that you need to maintain at both houses. As time passes, more of these differences are likely to arise. Discuss them as they come and try to work toward an agreement, rather than blaming the other parent without communicating.

Maintain a Routine

A predictable daily schedule is the best way to build routines for children. However, this is a challenge with two homes.

Children should be able to predict where they’ll be housed and what their days will be like in the near future. Would you like to wake up every day without any clue of where you’re going or what you’re doing? Consider your child’s point of view here.

Moreover, a set schedule is essential for children. If the child knows they spend every Wednesday and every other weekend with one parent, try your best to keep these consistent. You want them to easily predict their routines.

Also, if your child is used to waking up, having breakfast, getting dressed, watching a short episode on television, and then going to school, keep it consistent. We all like having some semblance of a routine, which is especially important when living in two separate homes. Waking up in a different location regularly is disorienting enough, so establishing a clear routine is quite helpful.

Encourage an Open Dialogue

There’s a good chance your child is worried to tell you how they are feeling, especially if you’re visibly occupied with your divorce. Let your child know that they’re more than welcome to tell you how they’re feeling, even if that means telling you hard truths you may not want to hear.

How else can you help foster resiliency? If the child does not know how to regulate their emotions, and you don’t know what emotions they are feeling, where is there room for progress?

Your child is likely experiencing big emotions due to the stress of a new life. They should not be punished for expressing themselves but encouraged to do so. Suffering in silence won’t help anyone.

Strategize With Your Co-Parent

Sit down with your co-parent away from your child and discuss a plan for building resilience in your child and how to manage their stress levels. Try to keep things as consistent as possible in each home, discuss issues away from them, and work to make your child as comfortable as possible in both homes.

Divorce is challenging for everybody, but your child has the least amount of power during the process. For this reason, it’s important to develop an inclusive plan for them with your co-parent and stick to it.

If you feel overwhelmed, that’s okay. Talk to a professional co-parenting facilitator to help build an easy transition and better resilience for your child. This way, you and your co-parent can stay on the same page.

Don’t Give Up

We know that separation and divorce are challenging. However, your children are innocent in these situations, and it’s the responsibility of their parents to give them the security, stability, and tools they need for success.

Keep reading our blog for our latest co-parenting tips, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions!

How to Co-Parent with a Restraining Order

Parenting with a Restraining Order

Let’s face it: being a parent is hard. Although it is probably the best job you will ever have, it isn’t always easy or clear how to parent effectively. Even with all the parenting books available, there are still those gray areas that don’t take into account the different personalities of each child, or the parenting style of each parent. To make things even harder, you and your child’s other parent are now exes, and you have a Restraining Order against you, and you are ordered to co-parent. That’s a whole jumbled-up mess in and of itself. What should you do now that you find yourself in separate households? Who gets to see the child on their birthday or holidays? How do you adjust to downsizing from a two-income household to a one-income household? There are so many questions that desperately need answers. While there are no hard-and-fast rules for co-parenting with a Restraining Order, there are some general do’s and don’t’s that will guide you through the multitude of issues of co-parenting with a Restraining Order.

Restraining Orders in General

Restraining Orders are orders that are signed by a judge that directs people what they should and should not do. They are automatic in divorces, and some of the restrictions automatically apply to divorcing couples. For example, the parties are not allowed to move their child out of the state or sell property while the divorce case is still pending. All the restrictions are in place to protect both parties from physical or mental harm, protect the child’s best interest, and to preserve assets. Both parties are informed of the Restraining Order when they get the divorce papers. Each person may contest any part of the Restraining Order and request that it be removed within 30 days of receiving a copy. Most of the Restraining Orders end when the divorce is finalized.

Obeying the Restraining Order

When the Restraining Order was signed, it had conditions of do’s and don’t’s for co-parenting. Possibly the most important rule to successfully co-parenting with a Restraining Order is to follow the order’s conditions. Not only will doing so most likely make things go smoother with you and your ex, but it will also look favorable the next time you are in Court. If the judge sees that you are obeying the Order and doing your part to co-parent in a way that is best for your child, he or she will be more likely to grant you custody, or decide if you will be allowed to see your child at all.          

Custodial Decisions

Judges must make custodial decisions that he or she believes are best for the child. The judge will take into account a plethora of things, such as the individual needs of the child, whether the parents communicate well, and any domestic violence. Courts have agreed that domestic violence is never what is best for the child. In a divorce case involving alleged abuse, the judge could order supervised visits, pause any visitation, or terminate it completely until the domestic violence offender finishes a parenting or counseling class. Therefore, it is in you and your child’s best interest to obey the rules of your Order. You will be more likely to stay in your child’s life, and your child will see how to handle disappointing or challenging circumstances.

Communication with Your Co-Parent

Communicating with your co-parent while there is an active Restraining Order can cause additional trouble. Most of the time, Restraining Orders contain a clause forbidding all contact between the two parties. However, successful co-parenting requires some level of communication. Since contacting your co-parent is an issue in a Restraining Order, it’s best to end all communication with your co-parent. If there are situations that you need to discuss with your co-parent regarding your child, there are several options for routing around this obstacle to successful co-parenting with a restraining order.

First, consider hiring an attorney of your choice to communicate on your behalf. This avenue allows you to relay your wishes without going against the Court’s rules, or possibly affecting your chance of parenting in the future. He or she can perform the leg work of each of the following tips.

  1. Ask the Court for an exemption to the Restraining Order that allows for discussing co-parenting matters.
  2. Apply for permission to communicate through phone calls, texting, emailing, and any social media outlet.
  3. Request that both parties can utilize a third party to communicate with each other.
  4. Consider asking for permission to use an actual notebook or diary to discuss any parenting information. Either the child or another party would hand the notebook to the other parent, then back to the original parent.
  5.  Think about requesting to use a reliable co-parenting app. These apps allow both parents to send messages, share pictures, stay on schedule, track expenses, including shared ones, and many other functions. There are some apps that are free and some that charge a monthly fee.

If the Restraining Order states that you both may not go near each other, it will most likely designate someone that can get your child to you and your ex. This could be a friend, family member, or a visitation officer. Ask your family law attorney for suggestions of a Children’s Contact Services company, if the judge ordered that one be used.

Most of the time, Restraining Orders determine a certain amount of physical space that must be kept between the parents. This can make attending family and school functions hard. To keep from disobeying the judge’s Order, it might be helpful to plan different times that each person will get there, adjust seating locations, or to take turns with who goes to which events. Just remember that it is the restrained person’s duty to adhere to the Order and to ensure no clause of the order is violated, even if the other parent initiates contact.

Need More Help Co-Parenting with a Restraining Order?

If you are still experiencing issues that are keeping you from successfully co-parenting with a Restraining Order, consider hiring a family law attorney, if you haven’t already. They have the knowledge and expertise to know the legal ins-and-outs of co-parenting with a Restraining Order. They can file paperwork, petition the Court for certain requests, and execute many other legal-related dealings. This will save you time and energy you need to effectively co-parent.

The Take-Away

Divorce brings hard feelings, confusion, hurt, sadness, bitterness, anger, and many more feelings. These feelings don’t go away quickly. And, divorce becomes even more difficult when a child is involved. But successful co-parenting is necessary, especially when a Restraining Order is involved. But it absolutely is possible. Do everything in your power to follow the Order and make things go smoothly for you, your ex, and most importantly, your child. Make sure that you are able to be there for your child by following the terms and conditions of your Order. Show your child that he or she is worth putting aside your own desires, such as the desire to be right or to be heard. If you need help navigating the jungle that is co-parenting, research and hire a family law attorney in your area. You and your child’s relationship will thank you.

How Can a Family Live Happily in Two Houses?

Live Happily in Two Houses?

One thing to keep in mind when dealing with divorce: you are not alone. The proportion of adults 35-39 who are separated has doubled from 2 percent in the 1970s to 4 percent in the 2000s. Fortunately, resources are available to make divorce easier for both parents and children. Yes, it’s possible for a family to live happily in two houses. 

In this article, we’ll talk about helpful tips to help children better cope with their parent’s divorce. We can help both parents and children in overcoming challenges associated with separation and live happily in two houses. 

Tips to Helping Your Children Cope Better 

To some children, living in two homes can be challenging. It may be more difficult especially when the ex-partner decides to live with another partner. Our tips can help your children accept the situation and still live happily albeit in two homes. 

Talk to Them About the Arrangement

As soon as you reached an agreement with your ex-partner, talk to your child right away. Explain things clearly as to why they need to live in two homes. Talk to them about the arrangement and explain why it has to be that way. We suggest both partners should talk to the children about the arrangement. If the kids have questions, be honest with your answers. 

Never Argue in Front of the Children

Arguing is normal between two people but it will not be healthy when you argue in front of your children. As much as possible, control your anger especially when the children are present. It can be difficult but you will have to try harder. 

If you need to argue, do this outside and not within your child’s earshot. Better yet, use email or the phone, and make sure the children aren’t present when you’re talking. Work things out amicably, as much as possible to avoid more conflicts down the road. 

Make Them Part of Your New Family

If you have new children, make sure that your kids from the previous relationship feel welcome in your home. Make them part of the family, as much as possible. Include them in celebrating special occasions or milestones. 

Never make them feel an outsider in your new family as that will be very difficult for them. We suggest giving them more time with their half-siblings, for them to get to know each other. You may want to enroll them in the same school too if this is possible. Remember, children can be sensitive especially when it comes to receiving attention. Make sure that you treat them equally to avoid parent-child issues.

Communication Constantly 

Communication is crucial to making a parent-child relationship work. If you’re a busy parent, make time to call or email your child. Countless platforms are available to help you get in touch with your children. Social media is one of them. 

In addition, make sure to also reach out to your ex-partner when it comes to your child’s progress or condition. We suggest using helpful tools to help you better communicate with your ex-wife or husband. Our 2houses features a simple messaging tool to help you better communicate with either your ex-partner or children. 

Spend Quality Time Together

For most families, mealtimes are when the parents talk to their kids about how their day went or how they are doing. Take advantage of this opportunity to talk to your children, tell jokes, plan an outing, or talk about anything under the sun. From time to time, organize a lunch out or dinner. Go to a favorite family restaurant and perhaps go to a movie after. 

Give Your Kids Their Own Space in Each of Your Home

Make them feel at home in both houses by giving them their own space. Encourage them to decorate their own bedroom however they want to decorate it. Never be judgmental of their taste to avoid conflicts. Also, consider having duplicate items in both houses so that your child won’t have to pack a lot of things. Some of these items include clothing, toys, toiletries, craft supplies, and other stuff your kids like to collect. 

Give Them Chores

Household chores don’t just help children learn about responsibility, it’s an opportunity for them to feel at home. If you have other children, make sure that you give them equal chores. Don’t let the other child do more chores than their siblings. 

Always Stay Positive 

Things may be difficult at first, but never give up. So long as you stay optimistic and open to your ex-partner, you’ll find out that a family can live happily in two homes. Be honest with each other and make sure that you don’t hold a grudge. If you feel misunderstood by your ex-partner, be open about it but try not to be argumentative. Most importantly, show your optimism in front of your children. 

Don’t make your kids guilty when they do something fun in your ex-partner’s home. Try to be genuinely happy for them and be respectful of their wishes. Also, never ask them to spy on your ex-partner as this can only lead to conflict. 

Live Happily in Two Houses

It’s understandable why some parents and children will struggle with the arrangement at first. You can make things easier by having the right communication tools. Our 2houses platform features a calendar to help both parents set and organize schedules better. We have a simple finance tool to help both parents effectively manage their finances. You can also store important information about your child and share it with your ex-partner. You can share photo albums and even share videos of your children. Try our 14-day trial now or talk to us if you have further questions. 

Put Your Kids First: Co-parenting With Someone Who Hurt You

Put your kids first

Shared custody agreements between parents in the United States grew to 25% recently. This is becoming a way of life for many people due to the high divorce rate, modern life changes, and non-traditional households. Effective co-parenting can nurture and guide a child toward becoming a well-adjusted adult. 

With the right strategies, everyone involved will come out of the situation better. But how can you co-parent with someone who hurt you?

You’ll have a larger hill to climb, but the results are rewarding. Here are some steps you can take when co-parenting with someone who hurt you. 

Seek Closure on the Relationship

Before you can enter into a co-parenting relationship, get closure on whatever hurts you experienced from the romantic relationship. Past hurts can become burdensome to the point that you’re not able to cooperate, communicate, and get on the same page.

Getting past your grievances helps you separate these feelings and do what’s right for the child. Hire professional mediation services so that you don’t leave anything unspoken with your co-parent. Clear the air early so that you can keep your focus in the right place. 

Some couples also make the mistake of never closing the door on their romantic relationship. This ends up with messy back and forth that confuses everyone involved. 

Get Professional Counseling 

In addition to relationship closure, seek professional counseling that can help you also reconcile with issues in your personal life.

Going to a counselor once a week will bring calmness to your life as you work through your custody arrangement and every aspect of co-parenting. Professional therapy can cost you $10-$30 with an insurance co-pay, and upward of $200 per session if you don’t have insurance. 

Prioritize the Child’s Needs

Keeping the child first is tops on the list of co-parenting tips that people need to follow. Every conversation that the two of you have should involve the well-being and care of your child, without muddying the waters. 

Cutting out distractions will help you make decisions when it comes to your child’s:

  • Education and homework 
  • Physical health and nutrition
  • Spiritual upbringing
  • Sports and extracurricular activities
  • Emotional and mental well-being

Set aside your individual needs and put your children first so that every decision counts. 

Improve the Way You Communicate

Strong communication strategies will help you co-parent without stepping on the landmines of past hurts. Learn to get your point across without being abrasive or offensive. Listen without reading into statements or making assumptions.

Put things in writing whenever you can, and treat the communication like a business, keeping your emotions to the side. If you’re going to send messages, consider using voice notes at times so that they can hear the tone of your voice. Some matters get lost in translation with text and can create tension. 

Take a Parenting Class

Some of the most effective co-parenting strategies you’ll learn are taught in parenting classes. Parenting classes can teach you core concepts related to parenting, and you’ll be better prepared to share time with your children. 

In addition to some traditional parenting aspects, these classes can teach things like:

  • First aid and CPR
  • Teaching your kids self-esteem
  • Learning to serve as a positive role model

When you approach parenting with this information, you will strengthen your family and your relationship with the co-parent. 

Have Regular Family Outings

Even though you live in different households, it’s important that you still take family outings. This teaches you to show up for the child’s interests while putting differences to the side and getting over past hurts. 

Your child will appreciate seeing the two of you getting along, and it’ll become easier for you to prevent emotions from hindering the process. Here are some family outings that will let you spend more meaningful time together while creating memories:

  • Going out to dinner
  • Catching a new release movie
  • Spending time at the park
  • Visiting a museum or amusement park
  • Grabbing some ice cream

Something as simple as going out as a family reinforces the fact that you still are one. Your child will look forward to these outings, and it’ll help build cohesion. 

Schedule Meetings With the Other Parent

Since you’re treating co-parenting like a business, formalize things by scheduling meetings with the other parent. These updates will do away with blind spots and will help keep you in the loop with each other. 

Keeping things in writing will also help you in the event that you have an issue that you need to take to family court. The more frequently you communicate with the other parent, the easier it’ll become over the years. 

Put Equality Out of Your Mind

Many people in co-parenting relationships doom themselves from the start because they’re under the illusion that things can or should be completely equal. 

Even if you have 50/50 shared custody, don’t expect things to be completely equal. You should be treated fairly, but there’s give and take in every relationship. More often than not, things won’t be split cleanly down the middle.

Internalizing this reality lets you set realistic expectations with each other and the situation as a whole.  

Co-Parenting With Someone Who Hurt You

Hurt is part of relationships, and you’ll walk away with plenty of it after ending a marriage. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t still co-parent effectively. Let the tips above guide you when you’re co-parenting with someone who hurt you. 

Apply the points in this article and check out our other posts about co-parenting and other issues. 

50/50 Shared Custody: A Guide to Birdnesting Divorce

50/50 Shared Custody: A Guide to Birdnesting Divorce

Getting divorced is one of the most difficult parts of your life, especially if you have kids. If you’re worried about child custody then understand that 40% of states aim to give equal custody to both parents

It can be difficult to understand 50/50 custody, especially if you and your former spouse are in a birdnesting divorce. Here’s more information about 50/50 shared custody, the effects it may have on your children, and how to parent with your divorced spouse while living under the same roof.

What Is 50/50 Shared Custody?

As the name suggests, 50/50 custody is an arrangement where both parents care for the child for equal amounts of time. This arrangement is also called 50/50 physical custody since both parents spend quality time with the child. The child may also live under the same roof as both parents.

While this is the ideal arrangement, the judge won’t approve it unless it’s in the child’s best interest. Parents will also have to work out the best custody schedule, which we will cover later.

What to Ask Yourself Before Agreeing to 50/50 Custody

50/50 shared custody is an ideal situation but isn’t right for all parents. Here are things to keep in mind before agreeing to this custody arrangement.

Communication

This custody arrangement can only work if both parents are willing to set aside their differences and communicate. Any conflict between both parents needs to come to a halt for the best interest of your child.

What if communicating with your former spouse is difficult? Try a 50/50 co-parenting schedule with fewer exchanges. If you’re still running into major issues, you may have to re-think your 50/50 shared custody arrangement.

Distance

If both parents live in the same area, 50/50 custody can work. That’s because this custody arrangement requires frequent exchanges between the parents.

While living in the same neighborhood or within blocks of each other is ideal, most judges will still grant 50/50 shared custody if both parents live in the same city or even a neighboring city. As long as there isn’t a significant distance between both parents, 50/50 custody can work. The matter of how to share custody and when depends on your personal schedule and what works best for the child.

Work Schedules

You’ll have to come up with a custody arrangement that fits your child’s schedule and also the parents’ time. This means taking work schedules into consideration.

If both parents work a 9-to-5 job, 50/50 share custody can still work. If the child is still young, the child will have to attend daycare or have a babysitter/nanny during the time when the parent is at work. Unfortunately, that means the other parents will spend less time with the child. If the child is older, they will likely have their own schedule. We will cover this in the next section.

If this is the issue you’re facing, talk to your employer about adopting flexible work hours. You can also try another schedule arrangement. We will cover this later in the article.

Child’s Schedule

In addition to the parent’s work schedule, it’s important to take the child’s schedule into consideration. Kids and teenagers often have extracurricular activities and hobbies that take up a large portion of their time. This can include sports, music, and more. Keep your child’s hobbies and passions in mind when creating a 50/50 shared custody arrangement.

What Is Birdnesting?

Birdnesting is a living arrangement where your kids live in the same home. Each parent takes turns living in that house. Both parents usually also live elsewhere, allowing them to go back and forth between the family home and their personal home.

There are many benefits of birdnesting. Your child won’t feel the pressure of the divorce since they’re in the family home. They also don’t need to move between two different homes. Both parents will still get quality time with the child.

There are different reasons why parents choose birdnesting. They may choose this arrangement during the divorce; if the couple is separated and purchased separate homes, they may try birdnesting to see if it works. Some also choose to do birdnesting after the divorce.

50/50 Shared Custody Schedule Templates

One of the biggest benefits of the 50/50 custody arrangement is there are numerous schedules you can follow. Here are a few common examples. Pick the one that best suits your schedule as well as your child’s.

Mid-Week

The mid-week schedule is becoming a popular child custody arrangement. The initial exchange happens at the beginning of the week with a second exchange occurring in the middle of the week. This is best if one parent works during the week while the other works during the weekend.

There are some downsides to this arrangement. You’ll only have your child for three or four days at a time. This schedule also means there will be less time away from your child. Since there are more frequent exchanges, this is the best schedule for parents who live near each other. It also works well if you raise your kids in a birdnesting arrangement.

Alternating Weeks

This has been one of the most common 50/50 shared custody exchanges for years. One parent has the child one week and the other parent has the child the next week. Both parents alternate the weeks they have their child.

There are benefits to this arrangement. Exchanges occur at a minimum, so this is best if one parent lives in another city. Both parents have a strong relationship with their children and they also get a week to themselves.

At the same time, this exchange has its disadvantages. It’s often the most difficult arrangement for younger children. If you’re birdnesting, this means you’re spending a whole week away from your second home.

We Make 50/50 Shared Custody Easy

While 50/50 shared custody is the best-case custody arrangement, it does come with some difficulties — especially when you’re birdnesting. For example, managing expenses and schedules can become tedious. Don’t worry, we have a solution to improve your family and financial lives. Take a look at our services and tools.

Summer Break Parenting Plan: Applying 20/80 Shared Custody

Summer Break Parenting Plan

Divorce is far trickier than you could imagine. There were 7.6 new divorces per 1,000 American women in 2019. 

It’s one thing to separate from your spouse, and it’s another to negotiate child custody. A 20/80 shared custody gives both parents opportunities to be with their child. It may seem straightforward, yet the summer break can throw some obstacles in your way. 

What parenting schedule should you adopt? Can you accommodate midweek visits or summer vacations? What should you do about overnights and special events at summer camp? 

Answer these questions and you can create the perfect shared custody schedule for this summer. Here is your quick guide. 

Pre-assigned Weekends

You and your co-parent can decide on any shared custody plan you want. Take a look at a few custody and visitation schedules so you know how parenting after a divorce can work.

In general, 20/80 shared custody plans involve pre-assigned weekends. The parent with 20% custody will take over during the weekends so the child’s schedule is not disrupted. 

The alternating weekend schedule keeps the child at home with the parent with 80% custody during the week. Every other weekend, the child goes to the other parent. 

If this schedule is a little too confusing, you can assign particular weekends every month. Many parents like the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends schedule. This gives an opportunity for the parent with 20% custody to have custody for back-to-back weekends, letting them engage in projects with their child. 

Exchange times can take place whenever you want. Some parents choose to exchange custody on Friday evenings and Monday mornings during the summer. This gives the child an opportunity to spend the entire weekend with their parent. 

A 20/80 parenting plan can involve a lot of travel. To minimize the inconvenience, you can opt for a birdnesting housing arrangement.

Your child stays in one home, and you and your co-parent cycle out of it. You and your co-parent can share a home, or each of you can find your own housing. 

Midweek Visits

You can incorporate midweek visits while keeping to an alternating weekend schedule. You can do this in a few different ways. 

The parent with less custody can take control on an afternoon during the week. The other parent can attend meetings or appointments without worrying about their child. The time they spend during the week can get taken out of their weekend custody, or you can allow for a few extra hours. 

You and your co-parent can spend time together on a weekday. If you’re not comfortable being with your co-parent, you can ask a family member to watch over your child. Use this as an opportunity for your child to spend time with a grandparent or another loved one. 

Summer Camp

Most parents can accommodate summer camp into their parenting plan easily. However, there are a few circumstances that can affect your shared parenting plan.

Your child may have an overnight stay during the time when the parent with 20% custody has custody. The parent with 20% custody can take over at a different time or get extended time on a weekend. 

The camp may need chaperones for an event. The parent who has custody during the event can serve as a chaperone. If both of you are busy, a grandparent or another relative can serve as one. 

If your child is participating in an event like a concert, both of you can attend. You can sit in different sections of the venue and meet with your child afterward.

You can handle the expenses of summer camp in whatever way makes sense to you. The parent with 80% custody can pay most of the expenses, though the parent with 20% should chip in. You can split the costs of overnight stays and day trips, or the parent with custody during those trips can pay for them.

Vacations 

One of you can take your child on a vacation during their summer break. Both of you should have a conversation about the vacation just so you know where your child is. If it doesn’t interfere with your custody schedule, the conversation can be a simple one about what the vacation plans are.

If it does interfere with the schedule, you should figure out a compromise. The other parent can take the child on their own vacation, or they get extra time with their child during the week. 

The parent who is arranging the vacation should be responsible for the expenses. It is unfair for someone to pay for a vacation that they are not involved in. If you are both going on vacation together, you both can pay for it.

If money is a problem for you, you should scale your vacation down. You can bring your child to another state or do a daycation. You remain at home and do something fun that you haven’t done before, like going to an art museum.

Emergencies

You should be in constant contact with your co-parent. You can use phone calls, social media, and co-parenting apps to remain in communication with each other. 

Both of you deserve to know if your child is going through something like a medical emergency. Get in contact with your co-parent right away and figure out how both of you can offer support. If your child is in the hospital, both of you should be there to affirm your child. 

Don’t worry about your custody schedule until the emergency has passed. If your child needs additional support, both of you can see or speak to your child every day. Talk to the staffers at your child’s summer camp so they know what is going on.

Creating the Perfect 20/80 Shared Custody Summer Schedule

You have to put some work into your 20/80 shared custody schedule. You can select an alternating weekend arrangement, and you can accommodate midweek visits. 

You must talk to your co-parent about how to handle summer camp. Be flexible so you can serve as a chaperone and attend your child’s performances.

Communicate with your co-parent so you can talk about vacations and emergencies. Both of you can take your child wherever you want if it doesn’t interfere with custody.

Co-parenting is a lot easier with the latest technology. 2houses provides premium tools for co-parents. Get started today.

Guardianship vs. Custody: What’s the Difference

Guardianship vs. Custody

A lot of people wrongly assume that custody and guardianship are the same thing, or at least that they are the same in all but name. While both relate to the care of others, they are not the same. There are some key differences between custodians and guardians.

Understanding the difference is crucial, especially if you are heading into any legal proceedings. A good guardianship attorney can make all the difference and help you to win any case brought forward.

What is Custody?

Custody of a child can relate to both physical and legal custody.

Physical custody means physical control of the child for a period of time, having them stay in your house at that time, for instance. So, someone who isn’t the custodian may have rights to see someone for a certain time, and in that time they have physical custody.

Legal custody means the authority for decision-making regarding children, and things like their schooling or any medicine they are taking.

What is Guardianship

Guardianship, on the other hand, generally refers to a legal relationship in which one party (‘the guardian’) is empowered to act for the benefit of another (‘the ward’).

Guardianship is slightly different, it refers to a legal arrangement. The guardian is allowed in the eyes of the law to act for the benefit of the “ward” or young person in question. The relationship can be a good way to help to look after both children but also adults with mental disabilities. The responsibilities of guardians aren’t the same as of parents or custodians, but they do need to keep the child safe and protected, guardianship can also be temporary in some scenarios such as the parents being alive but unable to provide care.

What Decision-Making Power Do Custodians and Guardians Have

Custodians are usually more involved in the decision-making of a child or vulnerable adult, and creating a course for their life and future. Having custody of a child means having the majority of the rights that parents ordinarily have, depending on any court arrangements which may limit custody.

If you are a guardian of a child then there is every chance that you will just be making the day-to-day decisions. You might be helping a child with their homework, deciding what they eat for their lunch, and more, but you won’t be making the big decisions such as how an illness is treated.

What’s the Difference Between Physical and Legal Child Custody

Physical custody over a child is having them in your physical presence and being able to look after them for that time. For instance, separated parents may share custody, and one sees the child at the weekends while the other sees them during the week. Legal custody is more related to decision-making and being able to have a steer over the child’s life. This means choosing things like how they will be cared for, where they go to school, and more.

Who Appoints a Custodian or a Guardian

A custodian or guardian is appointed by the court, with a judge having the final say on who is appointed after looking at the evidence and often the wishes of parents if they have passed away.

If the change in custody is a shock and nobody has planned for it then the courts will be able to rule over the custody or guardianship of a child or a vulnerable adult.

Who May Receive Custody or Guardianship

A court can appoint a guardian or custodian, and only a judge has the power to make the final decision. However, that doesn’t mean people don’t have any input on their own children. Estate planning is crucial, and in your will you can outline who you would like to take custody of your children in the event of you passing away. This is why it is so crucial that you have quality legal representation.

In order to be a custodian or a guardian in the US, you must be a US citizen, of sound mind, without being convicted of any felonies. It is also crucial that you are 18 years of age or older. For instance, a 17 year old could not take custody of a relative.

Duration of Custodianship vs. Guardianship

In short, guardianship can be temporary. For instance, if the parents are still alive but not able to take care of their children at the current time. This could even be kept under review.

If a court grants permanent guardianship or custody then this will usually last until a minor is 18 years old, or there are some situations where it can end early. For instance, if they join the military or get married. Plus, if a court deems that a guardian can no longer carry out their duties and look after the individual in question, guardianship can be terminated.

Guardianship and custody is quite complex, and applies to minors as well as adults who are suffering from a mental illness or handicap in some scenarios. The court proceedings can be complicated and there are plenty of lawyers who specialize in the area and getting what is right for a child. Decisions are made by a judge, even if a parent has outlined who they would like to take care of their children.