What Happens When an Absent Parent Returns

Absent parent

The ideal coparenting situation is one where both parents are present and enthusiastically involved in their children’s lives, hopefully on as close to a day-to-day level as possible. However, this ideal doesn’t always happen. In many cases, one parent is only involvedsporadically — or not at all — and the other parent is left to shoulder all of the parenting. But what happens when that absent parent comes back? We have some tips for navigating an absent parent’s return below.

What Is an Absent Parent?

An absent parent is a parent who doesn’t exercise their parenting time physically at all or at least not on a consistent basis. The person may also not be present in any real substantial amount for decisions surrounding the children. There is no official length of time that a parent has to be out of the children’s lives to be classified as an absent parent, but some state family
court systems will look at terminating parental rights or approving a stepparent adoption if the absent parent has had no contact with the children for at least a year.
An absent parent may be gone for several years with no communication at all, or they may call every few months to make a cursory attempt at seeing the children or asking when they can see the children, but they don’t follow through. A situation such as a parent who has to go on a work trip for two weeks and misses some visitation days doesn’t qualify as being an absent parent.

Why Do Parents Come in and Out?

There’s no easy answer to the question of why parents come in and out of a child’s life. It could be because they aren’t sure how to be a parent and aren’t confident in their relationship with their children. It could be because they’re afraiding of making a mistake or repeating poor parenting from their own childhood. It could also be that they have other life obligations and don’t understand the pain they are causing the child by not being present for them. In some situations, the parent may be struggling with a substance abuse disorder, addiction or other mental health issue.
While none of these are excuses or acceptable reasons for not being a present parent, it’s important to remember that in most cases, the absent or in-and-out parent doesn’t have any ill intentions and isn’t trying to hurt the child. In most situations, they simply don’t understand or care to understand how important their role and presence is in the child’s life enough to make a concerted effort to be there.

Navigating the Return

A previously absent parent can come back into your children’s lives for a variety of reasons. In some cases, they may start to mature and realize that their children need a relationship with them. In others, they may be facing family pressures and be trying to get back “in” with the kids before the holidays or summer vacation. No matter the reason, it can be extremely disruptive to both the children’s lives and the primary parent’s life, especially if the children are very young or the parent has been absent for a long time. Below are some strategies you can use to cope with the situation and try to ease some of the stress for yourself and your children.

1. Lay Down Boundaries With the Other Parent

If a parent is trying to come back into the children’s lives after a long absence, it’s important to have a conversation with them beforehand, if possible. They may not be aware of the child’s feelings and think that everything will just be “like it used to,” and there may also be specific things the parent needs to know about the child, such as allergies or medical conditions that have developed during their absence.

During this conversation, it’s a good idea to talk about the other parent’s relationship with the children. Make it clear that you support that relationship and want to have a good coparenting relationship with them. But it’s also important that the other parent understands that that can only happen if they can be consistent from this point forward. After a parent leaves the child’s life for a significant amount of time, especially if it was without cause or warning, it can take time to build that trust and relationship back up again.

2. Get Expectations in Writing

If you already have a court-ordered visitation schedule and the other parent wants to go back to that, you’re legally required to allow the children to go with the parent for their time. However, you can file a motion to ask the courts to modify the agreement or have a “step up” plan so that the child isn’t spending a weekend all of the sudden with someone they haven’t seen in three years. Or you can work out an arrangement that works for both of you, such as starting with more phone calls and dinner once a week and working back up to Saturday all day and eventually a full weekend.

Whatever you decide to go with, make sure to get it in writing and make it a part of your official parenting plan as soon as possible. This ensures there are no miscommunications, and everyone is in agreement with what the expectations are.

3. Talk to the Children

Before the other parent actually starts taking parenting time with the children again, you’ll want to talk with them. It’s important not to make excuses for or lie for the other parent as far as where they’ve been or why they were gone, but it’s equally important to treat it as neutrally as possible. Young children may not need much of an explanation, and older children and teenagers likely won’t care what the reason was anyway.

Make sure to ask your children open-ended questions to get an understanding of how they’re feeling about the change and what questions or concerns they may have. If they’re already in counseling, this can be a great time to bring in the counselor as well. It’s important to acknowledge and validate whatever feelings your children may have — even if they are negative. This will show your child that you are a safe place to share their feelings and encourage them to keep talking and sharing as the relationship and time progresses

4. Focus on Coparenting

It’s normal to be upset and angry with the absent parent and to be skeptical of whether they will stick around this time, but it’s best to keep those feelings to yourself. Once the other parent has expressed a desire to return to the children’s lives, your focus then becomes on coparenting as peacefully as possible. However, those who come in and out of a child’s life are often not known for their cooperation or reliability. That’s one reason using a coparenting app like 2houses can help. You can use the messaging features to communicate, so you don’t have to check texts or emails — and so you have a paper trail — and it lets you put everything related to the children directly online so you don’t have to communicate directly with the other parent about every little issue.

6. Be Prepared With a Backup Plan

While it’s important to remain positive and hopeful, the chances of a parent who has been absent for a long time successfully sticking around aren’t great. The odds are even less if the parent has come and gone a few times. It can be helpful to have a backup plan. On days where the other parent is supposed to come and get the children, it might be helpful to have an alternative to offer, such as the park, if they don’t show.

It’s equally important to ensure you have a solid support system since you may find yourself solo parenting more often than coparenting in these situations. Gathering a community of family and friends can help ensure you don’t feel like you’re having to do everything alone, and it also provides much-needed support as you’re navigating the absent parent’s return.

3 Ways to Support Your Child Going to A New School After Divorce

Going to A New School After Divorce

Divorces can be extremely hard on the whole family, but the effects they have on children might worry you much more than those they have on you. In such cases, it’s important that both parents put their differences aside and do what they think is best when it comes to their children. Aside from having to adjust to not living with both of their parents any more and moving from their home and everything they were familiar with, one of the main issues is how the child will get accustomed to their new school. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to support them through this challenging period of their lives. Here is some precious advice for making this transition smoother on your children.

Prepare Them for Talking About the Divorce

One thing your child might be very concerned about is how to tell their friends and colleagues about their current family situation. When it comes to smaller children, keep in mind that they don’t usually know how to hide facts and that they might overshare. Similarly, you can expect your teenagers to let some of their new peers in on details you would rather keep to yourself. This isn’t something you should get angry about. Instead, expect it and find time to talk to your children about the divorce and all of the issues they are confused about. After all, it might be a good thing that they trust somebody enough to discuss their thoughts and feelings. Still, let them know that their schoolmates may be curious about the divorce or separation, that they should politely decline answering any personal questions they’re not comfortable with and suggest how they can do it. Perhaps you can teach them how to redirect the conversation. Ask them what they’re ready to share with other children and mention things that may be inappropriate to tell others. Talking to your child can help them filter out what they should say or not, but it lets them know they can come to you with anything that’s bothering them and allows them to cope with any anxiety, fear or anger.

Show Interest in Their School Success

Another thing you should address is the child’s school obligations. While the divorce may be difficult on them, it’s still important that they stay as focused on their schoolwork as possible. Elementary-school children can benefit a lot from you sitting down and explaining anything they don’t understand or hiring tutors for some of their subjects. On the other hand, teenagers might not be as clingy as the smaller children, so you should put some effort into finding other ways to help them keep up with their curriculum. If they have trouble concentrating in class and they’re too distracted to take coherent notes, there are some excellent online resources you can refer them to. For example, Australian students rely on the systematic UOW notes. This is probably because these were written by students who have already taken the courses and understand the requirements of the subjects in question. UOW prides in being one of the top public universities with regards to undergraduate student experience, which means a lot to teenagers, making these notes something your children can turn to improve their grades and have better comprehension of their curriculum. 

Talk to Their Teachers

When your child is at school, they need to know they can rely on their teachers for anything they need. However, in order for teachers to truly be there for your child, they need to have as much insight into your child’s current state of mind, which means that they should be informed of the divorce or separation and how your child is taking it. Not only will that make it easier for the teachers to approach your child with the right kind of teaching method and give them proper guidance, but they’ll also be more understanding if something is out of order. Plus, this way the teachers can monitor your child’s behavior more closely and let you know if there’s anything you should be aware of. Finally, in case your child is still young enough to go to school and come back home on their own, you should let the teachers know who’ll be there to pick them up on any particular day or who they should call if there’s an emergency.

Having your children’s back is one of your main jobs as a parent and it becomes an imperative in such trying situations as going through a divorce. So, armor yourself with patience and love and be there for anything and everything they might need, so that they know they’re just as much loved and appreciated as they’ve always been.

Ways to Protect Your Privacy During Divorce

Protect Your Privacy During Divorce

Divorce is challenging and overwhelming as it is. However, if you add in the interference and scrutiny from outside parties, it gets even more difficult. When the divorcing parties are high-profile or affluent, privacy can seem like a luxury.

Working with seasoned divorce attorneys is the first step you can take to maintain your privacy during the proceedings. Other ways you can effectively keep sensitive details out of the public eye include:

Tip #01: Avoid Social Media

If you are not careful, social media can easily derail divorce proceedings. Keep in mind that creating hostile posts about the other party can have negative repercussions in court. For the time being, keep your security settings private.

It is also recommended that you encourage family and friends not to post anything negative about the divorce or your significant other. Also, remind them not to leave any negative or derogatory comments on your profile or the other party’s profile.

As a general rule of thumb, don’t share any details about the proceedings with anyone. Moreover, don’t mention anything about it online. If you want to play safe, it would also be a good idea to deactivate your social media account for the time being.

Tip #02: File a Motion to Have Your Case Sealed

This might not be common knowledge, but the public has access to divorce court records. This means any interested party can have access to information and details about your divorce.

In line with this, it would be a good idea to ask your divorce attorney to file a motion to have your case sealed. However, the court needs to grant the motion first before your divorce records are kept out of the public eye.

Tip #03: Ensure Important Documents are Protected

If you are still living with your significant other or if other people are living with you at home, make sure critical documents are kept inside a locked file cabinet or lockbox.

Some of the essential documents you need to secure include your court documents, social security card, and even your medical records.

Tip #04: Be Careful When Answering Personal Questions

While it is customary to confide in close friends and family members during your divorce, you need to still control the information you share with others. When asked personal questions or any information about your divorce, you can politely tell them you would rather not discuss it.

Keep in mind that the less information you share with others, the fewer the complications that can arise.

Tip #05: Consider Mediation

Not all divorce proceedings have to occur in the conventional courtroom. Mediation will enable both parties to work with a mediator. No record will be made of the proceedings in mediation, and no information will become public knowledge.

It is also crucial that you work with a skilled attorney who can guide you and help you decide if mediation is right for you. If both parties agree to work amicably, mediation is an option you can look into.

Tip #06: Avoid Any Drama

The more dramatic and sensational your divorce is, the more interesting it can be to others. Since emotions can run high, it can be challenging to keep all the drama out of the proceedings. Fortunately, you have the option to minimize opportunities for conflict.

Start by limiting your communication with your ex-spouse to email. You also have the option to communicate with the other party through your divorce attorney.

Securing Your Privacy Online

If you are going through a difficult divorce, it is also recommended that you take steps to protect the integrity of your online accounts so you can move forward with confidence and peace of mind. To secure your privacy online, keep the following basics in mind:

Tip #01: Change Your Password

Change all your passwords for unshared personal and financial accounts. If you suspect spyware on your computer at home, change the passwords from a safe computer. Avoid logging in if you think your computer is compromised.

It would also be best to skip the WiFi at home and use a secure MiFi instead. Ensure you log off from shared devices and don’t tick the “remember me” box.

Tip #02: Purchase a New Mobile Phone and Data Plan

While you have the option to change your password and turn off any shared services, you can also consider purchasing a new mobile phone and data plan for your added peace of mind. This can help warrant your spouse won’t have access to your call history and text messages.

Once you have your new phone, make sure you secure it with a fingerprint or PIN and enable the 2-factor authentication. This way, even if your current password is compromised, no one can access your accounts without your new phone.

Tip #03: Check for Spyware

Spyware is a type of software you can install on your phone or computer, usually for a monthly fee. You can use different kinds of spyware to monitor the content of your outgoing and incoming emails, web searches, and text messages.

It is also important to remember that it is illegal to put spyware on your spouse’s computer or phone. If you suspect you are being spied on, check with your divorce lawyer or contact the authorities.

Tip #04: Turn Off Shared Cloud Services and Shared Devices

Consider disabling information-sharing across services and devices, including iCloud, Google, Amazon, Dropbox, and many more. Clouds can be tricky, especially for those who are not tech-savvy. To ensure you don’t miss any crucial steps, it would be a good idea to invest in the help of a technology specialist.

Tip #05: Check Applications on Devices You Own and Disable GPS Permissions

There are instances when spouses put GPS trackers on the other party’s phone without their knowledge. That said, check your list of apps and double-check if you have shared your location with anyone.

Final Thought

If you find any privacy or technology issues challenging to manage during your divorce proceedings, seek the guidance of your divorce attorney. Your divorce lawyer can help ensure you can navigate any privacy issues with ease and go through the proceedings as smoothly as possible.

About the Author:

Andrea Williams is the Community Manager at The Law Offices of Alcock & Associates P.C., a premier law group in Arizona that provides legal services to clients involved in Personal Injury, DUI, Immigration and Criminal cases. She enjoys cooking, reading books and playing minigolf with her friends and family in her spare time.

Out-of-State Custody Arrangements: Creating a Workable Agreement

Out-of-State Custody Arrangements

Did you know that in 2018, America had roughly 780,000 divorces? That’s about one divorce every 60 seconds!

Consequently, this adds a lot of heartache due to things such as split custody, lawyer fees, and emotional turmoil. Nobody wins in a divorce. However, the ones who usually suffer the most are children.

This is because kids don’t fully understand what’s happening; they can’t quite comprehend the shifts taking place. This is further compounded when moving states and split custody enter the picture.

But, even in the midst of such tragedy, there is hope. The opportunity for a better tomorrow lies beyond the struggles of today.

And while painful, the sting of divorce can be somewhat soothed when split custody schedule ideas and agreements are introduced.

As a result, parents and kids can maintain their relationships with one another. In this article, you will get split custody schedule ideas to help you cope with your divorce.

What is Split Custody?

Split custody is the arrangement for your children following a divorce. Who goes where and for how long?

For example, after a divorce, your child may live with their mother during the school year but then move in and live with you for the summer months.

Split custody is a mutual agreement decided on by the parents and then approved by the courts. Or if the parents are unable to agree, a judge will come to a conclusion for both of them.

Split Custody Schedule Ideas

If your divorce has separated you from your kids by a few states, don’t fret. You have options.

You can set up a split custody schedule for long distances; this kind of arrangement will keep everyone happy. Here are a few things to keep in mind for how to do it.

Travel Expenses

How will your child reach your home? What kind of transportation did you have in mind?  Furthermore, who will cover the cost? You? Your ex-spouse? Or will you divide it between the two of you?

Parents Visiting From Out of State

You could also reach an agreement with your ex-spouse to come to visit your child or vice versa. Your ex-spouse could also come to your neck of the woods, too. This is good for a multitude of reasons.

First, it prevents your child from always bouncing back and forth. That’s not good for their mental health. Second, it keeps the custody arrangement from becoming too lopsided.

And last, it fosters stability in your child when they see their parents acting amicably toward each other.

Holidays, Vacations, and Special Occasions

A good idea you could ponder is to set up visiting arrangements around your kid’s schedule. Ponder your child’s life.

For example, consider summer vacations, Christmas holidays, fall and spring breaks, Easter, Thanksgiving, birthdays, and long weekends. These are prime times for a workable split custody schedule.

By taking into consideration your child’s arrangements, you can plan get-togethers that will result in better experiences.

In the same way you have priorities in your life, your child also has obligations as well. They may not be on the same scale as yours, but your kid still has them nonetheless.

So it’s important to plan around them when it’s most convenient for your young one, and the best times to do that are during holidays and special occasions.

Communicate

You always want to stay in touch with your child, and not just when making plans. If you’re the removed parent, put in the effort to keep the lines of communication open as often as possible.

Whether it’s through a phone call, a casual text message, or a Zoom meeting, try to keep in touch. This is important for keeping the bond intact, and as a result, strengthening the relationship.

More Long Distance Schedule Ideas

When living out of state, your child lives with your ex-spouse and visits you. For this reason, it’s good to have as many ideas as possible to make seeing your child effortless.

So here are a few more things to consider:

  • Living Arrangements – Your child can live with you one part of the year and move in with the other parent for the next
  • Monthly Visits – You allow for visitation monthly on each long weekend (most months have at least one long weekend)
  • When School is Out – Whenever school break commences, the out-of-state parent gets the child
  • Undetermined – When you and your child’s schedules match up, you visit each other

Mix and match these choices as much as you see fit. Each one provides flexibility for both parent and child.

Age Considerations

It’s also important to factor in your child’s age, as this will play a role in your split custody schedule. Younger kids who aren’t in school have more free time, but this changes once they get a bit older.

Middle school kids and teenagers usually have friends, classes, and other extracurricular activities. As a result, it’s important to adjust your schedule appropriately.

In addition, some teenagers may even have a job already; it’s common for kids to start working around that age.

The primary goal is to create a schedule that works for everyone, especially the kids. You don’t want to interrupt their lives too much with the out-of-state moves.

Therefore, it’s crucial to keep a pulse on what’s happening in their lives and actively communicate with each other.

Cooperation is Needed For Out-of-State Moving

Whether you’re moving or your ex-spouse is, it’s important you’re on a similar wavelength. You must be on the same page. With the two of you on good terms, this will give you some leeway in your visitation plans. 

Besides, out-of-state schedule planning is hard, so everybody has to cooperate and be on board for things to work. 

The Importance of a Split Custody Agreement

Try finding common ground with your former partner. Just because you split doesn’t mean you can’t still be amicable with them. In fact, the whole idea behind split custody is to find that meeting point. 

Settling child custody disputes in a polite and good-natured way will make everybody’s lives easier, especially your kids’.

With this in mind, coming to an agreement with your former partner should be the main objective. A good split custody agreement will ensure that everyone’s needs are met. This allows for cohesion to take place.

Which State Makes the Final Call?

Excluding Massachusetts and Vermont, all states adhere to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJA).  This entails that the choice of where the child resides comes from the state where the child was born.

For instance, if the child was born in Texas, but then moved to Florida, then Texas would have the authoritative entity.

But there’s always an exception to every rule, and this one is no different. One exception is if your child needs to be taken away due to security concerns. 

To illustrate, if your ex-spouse was unfit to care for your child and you were living out of state, that would be grounds for your child’s removal. The non-home state may be deemed as your child’s new residence.

Ways to Change Visitations and Custody Arrangements

There is a simple method to change your custody agreement. Talk it out with your former partner. In spite of anything you’ve heard, this is usually the simplest course of action.

Once you clear everything and the two of you are in agreement, get it approved by the courts. If you’re on good terms with each other, this shouldn’t be a problem. 

However, that may not always be the case, especially if your divorce was rather hostile. In that scenario, you’d appeal to the court to have a trial so that a judge can settle the dispute.

Dealing With Logistics

This is important. Managing the distance comes down to having the details of your child’s travel plans sorted out. And the good news is, you have options with this as well. 

Here are a few choices to consider that can be quite helpful in solving this logistics problem.

Negotiate

Generally speaking, the parent who moved pays for the child’s travel. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be compromises. On the contrary, coming to a mutual agreement with your former partner can be easier than you think.

Travel expenses can add up quickly, even for a young child. There is the plane ticket, car rides from the airport, trains, Ubers, or even buses. By negotiating with your ex-spouse, you can work out a deal.

Maybe you can cover certain schooling or other types of expenses for your child down the line. This will more than make up for the financial favor you’re asking for upfront.

Fly Alone Programs

Otherwise known as unaccompanied minor programs, these are tailored to kids who are too young to fly solo. 

The program offers an airline worker to accompany and safeguard your child during the flight. The employee will watch your child from when one parent drops them off until the other picks them up. 

Most airlines offer this service, so you shouldn’t be hardpressed to find one that can help you. But be sure that you’re checking beforehand just to be safe. 

Sustaining a Long-Distance Relationship

Always remain in contact with your children. Even if it’s only a weekly or bi-weekly chat, do it.

When it comes to relationship sustainability, especially with children, something is always better than nothing.

And for the purpose of maintaining the connection with your kids, this is a necessity.

Here are a couple of pointers to keep in mind:

Digital Chats

Everything is conducted online these days. Why not use the same medium to connect with your children? There are plenty of ways to do this; you can use Zoom, Skype, or even your own phone.

With Facetime, WhatsApp, and other face-to-face communication methods, you can always be in touch with your kids.

As a result, you can maintain that connection until you see each other in person again. 

Emotional Support

Encourage your child to contact you whenever something interesting happens. Big or small, it doesn’t matter.

Of course, this will depend on both of your schedules.

However, by encouraging this open communication, it creates the conditions for your child to feel your unwavering love and support.

If your child knows they can contact you for anything, and you’ll always be there, it strengthens your emotional bond. This will cause you to feel like a pillar in their life, and they’ll feel loved and connected to you. 

Start a Ritual

Develop some kind of tradition or routine with your child when they are in town. This builds excitement in kids.

For instance, every time your child visits you, you could take him or her to their favorite restaurant, go to the cinema to watch a new release, or even just go for ice cream.

Show your youngster that your place is not only stable but also fun and refreshing. As a result, it will solidify your child’s fondness for you, and they’ll look forward to visiting every time.

Make Your Out-of-State Custody Agreement Work

Whatever the condition you’re in following your divorce, it’s important to make the most of it. Keep your head up. With a good attitude and cordial communication with your ex, you can turn things around.

And by doing so, find a way to make your out-of-state split custody agreement work for you.

If you enjoyed this article but still feel as if you need extra assistance, don’t hesitate. Be sure to sign up today and join 181,590 other families in 170 countries that we’ve helped so far. 

We look forward to serving you.

All About the 3-3-4-4 Schedule

all about 3 3 4 4

Divorce is never easy, but it gets more complicated when you have children. Navigating the complexities of coparenting can add more stress to one of the most difficult events in a person’s life

The custody arrangement you make can be based on the specific needs of you and your family, custody laws, and even court decisions. For many families, a 50/50 custody agreement is the most desirable so that both parents have equal time with their children. 

If an equal division of child custody is your plan, then consider a 3-3-4-4 schedule. To unpack the specifics, keep reading below.

Benefits of a 50/50 Custody Agreement

When it comes to giving parents equal time with their children, there are many factors to take into account. Make sure you consider the implications of work schedules, frequent communication, and the proximity of parents’ living situations. Depending on your unique agreement, the type of arrangement you need may change over time. 

Sharing time equally between parents and households is a great way to help your children have consistency. It means they get to see both parents and have a predictable schedule that they can count on. During times of upheaval, that can help your children cope with your separated divorce. 

In fact, research shows that kids who spend quality time with both parents following a divorce are better off. They tend to have less stress, which can cause health issues, as well as are better developed and have a better sense of security. 

Of course, there are barriers to 50/50 shared custody that may be unavoidable. If both parents do not live close to one another, then a mid-week hand-off is likely out of the question. Even alternating weeks may not be possible if your children’s school is too far away for one parent to get to during the week. 

In addition, frequent hand-off and exchanges may be required, which may not be a healthy decision if there are lingering tensions. Mid-week exchanges and good communication about school, extra-curricular activities, and other commitments will be necessary. 

How Does the 3-3-4-4 Schedule Work?

If you’ve decided that equal custody is the best way forward for your family, then the 3-3-4-4 schedule is a great option. 

At its most basic, one parent will have the children for three days, then the other parent will have them for three days. After the three days, the first parent will then have the next four days before exchanging again with the second parent for four days. 

While that may sound complicated, it ends up working out much more smoothly than one would think. For most families, the first decision that needs to be made is whether or not one parent will always have weekends or if weekends will be split. 

For a more equitable division, it’s advisable to make sure both families have time during weekends to spend with their kids. Otherwise, the allotted time a parent has with the kids is spent at school and other activities. 

To get started creating a 3-3-4-4 schedule, start with deciding which parent’s days fall first. If it’s Parent A, they can start their three days on Sunday (for example). They’ll get the children Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. At the prearranged exchange time, Parent A will hand the kids off to Parent B for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. 

At that point, each parent will have had their three days with the kids. On Saturday, Parent B will hand the kids off to Parent A for the next four days: Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Then, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will be Parent B’s four days. 

The only variation will be every other Saturday. This allows parents to plan ahead for schedules and know when their set days will be from week to week. 

The benefit of the 3-3-4-4 schedule is that your child or children’s school can stay consistent, as well as requires the involvement of both parents. The schedule is predictable and consistent, which can help with transitions. 

Considerations

The start date for the 3-3-4-4 schedule can be any day of the week that works. If parents have non-traditional schedules (such as working weekends), then it may not make sense to start the schedule on Sunday. 

In addition, if both parents don’t live close to one another and your children’s school, then a 3-3-4-4 schedule may not be the best fit. 

You’ll also need to be a strong communicator with your co-parent. You need to be on the same page for drop-off and pick-up times and locations. This is especially true if exchanges will take place after school or following extracurricular activities. 

Good communication is also necessary about school assignments, sports schedules, sleepovers with friends, or grades. Having a plan for how to exchange information, communicate, and be on the same page is vital. 

It might be worth investing in a custody app to help make communication easier for all parties involved. Not only can it help with communication, but can be a great way to compile information in one place for future reference. 

Holidays

One of the downfalls of a 3-4-4-3 schedule is that it does not take holidays and school breaks into account. For the most part, whichever parent has the children on a day when there is also a holiday will get to celebrate with them. 

This can seem unequal and unfair to many parents. For example, one parent may never get to spend Thanksgiving with your kids, since the holiday always falls on a Thursday. The other parent may never get to celebrate Easter as a family. 

You should have a plan in place for how you will deal with these important holidays. There are also court decisions that need to be taken into account, as well as travel arrangements for vacations or visiting family out of town. 

Regardless, there will need to be a certain amount of flexibility and understanding. If you’re not willing to be flexible with the 3-3-4-4 schedule, then another arrangement may be better. 

3-3-4-4 Schedule Variations

Your family’s needs will be unique, depending on your jobs, location, and situation. Your custody arrangement doesn’t have to be exactly what we’ve laid out here. The goal is to have your children spend equal time with both parents throughout the week, but how that looks can vary. 

It will also depend on what days and times you end up exchanging custody. This can also play a role in the amount of time kids spend with both parents, so your schedule may shift to accommodate schedules. 

4-3-3-4 Schedule

If your exchange times are different from week to week, to accommodate a parent’s work schedule, for example, it may work best to have a 4-3-3-4 schedule. 

For the first week, perhaps Parent A gets custody at 3 pm on Saturday. They have the children until 9 am Wednesday, at which point Parent B takes over. Parent B would have the children through Sunday at 3 pm. 

At 3 pm on Sunday, the parents exchange custody until 3 pm on Wednesday, when Parent B takes over again until the 3 pm exchange on Sunday. 

While not exactly three or four full days, the hours each parent spends with their children are equal. 

3-4-4-3 Schedule

If you always want to have a set weekend with your children, then a 3-4-4-3 schedule may help to keep that time set apart and special. In this arrangement, weekend exchanges would always be set (for example, Saturday night). 

The hand-off during the week would change, however. An example schedule is that Parent A would always have custody on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays. Parent B would always have your child or children on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The day in flux would be Wednesday, which would alternate between parents every other week. 

This leave weekends set, which can allow for time spent on more fun activities together. During the week, when many kids are in school, the pick up day can alternate between Wednesday and Thursday. 

4-4-3-3 Schedule

You can also switch the order and have the four days fall first in the custody arrangement. Parent A would have the children for 4 days, from Sunday through Wednesday. Parent B would then have custody for 4 days: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

Parent A then has three days with the kids, from Monday to Wednesday. Parent B then has Thursday through Saturday. The exchange days would still be every Wednesday and every other Sunday. 

Split Weekends

Most parents want time on the weekends with their children outside of school hours and commitments. In that case, it’s important to plan your schedule in such a way that both parents have time on the weekends for activities and time together. 

When you decide to split the time on weekends will depend on your preferences and what works for your family. 

3rd Party Time

As kids get older, they can spend more and more time in school, at sports and extracurricular activities, or even with friends. Depending on the night of the week you have custody, that could mean you spend more time chauffering your kids to sports practice, music lessons, or birthday parties. 

This can start to encroach on your time with your kids. It can be helpful to account for 3rd party time, or time when you kids are with neither parent. Calculating this time can help determine who each parent can get equal time with your children. 

Adjustments can be made, perhaps a later pick up time, to allow both parents to enjoy time together with your kids outside of school and pre-arranged activities. 

Other 50/50 Custody Agreement Options

There are many other possibilities to have equal custody of your children if the 3-3-4-4 schedule isn’t for you. Remember, though, that equal time with your children still requires that parents live close to one another and your kids’ school, as well as good communication. 

Alternating Weeks

Sharing custody every other week is the most straightforward option of equal custory. Custody exchanges can take place every Friday night or Saturda morning. That gives each parent an entire weekend together with your kids. 

This schedule allows children to plan for a whole week at a time at one parent’s home and not worry about a mid-week switch. 

Alternating Week with Mid-Week Visit or Overnight

While alternating weeks is consistent, it can feel like a long stretch to go a week at a time without seeing your children. This can be address by a mid-week whichever parent does not have custody that week. It can be as simple as a dinner together or time working on homework. 

You can also add in a mid-week overnight with the opposite parent. Just make sure that the night in question doesn’t not have other commitments such as music lessons or activities that will reduce the amount of time spent together. 

2-2-3

The beauty of a 2-2-3 schedule is that each parents gets a long, 3-day weekend together with your children. This will alternate, so each parent will be able to count and plan on time outside of school commitments and schedules to spend together. 

2-2-5-5

A 2-2-5-5 schedule allows for longer stretches of time together before an exchange occurs. For many parents, when 3 or 4 days go too quickly, a longer amount of time is needed. 

This schedule works similarly to a 3-3-4-4 in which Parent A has two days, Parent B has 2 days, then Parent A has 5 days and Parent B has 5 days. This does create a bit more fluxuation of days, so it’s important to use a calendar to make sure everyone knows who has custody for which days. 

Sharing Custody: How to choose? 

When it comes time for you and your family to settle on a custody arrangement, take some time to weigh your options. Having a consistent and predictable schedule can work wonders as you help your children understand and accept your divorce. 

While a 3-3-4-4 schedule is a great option, make sure everyone understands what it will involve. And in order to help you and your co-parent navigate a new arrangement, make sure you contact us to see how the 2houses App can make your transition easier and more manageable. 

Creating a 3-3-4-4 Schedule – a 50/50 Custody Agreement

Creating a 3-3-4-4 Schedule

Filing for divorce can be one of the most difficult events that occur in a person’s life, and it is only made more stressful and emotional when children are involved. Coming up with a co-parenting schedule that works for your kids, your spouse, and you is absolutely essential when your children are going to be spending time with both parents.

There are an endless number of options when it comes to 50/50 co-parenting schedules. However, no matter what you end up choosing, you want to make sure that you are organized and that the schedule is well-communicated between both parents.

Are you interested in creating a 3-3-4-4 schedule but aren’t quite sure if it’s the right method for you and your family?

Let’s take a look at what you need to know.

How 3-3-4-4 Schedules Work

When sharing custody of children, you want to create a schedule that prioritizes the needs of the children while also being practical for co-parents.

This is a 50/50 residential schedule. It has your child or children staying with one parent for three days of the week and then the other parent for the next three days. Then, the child stays with the first parent for four days before staying with the other parent for the next four days.

What this does is creates an equal amount of time spent with each parent over a two-week period. You can make different variations on this schedule, having a 4-3-3-4 schedule, a 3-4-3-4 schedule, a 4-3-4-3 schedule, and so on.

Creating a 3-3-4-4 Schedule

You can start a 3-3-4-4 schedule on whatever day of the week makes the most sense for you and your family. If you start on a Monday, then one of the weekends is split between the parents while the other is entirely spent with one parent. The same is true if you start the schedule on Sunday.

It’s important to be organized when it comes to creating parental schedules. The easiest way to make sure everyone understands the plan for the week or month is to use an online interactive calendar. This can help parents manage changes to the schedule without any time conflicts.

What Are the Pros and Cons of This Type of Schedule For Custody?

There are a lot of different 50/50 split custody models you can use to design your schedule. With each of them, there are some benefits and some drawbacks. Depending on your schedule and the schedule of your co-parent, as well as the schedule and needs of the child, one of these types of custody schedules might be more appropriate for your family.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of a 3-3-4-4 schedule:

  • Every week parents have the same nights with the children except for one night a week that switches
  • Each week, children are able to spend a significant amount of time with both parents
  • Both parents get to spend an equal amount of time with the children
  • The number of exchanges is minimized compared to other schedule models
  • Both parents have the opportunity to participate in daily caretaking
  • This can be a schedule that works well for parents who have different work schedules
  • The children never have to go very long without seeing either of their parents

On the flip side, there are some things that might make this scheduling model less appealing to you and your family. Some of the cons are:

  • It can work out that one parent has the children staying with them every weekend
  • The children have to be able to adapt to living in two separate houses during the same week
  • Co-parents need to be able to communicate about both the schedule and the children frequently
  • Co-parents need to have good communication about both the activities and the schoolwork of the child because there is a midweek exchange
  • Both parents need to live close to the children’s school and fairly close to one another for this schedule to be practical

When you are creating a custody schedule, you will want to take a look at the work schedule of both you and your co-parent. At the same time, you will need to consider the school and activity schedule for your child. This information can help guide you to choose a schedule that best supports your child and allows both parents to spend time with the children.

(Are you experiencing anxiety as a co-parent? If so, check out these five tips to help you cope with your anxiety.)

Different 50/50 Schedules For Custody

If this custody schedule doesn’t seem right for your family, there are a number of other options. You might find that some of the other choices offer more benefits for the needs of your family, while others might be completely inapplicable to your situation.

Alternating Weeks

In this model, your child spends a week with you and another week with your co-parent. Depending on your schedule, this can be an easy to keep track of schedule that minimizes exchanges. It also allows your children to spend an entire week in each house, which might help them feel more settled and centered.

Some of the pros of alternating weeks with children include:

  • Each parent gets to spend a long period of time with the kids
  • The exchanges are limited
  • The amount of time each parent has with the children is equal
  • It can provide consistency for your kids, particularly if they find change difficult
  • You can add overnight or midweek visits so that your children can still see the other parent during the week
  • It can help your children stay current on homework and other school assignments

On the negative side, the alternating week schedule means that:

  • Both parents will need to live near to the school if the children are school-aged
  • Some children might find it difficult and uncentering to have two different homes
  • Both parents need to live fairly close to one another
  • Parents will need to be in good and frequent communication about the children’s activities and school work
  • It can be difficult for both the children and the parents to be apart from their kids for a week at a time

If you like the idea of minimizing exchanges for a 50/50 custody schedule, continue reading to learn about an every two-week schedule.

(Are you confused about what expenses legally have to be shared after you get divorced? Check out this resource to learn everything you need to know.)

Two Weeks Each

This is similar to the previous model except that the children spend two weeks with each parent. Some of the pros of this model include:

  • Parents can limit the amount of contact they have with each other
  • The number of exchanges is limited each month
  • It can be a good solution in high-conflict situations
  • The parenting time is equal which can lead to fewer schedule conflicts
  • The children have the opportunity to live with each parent for an extended period of time
  • Parents don’t have to live as close to one another as with schedules with more frequent exchanges
  • You can add in overnight or midweek visits if desired
  • Both parents have the opportunity to participate in the daily care of the children

On the other hand, some of the downsides of this model can include:

  • Parents who have children that are school-age need to both live near the school
  • Some children and parents might struggle to be apart for two weeks at a time
  • The children have to adapt to having two different residences
  • Parents have to communicate and cooperate about the children

If spending this amount of time apart just isn’t going to work for you, let’s check out some of the schedules that break up each week with both parents getting to spend time with the kids.

2-2-5-5 Schedule

This is a schedule where the children spend two days with one parent, two days with the other, five with the first parent, and then five with the second parent. This means that over a two-week period they spend the same amount of time with the children.

This can be good in a number of ways. For one, it allows the kids to spend time with both of their parents during each week. It means that they never have to go a long time without seeing either of their parents and that the parents can have equal time with the kids over the course of the month.

Many people who have nontraditional work schedules find this to be a fitting schedule. It can also work well for children who are young enough to not be in school yet.

Some of the drawbacks include having frequent exchanges that can be difficult to keep track of and might not be ideal in high-conflict situations. This schedule also means that one parent might end up having the kids every weekend.

2-2-3 Schedule

Another schedule that can work with unusual working hours is the 2-3-3 schedule. This allows kids to spend time with each parent during a typical week and means they never have to go too long without seeing either parent.

This model requires frequent exchanges, however. Some children might not adapt well to switching homes on such a regular basis, as it can be hard to ever feel settled in or centered.

Alternating Every Two Days

This is another schedule that might work for some while not being appropriate for other families. While children never have to go long without seeing either parent, it might be hard for them to adapt to switching homes so frequently. Dealing with the logistics of exchanges so often can also be difficult and time-consuming.

How Do You Choose the Right 50/50 Schedules For Custody?

There are a lot of things you’ll want to take into account when you are sharing custody of children evenly. You will want to honestly consider different aspects of your routine, your relationship with your co-parent, and the needs of your children.

For example, how many days are ideal between visits with your children? On the one hand, you don’t want to go too many days without seeing your child at a time, but you also want to minimize how frequently they are changing homes.

Additionally, how well do you and your co-parent communicate and get along? If you get along just great then you don’t have to worry about this aspect of things. However, if things tend to lean towards conflict, you might want to minimize how much communication and interaction is expected between the two of you as a part of your co-parenting.

You’ll also want to think about how consistent you want to keep the schedule. Is it better to have the same schedule every single week or better to spend the same weeks a month together? It’s important to consider this in conjunction with school, sports, and activities schedules.

Of course, you’ll also want to factor in the ages of your children and what will work best for them. Young children tend to do best with a consistent routine, while tweens and teens typically do better with schedules that allow them to stay in one place for longer at a time.

Schedules For Custody: How to Communicate About Custody in the Digital Age

Creating a 3-3-4-4 schedule can be an appropriate model for many co-parents who are splitting custody. It can allow both parents and children to spend time with each other each week while also minimizing exchanges and disruption to the home life of children.

No matter what schedule you choose, it’s important to have an easy way to make schedule changes and stay organized about your calendar. If you’re ready to minimize confusion and maximize organization and efficiency when it comes to your schedules for custody, check out 2houses today.

How to Create an Alternating Custody Schedule for the Summer

Custody schedule for the summer

Couples who are getting married for the first time in the United States have a 50% chance of eventually getting divorced. At this point, the majority of American families have shifted away from being a unit made up of the original biologically connected father, mother, and child.

While divorce can be hard for everyone in the family, it can be particularly difficult for children. However, when co-parents choose to put the well-being of their children as the top priority, they can still have a supportive and loving family environment in which to grow up.

If you and your co-parent have existing custody arrangements, you might find that they don’t quite work once school ends and summer begins.

It’s important to create an alternating custody schedule for the summer ahead of time. This way, everyone involved has a sense of the plan in a way that can reduce conflict and focus on your children having the best summer possible.

Why Is It Important to Create an Alternating Custody Schedule For Summer?

School offers a lot of structure to children’s schedules during the academic year. During the summer, however, their schedules open up which can mean that your custody arrangements require some alterations.

Summer vacation is often the most fun time of year for children, allowing them to go on vacation with family, play with friends, spend time outside, and have some time away from the classroom.

However, if you don’t have a set alternating custody schedule for the summer, this can cause confusion and instability for your kids. For this reason, you want to come up with a plan ahead of time. That way, your kids know when they will be where and so will you and your co-parent.

Avoiding conflict with your co-parent is also important when it comes to scheduling custody. Not only is it difficult and unpleasant for both of you, but it can be very difficult for your children as well. Working out your vacation times, conferences, or other unusual events before the summer begins can help keep the whole family on good terms and reduce stress and tension.

Tips For Summer Custody Arrangements

Even if your academic year custody arrangements are working out swimmingly, there is always the potential for hiccups when it comes to planning out summer vacations. You and your co-parents might have vacations in mind with your kids, and your children might have events or programs they’re planning on attending during the summer months.

Decide if You Need to Make Changes to Your Regular Co-Parenting Plan

If new plans pop up over the summer, your shared parenting time routine or custody plans can be thrown for a loop. Your kids will have a lot more free time when they are out of school, meaning that the existing schedule might not work for a few months.

Rather than waiting until the last minute to make changes to your parenting schedule, check in with your co-parent ahead of time. This way, you can take a look at both of your plans to make sure your alternating custody arrangements can be sorted out before the summer begins.

It’s possible that your existing parenting plan already accounts for adjustments during the summer months. It is also possible that is specifies how you need to make changes to your plan. It’s a good idea for this reason to talk with a family law professional or your attorney to make sure that you understand how you can make adjustments to the existing plan.

Check-In Early About Travel Plans

If you and your co-parent are making individual travel plans for the summer, check in with them ahead of time. This is particularly important if any of your plans involve taking the children along. When you create an open line of communication early on, it can help avoid any issues relating to conflicting vacation dates and plans.

You’ll want to have a conversation with your co-parent before you make any reservations or buy plane tickets. It’s better to get things sorted out with your vacation custody plans first before you buy non-refundable tickets or make reservations that can’t be canceled or changed.

When you tell your co-parent well in advance of your planned vacation, it can also help to avoid conflict about the days when you expect to be out of town. It also helps them schedule their own vacation if they plan on taking one.

Build a Sense of Your Personal Schedule

Beyond vacation, there can be a number of exceptional events and engagements that crop up during the summer. Start populating your calendar now rather than waiting until the last minute. Doing this will let you swap parenting time if necessary well in advance in a way that helps avoid conflict and ensures that your alternating schedule will work out fairly.

You’ll also want to look at each of your kids’ schedules when it comes to events like birthday parties, sports games, or other pre-planned events that you already know they will attend. You can then discuss these events with your co-parent and which one of you will attend if either of you does.

Think About Whether or Not Daycare Will Be Necessary

When your kids aren’t going to school during the day, you might need to think about having them attend a daycare program. If both you and your co-parent work the same hours during the day, you’ll have to come up with a plan for where they can have enjoyable yet supervised summer days.

You can find summer daycare programs on a wide price spectrum. You’ll want to start researching the options during the school year so that you can make sure to sign your children up for the program you think would best suit them.

Check-in with the parents of your children’s friends about this as well. From then you can learn where your kids’ friends are attending daycare, ensuring that your children will have buddies they know when they head to camp.

Ask Your Kids How They Feel

When there are so many logistical considerations dealing with alternating custody schedules for the summer, it can be easy to forget to check in with the most important part of the situation: your kids. Ask them what they think and see if they had anything they wanted to do during the summer. You can then try and work those ideas into the co-parenting schedule you set up.

It’s also possible that your kids have a preference when it comes to the type of custody plan you have. Maybe they prefer spending a few days with each parent each week, or maybe it’s better for them to spend two weeks with each parent at a time. It’s possible that your plan can be easily changed in order to better accommodate the needs of your kids.

Get Your Plan in Writing

No matter how well you and your co-parent get along, there’s always room for confusion and uncertainty when it comes to vacation custody plans. For this reason, always get your plans in writing. That way you have a document to fall back on and refer to if there are any issues.

It’s best to write these plans down and store them somewhere both parents have access to. This way, each parent can look at them on their own time if they aren’t sure about the schedule for the upcoming months.

Sample Custody Plans For Summer

Sometimes, it might be necessary to alter the custody schedule you have set up with your co-parent when summertime rolls around. You will want to factor in the time that each parent wants to take the children on vacation, as well as the kids’ activities like summer camp.

Two Weeks Each

If you and your co-parent have schedules that are relatively similar to the school year, you might consider a “two weeks each” plan. This way, the kids spend two weeks with one parent before spending two weeks with the other parent.

Alternating Weeks

Similar to the above plan, alternating weeks allows kids to stay with one parent every other week and the other parent on alternating weeks. For this plan, you can mark the beginning and end of the week whenever works best. For example, you might choose to have each week start and end on Friday at 4 pm.

3-4-4-3 Schedule

This schedule allows children to spend three days with one parent and then four days with the other parent. It then switches the next week, so both parents get equal time.

2-2-3 Schedule

With this plan, the kids spend two days with one parent, then two days with the other parent, before spending the remaining three days with the first parent. The schedule switches the next week so that over a two-week period both parents get equal time.

2-2-5-5 Schedule

In the 2-2-5-5 schedule, the children spend two days with each parent. Then, they spend five days with each parent. Over a two week period, both parents get to spend an equal amount of time with the children.

Alternating Every Two Days

If the above schedules seem a bit too hard to keep track of, you also might consider alternating every two days. This means that over the course of a month you will spend the same amount of time having custody of the children.

Incorporating Vacations

You will want to have a fairly set plan for the summer before you create your vacation custody plans. While life can be unexpected and things can always change last minute, it’s good to have a sense of your schedule before you create your custody plan.

If you are planning on going on vacation and taking the kids, this time can be incorporated into the overall schedule. Say that you are going to take the children on a two-week vacation. If you are following the two-week alternating plan, then you can simply schedule your vacation in order to accommodate the existing schedule.

Or you can change the existing schedule to accommodate your plan. If you and your co-parent have an agreement to split time with the kids 50/50, this means that the other parent can have an additional two weeks elsewhere in the summer or otherwise sprinkle in extra days throughout the summer weeks to make up the time.

How to Decide if a 50/50 Custody Schedule Is Right For You This Summer

When you are sharing custody of your children, your goal is to best fulfill their social, physical, and emotional needs. Using a 50/50 alternating schedule can be beneficial to children because it allows them to spend equal time with both parents.

These schedules tend to work best when the following conditions are met:

  • The parents can communicate amicably about the children without conflict
  • The parents live within a reasonable distance from one another so exchanges are easier
  • Both parents see the child’s best interest as the most important thing
  • The child can handle switching between each of their parents’ homes
  • Both parents see a 50/50 alternating schedule as being the best option for the children

Creating a summer break schedule as well as a holiday schedule can help you keep your custody plan orderly and reduce confusion. They can also help to balance out the percentage of time each parent spends with the children if the academic year schedule isn’t even.

Custody and Vacations: What’s Your Plan?

No matter what alternating custody schedule for the summer you come up with, you want to make sure that it’s clearly written out for all involved parties to see. This way, you can avoid potential conflict and reduce the stress involved with keeping a schedule.

Are you looking for a way to keep your summer child care plans organized? With 2houses, you can use our co-parent calendar to help keep communication clear in a way that benefits the wellbeing of your children. You can check out this feature here.

Are Attachment Issues More Common After Parent Divorce?

Attachment issues

Did you know that children with divorced parents are more likely to develop insecure attachment styles? As a parent, the last thing you want is for your child to struggle with attachment issues. However, staying in an unhealthy marriage can be just as detrimental to your children. 

If you are going through a divorce and want to understand how this will impact attachment in your children, keep reading. 

Understand Attachment Theory

The first attachment theorist was John Bowlby. He believed that the bonds formed early in children’s lives with their caregivers have an impact through your whole life. Attachment theory looks at attachment as an evolutionary process. 

This theory stated that children are born with an innate drive to form an attachment with their caregiver. This attachment has a purpose in that it keeps the child closer to their mother and increases the chances of survival.

Many originally believed that it was food that drove successful attachment. However, Bowlby and other theorists have demonstrated that it is not food. It is instead nurturance and responsiveness from the child’s caregiver that drive attachment.  

Essentially, a caregiver who responds to their child’s needs helps the child develop a sense of security. The caregiver then gives the child a secure base to explore the world. 

Attachment Styles

There are two main attachment styles. 

  1. Secure Attachment
  2. Insecure Attachment

Within insecure attachment, you have a few sub-styles of attachment. These include anxious, avoidant, and fearful-avoidant attachment. 

Secure Attachment

If a child is securely attached then they have the ability to form a secure and loving relationship with other people. They have the ability to love and be loved. They also have the ability to trust and be trusted. 

Intimacy is not something that will scare someone who is securely attached. In addition, they have the ability to depend on another person and not become completely dependent. 

However, research in the 1980s indicated that only 56 percent of adults have a secure attachment style. 

Insecure Attachment

There are three substyles of insecure attachment. Each of these styles of insecure attachment has different characterizing traits.Anxious Attachment Style

This form of insecure attachment is characterized by a fear of abandonment. This type of person will worry that their partner will leave them and often need a lot of validation. 

Individuals who would get described as “needy” or “clingy” often fall into the category of anxious attachment style. Around 19 percent of adults who have insecure attachment fall into this category.Avoidant Attachment Style

This form of insecure attachment is characterized by a fear of intimacy. Individuals who fall into this category are going to struggle with getting close to others or trusting in a relationship. 

This person may get described as “emotionally unavailable” in relationships. They tend to prefer independence and relying on themselves. Around 25% of individuals with insecure attachment fall into this category. Fearful-Avoidant Attachment Style

This form of insecure attachment is characterized by a combination of anxious and avoidant attachment styles. This individual craves affection, however, they want to avoid it at all costs. 

While they feel the need to be loved by others they are wary of developing close romantic relationships. This type of attachment style is not as common and therefore not well-researched. 

However, it has been associated with serious relational and psychological risks. This can include an increased risk for violence in relationships, difficulty regulating emotions, and heightened sexual behavior. 

Caregivers Behavior and Attachment

There are some basic things that caregivers do that help form their child’s attachment style. Children who are securely attached are more likely to have parents who are responsive and tuned into their needs. 

Children who are anxiously attached are more likely to have caregivers who are unpredictable with affection. This type of caregiver will fluctuate between withdrawn and overly involved. This unpredictability leads the child to be anxiously attached in future relationships. 

Children who have avoidant attachment often have caregivers who are not responsive. This caregiver is dismissive and distant. There is an emotional disconnect from their child.

Due to this disconnect, this child believes that their needs will not get met. Children who are fearful-avoidant usually have a caregiver that is frightening or traumatizing. Because of this, the child experiences a sense of fear or lack of trust in others even though they want close connections. 

A child that grows up in these circumstances will often have poor boundaries. They will also not understand what a healthy relationship looks like. 

Attachment and Divorce

When parents divorce there are many effects on children. The effects of divorce on kids can range from anger to struggling in school to more. Divorce can also impact your child’s attachment.

The process of attachment begins in infancy. However, various factors throughout your child’s life can continue to influence your child’s attachment style. This includes divorce. 

How Parent Divorce Impacts Attachment in Children

Children who have a secure attachment are more likely to be resilient. However, even securely attached children can have that foundation shaken by divorce. 

When parents divorce your children will either now be spending the majority of their time with one parent, or there may be more of a joint custody situation. In a joint custody situation, it may look more like children are spending half the time with one parent and the other half of their time with another parent. 

No matter the scenario to some degree one parent is no longer as available to the child as they previously were. As a young mind seeks to understand this the guidance that parents offer will be very important. 

Oxytocin, Divorce, and Attachment

Oxytocin is also referred to as the “love hormone“. This is because this neurotransmitter when released in the brain impacts cognitive, social, and emotional behavior. It is believed that oxytocin impacts bonding. 

In a study done by Maria Boccia, she looked at attachment, divorce, and oxytocin. In her study, she found that adults who had parents who divorced when they were children had lower levels of oxytocin in their system. 

There are various thoughts on why oxytocin may be decreased in adults whose parents divorced when they were kids. Research previously done has shown that children who did not receive adequate or consistent nurturance, love, attention, and safety from their parents had decreased oxytocin production

These studies have suggested that parental love and attention are responsible for the production of oxytocin. During a divorce, parents can get distracted by what is going on in their marriage. At times this can lead to parents not adequately responding to their children’s emotional needs. 

However, this is not the only way that adult children of divorce’s oxytocin systems can change. Substance use can also change oxytocin production. Individuals who have divorced parents are more likely to engage in these types of behaviors. 

How to Avoid Attachment Issues

During a divorce, it is easy for children to be angry, scared, and confused. While they are used to having two parents in the home suddenly they are being shuffled back and forth between houses and primarily living with only one parent. 

There are ways you can respond to divorce and your children’s emotions that will help them as their world adjusts. By responding appropriately you will also help prevent attachment issues. 

Do Not Put Children in the Middle

Your child should never be the person you vent to about how much you cannot stand the other parent. You chose to have children with your child’s other parent. When you get divorced you need to figure out how to co-parent. 

Even if the other parent chooses not to involve themselves, NEVER speak negatively about the child’s other parent to them. Children may know things about their parents, but if you insult the other parent this will cause an internal struggle. 

Keep Arguments Quiet

It is likely your children have heard you argue. However, heated discussions, legal conversations, and visible conflict should be kept away from your children. 

This is a big adjustment for you and these things will happen. However, your child is still processing and learning how to handle their own emotions. 

They should not have the added stress of being frightened by things they do not understand. 

Help Them Express Emotions

Depending on your child’s age they may still be struggling to put their emotions into words. Helping your child talk about how they are feeling is important. 

Saying things such as, “it seems like you’re feeling sad” or “do you know what is making you sad” can help your child begin to put words to their emotions. 

It is also vital that you respond to their emotions appropriately. Never tell a child they should not feel something. 

Validate what they are feeling and talk to them about it. You can validate your child’s feelings by practicing active listening. This includes not being distracted by phones or other external things and reflecting your child’s emotions back to them.

Offer Support

Talk to your child about what can help them feel better. Is it putting a picture of mom or dad next to the bed? Is it cuddling with their favorite stuffy? 

Or maybe it is taking the time to call and video chat with the other parent. In addition, make sure you have important conversations about divorce with your kids. They need to know it’s not their fault and you are not divorcing them. 

Kids who get separated from one of their parents by divorce are likely to be anxious. It is important that they know the parent is still there and available when they need them. 

Use Consistent Discipline

If you are feeling guilty about your divorce then it is easy to let children get away with behavior that they previously would not have. Keep in mind though, consistent discipline provides much-needed structure and boundaries for your child. 

Your child already knows what to expect from you. Many children can begin to act out to test new boundaries or to get attention. Maintain consistency in how you address these behaviors as you explore the reasons behind them.

Teach Coping Skills

Children are still learning how to cope with their emotions. They need positive outlets. So do you! 

You can model good coping skills for your child. You can engage in activities to help both of you cope as you go through this process. Not only will this give your child coping skills to use but it will also reinforce the fact that you are there and responding to their emotional needs. 

Help Kids Feel Safe

It is natural for your children to fear abandonment in this situation. Concerns about the future can also weigh heavily on your children. They need to feel safe. 

Time, affection, consistency, boundaries, listening, and unconditional love are all methods you can use to show your child they are safe. 

Spend Time

Time is a valuable commodity. Spending time with your kids should always happen. However, during a divorce, it is even more important. 

Your kids need to know you are still there. There are many ways you can choose to bond with your children from reading to playing

Take Care of You

Taking care of yourself is very important. If you do not then it will impact your ability to take care of your child. 

If you do not take the time to process your emotions then it will be difficult to help your child process their emotions. Talk to friends and use your own coping techniques. This way when you are with your child you can care for them. 

Get Help

If you are struggling to co-parent peacefully, or your kids are struggling and you do not know what to do, get help. Seeking professional help can feel like a failure but it’s not. 

Knowing you are overwhelmed and struggling and not getting help is when you will fail. Your child’s future depends on you. Take the steps needed to ensure they have a good one. 

Set Your Child up for Success

While the risk is higher for children of divorce to struggle with attachment issues, it is not unavoidable. There are things you can do as a parent to help your child in this difficult transition. 

2houses is here to support you through this transition. They offer articles and tools to help you learn to co-parent successfully. Check out their app and how it can help you today. 

Divorce With Children: Not One-Size-Fits-All

Divorce With Children

Divorce is undeniably difficult, but when children are involved it becomes infinitely more complex and stressful. When you have children, you will need to communicate with your former spouse for many years after the divorce. While every divorce is different, it’s important to know generally what to expect while navigating a divorce with children. 

Separation and divorce can bring about a lot of unchartered territory for everyone involved. Arming yourself with some information ahead of time can ease the pain at least somewhat. Here are some things to consider when heading down this path.

Breaking the News

Telling your children you’re getting a divorce is no easy task. The best approach in breaking the news of your divorce to your children is to be honest and direct. 

Once you’ve decided to divorce, the first to know should be your children. As much as you may trust family and friends, you don’t want to take the chance that your children find out about your divorce from anyone other than you.

Set aside a time when you can sit down with your children without distractions and in a place where your children will feel most comfortable. It may seem like a good idea to share this news when your children are enjoying a fun event or during a holiday to distract them, but this is not the case. You don’t want them to associate those events with the trauma of your divorce.

Keep it simple. There is no need to go into every ugly detail. The most important thing to convey is that this decision will not affect how much you love and care for your children. They will need to know what will be different about their lives and what will stay the same. 

Hearing that your parents will no longer be living under the same roof is a traumatic and life-changing experience for children. It’s important that you assure them that you love them no matter what.  Go over everything with the other parent in advance so that when it comes time to tell your children you’re already well-informed with a plan in place.

The Process

Once you’ve decided to separate from your spouse, there may be a period of time before you’re actually able to officially divorce. During this time, one of the biggest decisions you will make will be settling the custody of the children.

In many cases, parents can come to an agreement as to how the custody arrangements will work. In cases of conflict where the parents cannot come to a mutually agreeable understanding, mediators can help find a solution that will work for everyone. In extreme cases, the matter can be taken before a judge.

There are many different ways parents can share custody of their children. The important thing is to find a schedule that keeps the needs of the children before the wishes and wants of everyone else. There are resources available to help you choose a path that’s right for you. 

Children First

No matter what your relationship is with your former spouse, you should both agree that your children’s emotional and physical well-being should always come first. This process is going to be difficult enough for your children without them having to deal with parents who are constantly arguing.

There are several things you should avoid when dealing with children after a divorce. Never argue or belittle your former spouse in front of the children. If you find it difficult to communicate peacefully, make sure you take it far away from the earshot of your kids. 

Never use your children as messengers or ask them to act as a go-between for you and the other parent. This causes the children to feel like they are expected to take sides between two people they love a great deal. In a similar vein, never grill your child for information regarding the other parent. 

Being civil may be the last thing you’re in the mood to do, but for the sake of your children, it is essential that you put aside your differences and choose the paths that will serve their interests best, even if it means swallowing pride. While there are no one-size-fits-all solutions, keeping the children’s needs above everything else should be your primary goal.

Co-Parenting

Though you are no longer married, you are still parents and always will be. First and foremost you will need to establish open communication about schedules, vacations, and other relevant information. 

Children thrive on routine and predictability. As much as is possible, keep their regular mealtimes, bedtimes, and other schedules unchanged from your house to theirs. 

It can be tempting for both parents to be a lot more lenient or to overindulge their children after the divorce. While it’s important to be understanding of the turmoil your kids are facing, maintaining rules and discipline will actually go a long way in making them feel more secure. 

Also, staying consistent with rules and discipline between both houses will help your children know exactly what is expected of them. Keeping this sense of normalcy for them will help them adjust to their new life. 

Another thing to consider will be holidays and who will have the kids for which ones. It’s best to have a schedule laid out in advance so there’s no confusion or added anxiety. Many parents will simply swap from year to year.

With proper planning, there’s no reason that your new traditions won’t become just as special as the old ones. 

Managing busy schedules for your kids can be a hassle even for parents who are still married. This can be especially difficult after a divorce. Many parents find that using a co-parenting app can help manage communication and scheduling. 

Working together to put the children first in spite of your differences will also set an example for your kids on how to manage conflict and resolve issues peacefully.

Shared Costs

Even though you’re no longer living in the same home, you will still need to share the costs of raising the children. Things like food and shelter may be addressed in child support, but there are other things that will arise where you will likely need to split the cost. 

Items like shoes and clothing will be an ongoing issue since your children will be constantly growing. At one point all of their clothes resided in one place. Now that you are living separately, you may find that you’ll both need more clothing at your place so your children will have plenty to wear.

Activities like sports, music lessons, and equipment that come with these activities can start to add up if only one parent is paying. Keep all receipts related to these expenses and choose a time periodically to go over how much each parent has spent so that the costs can be equally divided. 

Other things like doctor visits, orthodontics, or other fees will need to be discussed ahead of time as well. Putting together an expense budget or parenting plan may help take the stress out of communicating about money.

Counseling

In many cases, parents and children alike will need some help processing all of the emotions that come with a divorce. For parents, this can provide a useful place to take their frustrations about the divorce. Having a healthy outlet for all the emotion that comes with divorce can mean you can guide your children through their grief. 

For older children, the process of going through a divorce can bring about a host of issues. It’s not uncommon for children to act out or perform poorly in school. It can be a good idea to have them see a professional counselor to help them work through their thoughts and feelings about the divorce. 

Watching their parents go through the process of ending a marriage can cause emotions in your children that they cannot define or understand. With the help of a therapist, you can help them put words to what they are feeling. When these emotions are defined, they can be handled in a healthy and productive way. 

Helping children cope with divorce is a difficult process, so there is a great benefit to seeking out counseling.

Seek immediate help when you see the problems in your children or yourself worsen over time. If your child is acting in violent ways or threatening to hurt themselves or others, it is crucial to get them help as soon as possible.

The same is true for you. If the feelings of depression significantly interfere with your ability to care for yourself or if you begin to have thoughts of suicide, reach out to a professional immediately. You don’t need to go through this season alone.  

Outside Help

Sometimes divorce comes with feelings of extreme hostility between the parents. When it’s impossible for the parents to communicate effectively for the benefit of the children it may be necessary to call in mediators to help you decide what’s best for your kids. 

Though this type of help will come with added cost, it may be worth the expense to help you get started on the process of laying out a new normal for everyone. After some time has passed and wounds have healed, you can try again to communicate with each other one on one. 

The most important thing is to protect your children from any hostility that lies between you and the other parent. Putting them first before your own feelings will minimize the trauma and stress they will go through. 

Take Care of Yourself

There is a good reason why airlines tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before you help your children. You can hardly be of any use to them if you’re struggling to breathe yourself. 

Going through a period of depression is completely natural after the end of a marriage. That’s why it’s more important than ever to pay attention to your physical and emotional needs. 

Eating a healthy diet, drinking water, and getting plenty of exercise is always good advice. These things are even more important when you’re going through a time of stress. 

If you are sharing custody with your former spouse, times without your children can be a good time to focus on hobbies and activities you enjoy. It may feel strange to be without your children initially, but you can use that time to engage with friends, travel, garden, or anything you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t found the time. 

It’s also quite normal to feel lonely after a divorce. This is a time to be sure you are leaning on family and friends for support. 

Even very small things like having a regularly scheduled outing with friends or taking a daily walk can boost your mood and fight feelings of depression. When you are feeling healthy you are even more capable of helping your children through their struggles. 

Divorce with Children

Divorce can be a painful and traumatic event for everyone involved. When it comes to making sure your children navigate this process in a healthy way, there is no such thing as being overprepared. 

There are many resources and apps that can help you along the way. For help with scheduling and communication, check out the 2houses app.

During this time, it is important to know that you are not alone. With the help of counselors, mediators, apps, family, and friends, you can eventually find your way to a new normal. 

Finding a New Home That Your Child Will Love After a Divorce

Divorce is challenging for the entire family and moving makes it even harder. Read on for tips to help easily navigate this process.

It’s no secret that moving can be stressful. Add in the lingering distress of a recent divorce or separation and confused or emotionally distraught children, and you may start to feel overwhelmed. Despite these challenges, moving may be just what you and your children need. Finding a new place to live, whether near or far can provide the family with a fresh start. How you go about this move will make all the difference. Here are seven ways to successfully find a new home for you and your children after a divorce.

Be Transparent

Neither divorce, nor separation are easy experiences to go through, especially when children are involved. You and your kids may go through a range of emotions as you try to process what this change means for your future. Oftentimes, children wonder if they are the cause of the separation. While that is rarely the reason that couples divorce, it’s important to reassure your children of this truth, particularly as you prepare to make other major decisions like choosing a new home. Being transparent will not eliminate your child’s sadness, anger or pain, but having an understanding of what is going on and why can make the transition a little easier.

While being honest is important, discretion is key. Depending on the age of your children, transparency will look different. No matter their age, though, they don’t need all the gorey details, but you should avoid half truths. Stick to the facts rather than badmouthing the other parent or blaming them for the separation. Anticipate that the kids will be upset and sometimes that anger will be misdirected, but your approach can make all the difference

While you don’t need to discuss the end of your marriage frequently, be open to conversation with your children about the topic. Not only will this keep the lines of communication open, but such conversations may reveal any concerns that they might have. In turn, you can take these worries into consideration during your house hunt journey. As you do make decisions about moving, try to keep your children involved by taking them along to see the spaces and preparing them for the differences that may result from the move.

Establish a Budget and Stick to it

Sometimes guilt overwhelms recently divorced parents, and they mistakenly overindulge their children. This can happen even when it comes to picking a new place to live. After completely altering their lives, you may feel like you need to give them the world. However, instead of making promises that may create a financial burden, remember that the most important thing your children need is love. To avoid living beyond your means, make it a goal to establish a budget based on your new financial situation.

Whether you are planning to buy or rent a new home, a budget will come in handy. It’s important to be honest about what you can and cannot afford, especially before you discuss moving with your children. For instance, a pool or sizable backyard may be exciting for the kids, but if these features in a new home fall outside of your price range, it’s best to forego them. Remember that such things may temporarily intrigue your children, but are not worth going into debt over. Afterall, neither a big backyard nor a fancy pool can heal the pain they may experience during the divorce. Rather, set yourself up for success with a realistic budget that allows you to spend quality time with your kiddos, rather than working incessantly to keep up an expensive lifestyle. Your children will remember the time you spent with them more than anything money can buy.

As you create a budget that fits your new lifestyle, you may recognize that it does not allow for all things that your life once included. For instance, you may no longer be able to afford a residential cleaning service, but this change provides an opportunity for the kids to help more around the house. That’s okay; embrace this change and opportunity to help your children grow.

Find a Community

Moving with children after a divorce may involve relocating to a new neighborhood filled with unfamiliar faces, changing schools or simply being further away from your child’s favorite park. It’s true that nothing nor anyone can replace what you and your children are living behind. However, there are ways to make finding your place in a new community easier.

As you begin your house or apartment hunting journey, search for a family-centric neighborhood. While it may be challenging for you and your children to leave behind not only your spouse, but your close friends and neighbors, help your children to see the beauty of the change by finding an area that allows them to broaden their horizons and widen out. It’s tough to say goodbye to some of your favorite places, but buying a home or renting an apartment in a neighborhood that is community-oriented, family-centered and has lots to do can help you and your children feel welcome. Signing your children up for sports teams in the area, taking advantage of local parks and rec activities or simply walking around the new neighborhood can make the transition enjoyable.

A lot of change all at once can be difficult for anyone to deal with. So, if it’s possible to move without forcing the kids to change schools right away or at all, opt to do so. Sometimes school districts will allow students to complete whatever grade they are in before switching schools. If your child’s current school allows such an arrangement, it may be worthwhile to explore this option to give your child time to mentally and emotionally prepare for a new school. If remaining at the same school or in the same school district is not possible, help your children prepare for the change by attending any new student events and taking them to meet their new teachers before their first day.

Hire Movers

Once you’ve settled on a new home, do yourself a favor and hire a moving company. We all know the challenges that come along with moving. With children in the mix, you should anticipate obstacles that you’ve never faced before. Despite all the planning, preparation and open conversation, emotions are likely to be high on the day of the move. Hiring a moving company can help make things easier for everyone involved. While the movers take care of loading, you will be able to tend to your emotions and those of your children. Better yet, with careful, advanced planning and the help of a reputable moving company, you may be able to distract yourself and your children from the commotion of moving day with games, food, and upbuilding conversation.

During past moves, your ex-spouse may have been present, but this time things could be different. While you may have less stuff, trying to pack and load everything on your own will likely be challenging. You will appreciate the extra sets of hands.

Before you settle on a moving company, there’s a few things to consider. Take a look at the company’s reviews, get estimates and verify their credentials. Though your financial standing may have changed since the divorce, don’t simply go for the cheapest movers. This may involve using a credit card or taking out a small loan. You want a smooth transition from your current location to your new home. The moving company you choose can play a huge role in the seamlessness of the move.

Declutter, Downsize and Pack

Nailing down a moving date and movers will help you gauge when to start packing. Your packing experience will be much better if you declutter and downsize first. Think of decluttering as an opportunity to get rid of items that cannot be sold or given away because they are too old, dirty or tattered. Younger children usually like to help their parents, so enlist their assistance in decluttering. Not only will doing so allow you to rid your home of anything you don’t need to take along, your child will enjoy getting to help with a grownup task.

Downsizing is a bit tougher than decluttering. It involves more than simply tidying or discarding. Sometimes downsizing involves getting rid of items we like or love out of necessity. Depending on the size of your new home, it may not be possible to bring all of your belongings. If your finances have taken a hit during the divorce, downsizing may be necessary. Carrying out this task might be difficult for the entire family. To make it more enjoyable and manageable, try going through each child’s possessions separately with them. Downsizing and packing can be emotional, but it also provides an opportunity to go down memory lane as you rediscover objects that have been buried away. So, if you have had a hard time getting your children to open up to you about their feelings regarding the divorce, paring down may encourage them to open up.

After you have thoroughly and efficiently decluttered and downsized, it’s time to start packing! In a tidy environment and with less stuff, your packing experience will be much more manageable. Again, try to make the task enjoyable. Pick a week or certain days to focus on packing and then use those days as opportunities to enjoy your family’s favorite takeout meals. In addition, take breaks and incorporate simple games, like a scavenger hunt for young children.

Decorate Thoughtfully

Once you are all moved in, it’s time to make your new house a home. This is very important, as you want your children to feel comfortable in the new space. Allow your kids to have a say when it comes to decorating their rooms. Add familiar touches to their rooms, like any sentimental items from their other parent. It’s unlikely that you will want to decorate your home with pictures of you and your ex-mate, but it’s important that your children still feel connected to them. As a compromise, you might consider placing pictures of your ex-spouse with the children in their individual bedrooms.

As for the rest of the house, you may choose to ask your children for their input, as well. However, when it comes to shared spaces, such as a living room, den, dining room or finished basement, it’s important to be thoughtful when decorating. If the events leading up to the divorce were traumatic for the children, avoid decorating with items that may remind them of those tough times. It’s better to sell or donate those pieces, and buy new things according to your budget. Sometimes it’s not possible to get rid of certain things. If that’s the case, consider refurbishing the piece. With a little sanding or a fresh coat of paint, you can bring life and happiness into items that were once associated with painful times.

Start Fresh, But Be Patient

One of the most important things about moving with your children after a divorce is starting fresh at a reasonable pace. Too much change in a short amount of time can be traumatic and overwhelming, but little to no change can be just as damaging. Aim to maintain routines, but adopt new healthy habits. For instance, if you normally eat meals together, continue to do so. If you’ve never eaten meals together, try to start. It may seem like a small thing, but a divorce can leave your children feeling angry, sad and even isolated. It’s important to keep the family unit strong despite the change. Remember, finding a home that your children will love following a divorce is about more than the physical location. The behavior that each family member exhibits plays a huge role in their affinity for their new homebase.

Divorce, housing hunting and moving are some of the most major experiences a person can go through. Thankfully, it’s possible to stay positive throughout the journey and settle into the perfect place that suits you and your child’s new lifestyle.