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.

How to Create New Family Holiday Traditions After Divorce

Holiday searated parents with kids

Every year families in America spend more than $4,000 on vacations. These vacations signal a special time to kick back, relax, and share quality time with your family.

After a divorce with kids, it can feel like that dynamic changes. Most couples do not continue holidaying together after a divorce. You may also find that your traditional holiday destinations no longer have appeal.

While this change can feel a little odd, it also means that you have a great opportunity to create new holiday traditions! Embracing this change means that holidays after divorce can be just as much fun as those before it.

Struggling for ideas about how to create new holiday traditions with your family? Well, we’re happy to help! Read on to find out our top tips for making the most of family vacations after a divorce.

Acknowledge the Difference 

Holidays after divorce are always going to be different even if you’re friendly with your ex. Acknowledging this change with yourself and your kids is really important.

Remember, more than 700,000 marriages end in divorce every year. So if you’re going through it you’re not alone! In fact, loads of families navigate this transition successfully every year.

It’s a good idea to ask your kids about how they’re feeling around the holidays. Try to do this lightly – they might be feeling more okay than you are and the last thing you want is to stress them out!

One nice way to bring it up is to ask if there’s anything they like to do during the holidays. To avoid putting them in the middle of two households, present yourself and your ex as a united front. This will make your children feel much more comfortable expressing what they really want.

Include Your Kids in Holiday Planning

One of the most important things about planning holidays for divorced families is ensuring that everyone feels included. This is why it’s a great idea to include your kids in vacation planning.

This might involve asking them:

  • Where they’d like to spend the holidays
  • If there are any activities they’d particularly like to try
  • Discussing holiday destinations they’ve always wanted to visit

To keep things family orientated, you might want to suggest a trip away with their cousins or grandparents. It’s a good idea to try something a little different after a divorce. Trying to recreate an old family holiday can be emotional for everyone involved.

If you do include your kids in holiday planning, you need to be prepared for differences of opinion. For example, if your kids live with your ex and have plans with friends they may want to stay in the area over the summer. In that case, it might be worth thinking about doing a mini-break somewhere nearby.

Try not to take this personally if it does happen. Their friends are an important part of their support network. So it’s understandable that they might want to spend time with them.

Discuss Scheduling With Your Ex

As with all things co-parenting communication is absolutely vital. After divorce, parenting as a unit is the most effective way to create cohesion for everyone involved.

This avoids your children feeling like they’re being pulled in different directions. It also makes planning ahead much easier.

Having a conversation about vacation plans can be very difficult and requires sensitivity. If you need to, bringing a mediator in can really help with this. That way you can both discuss things you need with someone in the room to keep things calm.

It’s important that you do not ask your children to decide what happens during the vacations directly. This can put them on the spot in a very stressful way.

Instead, ask about things that they might like to do and make suggestions for activities. That way you’re focusing on building something nice together rather than fixating on what isn’t happening.

If you get on well with your ex then you might consider spending some of the holidays together. For example, if your children have birthdays during the holidays you might both want to spend the day with them. 

However, it’s important that you only do this if you are absolutely comfortable. Forcing yourselves to “have a nice time for the kids” on a special day could end in disaster.

While spending time apart can be difficult, it ensures that everyone has a relaxing holiday. The most important thing is to act in a way that is fair for everyone involved.

Get Out and About

Being stuck in the house for the holidays during divorce or after it can really emphasize the change. While it’s important to acknowledge and talk about this, getting out and about will do everyone good. 

Some great ideas of fun activities to do with your kids during the holidays include: 

  • Going for walks and picnics to check out local landmarks 
  • Going swimming
  • Doing some gardening (especially if you’ve moved into a new house!)
  • Going for a bike ride
  • Visiting an outdoor cinema (or creating your own in your garden)
  • Going to the beach for a day
  • Creating your own scavenger hunt
  • Holding your own sports day
  • Den-building
  • Visiting a trampoline park 
  • Baking 

All of these activities will keep your kids entertained without costing you the earth. So rather than using your holiday budget for one big activity, why not stretch it out to create a fun-filled week?

Of course, you can balance all these activities out with lots of cozy nights playing games or watching movies.

Stay in Touch During the Holidays

Unfortunately, there will be times when you aren’t with your kids during the vacations. This is one of the hardest parts of holidays during a divorce, especially for long-distance families.

It’s really important to show your kids that even if you aren’t with them you’re thinking of something. Make sure you keep in touch with them over the holidays by calling and messaging them.

If you aren’t with them for birthdays or Christmas, make sure you send any gifts and cards in plenty of time. This will ensure they have something to open and will show them you’re thinking of them.

Show Your Kids That You’ll Make Time for Them

When you can’t spend the whole vacation with your kids it’s important you make the most of the time you have with them. This shows them that you want to spend time with them.

Planning your vacation schedule in advance with your ex is incredibly important. That way everyone, including your children, will know in advance what is going to happen.

Make sure you can dedicate this time to your kids as much as possible. This means keeping your social schedule free and taking time off work if you can. That way they will feel like they are your sole focus. 

If you do have any special holiday traditions between just you and your children these don’t have to go out of the window. Holding on to find little activities that you used to do will show your kids that your love for them hasn’t changed.

Keep Busy If You’re On Your Own 

Being alone during the holidays can be a difficult time especially if you’re doing it for the first time. So it’s important that you keep yourself busy to avoid feeling too down.

This is a good time to reach out to friends and family. That way they can include you in their holiday plans if it works.

Make sure you do this in advance as a lot of people make their holiday plans early on. This will make factoring you in much easier.

If you are on your own, make sure you treat the holidays like just that. Take a break from work and make sure you’re doing something you enjoy.

If you’re looking for something worthwhile to do over the holidays why not look into volunteering? This is a great way to give something back and will leave you feeling fulfilled.

And if you aren’t seeing your kids during the holidays make sure you have something booked in with them soon. That way you will all be able to look forward to time together.

Approach Introducing Them to New People Carefully 

After a divorce with kids, you might not be thinking about moving on very much at all. However, one in five marriages in America is a remarriage. So at some point (now or in the future), you may think about introducing your kids to a new partner.

It is important to handle this sensitively and it’s a good idea to keep it away from family holidays. For example, Christmas for divorced families would be a very bad time to introduce your kids to a new partner. This is a time when you should be focusing on them.

It’s far better to introduce a new partner to them in short bursts, such as over dinner.

If you do really want your new partner to join your holiday, consider having them join you for a weekend or short stay. That way, you still have a lot of quality one-on-one time with your kids.

Over time, you can start bringing together a blended family using fun activities or mini holidays. But it’s a good idea to take this slow and not throw anyone in at the deep end!

Plan in Advance 

Planning ahead after divorce with kids makes all the difference. This means that when you do see your kids you can focus on spending quality time with them. This means organizing things such as:

  • Exactly when you will be seeing your kids (including who is doing the pickup and drop off) 
  • Scheduling around any events they already have in the diary (such as parties or sports games)
  • Getting a food shop or delivery in advance so you don’t have to waste time in the store
  • Making a list of fun or free activities to do in the area to keep them entertained
  • Booking accommodation and travel if you are going away
  • Putting in holiday requests with work well in advance to ensure you are available

Having all of this in place before your holidays begin means you’ll have more time to relax later on. This will help you to be a more present parent and will let you enjoy the holiday yourself!

Don’t Put Too Much Pressure On Yourself 

Speaking of enjoying the holiday, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to create the perfect family holiday. Americans might spend almost 200 hours every year daydreaming about holidays. But it’s important not to let fantasy overtake reality!

No family holiday is ever perfect. In fact, it’s often the unplanned moments that create the best holiday memories. So don’t worry if you’re working with a tight budget or if things change last minute. 

It’s extremely important to take care of yourself when planning a family holiday after a divorce. You will probably feel emotional about the change in your family dynamic. This is a totally normal response. 

Reaching out to friends and family For support at this time can make all the difference. That way you have someone to talk to.

And if things don’t go perfectly to plan that’s also okay! Focusing your time and attention on your kids is far more important than creating a picture-perfect vacation.

Enjoy Your Holidays After a Divorce With Kids

Whether you are planning a Christmas after divorce or a summer vacation with your kids, adjusting to this change can be difficult.

However, if you seize this opportunity to create traditions after a divorce with kids you can have more fun than ever before! In fact, it could be exactly what you all need.

For more help managing co-parenting schedules during the holidays, sign up for your free trial of the 2houses app now. It’s sure to take the pressure off.

Summer Holidays: Managing Conflicting Days Off

Summer holidays and joint custody - 2ouses

Holidays can be tricky for parents with joint custody. After all, many companies do not let you take vacations whenever you want! If you’re struggling to figure out what to do with your children during your holiday (but not theirs), this article is for you.

The Old Standby: The Visitation Schedule

Your custodian agreement likely has a clearly delineated visitation schedule. That said, it’s rare to see a custodial agreement that doesn’t include flexibility for trades, swaps, or other scheduling changes. If you’re struggling to figure out how to handle having your holiday when the kids are still in school, this is the first move.

summer holidays
Mom and son

The more you communicate with your former partner about your desire to spend time with the kids, the better. Be open to swapping weekends or even entire holiday seasons if that’s what it takes. For example, if you’re forced to take your vacation the month before the summer holidays begin, ask to swap possession during those few weeks. If your former partner is proving reticent, consider sweetening the pot: throw in some extended weekend visits.

The goal here is to work within the confines of the existing joint custody agreement to produce the best result for everyone. The more you can achieve with talking, the better.

Bring the Kids Along (Virtually)

If your children aren’t home (and you are taking your holidays), use your free time! For example, consider asking your former partner if it’s possible to do regular video calls with the kids. If physical possession is out of the question, bring the kids along in a virtual sense.

camera and holidays
A vintage camera with vintage photos

Nearly everyone has some combination of smartphone, laptop, or tablet computer. It’s easy as pie to video call the kids daily while you’re off surfing in Hawaii or exploring the streets of Europe. If the time zones don’t line up, or if the kids are busy, record short videos of your vacation adventures. The kids can watch them when they have the time and you’ll remain a constant presence in their life.

Consider Offering Your Own Time

Parenting is the busiest profession in the world, bar none. Taking the kids from soccer practice to band practice to chess club takes time that your former partner may not have. If you’d prefer to spend some of your summer holidays with your kids, offer to make your former partner’s life a bit easier.

Holidays as mono parent
Dad and his daughter at the sea.

Of course, this depends entirely on your joint custody agreement. Your current relationship with your ex certainly comes into play as well. That said, an amicable offer goes a long way: offering to take the kids to soccer practice (followed by ice cream) might give your former spouse a few precious hours they desperately need.

Talk Early, Talk Often

It’s a sad reality that joint custody parenting often focuses more on managing your relationship with your former partner than anything else. The more you talk, the better the outcome for those pesky holiday schedules. Take the time to work out a clear summer holiday schedule as far in advance as possible. The sooner you know there will be a scheduling conflict during your holiday, the better!

Managing Summer Holidays

It’s not fun to find out that you’re forced to take vacation days away from your children. If it happens, take the time to communicate your desires to the other parent and see if an agreement can be reached. If there’s no way to change the vacation schedule, see if it’s possible to volunteer some time here and there. And, of course, phone calls, video chats, and short video clips never go amiss.

It’s not an ideal situation, but use these tips and make the best of it!

The Difference Between Authoritative Parenting and Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritative parenting

Authoritative and authoritarian parenting might sound like the same thing. In truth, they are quite different. They involve different approaches to behavior and vary in their level of success.

How do these parenting strategies differ? How do they affect your child’s development? Which one is better and how can you implement it into your household? 

Read on to find out everything you need to know about authoritarian and authoritative parenting. 

What Is Authoritarian Parenting?

Authoritarian parenting tends to follow an older school of thought. Built upon the foundations of children being seen and not heard, it utilizes phrasing like, “because I said so.” 

This parenting style is characterized by a lack of positive reinforcement and encouragement. Authoritarian parenting strategies involve strict rules and high expectations. At the same time, they fail at providing children with the resources and support required to succeed. 

A child’s inability to listen or behave is quickly followed by severe consequences. In a way, the child was set up for failure, then punished for their lack of success. Shame, embarrassment, and guilt are common themes, along with a general sense of disapproval. 

What Is Authoritative Parenting?

Authoritative parenting does not shy away from high expectations. In fact, setting clear goals is a large part of authoritative parenting. It revolves around the idea of building your child up to help them succeed while maintaining reasonable boundaries.

This parenting style includes sensitivity, positive reinforcement, and transparency. It involves explaining the reasoning behind decisions and rules. It utilizes open communication and encourages discussion. 

Authoritative parents take time to listen to and acknowledge their children. They do not act dismissive or demeaning, even when the child’s views or opinions seem unfounded or “out of line.” It is not a quick-fix solution for behavioral issues and requires both patience and time. 

Key Differences Between Authoritarian and Authoritative Parenting

In both authoritarian and authoritative parenting, it is the parents who should be setting the limits and enforcing rules. The difference lies in how this is accomplished. 

Parental Attitude

Authoritarian parenting is unresponsive and cold in nature. Parents address emotion as a weakness and resort to punishment or criticism when their child is struggling. 

Authoritative parents, on the other hand, are warm and responsive. By approaching their children in this manner, they can foster positive attachments. This is often associated with higher levels of confidence. 

Authoritative parenting means exerting control over your own emotions to avoid conflict escalation. Rather than reprimanding children for outbursts, parents start calm and constructive discussions. Studies show that kids who grow up in a supportive environment tend to be happier and exhibit more positive behaviors. 

Rules

Authoritative and authoritarian parenting styles are similar in one way. They both have high expectations and strict rules. The difference lies in rule enforcement.  

Authoritarian parents do not allow their children to ask questions. They expect children to follow rules in compliant silence.

This attitude often causes children to be anxious and insecure. It can also lead to misunderstandings when rules are not entirely clear.  

Authoritative parenting involves a warm and nurturing approach. Parents explain rules in detail and support them with reasons. Authoritative parenting encourages children to ask questions if they don’t understand or agree.

In turn, children learn to think critically, communicate with confidence, and feel included. 

Discipline 

Authoritative parenting involves holistic consequences, such as computer restrictions or limited activity. Authoritarian parenting often resorts to demeaning or harsh punishment. Parents exert more control over their children but are less effective in their follow-through.

On the other hand, authoritative parents often set higher standards. They are more consistent when following through with discipline. They use inductive discipline, which encourages their child’s prosocial behavior and empathy. 

Communication

Parents who default to an authoritarian strategy often lose control of their emotions. They may resort to yelling, name-calling, or scolding to achieve order and control. Communication is unidirectional, with the parent doing the speaking and the child remaining silent.

Authoritative parents often set their emotions aside. They look at each situation as a learning opportunity. These parents encourage open discussion, which helps their children feel supported and included. 

Control 

Authoritarian parents try to over-control or micromanage their children. Control over behavior is often not enough. They need to have emotional control as well to feel secure in their parental role.

This parenting style is like a dictatorship in that it relies on fear. It is a one-way street. Whatever the parent says is right and should be listened to and believed without question or protest. 

This is different from authoritative parenting, where standards remain high, but children have leeway to make their own choices and mistakes. Control is not the ultimate goal. Parents focus on fostering independence and the ability to self-regulate, only offering corrections when necessary.  

Authoritarian vs. Authoritative: Effects on Children

Authoritarian parents tend to be less involved in their children’s lives. They set expectations and wait for them to be followed with obedience. This has the potential to backfire in more ways than one. 

Children raised under authoritarian parenting tend to be insecure and self-deprecating. They are prone to bullying, disruptive behaviors in school, and depression. Some find academic success, but in general, their performance is lacking. 

Children with authoritative parents often achieve higher grades and success at school. This is likely because parent involvement correlates with higher performance

Kids with authoritative parents also tend to have better self-esteem and mental health. They show high levels of resilience, picking themselves up with ease after a setback. These kids are better able to self-regulate and make decisions independent of their parents’ influence.  

Which Parenting Strategy Is Better? 

Many studies support authoritative parenting as the more effective parenting strategy. Children raised under an authoritarian thumb are more likely to have mental-health issues and poor peer relations. 

But if authoritarian parenting is so counterproductive, why do some parents still resort to it? 

The answer is that old habits die hard. People raised by authoritarian parents often fall into the habits they picked up from their parents.

Another reason is that authoritarian parenting feels easier. Losing your temper is simple, but maintaining control when you’re frustrated takes practice. Even parents raised in an authoritative household can struggle.

The fact of the matter is no one is perfect. We all make mistakes or lose our temper from time to time. The important thing is to recognize those mistakes when they happen.

Learn from your errors and be transparent about them with your children. Not only does this set a good example, but it encourages attachment behaviors and positive relationships.   

Tips for Authoritative Parenting

You might be new to the authoritative parenting style. Perhaps you have been practicing it for years. Wherever you are in your parenting journey, these tips will help take your strategy to the next level. 

Listen

Take time to listen to your child. Don’t ask how their day went, then start checking emails on your phone. Remain engaged.

What your child has to say may not always seem important to you. To them, it might feel like a matter of life and death. Staying connected and attentive makes them feel heard and appreciated.

Validate 

Children are not born with a complete vocabulary and understanding of their emotions. It is your job to help them recognize their feelings, name them, and understand their connection to behavior. 

Acknowledge that whatever they are experiencing is acceptable. Avoid saying things like, “stop crying,” or “don’t be a baby.” These are very invalidating statements that leave them feeling vulnerable and insecure. 

Instead, focus on the behaviors, not the feelings. Being angry is okay and normal. Hitting, kicking, and biting, however, are not acceptable.

Make sure you discuss the difference with your kids. 

Be Clear

Some rules are non-negotiable. These might be age-restricted rules, they might be educational, or perhaps they are family-wide rules. The important thing is to be clear about why these rules are in place.

“Don’t stick your finger in the light socket.”

To an adult, this is a reasonable and logical rule, but to a child, it’s like telling them they can’t open a new present. So, give them a reason. Even if they don’t understand that electrocution can kill, it will hold more weight than a generic, “because I said so.” 

Use the One-Warning System

When you are straightforward with your children, then there is no room for doubt about expectations. So, consequences should also come as no surprise.

Be careful not to leap to serious punishment, especially for minor infractions like not doing their housework on time. Instead, start with a clear warning. “If you don’t take the trash out before dinner, then you won’t get to play Minecraft with your friends later.” 

Not only have you reiterated the expectation, but you have established a tangible consequence. Now, you must follow through.

If your child fails to take the trash out, then you should not let the occasion slide. This teaches them that your words are hollow. In the future, they are less likely to listen, and you are less likely to remain calm and understanding. 

Offer Incentives

Incentives are excellent for encouraging motivation. These can be anything from a sticker for doing their chores to money put towards a family road trip fund. 

Incentives, however, are two-sided. If your child fails to hold up their end of the bargain, then you can’t give in to their crocodile tears and tantrums. On the flip side, if they do follow through, you better deliver on your end of the bargain.

Whenever you use incentives in authoritative parenting, be sure the expectations are realistic for all parties involved.  

Allow Choices and Encourage Self-Regulation 

If you decide everything for your child, they might struggle to make their own choices later in life. Even little things like, “do you want cereal or toast,” teach them to think for themselves. 

This can also be used when it comes to discipline and behavior management. Encourage your children to find ways to manage their emotions, such as going for a walk or taking deep breaths. 

Encouraging self-regulation makes your child more independent. Instead of scolding them for forgetting to do something, make a checklist or schedule to help them remember. Have them run through the list each day and reward them for their consistency. 

Focus on What You Can Do

Co-parenting with no communication, or with minimal communication, is extremely challenging. It is important to accept that you won’t always have control over what happens when your child is away.

Even when parents stay happily married, there are many times when discipline is out of your hands. When your child goes to school or over to a friend’s house, you must relinquish control. 

Don’t lose your nerve and give up on being a better authoritative parent just because your ex-spouse is uncooperative. Even having one authoritative household in their life will help improve your child’s well-being and set them up for success. 

Maintain Healthy Relationships

You are not here to be your child’s best friend. They don’t always have to like you or even listen to you. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a positive and healthy relationship with your kids. 

Being an authoritative parent is about setting a good example and following through with expectations. It involves showing love, affection, and support. By setting clear boundaries and treating your child with respect, you will help them be a more successful and happy human. 

One Day at a Time

Authoritarian parenting is all about control, dominance, and silence. It can leave children feeling inadequate, insecure, and depressed. Authoritative parenting is a better style to implement in your home. 

Children raised with an authoritative parent are more successful in school and life. Foster a good and healthy relationship with your children. Set clear boundaries, practice listening, and be supportive. 

Establishing consistent rules and parenting styles can be difficult when you are divorced. At 2houses, we help separated parents work together to enhance their children’s well-being. Click here to learn more about how 2houses can help your family. 

A Co-Parenting Guide on What the 70/30 Custody Schedule Looks Like

70/30 custody schedule

Every separated parent worries about the best method to co-parenting. But what’s the best way to manage your joint custody schedule?

The 70/30 custody schedule is a popular method for many reasons, including the fact that it allows parents to have one main home base for their children. It also works well when one parent lives farther away.

If you’re considering your ideal co-parenting schedule, the 70/30 custody schedule might be best for you! What does it entail? Keep reading to learn more in this guide.

What Is the 70/30 Custody Schedule and Why Is It So Popular?

This child custody schedule allows a child to spend 70% of their time staying with one parent. The child then spends 30% of their time with the other parent, and both adults are able to be involved with their child’s life and time.

Since one parent will spend more time with their child, this schedule usually works best if parents live far from each other. This way, you can limit the number of transitions for your child from one person’s home to another.

This schedule might also be best if you have one parent who is busier than the other. This might be because one parent has a more demanding work life, or because they are traveling more often. The parent with the consistent home base and who has 70% of their child’s time at their home is considered the “primary” parent.

Developing the right schedule that works for your family can be a difficult process, but it doesn’t have to be a negative experience! When two parents are committed to finding a schedule that will give their child the best of a consistent and happy lifestyle, the logistics become just another detail to sort out.

How Many Overnights Can You Expect?

One important logistic for both parents and for their child is the amount of overnights they can expect with the 70/30 joint schedule.

This schedule works out to 4 overnights for the non-primary parent. This ends up being more time than the “every other weekend” schedule.

There are several common schedules that can be used to work out a 70/30 custody arrangement. However, there are several important factors to consider when choosing which schedule will work best for you and your family.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Schedule

The first factor to discuss with your co-parent is consistency. What is the best method for making sure your child has a consistent home life? At the same time, how can both parents have a consistent schedule for their work and individual lives?

Another discussion you may want to have with your co-parent is about hand-offs and general communication. It’s so important for separated parents to be able to discuss the best methods of handing off their children for an easier and happier time.

You might also want to discuss your child’s routine. Does your co-parenting schedule fit with your child’s other life routines, like day-care or sports?

More importantly, your child will be spending time away from each parent, so it’s important to factor this into your schedule when deciding how to split up their time.

Common Schedules For Sharing Time

The 70/30 parenting schedule can be set up in several ways. There are four common methods for this schedule, including the every weekend schedule, a 5-2 alternate weekend schedule, a third week schedule, and a schedule for every third day.

Keep reading for a full breakdown of what each of these schedules entails.

The Every Weekend Schedule

This schedule would allow the primary parent to have weekdays while the other parent has weekends. This does leave the non-primary parent with less time, but the every weekend schedule does allow for a lot of consistency.

Also, depending on the child’s age, they might be in school during the week. Handing off the child every weekend helps to not break up the school schedule.

This is also a helpful schedule because the non-primary parent might have more time with the child on the weekends since they don’t have to be in school. This can help make up for the time difference.

The every weekend schedule also works for families with one parent that works or travels on the weekends, but it certainly isn’t the only option.

5-2 Alternate Weekend Schedule

Another method of working out a 70/30 custody schedule is with a more flexible version of the weekend schedule. This is a great option if both parents are hoping to spend time with their children over the weekends, or if one parent is hoping to have some free weekends.

A 5-2 alternate weekend schedule means that you start on any day of the week and five nights are with the primary parent and two nights are with the other parent.

This schedule will depend on what is best for your child, and might be best if your child is younger than school age. That way, their normal routines are less interrupted and each parent can spend time with their child during more formative years.

Every 3rd Week Schedule

This schedule is best for parents who want to spend longer periods of time with their child. By using this schedule, your child will live with the primary parent for two weeks and then the secondary parent for the third week.

This schedule would mean that the second parent is going to go two weeks without being with their child. This may not be best for some families. However, if one parent lives farther away and the child is not school-age, this could be a great option.

When considering this schedule for a school-age child, you want to make sure both parents live close enough to the school and to the child’s activities. This will help reduce interruptions in your child’s life.

This is also where communication is key between each co-parent. Since the child will be spending a bigger chunk of time with one parent, it’s important to talk about what happened while the child was with each parent.

If your child is young enough, they might hit some milestones while in the custody of one parent, like crawling or talking. This can be an exciting time for both parents with a lot of communication involved.

If your child is older, personality will also help you decide if this is the right schedule. Your child might enjoy spending a lot of time with each parent, or they might struggle with being away from one parent for too many days or weeks. This could cause anxiety, so discussing it with your child could be a helpful strategy.

Every Third Day Schedule

The last common version of the 70/30 schedule is frequently transitioning the child to each parent every third day. This will only work if your child can handle traveling between parents this often.

With this schedule, the primary parent, or Parent A, will have the child for two days, and then the other parent, or Parent B, will be with them for one day. The child will then go back to Parent A.

This can be especially easy if the parents live close to each other and have similar work schedules. It’s also important for you to have a good relationship with your ex-partner, since this type of schedule involves a lot of communication and transitions.

It can be challenging to pick the right schedule that will work best for your child. While each schedule is a viable option, it’s important to understand which one is best for your particular situation.

70/30 Joint Custody Schedule for Based on Age

Your child’s age is an important factor in deciding the right custody schedule for your family. If your child is an infant, it will be important for them to be with their mother for more of the time, especially if the child is breast-fed.

This also means that any schedule involving a lot of time away from the primary parent might not be best if you have a baby. A schedule like the every third day schedule might be best so that the child isn’t away from the mother for more than one night at a time.

If your child is a toddler, there’s a bit more flexibility in what they might be able to handle. The every weekend schedule is usually popular for toddlers since it’s consistent and allows the child to know what to expect. This type of consistency also helps a toddler to adapt to parent separation.

For older children who are in school, you might want to work with your co-parent to consider a schedule that will fall in line with your child’s school and activities. If one parent lives farther away and your child has sports or other activities on the weekends, the 5-2 alternate weekend schedule could work out.

Also, since your child’s needs will change as they get older, your schedule can also change. Staying in frequent communication with your co-parent will allow you to discuss what’s best for your child during different phases of life. This will also keep you both flexible and willing to adapt to your child’s needs.

What Else Should You Know Before Choosing a Schedule?

Other than age, you may have more things to consider before you settle on a 70/30 schedule, like making sure you’re following your state’s laws. While parents are able to choose which schedule works best, it’s important that they make sure they’re following the child custody laws in their state.

Additionally, other than meeting your child’s needs based on the school schedule, you also want to meet your child’s emotional, physical and developmental needs. For example, if you have a teenager, their social schedule will also be an important factor for consideration.

Previously in this article, I’ve also mentioned that location can affect what schedule works best. If parents live close together, they can have a schedule that involves more frequent exchanges for the child.

If one parent lives in another state, things might get more complicated for your 70/30 schedule. Creating balance and maintaining consistency remain important but become more difficult if your child will be traveling farther. Also, keep in mind that both parents will want to understand each state’s laws to keep making sure you’re following the rules.

What If You Can’t Agree on a 70/30 Schedule?

The best case scenario would put you and your co-parent in the best positions to be raising your child. In this ideal situation, you can communicate easily and your child is able to transition to follow the joint custody schedule with ease.

However, some parents, especially separated parents, have trouble putting their differences aside and finding the right parenting agreement and schedule that works for everyone. If you’re unable to make an agreement, you might need to rely on a standard custody agreement.

This type of agreement will give the non-custodial parent one evening a week. This parent will also have every other weekend with the child. The rest of the time will be spent with the custodial-parent, also known as the primary parent. 

Clearly it would be best for both parents to be involved in making the decision, and finding a more customized agreement. This way, you can also adjust the agreement easier as your child ages.

Get Help Organizing Your 70/30 Custody Schedule

Developing the right 70/30 custody schedule for family can be challenging. It’s important to consider all the important factors when deciding what will work best, but you can also get help to make organizing your schedule easier!

Check out the 2houses co parenting app for more help creating your schedule and staying on top of your custody planning.

What Does a 80/20 Custody Schedule Look Like? A Guide for Parents

80/20

Parenting is hard. Co-parenting is even harder.

Co-parenting is a term used for any separated, divorced, or “two house” families trying to raise a child or children together. With around half of all modern marriages ending in divorce, co-parenting is used more than ever. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy to co-parent, and many previous couples struggle with it.

One of the biggest challenges co-parents face is establishing a custody schedule that works for them. In many situations, a judge will have a lot of say in who the primary residence or primary custodial parent is. However it works out, some parenting time plans work out to something known as an 80/20.

But what is an 80/20 custody schedule? What does it look like? Continue reading to learn everything you need to about this specific type of custody schedule.

What’s an 80/20 Custody Schedule?

An 80/20 schedule is when a child (or children) spends 80 percent of their time with one parent and 20 percent of their time with the other. In these situations, one parent usually has primary physical custody. However, this type of custody schedule may also be used when the arrangement is sole physical custody with scheduled visitation.

Determining the percentage parenting time amounts to can be confusing. For this type of agreement, it generally works out so the non-custodial parent has three overnight visits every two weeks. Those visits don’t have to be consecutive, but they can be.

How the 80/20 custody schedule works best will depend on several factors. Primary factors include:

  • The age of the child (or children)
  • How far apart the parents live from one another
  • How involved each parent was in caring for the children before separation
  • If the courts are involved, what type of determination they’ve made

There may be other factors to consider in your unique case. Below you can see a few examples of typical 80/20 parenting schedules to help get a better idea of what this looks like in practice.

80/20 Custody Examples

It’s essential to know all custody agreements can be individualized. Using a mediator through court, along with a co-parenting app, can help the two parents figure out what works best for them.

That being said, there are a few recommended options for setting up an 80/20 schedule, based on the child’s age and how close the parents live. These schedules can be used exactly or as a reference to create a similar plan that works best for your situation.

When Parents Live Near Each Other

When parents live near each other, there’s more flexibility in how custody schedules can be set up. The closer parents live, the more flexibility. For these options to work, parents would ideally live an hour or less away from one another.Toddlers/Until School (Around Age 4 to 5)

Toddlers benefit from frequent contact with the non-custodial parent whenever possible. This is because toddlers (and even preschoolers) are still developing bonds with both parents. Before starting school, it’s recommended toddlers see the non-custodial parent for three non-consecutive overnights every two weeks.

The overnights can be scheduled in a way that best works for both parents. Generally, however, one overnight each weekend usually works well. The third overnight is usually scheduled for a weekday, once every two weeks.

This may not work for every parent, however. Parents who work early mornings Monday through Friday may find weekday overnights difficult. There are ways to work around this.

The non-custodial parent could, for example, pick the child up after work on a weekday. They could then be brought home before bedtime instead of being kept overnight. It isn’t recommended that toddlers stay two consecutive nights away from the custodial parent.Older Children/Teenagers

Once children are older, they can successfully move to every other weekend visitation. Older children and teenagers do well with these schedules because they’ve already built strong bonds with both caretakers. In most circumstances, their bond with the non-custodial parent won’t be affected by more extended periods apart.

With an 80/20 custody schedule, three overnights every other weekend is the general rule. For parents who live close together, Friday evening until Monday may work well.

This would, however, put the non-custodial parent in charge of dropping the child at school on Monday morning. If that isn’t possible due to work conflicts, every other weekend from Friday until Sunday is one option. Using a co-parenting app can help ease confusion about when each parent is available and how much quality time they spend with the child or children.

When Parents Live Further Apart

When parents live further apart, custody schedules can be more challenging to create. This is especially true when children are younger and do best without extended stays away from the custodial parent. However, each child is unique, and what works for one family may not be best for another.Toddlers/Until School (Around Age 4 to 5)

Until children begin school, long-distance parenting plans may do well with one overnight each weekend. While similar to the schedule mentioned earlier, there is one significant difference. The one overnight during a weekday every two weeks is dropped due to distance.

There are ways to make up most (or all) of this missed parenting time without keeping the toddler from the custodial parent for more than one night.

One option is to use a slightly later drop-off time when the child is with their alternate parent. If the regular drop-off time would be 10 am on Sunday, the schedule can be rearranged to have a drop-off at 5 pm on Sunday. This adds 7 hours each week to the non-custodial parent’s time, thus making up most of the missed weekday visit mentioned above.Older Children/Teenagers

The same schedule that works for older children and teenagers above can work with long-distance parenting, with very few modifications. Instead of staying from Friday until Monday of every other weekend, teens should be returned Sunday, so they’re ready for school in the morning.

Another long-distance option for older children and teenagers is two weekends on and one weekend off. In this custody schedule, the children spend two weekends with the non-custodial parent, followed by a weekend with the custodial parent. If either parent wanted a specific weekend during the year, this could be worked into the schedule.

When an 80/20 Might Be the Best Choice for You

There are many custody schedule options. Much of how custody is determined will depend on what the courts say and the schedules of each parent. Sometimes, custody can be worked out between two parents.

That being said, there are specific circumstances where an 80/20 custody schedule may be the best choice for you. These include:

  • When one parent was granted primary physical custody
  • When one parent has sole physical custody and the other parent has scheduled visitation
  • When one parent is unable to spend more time with the children for any reason
  • When parents live further apart
  • One parent has been the primary or sole caregiver of the children during the relationship (or during the children’s lives if parents weren’t together)
  • Both parents agree on an 80/20 custody schedule
  • The child or children do best with a single home base
  • The child or children have special needs that make frequent transitions difficult

This isn’t an all-inclusive list. There may be other reasons for choosing an 80/20 custody schedule over other options. There are also many reasons why an 80/20 custody schedule may not be the best option for you.

An 80/20 split in parenting time may not be suitable for your situation if:

  • The non-custodial parent has more time to spend with the child
  • The courts have appointed joint custody to the parents
  • Both parents were equally involved in the child’s care before separation
  • Both parents agree a different custody schedule would work best
  • Parents live in different states or countries (which requires a very different schedule)

Frequently Asked Questions About the 80/20 Custody Schedule

It’s normal to have questions about the 80/20 custody schedule and custody arrangements in general. Below are answers to a few of the most common questions or concerns parents have.

Does Parenting Time Have To Be Exactly 80/20 in These Arrangements?

No, parenting time doesn’t have to be exactly 80/20. However, it’ll fall roughly around those numbers. Depending on the custody schedule, parenting time may be 82/18, 76/24, or something else that is close to 80/20.

Is an 80/20 Schedule the Only Option for Separated Parents?

No. There are many different custody schedule options for parents, with the 80/20 parenting time split being one. Different custody schedules work for different families.

Some parents have a 50/50 custody schedule where the child spends an equal amount of time with each. Others have a 70/30 parenting agreement that usually works out to one parent having weekdays and the other having weekends. It’s up to the two parents and the courts to determine which custody agreement works best for everyone.

What if I Want More Than 20 Percent Time With My Child?

If you’re the non-custodial parent in an 80/20 schedule and want more time with the child, it depends on whether the courts made the custody determination. If the courts determined that custody should be 80/20, you’d need to return and refile to have it changed. If the custody was set up outside of court, you could open up a conversation with your child’s other parent.

What’s the Easiest Way To Set Up a Custody Schedule?

The easiest way to set up a custody schedule is through a co-parenting app, like 2houses. In some situations, it’s necessary to first go to court or mediation to determine the type of custody split. Then, you and your co-parent can choose how that time is split via the application.

What if Something Comes up To Interrupt the Custody Schedule?

Things can (and will) happen to disrupt your custody schedule. These things may be short-term emergencies or long-term life changes. When this happens, it’s best to communicate openly with your co-parent about the situation.

If there’s strife or other issues between you and the other parent, it’s recommended that all contact be documented. This protects both parties from “he said, she said” situations. It also helps make communicating less stressful for both parties.

Documentation can be done in several ways. Co-parenting apps are one option for documented communication. Other options include text messaging and email.

What if There Is a Restraining Order Involved?

When a restraining order is involved, it stops one parent from contacting the other. Sometimes, however, they’ll still share custody of the child in an 80/20 custody schedule or similar. This adds more difficulties to an already challenging situation.

A co-parenting app can be especially useful in this situation. If the courts allow for a singular, documented form of contact specifically about the children, an app is a perfect option. It will enable all conversations to be recorded while still maintaining necessary lines of communication between parents about the child.

More Questions About What an 80/20 Custody Schedule Looks Like?

An 80/20 custody schedule is where a child spends 80 percent of their time with one parent and 20 percent of their time with the other. This works best in certain situations, such as when parents live far apart, or one parent has been granted primary physical custody of the children.

To make any custody agreement work, open communication is essential. After splitting, many parents find communication difficult or impossible. Others find they’d like a more organized way of discussing or presenting custody schedule options.

That’s why 2houses was created. The co-parenting app takes the hassle out of creating a custody schedule and streamlines communication. Sign up today and see for yourself.