Flawed Parents, Lacking Parenting Skills, Share “Parallel Custody”

parenting skills - 2houses

When parents fight for custody of children, both parents attempt to highlight their own parenting skills and to diminish the other’s abilities.  The cases are difficult and gut wrenching because often there are two loving, caring and fit parents, who only want the best for their children.

What happens, when after trial, the court finds that both parents are so flawed and lacking in parenting skills that neither should have sole custody of the child?

In M.R v. A.D., a Manhattan judge, after splitting physical custody of a child, opined that “neither of these parents has the skills or qualities to be [the child’s] sole custodian.   Instead, the court identified each parent’s parenting strengths to define particular “spheres in which each party with be the final decision maker.”    

The mother, characterized as warm and loving, but chaotic, unpredictable and unable to establish firm or consistent boundaries was granted decision making over summer camp, extracurricular activities, and religion. The father, described as gruff, not particularly warm or affectionate, but capable of setting firm standards for the child’s behavior, was granted decision-making over issues relating to the child’s education and health.

In reaching this Solomon-like decision, the court recognized that because of the acrimony between the parties, joint custody was not an option; the parties could not communicate effectively with each other to make joint decisions.  After assessing the parties’ individual parenting strengths and weaknesses, the court fashioned a custodial arrangement that allows each parent to make decisions on different aspects of the child’s life.

The decision, which gives each parent parallel custody, is a novel method of resolving a custody dispute.   Rather than “winner-take-all,” this win-win approach assures each parent’s continued involvement in the child’s life, with decisions being made by the parent best suited for doing so.

by  Daniel Clement (source: divorce.clementlaw.com)

Is Alimony Still Necessary?

testimony - 2houses

At a recent workshop I presented on Financial Equality in Marriage, a question about alimony came up. It began an energetic discussion between the various age groups attending. Women and men in their twenties and thirties felt that alimony was a thing of the past, an antiquated legality that no longer made sense. Those older, and some in second marriages, disagreed. They felt that alimony did still have its place in divorce proceedings and was created to aid ex-spouses, mostly women, who had no personal income or a very low income. Finally someone asked me, “What’s your take on alimony? I just made a bet with my husband on your answer.”

Oh the pressure! Here’s hoping my answer wins you the bet!

Alimony and child support is a two-way street but with a lot of twists and turns along the way. It is an imperfect system but it is the only one we have in place right now. As with any law, there is always room for improvement and revision and many family court justices are helping to make some necessary changes by reinterpreting the basic laws regarding alimony as a “male only” burden. In the past, it was assumed that when there was a separation or divorce, the man would support his former wife by paying alimony. If children were involved, he was also obligated to pay child support, which was a separate issue.

The paying of alimony can be traced as far back as the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi. The term alimony comes from the Latin word alimōnia which meant nourishment and sustenance. It was created to assure the wife’s (or “discarded” wife), lodging, food, clothing, and other necessities after divorce.

Alimony has an interesting history, one that was basically a somewhat derogatory assistance for women who were seen as the “weaker sex.” The law in the United States is based on the laws found in Ecclesiastical Courts in England. Since the husband was the sole owner of all marital property, and the wife depended upon him to provide for her sustenance, the English Ecclesiastical courts consistently ruled that the husband had the duty to provide for the wife after divorce as well. Otherwise she would become, “a burden of the people.” Heaven forbid there should be any burdensome women around!

While a woman is no longer considered to be a lesser partner in a marriage, and marital property after divorce is divided equally, there is still a strong feeling that a man owes an obligation to his former wife in a financial sense. This is being debated in family courts. There are people who try to cheat the system and that makes it bad for everyone involved.

Today, with women as well as men working outside the home, the idea that anyone with a well-paying job needs to receive extra income simply because they were once married is antiquated and ludicrous. If both partners are able to support themselves, additional money from a former spouse, barring child support, is unnecessary and punishing. However, there are exceptions as to when paying alimony to a former spouse is necessary.

No one should have to come out of the marriage losing financially. If one partner is more financially secure than the other, a form of alimony should be paid on a sliding scale. This goes for women paying alimony as well as men.

If a child is under school-age, and the mother or the father needs to be a stay-at-home parent, alimony is a fair accommodation until that parent is able to begin working outside the home. 
The support of a child should be the responsibility of both parents. If one makes considerably more than the other, the division of support should show it. Instead of a 50/50 support contract it may well be 75/50 or whatever is fair. A woman making three times more a year than her ex-husband is capable of giving more money to support the child. Fair is fair.

Alimony should be an equal opportunity responsibility. While the majority of alimony recipients are still women who are stay-at-home mothers and men are the ones who pay it, the system is changing and rightly so. Gone are the days when a healthy woman, capable of working, was supported for life simply because of the Mrs. in front of her name. And the same goes for any healthy man.

In the purest sense of the law, alimony was always meant to help and protect a former spouse who was incapable of taking care of herself/himself financially. Child support is a necessary obligation of parenting. Neither was meant to be abused or used as a form of punishment during divorce proceedings. The relationship reality here is that alimony, in spite of everything else that may be negative about divorce, should be the one part that is fair and just to both parties. No one should be the winner or the loser.

Kristen Houghton

Made Divorce Mistakes? It’s Never Too Late to Get It Right – On Behalf of Your Children!

mistakes after your divorce - 2houses

Whether you got divorced several weeks ago or it’s been several years since your split, most of us can acknowledge that we’ve made some mistakes.

Perhaps we lost our tempers at an inappropriate time and watched our children painfully internalize the experience.

Maybe we referred to our ex in a rather unflattering way only to find our child get very upset and storm away in anger.

Chances are, in the heat of the divorce drama, we settled for a decision or two that we later regretted and still feel resentful. Or we made a child-related agreement that, in hindsight, was not in our child’s best interest — but we don’t know quite how to remedy the situation.

While some legal matters will involve only legal resolution, there are many post-divorce relationship decisions involving our children that we can remedy. And it’s never too late to make amends and get it right.

If you have found that your children are suffering or hurting due to a decision you made when you were more motivated by anger than by positive parenting and are now having regrets — take action.

That can mean having a heart-to-heart with your children and apologizing for actions or statements you made that created pain in their lives. Take responsibility, own those behaviors, and humbly explain that you made an error and now want to make some changes.

That may translate into letting them spend more time with their other parent, no longer bad-mouthing your ex in front of the kids, inviting your ex to a holiday or school event with the children, encouraging the kids to have a visit with their “othergrandparents … you get the idea.

Perhaps it means a straight-talk conversation with your ex that opens the door to better, more cooperative communication, trust and smoother co-parenting. Or apologizing for harsh words and insults. Yes, this can be amazingly difficult to do from an ego perspective. But when you think about how much joy it can mean to your children when they see both of their parents getting along, it’s more than worth the swallowing of your pride. Chances are your ex will swallow some too and be receptive to working things out in a more mature manner.

If you have nothing to “own” and all the tension and mistakes rest solely on the shoulders of your ex, try approaching him or her in a different way, focusing exclusively on the emotional needs of the children and reaching out a hand in peace.

There’s no guarantee this will work — and we all know some certified jerks out there of both genders — but I wouldn’t give up, ever! Times change, people can change, and change may be just what your family needs so you can create a better outcome for the children you love.

When you take the high road and model responsible, effective behavior, you are giving your children the gift of learning how to do that themselves. It’s a gift that will pay off for you and them many times in the years ahead. One day your children will thank you for making things right. They’ll acknowledge you for being such a model mom or dad, despite the challenges you faced. And believe me, you will be proud of the parent you worked so hard to become.

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of the acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids … about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! 

Top 10 Tips for Divorcing Parents

10 tips for divorcing parents

Divorce does not have to be damaging to children. Here are the ten most important things parents can do to help their kids navigate the stormy seas of divorcing parents.

  1. Don’t try to recruit your child into siding with one parent against the other.
  2. Do contain your hostility in front of the children. Hearing divorcing parents argue is the most common cause for a child of divorce to have problems.
  3. Do renegotiate a healthy co-parenting relationship after divorce. You don’t have to be best friends with your ex, but you do need to have a civilized relationship so that your child is not burdened by your ongoing anger.
  4. Don’t badmouth your ex in front of your child. In fact, make a point of telling your child a few good things about the other parent.
  5. Do get on the same page with your ex about all rules concerning the children–bedtime, homework, amount of screen time, curfew, and so forth.
  6. Do take a parenting class or attend family therapy with your ex if you are having trouble coming to agreement about rules and consequences for your child. Allow a professional to help you manage your anger at your ex.
  7.  Don’t badmouth your ex’s parents or other family members. Children love their grandparents, aunts, and uncles, and if a parent says negative things about them the child will feel conflicted.
  8. Do reassure your child that she did not do anything to cause the divorce. Children often feel guiltywhen parents get divorced and need to be reassured that the divorce was not their fault.
  9. Do tell your child that both parents will continue to love him and spend time with him.
  10. Do tell your child that you expect her to continue to do well and be happy.

From Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D. in Suffer the Children for psychologytoday.com

2houses interviewed by The Divorce Source Radio during The Divorce Expo

2houses has been interviewed by a a Radio

If you missed our booth at the The Divorce Expo in Novi  (Michigan, USA) here is the article and the interview recorded during the expo by the Divorce Source Radio:

“This program features a unique online organizational product designed to help keep divorced couples organized. 2Houses.com helps Communications between separated or divorced parents.This online system helps you to manage your parenting schedule, keep track of shared expenses,exchange school, after-school activities, medical, and other types of information. This program features 2Houses founder, Gill Ruidant who traveled from Belgium to attend the show.  For more information, visit: www.2Houses.com.”


Listen to the interview

For kids: Living With a Single Parent

living with a single parent - 2houses

If you live with one parent, you know that a lot of other kids do, too. More than 20 million kids in the United States live with one parent. Separation and divorce are the most common reasons for this. In other cases, the mom and dad may never have lived together, or one of them may have died.

Living with one parent instead of two can bring out a lot of emotions. These feelings can be pretty strong, and they can be confusing, too. You might feel terribly sad and angry because your parents divorced.

You also might feel happy that your parents split up and aren’t fighting anymore, but you may also feel upset when your mom introduces you to a man that she is dating. You might love the uncle or grandma who takes care of you, but sometimes you might wish you could have one family with both a mom and a dad.

Emotions all by themselves aren’t either good or bad. They’re just feelings. Because living with one parent can sometimes be stressful, it can help to talk about it. You can talk with your parent, a relative, school counselor, or another trusted adult. Talking with other kids who live with single parents can be a great idea, too.

Single Parents and Work

Single parents are often working parents because someone needs to earn money to pay for food, clothing, and a place to live. Having a job means your mom or dad is able to provide these things and more for you. People work for other reasons, too. A job can let a person use his or her special talents and skills. A job can be important because it helps people in the community. Or a job can simply be exciting or interesting.

But even though you might understand why your mom or dad has to work, sometimes it can be hard to accept. “Not now, I have to work” isn’t what you want to hear when you’d like to do something fun. This can be especially true during the summer or school vacations. You’re home, they’re gone, and the days can seem really long.

Many kids simply take care of themselves for all or part of the time that a parent is at work. This can be all right, but only if you’re prepared to handle the responsibility. You need to know what to do in case of an emergency, as well as how to use your time wisely. And if you’re by yourself, you should know how to handle loneliness, too.

Other choices include going to an after-school program or staying with a neighbor or relative. During the summer, many schools and towns offer summer programs and camps.

Time Troubles

It can be tough when you don’t have enough time with your dad or mom. When you live with one parent, that person really has to do the work of two people. Besides a job, your mom or dad is responsible for caring for the kids, the house, the yard, the car, the pets — everything that grown-ups do! And besides all that, your dad or mom would like to be able to spend more time just hanging out with you, too. So what can you do?

One of the best ways is to hold a family meeting. Talk about everyone’s schedule for work, school, and activities. You can also talk about what jobs around the house need to be done every day, which ones can be done less often, and who could do each job.

When you take a look at chores and other time demands, you can try to work some family time into the schedule. Maybe you can eat more meals together. You might want to help your parent cook dinner sometimes. That can be both fun and helpful to your parent. Maybe you also can schedule a weekly game or movie night.

Time may be tight, but kids in single-parent families can make a difference by helping out around the house. They also can make another important contribution: reminding their moms or dads to have a little fun!

Reviewed by: Collen Sherman

Book: “Co-parenting works” by Tammy Daughtry

co-parenting works - 2houses

The followings videos introduce parts of the book “Co-Parenting works!” which explains you how to deal with co-parenting.

About the author: Tammy Daughtry, author, speaker, advocate, is the founder of Co-Parenting International. She holds a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy and has over ten years experience in real-life co-parenting.

The Introduction

Co-Parenting Works!What is the book Co-Parenting Works! about? Is it right for you? What will the stories be like and what will you learn? This videos answers those questions and begins your journey of hope in co-parenting.

Part 1 Introduction: Becoming A Stable And Effective Co-Parent

Co-Parenting Works!Explore the beginning of the journey, the first year after divorce and during separation. No matter where you are in your co-parenting journey, you can get stable and you can move forward…your kids need you to. Watch this video to get an idea of what’s behind this section in the book.

Part 2 Introduction: It’s Not About You, It’s About The Kids

Co-Parenting Works!Did you know there are six risk factors with divorce? Co-Parenting Works!helps you work against the statistics and change the predictable outcomes. Part 2 of the book expresses the heart of CoParenting International. Watch this video to get a snippet of what to expect.

Part 3 Introduction: Creating A Co-Parenting Team

Co-Parenting Works!We are going to challenge you in this part of the book to become a team with your ex for the sake of your children. The two of you must come together as a team for your children like an executive team does for a company. In this video meet Tammy’s now Husband, Jay Daughtry, and hear his perspective on what it’s like to see a healthy co-parenting relationship work.

Part 4 Introduction: If It Can Go Wrong…

Co-Parenting Works!Hear from Tammy’s now husband, Jay Daughtry, introducing the topics discussed in Part 4 of Co-Parenting Works! Things like handling the tougher aspects of working with an ex and extended families. Often these are the first things that come to mind when dealing with the other co-parent. This section will help the two of you get onto the same page and not have to worry about what your children hear on the side.

Part 5 Introduction: When Co-Parenting Is Impossible

Co-Parenting Works!Jay Daughtry, Tammy’s husband, introduces Part 5 of the book on how to parent your child when the other parent is no longer part of your child’s life. Learn how to talk about the absent parent, how to surround yourself with a supportive community, and how to determine when an ex is unsafe for you and your children.

Part 6 Introduction: Moving On With Your Life

Co-Parenting Works!Part of moving on with your life after divorce is dating. How do you introduce this to your kids and talk about this with your co-parent. We’ll also talk about a hope chair. You may have fears about this. What’s healthy? And what about even further…remarriage? Jay and Tammy introduce these topics in Part 6 and help you think through remarriage, heal from divorce, and make a great decision for you and your children.

Part 7 Introduction: And Into The Future

Co-Parenting Works!Co-parenting does not end when child support ends or at age 18. Your children need you in their life forever. They will get married. Someday you may have grandchildren. There are decisions you will have to make with your co-parent. Part 7 is about making the right decisions through lifetime for you and your children.



How to announce your divorce to your child ?

divorcing and announcing it to the children - 2houses

Are you prepared to tell the children about your divorce or separation?  While the conversation will be difficult, it’s also an opportunity to let them know, first and foremost, that you love them, and to demonstrate that – as a family – you’re going to meet their needs and answer their questions. These guidelines will help you prepare for this event.

Please note that you should be absolutely certain that the divorce or separation will actually happen before you tell the kids. Once that has been determined, consider the guidelines below.

1. Confer with Your Former Partner Before You Tell the Kids About the Divorce.

For the sake of your children, put aside the hurt and anger you may be feeling, so that you can make decisions together about the details you’ll need to tell your children. If you don’t have this conversation beforehand, you may end up having it in front of or through your kids, which wouldn’t be fair to them. If it’s extremely difficult to speak with one another, consider using the services of a mediator or counselor, or invite someone you both trust to help you work out the details.

2. If at All Possible, Both Parents Should be Present When Telling the Kids.

This sends an important message to your kids that you’re both capable of working together for their benefit. In addition, you’ll want to tell all of the children at one time. It’s important that each child hear this news directly from mom and dad; not from the sibling who heard it first. If your kids are different ages, plan to share the basic information at the initial gathering, and follow-up with the older children during a separate conversation.

3. Remain Calm and Avoid Blaming.

The manner in which you present this news to your kids will, in large part, affect the degree of their anxiety and whether they anticipate a positive outcome for themselves. If the meeting becomes a screaming match, your kids will be far more unsettled about what is happening. Instead, avoid the tendency to assign blame or say whose “fault” this is. To the extent that you can, try to incorporate the word “we” when you’re explaining the decisions that have been made.

4. Provide a General Reason for What is Happening.

It is not important, or even appropriate, that you provide specific details about why you are planning a divorce. However, your kids will want to know why this is happening. Older children will recognize that this is a huge life change, and they will weigh that change against the reason you give them. So while you don’t want to share details of a personal nature, be prepared to give some type of general explanation.

5. Provide Specific Details About the Changes Your Kids Can Expect.

Your kids will want to know where they’re going to live, with whom, and what about their lives is going to change. You can help your children to be prepared for these changes by being honest about what you know, and what you don’t know.

6. Provide Specific Details About the Parent Who is Leaving the Home.

The more you can tell your kids about where the departing parent will be living and when they will be seeing him or her, the better. They’ll need to know, right away, that they will be able to maintain a quality relationship with this parent, even though they won’t be living under the same roof.

7. Reassure the Children of Your Unconditional Love.

Your children will need lots of reassurance that the divorce is not their fault. Specifically tell them that nothing they did could have caused – nor prevented – what is happening. In addition, make sure both parents collectively and individually convey thier unconditional love through words and actions. Avoid making long-range promises about an uncertain future. Instead, stick with the assurances you can make for the present time and be generous in sharing your hugs and affection.

8. Be Sensitive to How the Kids React to This News.

What you’re telling them may be completely unexpected, and will most assuredly change their lives. Try to be as understanding of no reaction – which is a reaction – as you would be if the children were in tears or extremely angry. Your children may not know how to express their intense emotions appropriately, and it may be some time before they can articulate their feelings.

9. Welcome Their Questions.

Most likely, the children will have many questions. To the extent that you can, be honest and clear in your responses. If you don’t know the answer to a question, tell them that. Also, realize that this conversation will unfold in many parts. After you’ve told the children about the divorce or separation, expect to revisit the topic many times as new questions and concerns arise.

10. Give Them Time to Adjust to the News.

It will take time for your children to adjust to this news. It is a huge change, and while you may be confident in the hopeful future you envision for them, it will take some time for them to see that future play out. In the meantime, be patient with their needs and make the effort to be a steady presence in their lives.

By Jennifer Wolf, About.com Guide

Debrett’s Guide to Civilised Separation

civilised separation book - 2houses

“Relationship breakdowns are an all too sad feature of modern lifeone in three marriages between 1995 and 2010 having ended in divorce. However, the impact spreads far beyond the couple involved, with damage and hurt being wreaked on immediate family and all manner of friendships.

At Debrett’s we felt that, while there are many guides to the legal process of divorce, there is a paucity of advice when it comes to handling the personal issues associated with a major life trauma. We believe that courteous and considerate behaviour can acutally help to reduce unnecessary animosity and distress.

Debrett’s, the leading authority on behaviour, and Mishcon de Reya, leaders in the field of family law, have worked together to produce the first definitive guide that covers both the legal process and behavioural aspects of separation and divorce.”


The Legal Process: From advice on getting the most from your lawyer to a clear explanation of Child issues, Money Matters and Court Proceedings

After the Event: Everything you need to know about spreading the news, telling the children and cooperating with your ex-partner to dealing with the extended family and wider social circle.

New Beginnings:  From symbolic gestures, such as name changes,  to dating after a divorce, new relationships andre-marriages

The Facts:  A clear guide to the Process of Divorce, answers to Frequently Asked Questions and a Glossary of legal terms

(They aim to deliver all orders to UK addresses within 7-10 working days, although you should allow up to 28 working days in exceptional circumstances or for orders to Europe and the rest of the world.)

(64 pages, fully illustrated, 200x210mm, paperback),

Available now: Amazon US , Amazon UK.

If you read this book, tell us what you think of it by commenting this article !

Welcome onboard !

the new 2houses' blog

Welcome on 2houses blog !

4 months after the launch we felt the need to rethink our blog. I’m glad to write the first article in the new and fresh 2houses blog. We have 2 main goals here: keep you (and the world) updated on what is going on in 2houses (development, team, etc) and pass you any interesting information on divorce, co-parenting and all subjects that can bring a little plus in our day life. Above all, this blog is a support for you, it has been thought out for you, to provide you as much information as possible. You can contact us through the contact form on this blog and stay tuned to 2houses news through our Facebook  and Instagram account.

See you soon on 2houses !