The Pros and Cons Of Sole Custody: Weighing Options

Custody battles are one of the most stressful things a couple can go through. There are pros and cons of sole custody versus joint custody. A lot depends on the situation and parents involved. You need to weigh the options and decide if seeing sole custody is the right decision for you, your children, and your ex-partner.

The Pros and Cons of Sole Custody: Is This The Right Move?

Positives of Sole Custody

When debating the pros and cons of sole custody, it is important to know the reason why you are seeking it. If there was abuse or neglect towards you or the children, then it might be best for them to be entirely in your care. Similarly, if there are substance abuses or severe mental illness that could impair somebody’s judgment, it might be safer to keep the children with one parent only. The positives in this instance would be that you could feel confident that your children are safe. Another positive is that if it’s only you making decisions for your children, you don’t have to discuss options with your ex. There can be less stress over important decisions.

Negatives of Sole Custody

Another thing to consider when debating the pros and cons of sole custody is that although you won’t have to run every decision by your partner, you also don’t have them to bounce ideas off of. If stressful situations arise with your kids, you won’t have the benefit of your partner’s advice. Another thing to consider is how overwhelming taking care of children full time alone can be. And of course, seeking sole custody can be a huge source of pain for the parent that loses custody. It can lead to feelings of resentment between you and your ex, as well as your children.

What to Do After You’ve Made Your Decision

After you’ve weighed the pros and cons of sole custody, you might have decided to seek sole or joint custody. If you are seeking joint custody, you and your ex will need to work out a schedule. This also might include finding new places to live or coordinating with child care and school pickups. If you have decided to seek sole custody, you’ll probably want to arrange some childcare help. You’ll need to have backup options for things like school pick-ups and taking children to activities. In case you get sick or work keeps you busy, you’ll need to know who to call for emergency childcare. You also might want to look into help since you are now the sole caregiver, which can be overwhelming.

There are many pros and cons of sole custody. Make sure you weigh the pros and cons to yourself, your children, and your ex-spouse. Seeking sole custody can cause a lot of emotions, so be sure of your decision before you seek it. Once you’ve decided which route to go, try to prepare things in advance as much as possible. This will hopefully make the transition easier for the kids. The most important thing is that you work out a situation where your children are happy and supported.

How-to Co-Parent Over the Holidays

The holidays are supposed to be a joyous time of year, filled with family, food and cheer. However, in plenty of cases, this is not the situation. Many find the holidays to be stressful, chaotic, and often painful. Some have lost loved ones, and families may be split apart. The holidays can be a real time of conflict. So how do we deal with our ex-partner and all of these pressures as you are trying to coordinate the holidays? It takes a lot of coordination to make sure each parent gets their time with the children, while still making everyone happy and ensuring everyone gets to see them. While it may seem challenging, it is possible to co-parent over the holidays.

How-to Co-Parent Over the Holidays: Working Out the Arrangements

Be Realistic

When you have to co-parent over the holidays, have realistic expectations. Unless you want to spend the holidays with your ex, you can not expect that you will always get to have your kids with you on the exact holidays. Remember that December 24 and 25 are just dates, and that you can still have a wonderful time even if you have to celebrate a little before or after. Also, you will have to keep in mind that you may not be able to have your kids visit with every single relative for the holidays. It is much more important for your children to be able to share the holidays with their other parent than see a far distant relative. If you go ahead and have reasonable expectations set, you will enjoy the season much more.

Traditions

It is no secret that traditions help make the season special. Children often have fond memories of family traditions they enjoyed. Keep in mind that a divorce does not mean that all of the fun traditions have to be over. Some family traditions may be too painful to continue. Be mindful of this, and only do what is appropriate for your situation and your family. Additionally, you should also create new traditions that are fun for everyone to enjoy. It is okay for you to hold onto some old traditions and create new ones when you have to co-parent over the holidays.

Communication

Whatever you do, communicate with the other parent before making or changing plans. Do you best to come up with a schedule to spend time with the kids, whether together or separate. Things can get more complicated if there are misunderstandings or miscommunications. Try to come up with a reasonable schedule for the holidays. Then, present it to your ex as soon as possible. Work through this to make sure this setup works best for both of you.

How-to Manage Having Split Custody of Your Kids

In some divorce arrangements, parents may end up with split custody of their children. Split custody is different than joint custody. This is a child custody arrangement in which one parent has sole custody of one or more children. Then, the other parent has sole custody of the remaining siblings. This arrangement can be difficult for both the parents and the children. If this applies to you, learn how to manage having split custody of your kids.

How-to Manage Having Split Custody of Your Kids: Divorce Arrangements

Difficulties

Having split custody of your kids can be difficult. One of the hardest parts about it is that your kids may never actually get to see one another. If one child spends all week at moms, while the other spends all week at dads, and they switch on the weekend, they will never be together. Going to living with only one parent at a time can be a big change for children. Compound that with also no longer living with their siblings too, and that makes it even more of an adjustment.

Benefits

On the other hand, there can be some benefits of having split custody of your kids. For example, this could be beneficial if one child is combative or physically or emotionally abusive to the other. In this case, it may be best to have both of the siblings separated. Another example is if one child has special needs. Depending on how severe the disabilities are, one parent may need to solely focus on taking care of the child with special needs. A parent who works away from home full-time likely would not be able to take care of a special needs child in the same way a stay-at-home parent can.

In some cases, if there are large age gaps between siblings, each may prefer to live with a different parent. Another situation is if one parents lives close to a special school that would be beneficial for one child, that child may choose to live with that parent. For example, if there is a really good school of the arts, and a child really wants to be in that program, they may decide to live at the house closest to that school. This could also apply to certain schools for kids with physical or learning disabilities.

There are definitely pros and cons to having split custody of your kids. However, if you make decisions with your children’s best interest in mind, you can manage this unusual situation.

How-to Work Through Arguments: Conflict Resolution

Arguments can be either beneficial or toxic for relationships. This wide difference all depends on how you manage them. A healthy argument can air out issues and leave both parties in a better place than they started. An unhealthy argument can lead to resentment, further anger, and a divide. Whether you are irritated with a friend or going through a divorce, there are ways to do so peacefully. It is really important to be able to work through arguments in a healthy way.

How-to Work Through Arguments: Have a Healthy Disagreement

Communicate

A big helper in managing arguments is to just make sure to communicate with the other person. If you let things build up and up, one day you will likely explode and have a huge argument. If something is bothering you, just talk to the other person about it so that it does not keep brewing inside of you. However, make sure that you address issues with your them in a kind manner. Do not attack them with the issue you want to bring up. Instead, do so in a non- accusatory manner. Have tact and think through your approach. This will help you work through arguments together, and keep them small before they blow up.

Listen

The next step in how you can work through arguments is to make sure and listen to the other person. If you do not hear out their side, they will get even more upset at you. Plus, if you listen to them, you may actually discover that they have legitimate reasons to be upset and end the argument. If the disagreement is in person, make sure to put down your phone, look at them, and show that you are paying attention.

If they are telling you that they do not think you are listening or paying attention, ask for clarification. Perhaps they are misunderstanding your communication style and you could adjust that so that they feel heard and listened to.

Apologize

Another part of being able to work through arguments is to learn how to apologize. Learn how to say that you are sorry. Figure out the best way to do so for the person you are in a disagreement with, as everyone has different communication styles and love languages. It does not have to be anything over the top, but personalizing an apology will go a long way!

Also, be sure that it is a sincere apology. People can tell when you do not truly want to apologize. Make sure it is not a back-handed apology that has a hidden jab in it. This will help you to be better at managing any arguments you have.

Co-Parenting Positivity

Going through a divorce is pretty tough, especially if you have to transition into being a co-parent. This can make it hard to feel optimistic about the future. However, it’s key that you try and focus on some co-parenting positivity. Having a positive outlook will help make your experience a lot easier…

 Co-Parenting Positivity: Keep Optimistic

Consider what you’re thankful for

A great way to create some co-parenting positivity is by considering all the things you’re thankful for. It’s easy to focus on all the negatives after a divorce. While you didn’t plan for this situation, there’s still plenty of things you can appreciate.

For instance, you can be thankful that your kids are healthy and that you can still be a parent to them. You can also be grateful for the new opportunities you have following your divorce. When you feel down, take some time to reflect on what’s going good for you. This is a great way to avoid having negativity get into your co-parenting.

Take care of yourself

Keeping healthy is also another good way to maintain some co-parenting positivity. When we feel bad physically, we also tend to feel bad mentally. This can then make it harder for you to co-parent as well as you may like. Getting into some healthy habits can be handy for avoiding this.

Simple things like eating healthier and drinking more water can go a long way in improving your mood. Exercising and getting plenty of sleep will also do the same. You may wonder how this will help you co-parent. However, being well-rested and energized really helps you keep a positive attitude and clear mind.

Talk about what’s important

Communication is always important for any co-parenting plan. Still, what you talk about can be important for your co-parenting positivity. Talking about things unrelated to your kids, especially about your personal life, can quickly put you into a sour mood.

To avoid this, it helps to focus your talks solely on your kids. Keep your conversations brief, with the main topic being about how the kids are doing. After all, you both view your kids as important. Keeping your talks centered around them can help you feel positive and avoid arguments.

Nesting Co-Parenting: Possible Benefits

Most parents think that co-parenting involves moving the kids from one parent’s house to another. However, nesting co-parenting offers a different perspective. This alternative way of co-parenting might just be the sort of thing you and your co-parent are looking for…

Nesting Co-Parenting: How Its Different

What is “nesting?”

Nesting co-parenting differs from other co-parenting plans mainly in terms of where the kids stay. Usually, after a divorce, either one parent will keep the home and the other will move, or both will move to new homes. Then, the kids will go in-between each household depending on the co-parenting schedule they come up with.

With a nesting arrangement, the kids will actually stay at the family home. Instead, it’ll be you and your co-parent who will come and go. So, for example, one week you’ll stay at the home with the kids, and then switch with your co-parent. That way, the kids don’t have to constantly go back-and-forth between two new homes.

Benefits to the kids

A nesting co-parenting arrangement can be really beneficial to your kids. Divorce is a major time of change both for you and them. Having to constantly go back and forth between you and your co-parent’s new homes can be very difficult for them. Ultimately, it can be hard for them to really feel “at ease”, even if they’re with one of their parents.

However, by nesting, your kids won’t have to worry about that. Rather, they get to stay in the home that they’re already familiar with. This helps them feel much more at ease with the situation, and not have to worry about constantly moving and bringing things between homes.

Benefits for the parents

Of course, a nesting co-parenting plan doesn’t just help the kids. It can also help you and your co-parent also. For instance, many couples find it’s cheaper to use a nesting plan. The cost of two separate apartments can be cheaper than if you were to both look for new homes. Plus, some co-parents will even “split” an apartment, with one of them staying there while the other is with the kids.

You also won’t have to worry about difficult transitions in-between homes. Rather, you’ll know exactly where your kids will be. You can even have smoother transitions than usual, such as if you drop the kids off at school in the morning and their other parent picks them up. Just make sure you communicate this to both your co-parent and the kids!

Parenting Time: Handle Disputes

Once you have put together a co-parenting plan, it can be difficult when your co-parent doesn’t follow it. In particular, it gets frustrating when their actions impact your parenting time. When these disputes arise, it’s important to know how to settle them. That way, you can get back on track and spend that time with your kids…

Parenting Time: Managing Issues

Find the disconnect

Usually, issues with parenting time are due to miscommunication. Somewhere along the way, you and your co-parent ended up on different pages. However, many times they don’t do this on purpose. Rather, it was just a genuine mistake on their part.

That’s why you should avoid trying to pick a fight with them when this issue starts happening. Instead, try and talk to them about what’s going on. It’s possible that they didn’t realize the mistake due to that miscommunication and can quickly fix it with no drama involved.

Re-evaluate the plan

Your parenting time disputes could also be caused by your co-parenting plan. It might be the case that your plan isn’t working as you had originally hoped. As a result, it’s causing problems with how much time you can get with the kids.

In this case, you’ll both want to take another look at your plan. Now that you have tried it out, you can more clearly see what isn’t working and make changes. It may even be easier to scrap the plan entirely and try out something new which’ll better match your new schedules.

Be flexible

Flexibility is important for any co-parenting plan. It’s also a good way to handle parenting time disputes. Certain unexpected situations can make it harder for your co-parent to fully stick with your plan. However, these may just be temporary setbacks for them until they get things back under control.

Therefore, try and be flexible with them as they get reoriented. So long as it doesn’t become a constant thing, it’s okay for there to be a slight change in your plans. Plus, you doing them a favor now makes it more likely for them to do the same when you need some extra help down the line.

Co-Parenting Boundaries: What To Establish

It’s always important to set up good, healthy boundaries after your divorce. However, if you’re going to be co-parenting, then you’ll need some specific co-parenting boundaries as well. These boundaries can really help you have a more pleasant co-parenting experience…

Co-Parenting Boundaries: Key Areas

Conversations

It’s important to have good co-parenting boundaries for your conversations. Healthy communication is crucial for any co-parenting plan. If you can’t talk to one another, then it’ll quickly cause issues for you both when it comes to trying to co-parent.

Having some boundaries regarding your conversations can help prevent these issues. Mainly, you want to keep your conversations focused on the kids, and avoid trying to pry into their personal life. You might even find it’s better to keep your conversations through text or phone calls as an extra step to avoid tensions.

Pick-ups & drop-offs

You’ll also want to have good co-parenting boundaries when doing pick-ups and drop-offs. While these might seem pretty simple, the truth is they can be more difficult than you think. Seeing your ex again can bring up strong emotions, which could end up causing you to argue in front of the kids.

That kind of fighting can be traumatic to your kids, who might think that they’re somehow responsible for your fighting. Therefore, you should make sure these times are focused solely on having the kids move from one household to another. If you really do need to talk to your co-parent about something, do it later and in private away from the kids.

New partners

New partners tend to always make co-parenting a little bit trickier than it was before. If your partner starts seeing someone new, then you probably won’t be too fond of this new person at first. Your ex could act the same should you move on and begin dating first as well.

This is why the best thing to do is set up co-parenting boundaries which limit the involvement of these new partners. After all, your agreement was between you and your ex. Keep these new partners out of it for the most part, and wait until things begin to calm down before either of you try and introduce them properly to the other.

Father’s Day Post-Divorce

Many holidays tend to be a bit hard to celebrate after a divorce. A Father’s Day post-divorce is one of those holidays which will require you to navigate a bit differently. However, there are some things you can do to make the day enjoyable for everyone…

Father’s Day Post-Divorce: Make It A Success

Talk to the kids

It’s good to talk to your kids about how a Father’s Day post-divorce will be different than it usually is. Many kids struggle to enjoy these special days because of the divorce. Things tend to feel a little sad for them as they remember that they can’t really celebrate them as they used to before the divorce.

Therefore, don’t be afraid to talk to them about that. Let them know it’s okay if they feel a bit sad, and that you feel sad too. However, be sure to remind them how important they are to you and that you’ll be there for them. This can really help them get back into a better mood.

Try some fun activities

A Father’s Day post-divorce should also involve some fun activities for you and the kids. Just doing nothing may be relaxing for you, but your kids will feel a bit left out. This isn’t something you want to happen, especially coming off of a divorce.

Rather, come up with some things that they can do with you to celebrate the day. They don’t need to be anything complex, but just things you can all enjoy doing together. You can even let the kids try and plan things out! Doing these types of activities are a great way for you and your kids to improve your bond, which the divorce may have strained.

Don’t sweat gifts

Gifts are something which can be a bit tricky for a Father’s Day post-divorce. Younger kids tend to usually make something themselves and give it as a gift. For older kids, though, they usually have the other parent take care of things. This could no longer be possible now after your divorce.

That’s why you won’t want to sweat any gifts, and make sure your kids know that. They could feel guilty if they show up empty-handed, so let them know the thing which really matters to you is spending time with them. Still, if they’re adamant that they want a gift, try to have a grandparent, aunt, or uncle help them pick something out.

Co-Parenting Vocabulary

It’s crucial that you and your co-parent practice good communication. A large part of being able to do so is your co-parenting vocabulary. Using some essential phrases will help the both of you talk to each other and take care of your co-parenting duties…

Co-Parenting Vocabulary: What To Use

Please and Thank You

Out of all the phrases, please and thank you are some of the most important for your co-parenting vocabulary. In fact, pretty much everyone is taught from a young age how important they are. That importance doesn’t change when you become co-parents either.

Saying please and thank you is an easy way for you to show some respect to each other. Plus, it makes it a lot easier for you to have them do you a favor, or show your appreciate for when they help you. It seems simple, but a lot of co-parents forget the value of simple courtesies!

Our children

Another helpful phrase to use as part of your co-parenting vocabulary is “our children.” Due to your divorce, it’s easy to feel disconnected from one another. Eventually, this can seep into your co-parenting, where you begin to act more selfishly than selflessly.

However, using “our children” can help reaffirm who exactly your co-parenting is for. That way, you both realize when you’re acting in your own interests at the expense of your kids. This’ll help you to come together and work on solutions together, rather than try and do things your own way.

Let me think on that

If you had a particularly rough divorce, then it’ll take you some time to adjust to working with your ex as a co-parent. In particular, your reactions to their requests might be more negative than they should be. To avoid this, you want to give yourself a chance to really think things through with a clear head.

A good way to do this is just by saying something like “let me think on that” when you need to. Doing this helps to give you some time to consider whatever it is your co-parent is asking. At the same time, it also shows them that you aren’t just blowing off their question or idea and are willing to give it some thought.