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 Perform Good Divorce Prep

When you decide to get a divorce, you won’t want to rush into things blindly. Rather, you’ll want to take the time to practice good divorce prep. Doing the prep work now will help to make things a lot easier for you in the future…

How-to Perform Good Divorce Prep: Useful Steps

Gather documents

Having the right types of documents is key for your divorce process. As such, you should start gathering these documents as part of your divorce prep. In particular, financial documents are going to be very helpful. Things like tax returns, W-2s, credit card and bank statements, and other similar documents will be quite handy to have.

Still, it’s one thing to just get your documents. You should also be sure that you organize them too. It might be a little tedious to do, and not always an easy task. However, taking the time to do so now is better than trying to do so when the divorce is underway.

Set up your finances

Divorce can be a bit of an expensive matter. Therefore, it’s good to prepare your finances as part of your divorce prep as well. After all, many people experience some financial stress both during and after their divorce. Preparing ahead of time can help reduce or get rid of this stress altogether.

It’s helpful to try and come up with a general budget to figure out where your finances are currently. With this, you can start to add in some potential divorce costs and see the effects. Should your budget begin to show signs of trouble, then you’ll know to start preparing. Limiting your spending and setting more money aside can help you make it out of your divorce in good financial shape.

Breaking the news

While divorce is a personal matter, you’ll eventually have to let those close to you know about your plans. This can be a pretty stressful task, especially if you’re worried about how others may react. Taking some time to plan how you’ll break the news now as part of your divorce prep can make this process a bit easier for you.

Try to come up with a general “script” you’ll use when you’re bringing up your divorce to others. For those close to you, you can go into a bit more detail as they’ll be a source of support to you. Should you have kids, then it’s especially good to plan how you’ll let them know what’s going on.

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!

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.

Custody Types: Differences & What To Expect

Child custody is the first thing many think about after the initial thought of divorce. Where will the kids spend the majority of their time? All aspects of divorce can seem overwhelming. The thought of spending birthdays without your children can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s discuss the custody types that are common, so you know which type is best for you and your soon to be ex.

Custody Types: The Differences Between Them

Legal Custody

Different from the rest of the custody types, legal custody allows a parent to make decisions regarding the upbringing of the child. In most states, joint legal custody is granted. Legal custody allows the parent to make decisions about schooling, religious practices, and medical care. If you exclude your ex from any decision making and you have joint custody, it can result in court visits where a judge will enforce the agreement.

Physical Custody

Physical custody grants the right for a child to live with one parent or the other. Joint physical custody happens sometimes, too. Joint physical custody is one of the popular custody types for parents who live close enough to each other. Before granting joint physical custody, a judge will ensure it will not be stressful for the children to go between homes.

Sole Custody

Once widely popular, sole custody is losing its luster in courts around the United States. Sole custody grants either sole physical or sole legal custody to one parent. This happens in the cases of a parent being considered unfit to parent, due to a variety of reasons. As far as custody types go, sole custody is probably the harshest. However, if you have sole custody, your ex may still have visitation rights.

Joint Custody

Also known as shared custody, joint custody allows both parents to share decision-making responsibilities. In addition, both parents are equally responsible for the physical and financial aspects of raising children. In these cases, parents usually work out a schedule that works best for them and for the children. Sometimes, custody types like joint physical custody include alternating periods of time (weeks, months, years, etc.) or spending weekdays with one parent and spending holidays and weekends with the other.

As these are the most common custody types, there may be cases where other agreements or arrangements are made. Also, you should remember that there can be a restriction on custody depending on the fit of the parent. Every case is different, and if you need help or clarification regarding your custody agreement, consult your attorney. We’re always here to help.

Co-Parenting Communication: Avoid Breakdowns

“Communication is key.” You’ve probably heard this piece of advice as you begin to transition into your role as a co-parent. However, communication is almost always easier said than done. Furthermore, it can be hard to keep that communication with your ex open, especially if you reached a bitter end. Due to these reasons, amongst others, we’ve put together some strategies to keep co-parenting communication from breaking down.

Co-Parenting Communication: Healthy Arrangements 

Don’t Play The Blame Game

“He said/she said” or “He/she started it” arguments are a quick way to see your communication with your ex turn south. If your ex says something mean or nasty to you, it might be tempting to answer with something rude too. They started it, right? But what is more important: being “right” or not being miserable?

Instead of engaging, just ignore those comments that are trying to get under your skin. Keeping your actions and communication positive will let you set the tone of your conversations. It can also make your ex reconsider how they may have been acting, and lead to them making efforts to be positive when you communicate as co-parents.

Learn to Compromise

You and your ex might not agree on everything when it comes to co-parenting. Maybe you think your child should do their homework right when they get home, and maybe your ex thinks they should do it after dinner. Both of you have your reasons for why you think your way is the “best”. A great way to avoid this disagreement becoming an argument over who’s right, is to learn to compromise.

There is no “right” way to parent; everyone has different approaches. You can have your child do their homework right after school when they’re with you, and your ex can have them do it right after dinner at their place. Either way, the homework is getting done, and you avoid a potential argument. For bigger matters, like say planning for the holidays, keep it calm and try to put things in writing. That gives you time to gather your thoughts before your respond. If you lay everything out logically, then you and your ex can pick the solution that is best for everyone.

Be Direct

The best way to avoid misunderstandings between you and your ex is to be direct. Having other people rely messages can turn co-parenting communication into an out-of-hand game of telephone. It’s also important to avoid using your child as a go-between. They’re adjusting to their new situation just like you. Asking them to deliver messages can make them feel trapped and as if they have to “pick a side” between you and your ex. Instead, use phone calls and texts when face-to-face communication isn’t an option.

Divorcing During Pregnancy: Avoiding Stress

Getting married and bringing children into the world should be some of the happiest times in a person’s life. However, things don’t always go according to plan. Sometimes, the unexpected becomes your reality. In the event that you’re divorcing during pregnancy, you’ll have a lot on your plate.

Now, instead of just facing divorce, you’re also trying to reduce stress for your unborn child. Often times, it can be difficult to figure out where to start, and how to go about this in the most stress-free way possible…

Divorcing During Pregnancy: Achieving a Stress-Free Separation

Understand the Law

​The first thing you need to do in any divorce, is to understand what the law says. Every state is a little bit different, and will change your options by some degree. So, make sure you’re reading the right laws for your state.

Furthermore, speaking with an attorney can make this process a lot easier, and removes that ‘legalese’ language. Some states even hinder your options when it comes to divorcing during pregnancy, and will make you wait, or just file for a separation. Understanding your options makes it easier to plan accordingly.

Talk to Your Spouse

With most divorcing couples, communication is a pretty big issue. But, it’s a pretty large part of the process, especially when it comes to divorcing during pregnancy. You’ll need to discuss both parent’s intention when it comes to custody arrangements, and how involved they hope to be. Unfortunately, even before your child is born, you’ll want to begin discussing visitation and support agreements. 

Taking these steps will ensure you can have these all handled in the initial divorce agreement. If not, then it can be a costly and difficult process to go back to court to get orders for them. It might be hard, but doing these things now makes it easier on you and your spouse in the long run.

Build Your Support Group

Before your child is even born, you know that you will be a single parent. This wasn’t your plan from the beginning, which can make this fact all the more jarring and frightening. Having a support group is important to help deal with the feelings of isolation and stress that are natural to any parent, but especially a single one. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and family for support.

Odds are, they’ll be more than happy to help you. You can also look for single parent support groups. Not only do these groups offer great programs to help you adjust, they are also full of people who know exactly what you are going through. Knowing that you don’t have to face this challenge alone can help make this difficult time a little bit easier to handle.

There’s no denying that this is a difficult, frightening, and stressful time for many reasons…

But, there are steps you can take to be more informed, supported, and ready to divorce during pregnancy. Furthermore, getting prepared to move into single parenthood and co-parenting. Taking cues from these tips here can help make this stressful process a doable one for both you and your baby’s sake.

The Four Co-parenting C’s

There are plenty of mistakes that every co-parent will make. After all, we’re all new to this at some point in time, and there are always growing pains. The key to being a good co-parent, is keeping a few key goals in mind. From communication, to compromise, and beyond— the Four Co-parenting C’s are something every divorced parent must observe, and perfect, to become the co-parent we all want to be. No one said it’s easy, but it’s undeniably worth it.

The Four Co-parenting C’s to Perfect for Your Kids 

Cooperation

When it comes to mastering co-parenting, cooperation is at the center of it all. While you two divorced for a reason, you also have to find ways to put that aside for your children. You’ll have to manage school, appointments, birthday parties, family gatherings, sick days, pick-up and drop-off, and many manyother things as a unit. The key to successful cooperation, is to plan ahead of time— but also be flexible. The more committed you are to cooperating for your kids, the more likely you are to be successful at it.

Compromise

One of the most difficult things to do as a divorced parent, and co-parent, is to compromise with your former spouse. No matter how hard we try, it’s extremely easy to be spiteful when it comes to your ex, even when kids are involved. But, as a parent, you always have to imagine if the shoe was on the other foot. Maybe this weekend was supposed to be yours, but your former spouse’s mother has fallen extremely ill. Your ex asks if you will let the child spend the weekend with them so they can visit in the hospital. 

While your instinct might be to say no out of spite, consider if it was the other way around. Your mother is ill, she might pass, and you want your child to be able to say goodbye. By giving a little in the right moments, you and your former spouse might be able to form a new kind of respect, and become better co-parents in the long run.

Consistency

As we’ve mentioned, there will always be growing pains as you learn how to co-parent outside of a marriage, but consistency is key. By maintaining routines for your child from one household to the other, you give them a sense of security that might have been wavering after the separation. By setting uniform expectations, you make things easier for your children. Not to mention, you also avoid that infamous “but, Mom/Dad lets me…”

Communication

We always save this one for last because it’s the most important, and the most difficult to master. Chances are, your inability to communicate with one another played at least a small part in your divorce. So, how are we supposed to get better at it now? Quite simply put, because you have to. In communicating effectively, you set a strong example for your children and avoid conflict. Conduct yourselves in a business-like fashion because, after all, you’re colleagues in the business of raising your children. So, be courteous to the co-parent as if they are a co-worker.

As you consider the Four Co-parenting C’s, you might begin to discover what you’ve been excelling at. Furthermore, you might also discover what you need to work on. Every parent, whether divorced or together, can inevitably improve their tactics in one way or another— and there’s no shame in saying it. However, there is admirability in admitting your faults and improving upon them.

Changing Names Post-Divorce: Considerations

After going through a divorce, you may feel the need to usher in change. Many people re-decorate, find new hobbies, change their hairstyle, and some women change their last name. The decision to go back to your maiden name can be a tough one because it is so permanent. While there are plenty of benefits to changing names, there are also some cons.

Changing Names Post-Divorce: What to Consider 

When Changing Names Means Changing Identity

One of the cons to changing names is that it disrupts your identity. Depending on the relationship, you may have spent many years with your spouse’s last name. In that case, any degrees you earn during that time will be with your spouse’s name. Also, fellow colleagues will come to know you by that name and may refer to you as such. If you have any business ties, they will also be under your married name…

Therefore, your sense of identity in your everyday community may rely on the name of your spouse. If you’ve spent many years with that name, your own identity may be firm in it as well. Perhaps changing your identity may be exactly what you’re looking for. In that case, changing names may be the best decision for you.

Being Different From Your Children

Another aspect to consider when changing names is how it will affect your children. If you have kids from your marriage, changing names may not only separate you from your ex, but from your children as well. Therefore, it may be a good idea to consider if having the same last name is important to you. Also, you may want to ask your kids and see how they feel. If they are old enough to understand, it may bother them to have a different last name than one of their parents. 

Changing Names Means You Have to Take Your Maiden Name

While changing names after divorce may seem like a great way to start over, it’s important to remember that it also means you have to take your maiden name. So, it’s not so much starting over as it is just going back. For many people, going by their maiden name may be just as troublesome as sticking with their ex’s. Therefore, before you decide to go with a name change, make sure you feel better about taking your own back. 

In short, there are a lot of factors to consider before changing your name. While you may be looking for a way to start over, make sure this is the start you want. It’s best to consider your identity, your children’s feelings, and your maiden name before making drastic changes.

Divorce Communication: Successful Separation

Divorce can be a time of high-running emotions and stress. Sometimes, this can make effective divorce communication difficult for people. Knowing the right way to talk to your ex is a key part of a smooth divorce process…​
Divorce Communication: Keep it Healthy

Be straightforward

A common divorce communication problem is not being clear about what is going on. Sometimes, people might dance around discussing matters like finances or co-parenting. This could be due to them not wanting to create tension or conflict with their ex. However, this ends up doing the exact opposite.

Not being direct about what you think can lead to your ex getting aggravated and your divorce going nowhere. Instead, you should let your ex know what you’re thinking and why. That way, you can make some progress in your divorce.

Don’t shut out your ex

Proper divorce communication is a two-way street. You should also be willing to listen to what your ex says. Dominating the divorce discussion will only make your ex not want to discuss things to find solutions.

Instead, let your ex know that they should be open as well. Don’t interrupt your ex when they’re speaking either. A lot of potential arguments can be avoided by letting someone finish what they’re saying! Once your ex feels like they can be heard, your communication will quickly improve.

Don’t be rude

Being polite seems like a no-brainier, but it’s something that many divorcing couples don’t do. All of the emotions that a divorce brings can make couples lash out at each other instead of talk normally. This is especially apparent if the divorce wasn’t a mutual decision

However, a little politeness goes a long way. You should avoid making snarky comments about your ex or what their thinking. Even if you disagree, it’s better to explain why you do than shut them down. If your ex is being rude to you, it’s always best to take the high road. Not playing their games will give you the upper hand in the negotiations.

Healthy divorce communication is a crucial part of any smooth divorce. Practicing these communication tips can help you and your ex get through your divorce and onto the next chapter of your lives quickly and painlessly.