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.

Social Media Management: Avoid Divorce Issues

These days, social media is a great tool for keeping in contact with others and having a place to speak your mind. During a divorce, however, you have to be mindful about what exactly you’re posting. Posting the wrong thing can lead to potential repercussions down the line. To help avoid this happening to you, here are some tips for social media management…

Social Media Management: Watch Your Content

Don’t Start Public Fights

One key aspect about social media management that many people forget is to avoid speaking ill about their spouses. These can be posts directly, or even indirectly, referring to your spouses. These kinds of posts should be avoided, because of how they can come back to bite you in the courtroom.

Your spouse can use these types of posts as evidence for why you shouldn’t be granted things like custody, or alimony. If you’re on the receiving end of a post like this, make sure to take the high road. Screenshot the posts and let your lawyer deal with them during the proceedings. If you feel the need to vent, it’s best to do so to a counselor or close friend rather than online.

Consider What Your Friends Post

Something else to consider when trying social media management is what your friends might post on their pages. You might have been focusing on a well-kept and respectable social media presence, but your friends might not. Consider what kind of content your friends usually post on their pages.

For example, if they tend to post a lot of pictures, be careful about allowing them to post ones with you in them. Your spouse could use pictures of you from parties, or a night at the bar against you in court. A good policy to use is allowing your friends to post anything you’d be fine with your family seeing.

Avoid Your Ex’s Pages

It can be tempting when using social media during divorce to check on your ex’s pages. Maybe you’re curious on how they’re moving on or handling things compared to you. However, all you’ll be doing is making it harder for yourself to begin moving on. If you allow yourself to become consumed with what your ex is doing, then your not giving yourself the time to process how you feel. If something important happens involving your ex that requires your attention, odds are they or someone else will let you know.

Social media is a great tool for connecting with people. However, it can turn into your worst enemy if used improperly. When using social media management, make sure to keep an eye on what you or others are posting to avoid future headaches down the road.

Family Events: How To Handle Them

There’s no real “perfect” time to get a divorce. Most people try to avoid starting a divorce around holidays or birthdays, but a divorce can take some time. That’s why it’s important to know how to handle family events during divorce. That way, you can make these events as successful as possible while still handling your divorce…

Family Events: How To Handle Them

Remember your shared goals

Defining goals and potential concerns is a big aspect of mediation. This is different from defining a position. For example, saying you deserve to keep the house is a position, whereas saying you need housing that’s close to your child’s school is a goal. This similar process can be applied to handling family events during divorce.

Ask your partner what your goals and concerns are for an upcoming event. Most people will see that their goals are usually similar: they want their family or kids to enjoy the event and for everyone to have a good time. Still, you might have some concerns, like about potential arguments. However, once you’ve identified these goals and concerns, you can start making a plan.

Develop your plan

A good plan is key for managing family events during divorce. The more developed your plan is, the better your chances are for the event going smoothly. Try to think about the whole event, from beginning to end, and come up with a plan that is both realistic and enjoyable.

Still, you and your partner might not agree on certain parts of the plan. In these cases, try to consider if what you or they are suggesting is feasible or more difficult. You want to be flexible, but you also have to recognize when things might not work. The best way to handle this is to explain to your spouse any issues you see and why in a clear and calm manner.

Prepare for success

Working with your spouse is one part of making family events during divorce a success. The other part comes down to how you prepare for these events. That means setting yourself up for success well in advance through good self-care measures.

It’s important to get enough rest and eat enough before going to these events. Divorce can be quite a draining a process. However, being tired or hungry will lessen your ability to enjoy these events. That’s why you should try to get plenty of sleep and have a full stomach beforehand.