Vacations with Split Custody

Vacations with split custody can be an awkward situation to manage. You and your ex both share custody of the children, and you each probably want to take them on vacations. However, it’s easy to feel more nervous when your children are traveling without you. Therefore, it’s best to work together with your ex so that you can each make vacationing smoother. Give plenty of warning about your travel plans: don’t just bring them up last minute. Discuss the details of your trip with your ex so that they feel more comfortable. Keep in touch while you are traveling to ease nerves. And finally, remember to set aside your bitterness with one another to prioritize your children. Hopefully, by doing these things, you and your ex will each be able to enjoy fulfilling vacations with your children and make amazing memories.

Vacations with Split Custody: How to Make Things Smoother

Give Plenty of Warning

Vacations with split custody are easier to handle when you have plenty of time to prepare for them mentally. Therefore, you and your ex should discuss any future travel plans well in advance. Even if your vacation doesn’t impact their schedule, you should still keep them informed. After all, you’d want to know if they were taking your kids out of town.

Discuss Details with Your Ex

When going on vacations with split custody, it’s helpful to discuss the details with your ex. Parents often worry when they feel out of control of their children. Therefore, giving them a detailed schedule of your plans while traveling can help put minds at ease. In addition, if you’re taking the kids to do something like a beach vacation, make sure you both discuss water safety and expectations beforehand.

Keep in Touch While Traveling

Keep in touch while traveling to make vacations with split custody more smooth. Let your children call and check in with their parents as much as they want during the time they’re away. This will put everybody’s minds at ease. If you have questions concerning how to handle things like pool safety or curfews, make sure that you double-check and get on the same page together.

Put the Kids First

Finally, prioritizing your kids first is the most important thing for making vacations with split custody more enjoyable. They are the ones who you should be focusing on. You and your ex might have a lot of built-up resentment towards one another. There could be a lot of pain and bitterness. However, denying your children opportunities for vacations won’t change your past. Try to set aside your feelings and do what is best for your kids, even if it means swallowing your pride.

Vacations with split custody can often become an unexpected battlefield in the post-divorce world. You might not realize how anxiety-inducing it can be to know your children are traveling without you there. However, you will quickly get used to the idea and be more comfortable with it. It can help to discuss it with your ex in a productive way. Give them plenty of notice about vacations so that you can both prepare. Discuss the details and itinerary of your vacation together and make sure you’re on the same page with safety precautions. Check-in with your ex or your children while they travel to put your mind at ease. And finally, try to remember that your kids and their fun is the priority over any feelings of bitterness. Hopefully, by focusing on them instead of your divorce, you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation to the fullest extent.

Ways You Can Support a Foster Family

If you are not quite ready to become a foster parent but are wondering how to support a foster family, there are plenty of meaningful ways to be helpful. You can help gather supplies before a new placement arrives. You can also provide food or organize meals. Being a good listener for the parents can be very helpful as well. And finally, you can be there to help welcome a new foster child into the family. Fostering is an amazing way to help the community and provide a meaningful relationship for a family and a child. However, it can be stressful. Foster families can use all the support you can give!

Ways You Can Support a Foster Family: Be Helpful

Help with Supplies

One way to support a foster family is to help gather supplies before a new placement arrives. Sometimes, a foster family doesn’t know that a new child will be living with them until the day before they arrive. They may not have all of the supplies that they need to take care of the child. For example, they may not have diapers, crib, correct size car seats, etc. You can help purchase supplies for them. You can also reach out to your community to see if anybody is willing to donate items.

Organize a Meal Train

Another way to support a foster family is to organize some food for them. Welcoming a new foster child can be a very busy time when it’s easy for parents to get overwhelmed. Cooking a full meal might be the last thing on their mind. If you enjoy cooking or can purchase some meals, drop them by the house. You can also prepare easy frozen meals for them to heat up. If there are other people you know who are wanting to help, organize a meal train where different people can sign up to bring food on different days.

Be a Good Listener

Being a good listener is a very helpful way to support a foster family. Bringing a new foster child into your home is a really exciting time. But it can also be very stressful and filled with difficult emotions. The parents sometimes can feel overwhelmed and just need a supportive friend to talk to. They may be feeling scared, stressed, frustrated, or completely frazzled. Be a sympathetic listener and ask them how they would like you to support them.

Help Welcome a New Placement

Finally, another way to support a foster family is to help them adjust. Invite them all over for a fun game night or group activity. Or you could purchase a new game or something that the family can all do together the first night. Foster children often have many appointments, so it can also be helpful to offer to drive them or to stay with the rest of the family while the foster parents take them. You can also investigate the requirements to be able to provide respite care or babysitting.

Becoming a foster parent can be a very stressful process. If you’ve been on the fence about becoming a foster parent, you can begin by helping to support a foster family. You can help a family collect supplies for their new placement, or organize a meal train and food. It’s great to be a supportive listener if you have a friend becoming a foster parent. It can often be an emotional journey. And finally, you can be supportive by inviting the family to hang out or give them a new activity to do together. You can even get qualified to provide respite care which is a huge help for families. Fostering is such an amazing act of love and supporting foster families is a terrific use of your time and energy.

Adoption and Foster Care: How are They Different?

Adoption and foster care vary in many different ways. While they are similar in that each is a way for a family to welcome a child as one of their own and help a child in need, they are not the same. They differ in the permanence and time commitments of each. Foster care is a temporary situation, while adoption is permanent. In addition, the goals of foster care and adoption are different. Legally, the outcomes of each also are quite different. And finally, the training involved and preparation for each is slightly different. If you are considering adoption or fostering, you are potentially making a huge difference in the life of a child in need and your own life.

Adoption and Foster Care: How are They Different From Each Other?

Permanence

The main difference between adoption and foster care is the levels of permanence. Foster care is meant to be a temporary situation where you take care of a child in need for a short time. In contrast, adopting a child makes that child legally your own. You will raise them for the rest of their life. In fostering, you might end up deciding to adopt your foster child, however, it is not always the case.

Goal

The reason why there is a difference between adoption and foster care in terms of permanence is that the goals of each are different. The goal of adoption is to find a child that you will legally make a part of your family forever. They will be your child in every sense of the word permanently. However, the goal of foster care is to take care of a child in need until they can be reunited with their birth parents. While some foster parents adopt their children, the actual goal is to take care of them until their parents are well enough to have them come back to live in their home.

Legal Rights

Another difference between adoption and foster care is the legal rights of the parents. In a foster care situation, the child’s legal guardian usually retains all parental rights. This is typically the case, but not always. In contrast, an adoptive parent becomes a child’s legal parent.

Training

Finally, the preparation involved is another difference between the two. With each, you’ll need to do a home study and prepare your house to bring home a child. You’ll likely be assigned a caseworker to work within either situation who will help prepare you for the journey ahead. There might be more training involved with foster care than adoption. This is because children in foster care sometimes have emotional and physical needs due to past trauma. It can also be incredibly expensive to adopt, especially if you opt for a private adoption agency.

There are several differences between these two avenues of building a family. Deciding which ones will work for you should take time and careful consideration. Foster care is meant to be a temporary situation while adoption is permanent. This is because the goal of foster care is to reunite the child with their parent while the goal of adoption is to become the legal parent of a child. The training and cost involved with each can also vary. If you’re considering either one, consult with parents you know who have been through each process. They can give you plenty of insight and advice and will be a source of support when you do make your decision. Whichever you decide to do, you’ll be making a huge difference in the life of a child and opening up your heart to expanding your family.

Preparing for Summer with Joint Custody

If you are preparing for summer with joint custody of your kids, you might need to re-examine your schedule. The school year and summer present different obstacles for splitting custody. If you work full time, arranging childcare can be difficult. In addition, if you or your ex have vacations planned, you may need to be flexible with your schedules. If you’re planning on sending them to summer camp, you’ll need to both be on the same page. Similarly, if you’re planning to hire a babysitter or nanny for the summer you’ll want to make sure that you both are comfortable. Finally, although summer doesn’t have a ton of holidays to work around, you should have a plan for the 4th of July and others. Hopefully, if you both are open-minded, you can come up with a summer schedule that works for everybody!

Preparing for Summer with Joint Custody of Your Kids

Planning Vacations

Summertime is when most families take vacations since the children are out of school. If you’re preparing for summer with joint custody, you’ll need to take into account your custody arrangement before planning vacations. If your schedule doesn’t give you enough time for a full vacation, talk to your ex about switching around days. They may also have a vacation they’d like to take and want to have you return the favor later for them. Staying flexible and understanding is the key to working out a plan that works for everybody.

Planning Camps

Summer with joint custody can be difficult for parents who both work full time. Without school in session, it’s hard to entertain children all day at home. Luckily, there are many summer camps available to help break up the time. You and your ex need to be on the same page with what camps you’d like to send your children to. Financially, you need to establish boundaries as well. Hopefully, you can come to an agreement in regards to who is paying for summer camp, which camp the kids are going to, and what the pickup/drop-off schedule will look like.

Summer Help

If you’re facing summer with joint custody, you may be looking into hiring help. A nanny or babysitter can be a huge benefit to working parents when the kids are home from school. Kids respond well to consistency, so talk to your ex about hiring the same nanny. You could even coordinate it so that the nanny is able to drive the kids to and from your respective houses on days when you switch custody. Just make sure that you are on the same page with who is paying for which days so that you don’t leave your summer help in the lurch. Also, make sure that both parties are comfortable with whoever you hire.

Holidays

Finally, you need to consider holidays when planning for summer with joint custody. While summer doesn’t have too many holidays to deal with, you’ll need to figure out the plan for Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. Some partners choose to switch off years for special holidays, but you can handle them however you’d like. Also, remember that Mother’s Day and Father’s Day take place in May and June. Try to be understanding if your ex wants the kids for their respective day because you’ll probably want them for your holiday too. It’s also a kind gesture to help the kids make something special for the holiday.

Summer with joint custody doesn’t have to be a huge headache if you just prepare in advance and try to be understanding. Being flexible with your partner often results in them being flexible when you want to change things. Especially if you’re wanting to re-arrange days based on vacations. Also, plan for summer camp or a summer nanny if you’re both working full time. Finally, don’t forget to make a plan for the summer holidays like the Fourth of July. Hopefully, with a little planning ahead and some understanding, you can have a great summer!

How-to: Take On Being a Single Dad

Being a single parent can be tough. Everyone always focuses on single moms, but what about single dads? Whether you are a single dad due to divorce, a failed relationship, or the death of a spouse, this role will be tough, but rewarding. It will take some time to get into the swing of things, and there will be both good and bad times that come with it. However, no matter what your background or experience is, here are some tips on how to take on being a single dad.

How-to: Take On Being a Single Dad- Parenting Journey

Routines

One of the most difficult parts of adjusting to not having another parent at home with you is getting routines in place. This is something you be faced with on day 1 of being a single dad. There will likely be more to do and not as much help. You will have to juggle grocery shopping, meal planning, and prep. There will be cleaning and chores, plus keeping track of school, homework, and functions. Understand that you are human, and just one person, and that there is only so much you can do. Try your best, and know that you are doing the best you can. If you mess up, it is okay. Just brush it off and learn from it.

Raising a Daughter

It may feel daunting to raise a daughter while being a single dad. There will be so many things you feel you will not be able to relate to or handle without having a mother-figure present too. Just take it now step at a time, and focus on her basic needs. While girls are different, they need many of the same basic things that boys do. For example, food, shelter, clothes, and love. For the other things, try and find one or several strong, female role model figures to be present in your daughter’s life.

Dealing with Loss

When you become a single dad, it will be due to some sort of loss. This could be a loss of a relationship, the end of a marriage, or even the death of a spouse. Whatever this may be, you will go through a period of grieving. At the same time, your children will also have experienced the loss of their two parents being together or even a parent passing away. You will have to work through your own grief at the same time as helping your kids through the process.

Different Types of Custody Arrangements

If you are going through a divorce with kids in tow, you might be wondering about the different types of custody arrangements available. It can be overwhelming to look at your options. The four main types of custody are legal, physical, joint, and sole custody. Weigh your options and decide what works best for your family.

Different Types of Custody Arrangements: Know Your Options

Legal Custody

Legal custody is one of the types of custody arrangements available. Whichever parent has legal custody of the children has the right to make all legal decisions for them. This could mean deciding long term things about their care and upbringing. For example, schooling decisions and medical decisions are things the legal custodian would need to decide. It’s possible to have sole legal custody. You could also share legal custody with your ex.

Physical Custody

Physical custody is another type of custody arrangement. This type of custody decides who the children live with. It is different from legal custody. This is because if major decisions need to be made, even a physical custodian would need to consult with their ex. Physical custody could be sole. This means the kids live full time with one parent. It can also be joint where the children go back and forth between parents. However, with sole custody, it’s possible to give your partner visitation rights.

Joint Custody

When looking at different custody arrangements, most people think of joint versus sole custody. Joint custody just means that both parents share in the raising of the kids. This can include joint legal custody or joint physical custody, or both. This is the option most common when both parents are fit caregivers. If you and your partner are both responsible parents, joint custody allows you both a say in your kid’s lives.

Sole Custody

One final type of custody arrangement available to divorcees is sole custody. It means that one parent is entirely responsible for the children. Sole custody can be sole physical custody, sole legal custody, or both. This option is common when one parent is unfit. This could be because of incarceration, drug use, abuse, neglect, or mental illness among many other things. This can be in the best interest of the children if it’s for their safety. However, it means that the kids don’t get to interact much with one of their parents.

Looking at the different types of custody arrangements is a tough spot to be in. It can be messy and emotional trying to decide what works for you and your ex. Whether you decide on joint custody or sole custody of the kid’s legal or physical decisions, let it be the best option for your children.

How-to Know if You Are Ready to Seek Sole Custody

People file for sole custody for various reasons, but not all of them are good ones. The battle for sole custody is now something you should enter into lightly. Joint custody grants some form of shared custody between both parents. On the other hand, only one parent can end up getting sole custody. Depending on your ex, this could turn into a challenging, and unpleasant battle. It is also a very big decision to make for your child. Since this is such a big thing to take on, you need to really know if you are ready to seek sole custody.

How-to Know if You Are Ready to Seek Sole Custody: Challenges of Divorce

Reasons

There are many reasons a parent may try and get sole custody of their child. Some people just want to hurt their ex. Other people are looking to either get more child support or to get out of paying child support. Some people do it because they can’t bear to be without their child. Whether or not it is warranted, they may even be afraid the other parent isn’t going to take care of them as well as they do.

However, the most important reason to seek sole custody is to protect your child from harm. Some parents are just not meant for co-parenting. In these cases, it is the other parent who is or may potentially harm your child. If the other parent has committed physical or sexual abuse against your child or another child, it may be a good idea to seek sold custody. Other reasons that could should consider filing for sole custody would be child neglect, incapacitating mental illness, substance abuse, or abandonment. Also, another reason would be if the parent is involved with criminal activity that affects the safety and well-being of the child.

Consider Children

While determining if you are ready to seek sole custody, you will need to consider what is best for your children. If they are old enough, be sure to ask what your child wants. While it will be difficult, honestly evaluate which situation would be best for your child and their development and well-being.

Preparation

If you are ready to seek sole custody, there are many things you will need to do to prepare. First, you must make sure that you have a safe, clean, proper home environment for the child. You should be able to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing, providing your child with an all-around good home environment.

Be sure to keep documentation of what steps you have taken to improve how have worked to improve your parenting skills. Get references for your parenting skills so that you can prove you are a fit parent. Additionally, make note of situations where the other parent did things that would make him or her an unfit parent. This documentation could be helpful in court.

Parental Conflict: Spare The Kids

Emotions usually tend to run a bit high during a divorce. However, if you have kids, you won’t want to fight with their other parent in front of them. Rather, it’s important to spare them from as much parental conflict as possible. There’s a few ways you can shield them from those heated disagreements…

Parental Conflict: Protect Your Children

Don’t fight in front of them

For starters, it’s important you keep any parental conflict away from the kids. You don’t want to have a major argument with them there. Doing so will not only scare them, but it’ll leave a lasting impression. This will make it harder for them to adjust to the divorce and process it in a healthy way.

If you come to a disagreement, you should do your best to avoid escalating things into an argument. Keep your calm and don’t engage in any name calling or yelling. Still, if you’re worried about things potentially getting heated, you should ensure your conversations take place in private somewhere away from the kids.

Don’t vent to the kids

Even if you don’t argue in front of the kids, you can accidentally get them involved in parental conflict. In particular, this could happen if you vent to them about the divorce and their other parent. Some parents might think it’s okay to do so, especially if their kids are older and say they want to help.

The reality is venting to them will put them in an awkward position. Suddenly, they’ll feel like they need to take sides, which could cause their relationship with their other parent to suffer. Instead, you should only talk about the divorce and any issue you have with your support network.

Follow the co-parenting plan

You should also make sure that any parental conflict doesn’t get in the way of your co-parenting plan. After a fight with your soon-to-be-ex, you might want to “get back” at them. One way you may do this is either by not dropping off the kids when you’re supposed too, or otherwise not following the original plan.

What this does is basically put your kids in the middle of the divorce. Now, they’re going to feel like they did something wrong, and that’s why things have gone the way they have. Doing this will also negatively impact any co-parenting plans going forward, and could even hurt your divorce goals.

Co-Parenting Goals: Find Success

It can be a bit difficult to start co-parenting. To help you and your ex going in the right direction, it can be a good idea to set some co-parenting goals. These goals can help ensure your efforts result in success…

Co-Parenting Goals

Help the kids feel secure

Divorce usually causes your kids to feel a lot of uncertainty about the future. While you yourself might have a lot of questions about what’s next, your kids also will feel the same. Mainly, they might be worried about where they’ll live, or if the divorce itself was somehow their fault.

Therefore, it helps to set making the kids feel secure as one of your co-parenting goals. Having a good, consistent schedule can help them adjust to this new “normal” and feel more relaxed. Spending plenty of time with them also helps reinforce to them that you or your ex aren’t going anywhere.

Create a budget

Divorce also brings changes to one’s budget. As a co-parent, you’ll not only need to plan a budget for yourself, but also one for your kids with your co-parent. Usually, this budget involves things like major expenses, such as tuition or medical bills. That’s why this shared budget is another of the co-parenting goals to work towards.

One useful way to do this is by first meeting with your ex and going over your individual budgets. Then, you can look at what major kid-related costs you might have. By doing so, you can work on adjusting your budgets to meet your kids’ needs.

Better communication

Not all ex-couples will want to talk all the time after divorcing. Still, co-parenting will require some kind of communication between the two of you. After all, you’ll have to coordinate things like dropping or picking up the kids. Due to this, improving communication is one of the most common co-parenting goals.

A good way to do this is by keeping your conversations positive. Focus on the good things, like if the kids got good grades on a test, over negative topics. It’s also good to help keep them in the loop about any changes to your schedule which could impact your usual co-parenting plans.

High Conflict Co-Parenting

Divorcing on bad terms with your ex often leads to high conflict co-parenting. This type of co-parenting ends up being bad for both you, your ex, and your children. Therefore, it helps to try and work together to find some common ground and improve your parenting styles…

High Conflict Co-Parenting

Develop a fair plan

Often times, high conflict co-parenting comes about when former partners can’t come up with a fair plan. Co-parenting is all about having some kind of plan of action. This plan tends to cover things like who gets the kids on what days and the shared standard ground rules. However, many times parents try and make unfair plans which benefit them at the cost of their ex.

As a result, it’s important to work together on a fair plan. This plan needs to be something which works well for the both of you. You might have to make some compromises, but that’s always a part of making agreements. In the end, good plans make your co-parenting experience go much more smoother.

Communicate well

Another important factor in co-parenting is communication. Co-parents have to be able to talk to one another about their children. For instance, they might need to coordinate plans, make sure their ex can still take the kids, or ask if their ex can watch them as a favor. Not having that good communication tends to cause high conflict co-parenting.

One way to improve your communication is by keeping it focused on the kids. If you and your ex find that you can’t talk normally about things, then keep your topics focused on the kids. That way, you avoid talking about subjects which might end up leading to arguments.

Focus on the shared goal

The thing with high conflict co-parenting is that most times, both parents don’t want to hurt their kids. Instead, they just want to raise them in what they view as the best way possible. Therefore, instead of using co-parenting as a source of arguments, use it as a means to come together on some common ground.

Try to keep this shared goal in mind next time things get tense. You and your ex can begin to see that you both want your kids to have a happy childhood, and a good future. Putting things back into perspective can help you both start to work on your disagreements.