5 FAFSA Tips for Divorced Parents

The issue of how college expenses will be handled comes up in many of my divorce cases. It's common for parents to wait to divorce until their children are teenagers or young adults. This tends to be around the same time that people are preparing to send their children to college. Unfortunately, many are unprepared for the coming expenses.

5 FAFSA Tips for Divorced Parents

Applying for and paying for college can be very stressful for many parents. Co-parenting is hard enough without the stress of supporting your kids through the college application process. Often, divorce settlements don't detail how college expenses will be handled. In fact, it's outside of the jurisdiction of many states' domestic relations courts. If college expenses are detailed in the agreement, they're often vague with limited concern around the details adding additional stress.

Enter the FAFSA. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is used to determine federal financial aids...

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Shared Parenting During the School Year: Tips for Success

With three school-age children, I'll be honest. I dread the beginning-of-the-school-year paperwork. There is so much new information coming at me and lots to remember - not to mention the mountain of forms I always spend the first few days of the school year filling out. If you are sharing parenting responsibilities with your Ex, it takes teamwork for a smooth transition into the new year. Here are some tips for success.

Have a plan for shared parenting during the school year

Work with your co-parent to create a transition plan from the summer schedule to the routine for the school year. In our house, we let the kids stay up a little later and sleep in a little later during the summer. About a week before school starts, we start returning the kids to their normal school sleep schedule. That way, they are well-rested for the first day of school. It's a simple thing but it makes our mornings before school go much smoother.

Prioritize communication

If possible, I recommend...

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Age-Appropriate Children's Books About Divorce

Talking to your children about divorce isn't easy, especially when you are still processing your own feelings. Sometimes using books that are designed to guide the conversation can be helpful. Here is a list of age-appropriate children's books about divorce. Click on the picture of the book to find it on Amazon.

Ages 3-5

It's Not Your Fault Koko Bear

Koko is a preschool-aged bear whose parents are getting divorced. Koko is very upset. The book is designed to be read by parents to their children and help them talk about how they're feeling. It reassures children that their parents still love them regardless of the changes happening in their family.

Mama and Daddy Bear's Divorce

Dinah is scared. Mama and Daddy Bear are getting a divorce. Daddy is moving out and she's not sure when she'll get to see him again. This sweet book doesn't go into details about divorce, but helps acknowledge that there are big feelings involved for kids.

Two Homes

This book focuses on...

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Helping Kids Through Divorce

When I got divorced, I had three children between the ages of three and eight. I remember the stress. I was overwhelmed thinking about how I was going to help my kids get through the divorce and ultimately, how I would manage on my own.

It can be scary to think about how you'll take care of your children after a divorce. There will be many changes on the horizon for everyone. You have to be confident that you can take care of them, even if you have to turn to friends and family members for emotional and financial support. It's also important to remember that taking care of your own needs is vital as you're not going to be able to care for your children if you aren’t taking care of yourself.

5 Tips to Help Kids Get Through Divorce as Smoothly as Possible

Ask For Help

Don’t be too stubborn to take advantage of the help that is offered. I don't know what I would've done without my mom's support. I am very fortunate that she lives close by. She listened to me...

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How to Handle Parenting Expenses After Divorce

There are several reasons that parents come in for mediation after a divorce is over. A big one is parenting expenses. The reality is if you get divorced when your children are young, it's hard to know what kind of extracurricular activities they will become involved with over the years or even if they will develop chronic health issues.

Strategies to Handle Parenting Expenses After Divorce

It's really impossible to negotiate every possible scenario. However, it is crucial to discuss at least a baseline for how you’ll divide those parenting expenses after divorce and effectively communicate as well.

Step 1: Discuss how parenting expenses will be handled prior to finalizing your divorce

Add parenting expenses to the divorce agreement. Under the best-case scenario, you will have thoroughly discussed the division of expenses, so both of you know what to expect. You’ll want to be aware of expenses including school tuition, lunches, medical bills and insurance,...

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My Key to Co-Parenting Success Is Not "Putting My Children First"

That's right. I said it. My key to co-parenting success with my ex is not "putting my children first" as so many professionals recommend.

My first year co-parenting

I remember the first year of co-parenting well. I would describe it as a complete failure and excruciating. My youngest son was three years old. Every time he had to go between my home and my ex's, he would have a complete meltdown. I felt like my heart was being torn out of my chest.

My ex wanted to be the fun parent so he would sugar them up and let them stay up late. We have three kids. At the time, they were 3, 6 and 7. When they came home, they were exhausted and cranky from lack of sleep. Then I had to be the bad guy and send them to bed early.

To say that I was aggravated with my ex would be an understatement. In fairness, I wasn't innocent. He was pretty angry with me, too. I had recoupled very quickly after our divorce. He was hurt and uncomfortable with the situation and wanted to make sure I knew it.

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Shared Parenting Plan Checklist

I often find myself sitting in mediation with couples who are looking for guidance when it comes to creating a parenting plan. The beauty of mediation is that you can create a parenting plan that is going to work best for your children and your family and quite frankly, it really does not matter what everyone else is doing. That said, there are certain elements that, from a practical standpoint, you may want to address. Here is a parenting plan checklist of items to consider.

What is a Shared Parenting Plan?

Before I get ahead of myself, what is a Shared Parenting Plan? It is a written document that details how you will co-parent. If you take the time to think through future parenting challenges that may arise, it can really take a lot of stress out of co-parenting. It's like a guidebook that you have created for yourselves. When we discuss your plans for shared parenting in mediation, you can determine how detailed to get. There is a Shared Parenting Agreement that will...

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Eliminate Shared Parenting Battles with OurFamilyWizard

Parenting is a tough job in the best of circumstances. Shared parenting after a divorce is a whole different ballgame. When I first went through my divorce, dealing with the most basic kid issues felt like preparing for battle with my ex again and again. It was exhausting. Quite frankly, I did not want to contact him every time I received information from the school or one of the kids was invited for a playdate or any other issues that regularly arise.

I first learned about OurFamilyWizard at a conference for divorce financial analysts and as soon as I started learning about the features and benefits, I was sold. (Please note, while I promote very few services, this post does include affiliate links.) I was further impressed by how widely the app is accepted by the courts.

Shared Parenting Tools

What Is OurFamilyWizard?

OurFamilyWizard is an app that is designed specifically for people like you who are co-parenting with their ex. It is designed for parents who care deeply about their children. It is...

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