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It’s been four years since “conscious uncoupling” redefined the way we do divorce. And in its wake, more forward-thinking concepts have cropped up (hello, divorce doulas). Here, Maren Cardillo, an attorney at New York firm Divorce Mediation Professionals, offers an up-to-date primer on parting ways.

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Shorthand for when children continue to live in the family home and divorcing parents rotate in and out. When not with the kids, the off-duty parent generally stays in an apartment nearby, say, with a relative. “For the most part,” Cardillo says, “nesting works best as a temporary arrangement. As mom and dad start to pursue their own personal lives—or remarry—it can become complicated.” But, at least in the short-term, kids benefit. “We have seen this work well when a couple with teenage children waits for their youngest to graduate high school before selling their home, as it’s less disruptive for the children.” While the divorcing parents’ sense of privacy may suffer, “The advantage is that the kids can stay settled in one household, in one community, where they have their room, their stuff and their friends. They don’t have to adjust to going back and forth between two households, in two potentially different communities.”

Divorce Doulas
Like their childbirth-coaching counterparts, these pros offer expert advice and a shoulder to cry on. Toronto-based doula Lynn Kaplan addresses both the practical complexities of separation (prepping clients to work with lawyers, financial planners and the like) as well as the emotional, “Serving as a crutch, a sounding board, a friend and a partner.”  Explains Cardillo: “A divorce coach is usually a non-lawyer who provides hand-holding and information throughout the process.” And they come customized. “For someone who needs assistance managing expenses, a coach with a financial background could be helpful. For someone who needs parenting advice, a mental health background would be preferred.”

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50/50 Custody Splits
In her practice, Cardillo sees more divorcing parents choosing to have their children live with them on an equal basis (no more living with mom and spending weekends with dad). This could mean four days with mom and three with dad, then swapping, or living with one parent for one week and with the other the following week. This balance is “ideal for couples who live in close proximity to each other, and to their children’s school,” Cardillo says. “The time without their children gives parents a chance to recharge their batteries.” It also positively expands their roles. “Maybe mom always made dinner and dropped forgotten bookbags off at school. Maybe dad helped with homework. Now dad is preparing meals and mom is helping with algebra. Children benefit when they experience both parents taking on these responsibilities.”

Divorced Couples Who Still Live and/or Work together
Opening (and investing your life savings in) that mom-and-pop vegan bakery seemed like such a good idea on your honeymoon. But what happens to divorcing couples whose lives and careers are intertwined? Nowadays, many are keeping it that way. Cardillo has helped a number of clients who continue to live or work together post-split. Their reasons are usually financial (funding two separate households = crazy expensive). And typically, when a husband and wife become roommates, they try to separate their house into two distinct living quarters (like setting up a separate apartment in the basement). But don’t try this at home without solid, sanity-preserving ground rules. “There could be guidelines for socializing with friends or new partners, and rules for how to share communal space like a backyard,” Cardillo says. Soul mates who become solely co-workers, she adds, can still have a productive professional relationship, “particularly if that is how they earn their living and their business is successful. It’s important to have their legal ducks in a row with a partnership agreement, just as any business partners would.”

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Divorce Apps
Shared online organizational systems like 2houses ensure no one misses a pediatrician’s appointment, forgets a school concert or neglects to pay the orthodontist. “Online tools are very helpful in easing communication between parents in conflict,” says Cardillo. “When interactions are limited, these websites give parents a way to share information, track child-related expenses, make changes to the parenting schedule and organize the kids’ activities. Sometimes problems between divorced couples come from miscommunication and misunderstandings. These apps limit that.”

Soft Landings
Definition: Another co-parenting arrangement wherein a divorced couple lives a few blocks apart, or on different floors of the same apartment building. They spend weekends and downtime as a family unit, vacationing together and keeping holiday traditions and other rituals status quo for the kids. “I’ve seen this, but sadly not very often,” says Cardillo. “If a couple can preserve the ability to communicate effectively and be civil and respectful to one another, then they will have more options as far as parenting arrangements. Most importantly, their children will learn by their behavior, will be better able to cope with the divorce, and have healthier relationships with both parents.”

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