Divorce Options San Diego

Can Mediation Help Divorcing Dads Have More Time with Their Kids?

January is National Child-Centered Divorce Month in the U.S. A child-centered divorce puts children’s interests front and center, and this involves a number of factors. One thing research tells us is that children need their fathers. While divorce can be hard on children, it appears that when children have more time with both parents, they have better outcomes after divorce. The “sweet spot,” or baseline percentage of free time a dad should spend with his kids, is 35 percent, according to an article on the Fatherly website:


So how do you get to this sweet spot with your kids? There are a couple of major obstacles most fathers will have to tackle on the way to equitable parenting arrangements.

Negotiating a Parenting Plan

First of all, depending on the nature of your divorce, it may require a lot of negotiation and conflict resolution to agree on the time you spend with your kids. The second thing is your own schedule: if you’re the breadwinner and/or you relied on your partner to take care of the children, you’ll have to dig deep into your own time resources to make it happen.

Mediation involves negotiation between spouses in the presence of a neutral third party (the mediator). The mediator is there to help you own your divorce and come to agreements. The San Diego divorce mediators at Divorce Options San Diego are experts at crafting complex but flexible parenting plans, using scheduling tools that can give substance and structure to your agreements. Our mediators also have psychoanalytical expertise to direct your negotiations in healthy ways that can encourage a positive co-parenting relationship. 

Overcoming Stereotypes

The upsurge in outspoken dads like Dwayne Johnson (aka “The Rock”), who thrived despite divorce, show it’s possible to be a hands-on dad after divorce. That being said, negotiations with your spouse may involve getting past deeply ingrained stereotypes. Divorced dads may have to combat these ideas in both their spouses and themselves. Some of the more common stereotypes for divorced fathers include:

  • Finding it difficult to be in “active” decision-making parenting roles rather than “passive” ones
  • Working more hours so they can pay child support, resulting in less time spent with their kids
  • Acting as weekend dads or “fun” parents while leaving the hands-on aspects of parenting to the mothers

All these stereotypes might end up affecting the co-parenting agreement and the time spent with your children. Dads themselves may end up perpetuating many of these stereotypes—demanding more time with the kids while being unwilling to take on more active or responsible parenting roles or feeling the pressure to earn more money and spend less time with the kids. The San Diego divorce mediation experts at Divorce Options San Diego use tools like game theory to identify areas of common interest and overcome cultural stereotypes. We help couples stay grounded in their children’s best interests so they can allocate realistic and fair amounts of time for the kids to spend with both parents. We can also empower (and even coach) dads to ask for what they really want and learn how to step up to the responsibilities of parenting.

Our Services & How We Can Help

At Divorce Options San Diego, we are highly qualified professional mediators and certified financial planners with psychoanalytical expertise. When considering divorce, many people assume they’re facing an expensive battle, expecting a “win-lose” outcome and numerous court appearances. At Divorce Options San Diego, we reframe divorce as an opportunity to generate creative, optimized solutions for your future and your kids’ future. We never litigate. We don’t do adversarial work, and we never represent one spouse against another. 

Divorce Options San Diego puts a high premium on a peaceful, child-centered divorce. We use developmental psychology, attachment theory, psychology of grieving, and family systems psychology to help you and your children through the difficult emotional transition. We help divorcing parents draft multiphase parenting plans that consider the children’s developmental needs. These parenting plans are flexible but thorough and in compliance with California law. We help co-parents create parenting plans that will withstand the challenges of parenting, even if national or international relocation is involved. We can also assist you with the tools to stay connected to your child even if you aren’t the primary caregiver. 

Mediation is a 100 percent confidential process, so you can be assured your divorce will be handled with care and privacy. At Divorce Options San Diego, we emphasize an efficient, caring process that leaves out no detail relevant to your emotional, financial, or legal situation, leaving you free to get on with your life and care for your kids and yourself both during and after your divorce. We have offices in Solana Beach, CA, but we can work with you remotely at your convenience via telephone, video-conferencing apps, and other forms of electronic communication. Please contact us at 858-281-2628 for a discreet and confidential consultation to see how we can help.