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Mediating for a Modern Shared Parenting Agreement, and Why it Matters More than Ever

Instead of fighting for more time with her kids, this Mom was vocal about fighting for less. The stereotype that Moms have an easy time in divorce because they get money to take care of the kids is damaging, she argues. But why? It’s because Moms are more than just Moms, they are people with life trajectories of their own. This may include a career. For most single Moms, it also means dating and seeing friends. An imbalanced parenting agreement may be compensated for with money, but there is no compensating for the lost career opportunities and lost sense of identity many single Moms experience when they are doing most of the parenting.

It’s a perspective that matters now more than ever. Research shows that more than 2 million women have dropped out of the workforce since the pandemic started. There’s no doubt that the increased burden of parenting during the pandemic has been responsible for this decline. As a unit, co-parents or couples may decide to “protect” the career of the higher earning partner by delegating childcare to the other partner. Although this may be understandable, it is a risky strategy and puts a burden on both people in a marriage or co-parenting relationship. The parent who looks after the children takes a lower paid part-time job, or is stuck with the 24-7 responsibilities of parenting. The parent who focuses on their career feels the burden of being a sole economic provider in unstable times and misses out on being with their kids.

The Burden of “Pandemic Parenting”

Unbalanced parenting relationships can break up a marriage, but it can also threaten existing co-parenting relationships. During the pandemic, parenting is a much heavier burden on the primary care-giver. Parenting relationships with a 70/30 split that previously worked may not work anymore. The primary care-giver, often the mother, may need more support with childcare but doesn’t get it because the other parent’s career is “so important.” Custody fights might even start working in the opposite direction, as mothers cry out for a break from the responsibility of childcare. As the article points out, sometimes the reason people get divorced in the first place is unequal division of labor and childcare. When this is the case, divorce negotiations can be full of resentment and unmet expectations.

If you feel like you’re not getting a fair deal in divorce, you don’t have to fight. At Divorce Options San Diego, we are compassionate California divorce mediators who can help you re-imagine your divorce beyond traditional roles. We use specific tools to help uncover the real potentials for collaboration in your situation. You might assume that it’s a net gain for a father or primary breadwinner to focus on their career and a mother or lower earner to take a lower paying job. A thorough analysis of your shared finances, schedules and support systems can reveal that there many options to share responsibilities. The article quotes a researcher who notes that a survey showed women’s careers and happiness thrived with 50/50 parenting arrangements. If a co-parenting unit can work together to make both parents economically more resilient and emotionally more satisfied, this benefits their kids.

When Fair is Equal, and When it’s Not

At Divorce Options San Diego we often work with couples from California cities like San Diego and LA where women earned as much or more than their partners prior to the pandemic. Just as Ruth Bader Ginsberg said that full equality will only be achieved when there are nine women on the Supreme Court, there is no reason why a custody agreement shouldn’t go in the other direction with the father as the primary caregiver. Mediation helps you work from an open template and create a plan that suits the needs of you and your children. Research shows that 50/50 parenting is good for kids. However there are many options parents can use to make this happen, such as periodical adjustments to the parenting load so that parents with stressful careers can be present during times there is a lull in work projects. During pandemic times, many parents may choose to relocate to be closer to older parents, which can ease the burden of parenting. All these options can be discussed in mediation.

Unfortunately, mothers may still feel huge pressure to be “unselfish” for their kids. At Divorce Options San Diego we work with West Coast parents under a variety of social and personal pressures. We can use psychoanalytical methods to help parents work with internalized social expectations. We can also include practical support in our divorce mediations, such as career coaching and connecting parents with moving and decoration services. We are a full service firm who can assist with the burden of divorce and child custody documentation during our divorce mediations.

Our Services and How We Can Help

The mediators at Divorce Options San Diego are caring, well-educated mediators who are skilled in applied financial mathematics, the law psychoanalysis, and game theory. We are familiar with the challenges facing families and parents in the West Coast area in cities like San Diego, CA and Santa Clara, CA. We strive to efficiently comprehend your situation and its opportunities for sustainable and agreeable resolution. This may include a review of your parenting plan, spousal support calculations, community property equalization, settlement agreement, and all other aspects of your case. We can either confidentially present you with a private analysis, or mediate the conflict with both of you until resolved. Any resolution you come to will be informed by a deeper analysis of the conflict that can be psychoanalytic and/or more financially-focused. Conflict analysis can result in a more optimized understanding of the net community property, which adds value to the overall estate, benefiting you both. At Divorce Options San Diego, we are a full service firm who can help you complete important documentation and manage other aspects of your divorce and divorce process. We can streamline the process to include whatever necessary documentation is a prerequisite for agreements, such as homeschooling documentation for co-parenting arrangements during the pandemic. The sooner you can resolve your conflict, the sooner you can begin to craft a sustainable future for you and your children. We work with individuals from several cultures and countries, and can help with national and international relocation issues associated with divorce. Our safe, socially distanced mediations can be facilitated by Telephone, Zoom, Facetime and other videoconferencing tools. We are available 7 days a week and at urgent notice. Please contact us to see how we can help.