Relocating During Divorce: Mediation and Maintaining the Parent-Child Connection
Where you live can determine a lot of things, from your cost of living to your job opportunities to your relationships. One of the most painful things that can happen in a divorce is relocating to a place where you aren’t physically able to see your child as much, which may mean moving to a different town or suburb of San Diego, where your work schedule or traffic prevents you from traveling. It could also mean moving out of state or even internationally. It’s often more a question of logistics than anything else. At Divorce Options San Diego, we frequently work with couples who need multistate parenting plans, regional parenting plans, and international parenting plans, helping them design their divorces with their locations in mind. Each of these types of parenting plans has its own unique characteristics, and we write all of these for our clients.
Being More Than a Weekend Mom or Dad
Whether you’re a weekend mom or dad or you only see your child during holidays, the first thing you’ll have to deal with is the adjustment, which can be heartbreaking. Divorced parents often talk about the sadness of “the switch,” when you’re waving goodbye in the rearview mirror after you hand your child over to your co-parent. Parents who have relocated or live too far away for equal parenting arrangements face the common problem of being the “fun,” weekend, or holiday parent, which may leave you feeling left out of the child’s life in other important everyday ways.
Uneven parenting calls for careful negotiation with your co-parent over not just the quantity but also the quality and function of time spent with your child. There may be issues ranging from a parent’s protectiveness (banning children from doing risky activities such as horse riding), to an uneven breakdown of responsibilities, to a lack of information. For example, one parent might leave another parent uninformed about important healthcare information. When roles are uneven and information isn’t forthcoming, it can be difficult to remain connected to your child and provide care and guidance. In mediation, you can make an overview of your current parenting arrangements and agree on a parenting plan that gives you both the opportunity to remain connected to your child. At Divorce Options San Diego, we know parenting plans aren’t just a matter of fixed scheduling. They must be both strategic and flexible to take advantage of important and day-to-day events in the child’s life.
Understanding the Power of Electronic Communication
In a recent study published in the Journal of Family Issues, teenagers were found to do better when parents kept in touch via messaging apps such as WhatsApp. Even if messages are short, there’s great value for a relocated parent in maintaining a consistent presence in his or her child’s life. Kids can bond with parents over many things that can be shared and discussed remotely, such as sports results, TV shows, sharing photos, or playing online games. Negotiating with your co-parent might be necessary so he or she doesn’t interpret your communication with your child as monitoring his or her parenting, and shared content should be suitable for the child’s developmental level.
Being more than the “fun” mom or dad could involve helping your child with homework (remotely via Skype or Zoom). It could also involve keeping tabs on your child’s Internet use. The important thing is that in mediation, you and your co-parent can decide. Mediation is non-adversarial and doesn’t dictate your parenting plan or fix it in place forever. At Divorce Options San Diego, we emphasize empowerment, growth, and the value of ongoing negotiation and the freedom to adjust your plan.
Looking After Yourself Helps You Be There for Your Child
When you only see your child occasionally, it can impose a burden on you to perform or make you feel left out of the important decisions about your child. Being the weekend mom or dad could mean every holiday is spent being a parent. At Divorce Options San Diego, we combine the practical with the emotional, using psychoanalytical and mathematical tools to help you shape parenting arrangements in a mindful way. We can work with the developmental level and attachment styles of the child. For example, a younger child may need more physical contact and cuddles or, in the case of a distantly relocated parent, more screen time (rather than text messages), which could include reading a bedtime story to your child. We also work with your own psychological needs and help you design a schedule to reflect your legitimate needs, giving you more energy to be a good parent.
Using Mediation Services: How We Can Help
At Divorce Options San Diego, we are highly qualified professional San Diego divorce mediators and certified financial planners with psychoanalytical expertise. Our mediators are caring, educated professionals who build divorce around conflict resolution, closure, and practical solutions for your future life, including beyond divorce. 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 children’s future.
We empower divorcing spouses to own their divorce and craft sustainable, effective mutual agreements that will last long after the divorce is finalized. We are a one-stop shop providing a bundle of essential divorce services, from paperwork, court documents, and financial analysis through divorce transition coaching, life coaching, and interior design. We cater to those with busy lives who want the best for themselves and their children. If appearing in person is difficult, we can mediate remotely. We use Zoom, Skype video, web conferencing, texting, and other forms of electronic communication for convenience, multistage situations, and international situations. You can mediate with your spouse in the same room or not, depending on your comfort level.
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 co-parents build parenting plans that are legally sound and will withstand the challenges of parenting, even if national or international relocation is involved. We can 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 and your children’s needs, which leaves 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 can work with you remotely if necessary using 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 with your San Diego divorce mediation.