There are 20 million single-parent households with kids in the US, and 16 million of those are single mothers. For these parents, trying to gain a financial foothold – especially when they are of the primary residential parent and caregiver of the children – can seem impossible. There has to be a better way.
And there is a better way: equally shared parenting time. To test this theory, Emma Johnson, creator of WealthySingleMommy, conducted a survey of 2,279 single moms “to understand the connection between single moms’ parenting schedules and the women’s income, attitudes about work, parenting and wellbeing.” What she found was that when parents have true, 50/50 parenting plans, single mothers make exponentially more money, single fathers develop much stronger bonds with their children – and the children benefit from both.
What the research shows: a summary
Emma Johnson explains that when divorce became mainstream in the US, children in separated families generally resided with mom and spent weekends with dad. This idea replicates the version of stay-at-home-mom while dad provides the main source of income. Courts often followed this “tender years” doctrine from the misguided belief that mothers were better parents simply because they were mothers.
This made it more difficult to devote time, energy, and emotional stamina to growing a career and income, in comparison to unmarried fathers. The harm caused by this belief about child custody plans continues today.
When single mothers share parenting time equally with their coparents, they are:
- 54% more likely to earn at least $100,000 annually than moms whose kids are with them most of the time (with “visits” with the dad).
- More than three times (325%) more likely to earn $100,000 than single moms with 100% time with their kids.
- More than twice as likely to earn $65,000+ than those with majority time, and nearly three-times as likely to earn that sum than moms with 100% parenting time.
Why are higher-earning moms more likely to have more equal parenting schedules?
Single moms with a majority or 100% parenting are more likely to feel that parenting interferes with their ability to earn more money in comparison to those with 50/50 arrangements. On the other end, mothers with co-parenting are happier and prouder. Emma Johnson’s survey suggests single moms stated they felt overwhelmed but proud their kids see them doing their best. Those same co-parenting single mothers are more likely to feel “awesome and proud” of their accomplishments. Higher-income single moms also share this feeling of pride.
Are single mothers taking on more parenting tasks?
Single moms of all parenting schedules report that they take on more parenting tasks like regular scheduling, transportation, and homework. Fewer than 10% of the women claim both parents are equally committed to these aspects of parenting.
- 93% take more homework responsibility
- 94% take time off work to stay home with sick kids/days off school
- 90% feel more responsible for transportation to and from school, activities, etc.
- 95% schedule appointments, meetings, and activities
- 91% ensure kids are on track developmentally
- 92% feel more responsible for everyday physical and emotional hygiene and wellness
Alternatively, more equality in parenting time-correlated with more equality in emotional labor.
What are the benefits to children from 50/50 parenting plans?
We know that the data shows that equal parenting time is good for parents, but it’s also good for the kids. Research shows:
- A child who lives full-time with just one parent has more stress than a child who is involved in a shared custody situation, according to research from Stockholm University.
- Children between the ages of three and five have fewer psychological issues when living in a joint custody situation than children of the same age who live most of the time or all of the time with just one parent, according to research from Uppsala University.
- Children do much better with their emotions, physical health, academics, and other areas when their parents follow a shared custody plan after separating, according to research from Linda Nielsen.
Research has also shown the following benefits of 50/50 parenting time:
- Children experience more happiness when they have close relationships with both parents
- Quality is added to parenting time when a 50/50 parenting schedule is present
- Living standards are improved in shared parenting situations
- Shared parenting benefits the children well into their adult lives, including the next generation of the family
How can equally shared parenting be promoted?
Emma Johnson’s survey revealed that 42% of moms have asked their child’s other parent to share more parenting responsibilities alas, to no avail. It was determined that public education, coaching, and cultural changes need to happen to make equal parenting a reality.
When asked what needs to happen in our society in order to make parenting more equal:
- 62% said coaching and counseling for dads
- 57% said culture change
- 57% said public education about the importance of father involvement
- 46% said public education about benefits to moms when dads are involved
- 38% said coaching and counseling for moms
- 27% said legislation is needed
Are you concerned with the parenting schedule in place for you and the other parent of your child? Do you need the parenting schedule modified? The experienced and compassionate family law attorneys at Epperson Law Group understand the challenges of a 50/50 parenting schedule as well as the benefits. Our team can help guide you through the child custody process. Call our office at 704-321-0031 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation with a member of our team in Charlotte today. We maintain additional offices in Boone, Concord, and Weddington, NC.