Photo of Drew Wood

What is parallel parenting?

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2023 | Divorce |

Co-parenting after a divorce requires one essential thing – cooperation. While most divorcing couples will make a good go at this and raise their children well enough, it is not feasible for some divorcing couples.

Examples include when violence or abuse was a problem in the marriage, when one parent is particularly narcissistic, when one or both have serious addictions to alcohol or drugs or simply when two people have hurt each other so much that they can no longer handle each other calmly.

You don’t necessarily need to agree on things to raise your children well

Parallel parenting offers an alternative for situations where cooperation won’t happen or where asking parents to deal with each other will jeopardize the safety (physical or emotional) of one of them.

When you petition a court to consider parallel parenting, you’ll need to explain your reasons. Then, you’ll need to stick to what the custody order says regarding how you split time with your children.

Other than that, you needn’t have much contact with the other parent. They will parent how they see fit when the child is with them, and you do as you see fit when the child is with you. There are limits, of course. You can’t do anything that would infringe on the other parent’s custodial rights or your child’s, but as for the day-to-day details of how you parent, it is pretty much up to you.

Parents can still challenge the other parent

While you should not complain if you do not like something the other parent is doing, there may be times when you need to speak up – to a court if necessary. For example, if something your co-parent is doing threatens your child’s safety, or if they are infringing your parental rights. But generally, you each do things your own way and keep communications to a minimum – perhaps using an app or email to avoid the need for face-to-face dealings while still informing each other of things they need to know concerning the child.

With time, you may find dealing with each other easier and be able to transform your parallel parent relationship into one of coparents. Understanding how to minimize conflict in the divorce may help you get there sooner.