Parallel Parenting: What It Is and Why It’s Not a Failure

Since shares marketing strategies and value-added services, our content may contain affiliate links for products and services that we use, love, find trustworthy, and highly recommend. If you take action by pressing one of these links and make a purchase, we will earn some coffee money, which we will gratefully drink while hosting our coffee mornings with you. ☕️

That perfect image of a co-parenting family celebrating holidays and attending sporting events together isn’t always a reality for some. High-conflict divorces may require a different type of parenting arrangement: parallel parenting.

What is parallel parenting?

Parallel parenting is an arrangement made between the parties where contact is limited and clear boundaries are set in terms of communication. Instead of having to text, call, and email with your co-parent regularly, you will only need to communicate with them when it’s absolutely necessary. This can often alleviate conflict between the parties, which in turn benefits the children.

How does parallel parenting work?

The specifics of your parallel parenting plan can be worked out between you, your ex, and your attorneys or mediator. Some plans divide up major decision-making responsibilities like education, healthcare, and extracurricular activities, while others will iron out the specifics of those decisions in the agreement beforehand, leaving the day-to-day parenting decisions up to each party individually.

If conflict is very high, contact can be limited even further. Parents can take turns attending school and extracurricular activities. Secondly, they can designate a safe, neutral meeting spot for exchanges. They can also utilize apps like Our Family Wizard and 2Houses for communication.

Who can benefit from parallel parenting?

Anyone going through a high-conflict divorce, or who has previously tried traditional co-parenting methods to no avail, can benefit from parallel parenting. It’s particularly a good idea if children are being affected by the conflict between their parents.

How long should parallel parenting last?

Parallel parenting can last for as long as it’s needed. For some families, it’s the only parenting plan they will ever use. Other families may see conflict reduced over time and then can adopt a more traditional method of co-parenting. There is no right or wrong with this, and each family’s situation is unique. The length of time parallel parenting occurs is not indicative of success or failure.

Who creates the parallel parenting plan?

In most cases, parents with their respective attorneys or mediator will meet to iron out the details of their parallel parenting plan. In cases that involve extreme conflict, a judge may create a parallel parenting arrangement when they create the final custody order. A divorce coach can also be beneficial when creating a parallel parenting plan as they can help you determine what you will request in the plan (i.e. the amount of custody time, the location for pickups/drop-offs, forms of communication, how future disagreements will be handled).

It’s important to note that while parallel parenting may not be the situation you desire, it is absolutely not a failure and can actually lead to happier children (and parents). Choosing the best strategy that works for your family and your specific situation is a win.

More Resources:

Are you are ready to join our online Communitywe would love to have you! We have several experts in there waiting to help. Plus other divorcees you can connect and share stories with. Remember that you are not alone, even though it might feel like it at times. There are always people ready to support you- simply reach out your hand (or finger if you’re scrolling online!)

We get your struggles… We welcome you to visit our Support hub where we have created an informative and nurturing space using various modalities for you to get educated, emotionally supported and find your way. Our complimentary support groups like Coffee Talk and SOS: Support on Saturdays can be found here, along with many other helpful tools and resources.

Get more of! Straight to your inbox weekly. You’ll be the first to know the best divorce resources, professional advice, upcoming digital and live events, supportive insights, and current divorce pitfalls to avoid. Better ways to live apart are right here. Sign up for the Newsletter.

Essential Resources

If you’re facing legal/custody battles, a mental health crisis, an urgent medical issue, serious emotional problems, including suicidal thoughts, please seek help from the appropriate professionals near you.

Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
Crisis line: 1-800-356-5395
Crisis text line: Text “help” to 741741
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) Resources Marital Life Inventory
Divorce Lifecycle Document
Divorce Process Overview


323 San Vicente Blvd., Unit 1
Santa Monica, 90402

Have a question for us?
Please visit our contact form

Coffee talk:
join our weekly divorce support group hosted every Friday morning at 9 am PST.


Follow Us

Splitfyi, Inc. DOES NOT PROVIDE LEGAL OR TAX ADVICE. All information provided should not be construed or relied upon as legal or tax advice. Individuals seeking legal or tax advice should solicit the counsel of competent legal or tax professionals knowledgeable about the divorce laws in their own geographical areas.

Copyright © 2022 | All rights reserved


Install our App!

Click the share icon in your browser toolbar, then click “add to home screen” to install our app.