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

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

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That perfect image of a co-parenting family celebrating holidays and attending sporting events together isn’tParallel Parenting What It Is and Why It’s Not a Failure 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.

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