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What is parallel parenting?

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2021 | Family Law

Unless your family has a history of abuse or addiction, it is highly likely that you will end up in a joint custody situation with your ex-spouse after a divorce if you have children. Children do well with both parents actively involved in their lives, but this can be a very difficult interpersonal situation for the parents.

It is likely that, no matter what caused your divorce, a level of friction still exists between you and your ex-spouse. However, if this friction exists to the point where the idea of continuing to co-parent with them seems impossible, you may wish to consider parallel parenting as an alternative.

What makes parallel parenting different?

Parallel parenting is a form of joint custody where the parents do their parenting separately as much as possible. In a traditional co-parenting situation, it is likely that both parents will come together in public to show support for their children. This may manifest as both parents hosting a birthday party or going together to view a school play.

With parallel parenting, the child may have two separate birthday parties. One parent may go to the school play and the other parent may go to the after-play ice cream social. The parents are not in the same place at the same time.

What are the benefits?

Parallel parenting gives the children equal access to both parents while shielding the children from the conflict between the parents. In some situations, particularly involving parents with personality disorders, a permanent parallel parenting arrangement is the best choice.

In other situations it is possible that, after a period of successful parallel parenting, the arrangement can transition into more traditional co-parenting.