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Parallel parenting after a difficult divorce with kids

On Behalf of | Nov 13, 2021 | Firm News

Divorces can be bitter affairs and sometimes the kids are caught in the middle. When parents in the Tucson area have so much pent-up animosity and anger against one another, co-parenting following a divorce may require a level of cooperation and communication that they simply cannot achieve. These parents may be interested in another alternative: parallel parenting.

What co-parenting?

To understand parallel parenting, we first need to understand co-parenting. Co-parenting is often believed to be in the best interests of the child if a child’s parents can cooperate and communicate effectively. This means keeping each other up to date on the child’s life and activities, spending special events together such as school programs and soccer games and generally agreeing on how they want to raise their child. As you can imagine, co-parenting can benefit a child if the child’s parents are on good enough terms that they can work together to raise their child as a team post-divorce.

What is parallel parenting?

Parallel parenting lessens the amount of contact parents have with one another. Through parallel parenting, parents agree to disagree. They agree that they will each separately be in charge of their child when their child is in their care, including making decisions regarding the child’s daily routine and household rules. Communication does not need to be face-to-face. Parents can communicate through email, text message or even a notebook that goes back and forth along with the child. It is important to note that parallel parenting does not always provide the child with the level of stability they need post-divorce. However, parallel parenting can help avoid conflict that may otherwise lead to parental alienation or even parental abduction. It is not always ideal, but it is better than continuing to argue about the child’s care post-divorce.

Is parallel parenting right for you?

It is important to note that parallel parenting refers to physical custody. If parents share legal custody, they must agree on how to manage key points of their child’s upbringing such as medical care, what school the child will attend and what religion the child will participate in. If only one parent has sole legal custody, they get to make these decisions on their own. Regardless, for parents whose relationship is extremely toxic post-divorce, parallel parenting may be a way to make child custody work when all other efforts have failed.