If you and your spouse have endured marital difficulties for months or years, you two might have finally decided to divorce. As you prepare for proceedings, you may hope that you can minimize your interactions with your spouse in the future. But if you two are parents, you will have an inextricable link due to your children.
Your feelings toward your spouse may be far from rosy. Yet, you may recognize that they are a good, fit parent who your children will benefit from having them in their lives. To ensure this outcome, you may want to consider parallel parenting.
Understanding how parallel parenting works
Parallel parenting differs from co-parenting because you and your spouse will remain disengaged from each other in most situations. You two will still need to communicate about parenting matters. Yet, you will do so through asynchronous mediums, such as through a co-parenting app or by email or text. While parallel parenting will require you and your spouse to reach consensus on major decisions about your children, you will each handle day-to-day decisions on your own. And you two will not attend your children’s appointments, events or meetings together.
To make parallel parenting work, you must create a straightforward parenting plan. In it, you must set out a detailed custody schedule, coordinate custody exchanges and divide parental responsibilities. By having a structured plan, you and your spouse will have fewer opportunities for interactions and conflicts.
What parallel parenting can accomplish
If you and your spouse cannot get along with each other, parallel parenting will help you avoid bringing your children into your conflicts. By protecting them from your disagreements, they may feel more stable and secure during and after your divorce. This will make it easier for them to maintain strong relationships with both of you and avoid picking sides in your split.
You and your spouse’s relationship may also improve through parallel parenting. So long as you both follow the terms of your parenting plan, you may find yourselves having less difficulty resolving disagreements and communicating with each other. Over time, you may even be able to transition into a more traditional co-parenting arrangement.
While parallel parenting may not seem ideal, it can protect your children and decrease the tension between you and your spouse. An attorney with family law experience can help you determine if it is an appropriate arrangement in your situation.