Divorce ends your marital relationship with your spouse, but it does not change the responsibilities that you have as a parent. Research demonstrates that conflict between parents is harmful to children and that shared parenting following a divorce is beneficial for them in almost every instance.
How do you share custody with a former spouse with whom you have a high level of conflict without harming the children by exposing them to negative interactions between their parents? Healthline suggests parallel parenting as a possible solution.
What is parallel parenting?
Parallel parenting is an arrangement that allows you to share custody of your children while minimizing the need for interaction with your former spouse. Extremely limited interaction reduces the chance that hostile feelings between you and your ex could escalate in front of your children.
The downside of parallel parenting is that it is less flexible than co-parenting. However, it could avoid exposing your children to the damaging conflict.
What are some examples of parallel parenting provisions?
When making a parallel parenting plan, you and your spouse must be extremely meticulous in deciding on the parenting schedule, down to an exact start time and end time for each visit. You must make a plan in advance for how you will handle variables such as disputes and cancellations. Pick-ups and drop-offs must take place in a neutral location, such as a parking lot where the kids can transfer from one car to the other without the need for you or the other parent to get out of the car.
Parallel parenting may be a temporary arrangement until you and your ex-spouse can work out your differences. However, if you and your spouse are unable to reach an understanding and form a more amicable relationship, the arrangement may also be permanent.