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Is Parallel Parenting Right for You?

Tue 17th Jan, 2023 Family Law

Co-parenting with an ex-spouse after divorce is not always easy. While all parents want to do what’s best for their children, there are other issues to consider. Do the ex-spouses get along? Are they capable of working together for the children’s best interests? Do their lifestyles accommodate traditional child custody and visitation models? Ex-spouses have many different types of parenting plans to choose from, and new models are popping up all the time. One type of parenting plan that is becoming increasingly common is “parallel parenting,” which the attorneys at our Stockton child custody law firm explain below. 

What Is Parallel Parenting? 

Parallel parenting is a type of parenting plan that allows each parent to exercise their own judgment in parenting responsibilities with little communication or collaboration with the other parent. Under this scenario, neither parent needs the approval of or permission from the other parent for day-to-day custodial activities. Communications between the parents outside of emergency scenarios generally are strictly business and are usually conducted through email, text, or a co-parenting app. In some cases, a third party may handle communications and custodial exchanges so that direct contact between the parents is virtually eliminated. 

Who Is Parallel Parenting For?  

As you may have deduced from the description above, parallel parenting is most common in high-conflict divorces where the ex-spouses simply cannot get along. Some relationships are so volatile that even seeing an ex-spouse or hearing his or her voice can cause distress. Parallel parenting generally works best in the following scenarios: 

  • One or both parents harbor resentment or distrust that inhibits communication
  • One or both parents refuse to work with the other parent 
  • One or both parents have a history of domestic violence against the other parent
  • One or both parents suffer personality disorders that increase the risk of conflict
  • One or both parents fundamentally disagree with the other parent’s decisions

Pros and Cons of Parallel Parenting

Non-traditional parenting plans such as parallel parenting have a number of benefits and drawbacks. On the benefits side, parallel parenting avoids conflict in front of the children, which can be distressing and potentially lead to parental alienation. It also allows both parents to have an active role in their children’s lives while keeping the other parent mostly out of the picture. And it minimizes potential disagreements over parenting decisions, as each parent sets his or her own rules while the children are under their care. However, there are significant drawbacks. Most obviously, the lack of communication between the parents makes parallel parenting less efficient than traditional co-parenting. It may also be confusing for the children, as each parent may have vastly different parenting styles than the other. 

Contact an Attorney at Our Stockton Child Custody Law Firm to See if Parallel Parenting Is Right for You

While traditional co-parenting is ideal, it is not practical for every family, and attempting co-parenting when you are not a good candidate for it can do more harm than good. For more information about whether a parallel parenting plan might work for you, please contact an attorney at the Stockton child custody law firm of McKinley, Conger, Jolley & Galarneau by using our online form or calling us at 209-477-8171.

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