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Parallel parenting when co-parenting simply does not work

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2022 | Custody

A lot of attention is placed on co-parenting as the gold standard for shared custody. While successful co-parenting can benefit your child in many ways, sometimes you and your child’s other parent simply cannot cooperate well enough to make co-parenting work.

If you gave co-parenting your best shot and it did not turn out, this does not mean you have failed as a parent and your child will suffer. There are alternatives to co-parenting, including parallel parenting.

What is parallel parenting?

Even parents with a high-conflict relationship want to make sure they are acting in the child’s best interests. Parallel parenting can allow these parents to raise their child together without exposing their child to the hostility they have toward one another.

In parallel parenting, parents have little direct contact with one another. They may communicate only through email and text messages. They may even pass a shared notebook between them. This way, they do not necessarily need to talk to each other face to face about day-to-day care information.

Parents who are parallel parenting can still share joint legal custody. This means they will still work together to make key life decisions regarding the child.

However, parents who are parallel parenting will each have the discretion to make daily care decisions on their own regarding the child. They will not interfere with the daily care decisions made by the other parent.

Making parallel parenting work

Parents must meet several key elements to make parallel parenting work. First, they must be able to at least be cordial with one another, especially during child custody exchanges. They should not talk negatively about one another in the child’s presence. They also must respect each other’s rights to parent the child.

Parallel parenting generally requires a detailed clause in the parenting plan explicitly describing who has the child when, each parent’s rights and responsibilities toward the child, how child custody exchanges will work and how the parents will communicate with one another.

Co-parenting is great but not all parents in Lancaster are able to successfully co-parent. Parallel parenting may be the answer to parents who want to share custody but simply do not get along.