Muddling through a divorce with children can fuel a wave of already heavy emotions. If your divorce is particularly contentious, you may not feel like you and your spouse will co-parent your children successfully.
Traditional co-parenting agreements account for both parents working together after a divorce, but what if that is not possible? There is an alternative arrangement, known as parallel parenting, that you and your spouse may want to consider.
What does parallel parenting mean?
When a couple cannot get along or communicate effectively, a parenting plan that requires it may set the family up for continued strife after divorce. In a parallel parenting structure, parents care for children independently. You would not keep an open line of communication with each other, and all necessary talking would occur in writing. You may even want to appoint a neutral third party to facilitate communication and handle conflict.
What are the main differences in plans?
Hashing out a parallel parenting plan means that you and the other parent set a schedule for parenting time, just as in a co-parenting plan. Unlike a traditional parenting plan, however, you would state the methods for communication between parents and other formalities that ensure you remain separate.
One component of this type of plan is that you and your spouse would agree to not attend the same activities, appointments, meetings, etc. This means if your children have a play on a Thursday and Friday, parents agree to attend on opposite days.
The main reason for a parallel parenting plan is to limit the possibility of arguments between parents. Since lower conflict can aid in the emotional adjustment of children after divorce, this may prove an option you want to explore.