Parents who divorce and share custody of their children must create a parenting plan that lays out a custody schedule. If you are going through this process and already dreading seeing your ex when you drop the kids off at their house, then you might want to consider a parallel parenting arrangement.

Through parallel parenting, ex-spouses who don’t get along or need some space can get the distance they need. This is because it allows co-parents to separate their lives from one another almost completely. Typically, parents disengage from one another by:

  • Arranging a way to do custody exchanges without interacting with one another
  • Not attending the same child-related events or appointments
  • Creating their own household rules for their children
  • Following separate bedtime or mealtime routines

This can give parents the opportunity to find themselves after their breakup. Divorces can come along with high emotions. And even when the separation seems necessary, because your feelings change between one another, divorcees often go through a grieving process. If you don’t take the time to reflect right after your divorce, then a lingering feeling of wanting closure may follow for many years. Whereas, taking the time emotionally process your divorce sooner might give you the peace you need to begin a more involved co-parent partnership.

Parallel parenting also allows fewer potential disagreements to flood in. When parents don’t let negative interactions with their ex consume them, they can build positive relationships with their children. Not vilifying your ex in front of your children will allow them to build a deep connection with each parent instead of making them feel like they must pick sides. Plus, trying to prevent your child from connecting with their other parent may cause your child to have low self-esteem or depression, abuse substances and lose trust in others.

If you think your family might benefit from following a short- or long-term parallel parenting arrangement, you can discuss the option with an experienced family law attorney.