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What is parallel parenting?

When divorce ends messily, it can be difficult for you and your spouse to continue communication. As a parent, you have an even more difficult situation. Where some couples can cut contact and move on, you must consider the well-being of your children.

Couples who cannot problem solve or interact without conflict cannot co-parent. However, Coparenter cites parallel parenting as an option for couples with too much conflict between them.

Parallel parenting basics

Exposure to conflict between parents can be psychologically damaging to children. Under parallel parenting, you and your former spouse keep your parental obligations separate. You would not attend events with your child’s other parent, you would not attend appointments together or share all information.

Parallel parenting rules

For parallel parenting to work, there must be clear rules set by each parent. To raise your children, there still has to be some form of communication between you and your ex. You still need to keep it to a minimum. The best-case scenario is to speak through e-mail or other forms of writing. Consider the e-mails to be professional. You should not communicate with your ex when you have visitation unless there is an emergency.

If the two of you plan to attend a child-related function, do not show up together. The two of you should remain separate throughout the event.

When picking up or dropping off your child, you should each wait in your car. Allow your child to walk from one vehicle to the other and only leave when you see him or her safely in the vehicle. Do not communicate verbally with the other parent.