What is parallel parenting?

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2024 | Family Law

Parallel parenting is something you might need to do after divorcing someone you share a child with. It’s something you might need to opt for if you feel that co-parenting will not work.

To co-parent, you need to be in fairly frequent contact with each other. And you need to be able to agree on things. There are several reasons this might not work:

Perhaps you fear contact will be harmful. Your ex is abusive, and the last thing you want is to be close to them or even have to talk on the phone. Maybe they are a master manipulator, and the best way to avoid their manipulative behavior is to limit contact.

Perhaps you cannot agree on parenting. You believe your child needs strict rules about what time to be home on a school night. Your ex believes children should have fun and that they’ll soon learn to come home earlier when they get told off for falling asleep in class. 

Parallel parenting may be a more realistic alternative to co-parenting

In parallel parenting, you agree to let each other parent as they see fit when the child is with them. What’s more, you agree not to criticize each other or ask too many questions. You’ll trust that you each have your child’s best interests at heart.

If you opt for parallel parenting for safety reasons, it’s important to remember you will still need to communicate a bit. However, you can use technology or a third party to reduce the contact between you. For example, having your ex drop your child off at your mother’s so you don’t have to see them. Or agreeing to email rather than call when there is information to pass on.

If you feel you could benefit from putting parallel parenting into your custody agreement, consider help to learn more.