Parallel parenting is an arrangement in which divorced parents are able to “co-parent” by means of disengaging from one another. This happens by having limited direct contact in situations where they have demonstrated that they are unable to communicate with each other in a respectful manner.
This limited direct contact is enforced due to previous interactions or the degree of hostility between parties. For instance, this style of parenting is effective for parents with protection orders in place, parents with a history of domestic violence, or for parents who do not respect the others role and refuse to co-parent. Parallel parenting is especially useful in high-conflict divorce cases where one or both parent’s narcissistic, hostile, or borderline personality disorders make co-parenting next to impossible
Some suggested parallel parenting tactics include: communicating exclusively in writing, ETC. Some parents utilize a parent communication notebook, in which each parent documents behaviors, moods, feeding and sleeping patterns, school issues, and various other information about the children during parenting time. The notebook is passed between parties, and it is important to note that no criticism or instructions should be made for the other parent in the book. Other parties utilize “parenting meetings” with a neutral third-party present. These meetings are used to address larger problems that need to be discussed at length. The most common tool used to communicate in parallel parenting agreements is the use of email/ text to log all conversations. The express purpose of each text/email conversation would be to discuss the general health of the children, day to day emergencies, and drop off/pick up arrangements. Parallel parenting does not mean no contact. Communication should be direct with little to no emotion. Parallel parenting is set into place to avoid conflict for the sake of the children while also keeping all parties involved active parental figures, therefore contact with the other parent is necessary but should be limited.
Parallel parenting is difficult and requires intense specificity in the initial parenting plan so there is no questioning the parameters of the agreement. If you are in a situation where parallel parenting is optimal, an experienced family law attorney could assist you in crafting a specific plan that includes ways to parallel parent.
This method of co-parenting allows for tension between parties to ease so that a future relationship is possible. Trust can be gradually restored to the point where a more collaborative and cooperative relationship is formed.