Some parents in North Carolina who are getting a divorce might be able to co-parent effectively, but others may not. However, they may still want their child to have a relationship with the other parent that is not marred by the conflict between the two of them. Studies show it is this conflict that is the hardest for children to deal with when their parents get divorced. Parents in this situation may want to try parallel parenting instead of co-parenting.
Parallel parents usually agree on major issues, such as education and religion. Unlike co-parents, who generally communicate a great deal, they do not want direct communication. They will need a structured plan to avoid this. They may also want to agree to share calendars or use email to exchange schedules. Coparents need a plan as well, but it can be more flexible.
Coparents respect each other and the other parent’s relationship with the child. Parallel parents will need to set aside the temptation to try to control one another since the overall goal is conflict reduction. As children get older, they might want the schedule to be more flexible. The relationship of parallel parents may also shift since the time apart could mean they are eventually able to cooperate as co-parents.
In a high-conflict divorce, parents may struggle to make an agreement about child custody and visitation. Their attorneys might be able to help them negotiate an agreement, but if they cannot agree, they will have to go to court. A judge will decide whether custody will be shared or one parent will have custody while the other has visitation rights. The judge’s decision is based on the best interests of the child. Even when parents have distinctly different parenting styles, it is best if they make an effort to be cooperative with one another in court.