What is parallel parenting?

Griffin Law, PLLC
Aug 27, 2021

Some divorces end with the ex-spouses on good terms with each other. Others do not end as well. If you are on acrimonious terms with your ex-spouse and you have a joint custody order for your child, this may seem more like punishment as compared to a decision the courts made in the best interest of the child.

Fortunately, there are multiple ways to manage co-parenting. According to Healthline, parallel parenting is a viable alternative to “traditional” co-parenting that involves keeping the parents as separated from each other as possible.

What does it look like?

With “traditional” co-parenting, it is not unusual for the divorce family to gather together for certain events. For instance, both parents (and new partners if applicable) may both show up to cheer on a child at a major sporting event. They may also celebrate holidays together or birthdays.

With parallel parenting, this does not happen. One parent may attend the sporting event, and the other parent may attend the post-game pizza party. It is possible that the parents may throw multiple birthday events or holiday parties for the child.

How does it help?

In situations where neither parent struggles with substance abuse or abusive tendencies, it is generally best for the child to have equal exposure to both. Parallel parenting allows the child equal access to both parents but shields the child from the conflict going on between the parents.

In some situations, a period of positive parallel parenting may allow the family to transition into a more “traditional” setup. However, in other instances, parallel parenting is a reliable, permanent means of raising a child that is in the best interest of both the child and the parents.

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