What Is Parallel Parenting?

After separating from or divorcing your children’s other parent, you might find it difficult to have an amicable relationship with that parent. Any contact between the two of you might lead to arguments. If you share custody with your children’s other parent, you might want to shield your children from exposure to disagreements, as they could affect their well-being.

One option you have for minimizing interactions with the other parent while still maintaining a relationship with your children is parallel parenting, which differs from the more collaborative co-parenting. For parallel parenting to work, a detailed parenting plan should be in place. You may also consider using tools that allow you and your children’s other parent to exchange information without having too much direct communication.

At Claery & Hammond, LLP, we assist clients in developing parenting plans for their unique situations. Speak with one of our San Diego lawyers by calling (619) 567-6704 or submitting an online contact form.

What Parallel Parenting Might Look Like

The purpose of parallel parenting is to allow you and your children’s other parent to spend time with and make decisions for your children while limiting the amount of communication between the two of you. Situations might exist where contacting the other parent is necessary or required. When those arise, your interactions might be done through text or emails to avoid a face-to-face interaction that could become bitter. Your communications would be brief and to the point to avoid bringing up anything that could start an argument.

If you share custody, there will be times when your children are with you and when they are with their other parent. For the exchanges to occur without conflict, a third party would facilitate them, likely occurring at a neutral location.

When you and the other parent would have to or want to attend events involving your children, you would have a couple of options for handling those. For instance, if your children play sports and have games, you and the other parent might alternate your attendance. Or you could both attend the same activity but avoid sitting near each other.

How Parallel Parenting Differs from Co-Parenting

Co-parenting is a more collaborative method of raising children when parents aren’t together. With this style, communication between you and your children’s other parent would not be limited. Instead, you would work together to care and make decisions for your children.

Co-parenting requires you and your children’s other parent to communicate often and discuss issues to jointly agree on a solution.

Should You Parallel Parent or Co-Parent?

The parenting style you decide on depends on your situation. If you and your child’s other parent can cooperate and have friendly (or at least conflict-free) interactions, you could consider co-parenting.

However, if talks or interactions with the other parent would likely lead to disagreements, arguments, or fights, parallel parenting might be the more practical option.

Developing a detailed parenting plan is crucial for parallel parenting to work. The arrangement should be such that it limits the amount of contact between you and the other parent.

Matters it should be specific on include, but are not limited to:

  • Parenting time: Note the times and dates each parent has the children.
  • Exchanges: Indicate a neutral location where drop-offs and pickups will occur.
  • Transportation: Identify who will drop off and pick up the children.
  • Cancellations: State how parents will notify each other if they can’t make parenting time and how visitation can be made up.
  • Decision-making responsibilities: Note who makes what decisions (e.g., extracurricular activities, religious practice) and when.

In addition to having a detailed parenting plan, it’s also essential to use tools that allow you and your children’s other parents to share information. For instance, apps like OurFamilyWizard have features like shared calendars, journals, message boards, and expense logs to keep everyone on the same page while limiting direct communication.

Schedule a Consultation with Claery & Hammond, LLP

Sharing custody of your children can be challenging when you have a high-conflict relationship with their other parent. Our San Diego team can help explore strategic solutions for you and your family to protect your best interests.

Discuss your case by contacting us at (619) 567-6704.