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Parallel parenting can help in high-conflict situations

Maintaining a relationship with an ex-spouse after a divorce can be difficult. However, it is often necessary when spouses have children.

It is natural for ex-spouses to feel bitter or resentful after a divorce. So, how can they parent their children together if they have trouble getting along?

The answer might be parallel parenting.

What is parallel parenting?

As the name implies, a parallel parenting structure allows parents engaged in high-conflict to move toward the same goal – of parenting their children – with minimum interaction. The goal of this parenting style is to reduce conflict between parents, and therefore their child’s exposure to the conflict.

This arrangement could be particularly beneficial for divorced parents in Kentucky. In 2018, Kentucky law determined that equal parenting time and joint custody were the default in child custody cases. Studies report that children benefit from maintaining relationships with both of their parents after divorce, but the constant conflict between parents can counter any of those benefits.

Parallel parenting would allow parents to keep joint custody and avoid the risk of conflict.

This arrangement requires careful planning

Since parents will have minimal contact with each other in this arrangement, they must establish a detailed and specific parenting plan. Parents would also have to:

  • Keep communication formal: Treat any interactions with the other parent like a business meeting. Be civil and keep emotions out of the conversation. Many parents restrict communication to electronic means only, such as text messages or email. This allows them to be concise and efficient.
  • Set strict boundaries: Parents should not interfere with the other parent’s time with the kids – unless it is in the child’s best interests. This requires parents to carefully adhere to their parenting plan and use a specific decision-making strategy that they agree on.
  • Put the kids first: This is important in any parenting arrangement. However, since parents will have limited interaction, they must both agree that they will always do what is best for their children.

Every family is different. So, every family will have a different approach to parenting than the next. Parallel parenting might not be right for every family, but parents should understand all of the options they have, so they can protect their family.