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Should you consider parallel parenting?

A divorce, especially a high-asset divorce, can create significant conflict between you and your ex-spouse. And that is all on top of the complex emotions of anger, grief and relief that you might be feeling when you end your marriage.

Trying to work through the past you have with your spouse, the conflict of your divorce and those emotions can be difficult – especially when you both have to continue parenting your child. In fact, trying to co-parent after your divorce might lead to even more stressful disputes.

In these cases, you might consider a parallel parenting arrangement.

What is parallel parenting?

Parallel parenting is a form of co-parenting, except with far less interaction between parents. In this type of arrangement, parents would generally:

  • Treat co-parenting like a business relationship;
  • Minimize and strictly regulate their communication;
  • Share schedules and other information electronically or in writing; and
  • Make everyday decisions regarding their children on their own, adhering to the parenting plan.

The primary goal is to reduce the risk of conflict between parents, so they can concentrate on parenting.

In Illinois, every divorcing couple must establish a parenting plan. However, for parallel parenting to be successful, parents must create an extremely detailed parenting plan to divide their parenting responsibilities. That way, they do not have to communicate as often as other co-parents might.

When might you consider a parallel parenting arrangement?

A parallel parenting arrangement might not work for every family. However, you may want to consider parallel parenting if:

  • Your emotions are still high and raw from the divorce;
  • Almost every interaction with your spouse ends up as an argument;
  • Your ex-spouse is trying to interfere with your parenting time;
  • Your ex-spouse refuses to cooperate or collaborate on decisions for your child; or
  • Arguments and competition with your ex-spouse are distracting you from your parenting duties.

No matter what, parents should work to put their children first after divorce. If conflicts with your ex-spouse are an obstacle preventing you from being the best parent you can be, then you may want to consider customizing a different parenting arrangement to meet your family’s needs.