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Parallel Parenting After Divorce


While some parents who decide not to remain in a romantic relationship are able to remain friends after their separation, or are at least able to maintain an amicable relationship for the sake of their children, doing so is not possible for everyone. Fortunately, there are ways to work around a less-than-friendly relationship with your ex, so that you can co-parent your child successfully. Parallel parenting, for instance, which is an arrangement in which parents have limited direct contact with each other, can work for those who have demonstrated an inability to communicate in a constructive manner. To learn more about parallel parenting and whether it could be right for you and your family, please reach out to a dedicated Fort Lauderdale shared parental responsibility lawyer today.

What is Parallel Parenting?

Parallel parenting provides an opportunity for high-conflict families to co-parent successfully by ensuring that both parents are disengaged from each other, but remain fully connected to their children. Under these arrangements, parents do not speak regularly. Instead, each parent will separately make day-to-day parenting decisions about their child’s routine, while only communicating about major issues. In cases where even this much communication is impossible, two parents may even be given decision-making responsibility for specific domains. One parent, for instance, might be responsible for making all medical decisions and the other parent could be in charge of education-related decisions.

The Logistics

To make a parallel parenting arrangement successful, couples will need to create a highly specific parenting plan that preempts the need for direct and regular communication. The parents will, for instance, need to come up with a way to communicate, albeit a method that requires less direct communication, such as email. Some parents use a “parent communication notebook,” where each writes a summary of their child’s emotions and behaviors, as well as the child’s eating and sleeping patterns, health, and any school-related issues. This notebook is eventually handed off to the other parent who will similarly make notes during his or her time with the child. Parents may also agree to attend “parenting meetings,” in the presence of a neutral third party, where the parents can negotiate important issues.

The Benefits of Parallel Parenting

Parallel parenting can protect a child’s relationship with both of his or her parents, while also shielding that child from inevitable parental conflict. Often, with parallel parenting in place, the passage of time will allow the dust to settle between the parents to the point where they can cooperate more closely. Parents who are able to stick to this type of arrangement can often retain a level of trust and put aside their hostilities for the sake of their children, at which point, a more collaborative parenting routine can be put in place. In this way, parallel parenting can actually provide a foundation for cooperative co-parenting, with parents moving from a place of disengagement towards more direct communication.

Is Parallel Parenting Right for Your Family?

If you and your child’s other parent have a high-conflict relationship and you need help negotiating a parenting plan that will allow you both to engage in successful co-parenting, please reach out to dedicated shared parental responsibility lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. for assistance. Set up a meeting today by calling our office at 954-945-7591.



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