Divorcing spouses without children can walk away from the relationship after their divorce is complete. Even if they are subject to spousal support orders or other court orders, they are not forced to interact with each other the way divorcing spouses with children are forced to interact.
In a high-conflict divorce case involving children, parents are often unable to work together to raise children through a cooperative co-parenting relationship. Parallel parenting may offer an opportunity for high-conflict parents to reduce interaction and mitigate conflict while prioritizing their child’s best interests.
Restricting Communication to Reduce Conflict
Research shows that conflict between parents has a profound effect on children’s development and wellbeing. Being exposed to parental arguments increases a child’s risk of developing depression, anxiety, and behavioral issues. Studies have found that high-conflict homes can even lead to reduced cognitive performance. Parallel parenting seeks to reduce the conflict between divorcing or divorced parents by reducing the amount of interaction between the parents.
Parallel Parenting Requires a Strong Parenting Plan
Some divorced parents are able to attend birthday parties, school functions, or even vacations together without causing themselves and their children additional stress and tension. Others, however, can hardly stand to be in the same room together. Attempts to work cooperatively regarding child-related concerns or attend events together only causes conflict.
Parents who cannot co-parent cooperatively have another option. In a parallel parenting arrangement, parents rarely communicate with each other. When they do communicate, they keep communication short and to the point. They use email or text messages instead of phone calls or in-person conversations, which can quickly escalate into arguments.
A detailed parenting plan is crucial to a parallel parenting arrangement. Because parents cannot work together to make decisions about their child’s education, healthcare, and other important matters, they must divide decision-making responsibilities or assign all of the decision-making authority to one parent in their parenting plan. For example, one parent may have the final say on the child’s schooling while the other has the final say on medical care. Alternatively, one parent may be in charge of all significant child-related decisions.
Parents must also have a thorough parenting time schedule that accounts for holidays and special events. If parents cannot reach an agreement about how to divide parental responsibilities and parenting time, the court will make a decision that is in the child’s best interests. The court may assign a Guardian Ad Litem to investigate the situation and offer a professional opinion about what custody outcome is best for the child.
Contact a Wheaton Divorce Lawyer
Parallel parenting may be the best option for certain high-conflict divorce cases involving children. However, it is not the right solution for everyone. The DuPage County child custody attorneys at Davi Law Group provide trustworthy legal counsel and representation to parents during divorce. Call our office today at 630-657-5052 for a free, confidential initial consultation.