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Why parallel parenting may be the best choice after divorce

If the relationship between you and your soon-to-be ex is still too toxic for the two of you to communicate effectively as co-parents, your attorney or someone else may have mentioned the idea of "parallel parenting." This type of arrangement allows parents to remain active in their children's lives while being able to disengage from one another. You can give old wounds and grudges time to heal without adding new conflicts to the mix.

In parallel parenting, conflict is mitigated through "asynchronous communication." This is any communication where an immediate response isn't required, as it would be in a phone call or in-person interaction.

Parents practicing parallel parenting often communicate via email or through a parenting app. By avoiding real-time communication, parents are less likely to respond emotionally to their ex. Not hearing their ex's voice can also help them keep their feelings at bay and keep the focus where it should be -- on the kids.

By limiting communication to the subject of the kids, parents are better able to focus on the children's well-being. By not stirring up negative feelings between each other, they're also less likely to drag their kids into their conflicts or make them feel forced to choose sides.

As noted, parallel parenting needn't be a permanent solution. However, it can help families transition to their new dynamic while everyone is still feeling vulnerable. It's not unusual to get pushback from family, friends and others who may not understand what you're doing. However, if you're doing what's best for your kids, that's what matters.

Parallel parenting, like any type of parenting arrangement, benefits from a solid parenting plan. It also requires a commitment from both parents. Written communication can go as badly as verbal communication if people let it. There may also still be occasions when you need to encounter your ex.

Your Rhode Island family law attorney can help you develop your parenting plan and can likely refer you to some helpful resources to help you succeed in parallel parenting.

Source: Our Family Wizard, "3 Things You May Not Know About Parallel Parenting," accessed March 22, 2018

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