If you’ve experienced a high conflict divorce, co-parenting with your ex might seem like a daunting prospect, especially if there is lingering hostility and the two of you aren’t on speaking terms. As a form of co-parenting, parallel parenting is a way to parent without spousal contact and may be the best option.

Parallel parenting allows you to effectively parent but also disengage from your ex-spouse. If parents are willing, and for the good of their children, this can be a way forward.

Parallel parenting eliminates direct communication

Since there is no direct communication, you are shielding your children from any potential conflict and animosity. Parallel parenting allows parents to disengage from each other and break the patterns of hurtful communication that may have been present in their marriage.

Parents don’t communicate with one another directly and therefore the daily parenting decisions happen separately and in two separate households. Each parent takes charge of the time they have with the kids as they see fit.

Let a parenting plan be your guide

As part of the divorce agreement and if this is the best option for you, a parenting plan is established to outline the rules and expectations around parenting time and contact. This plan addresses time with the kids, avenues of communication and clear boundaries. The more animosity there is, the more detail that should be included.

For it to be effective and to eliminate any direct communication between parents, strict rules are in place that need to be followed:

  • Communication between parents is limited to email or a parenting notebook only, focused primarily on kid-centered information.
  • If needed, communication happens through a neutral third party.
  • Children are not the messengers of information.
  • A strict schedule of parenting time is established and followed.
  • Child exchanges happen on neutral ground

By minimizing the contact between exes, parents can be involved in the lives of their children without the conflict and hostility. This approach puts the needs and well-being of your children first and foremost and allows you to keep your relationship with them intact.