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Parallel parenting to reduce conflict after divorce

Arizona parents who are unable to co-parent effectively because there is too much conflict between them might consider an approach known as parallel parenting. These parents usually agree on major issues such as religion but are unable to be in regular communication. Children suffer most during and after a divorce by witnessing conflict between their parents, so the best approach for parents who cannot resolve this may be avoiding contact as much as possible while still maintaining a relationship with their children.

Parallel parenting requires a more detailed plan than co-parenting because of the parents' need to avoid this communication. They might agree to share calendars or communicate using email or in other limited ways as necessary regarding the children, but a good plan will help them keep this to a minimum. Parallel parents may want to have no direct communication at all. While co-parenting requires that each parent respects the other, parallel parenting means parents must give up efforts to control one another.

A parallel parenting arrangement could turn into a co-parenting arrangement. Parents may find that over the years, the distance has actually made it possible for them to communicate and co-parent in a way they were unable to do just after the divorce.

If there is a lot of conflict between parents, they may also find it difficult to work out an agreement for child custody and visitation although their lawyers may be able to help them negotiate a plan. Parents who cannot agree will have to go before a judge. In some situations, parents may be worried about a child's safety with the other parent. There could be a protection order already in place, and the other parent may not be allowed access to the child or could get supervised visitation.

Good Men Project, "The 6 Challenges of Co-Parenting vs Parallel Parenting," Karen Finn, 11/17/2018

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