Even if parents agree to divorce, the process of ending a marriage can be incredibly stressful and create tension within the family. It is still only natural for spouses to harbor some sadness, anger or resentment.
The stress of a divorce and these emotions can make it difficult for parents to cooperate and co-parent together right away after their divorce.
Diving right into a co-parenting relationship can be complicated
Co-parenting is not always easy after divorce, especially immediately after the divorce is finalized. It takes time for parents to:
- Get used to the new situation after divorce; and
- Work through the complex emotions a divorce can bring.
However, parents have the option to develop their co-parenting relationship through parallel parenting.
How does parallel parenting work?
Many sources describe parallel parenting as an arrangement for parents who disagree and face high-conflicts. While this arrangement certainly helps parents navigate high-conflict situations, it can also help parents as they start their co-parenting journey.
A parallel parenting arrangement involves:
- Less interaction: Parents only communicate when necessary. This reduces the chance of disputes. Therefore, parents agree to make day-to-day decisions independently but still make significant decisions about their children together. However, this requires parents to create clear guidelines and rules in their parenting plan.
- Less interference: With less interaction, there is also less interference. After a divorce, parents are still finding their footing again in their relationships with their kids and their style of parenting. Reducing interference can help parents become more confident in themselves as they move forward after divorce.
- Prioritizing the kids: This arrangement allows both parents to focus on their children again, instead of worrying about arguing with their co-parent. They can concentrate on meeting their child’s needs and best interests.
Parallel parenting can be a temporary arrangement that allows parents to work through their emotions and adjust to their new life post-divorce. The primary purpose of parallel parenting is to help parents avoid arguing in front of their children. Less conflict – and less conflict in front of the kids – can help reduce everyone’s stress in the long run.
This arrangement might not fit every family’s needs. It might be beneficial for families to consult an experienced family law attorney to understand all of their options.