Parallel Parenting: When Co-Parenting after a Divorce is Impossible

co-parenting, co-parenting conflict, parallel parenting, child custody battle, divorce and communication, Aurora family law attorneySeveral articles have been written with advice on how to co-parent after a divorce. But what if an ex-spouse makes it completely impossible to work together to raise a child?

Anger and resentment play a big part in the reason why an individual is unable to put the needs of children first. Mediation or therapy may even fail to help bridge the gap. The angry parent could go as far as trying to convince other adults in the child’s life—such as teachers, coaches, and friends’ parents—that the ex is an ‘awful’ person. In ways, it can be a losing battle. But rather than try to continue to co-parent with someone who has no intention to work together, various experts recommend parallel parenting instead.

Parallel parenting is a way of co-parenting by dissociating with the other parent and having as little contact as possible. The benefits of parallel parenting allow the child to enjoy a relationship with both parents. However, the child does not have to deal with the conflict nor is he or she placed in the middle of the parents’ battles.

In order to effectively parallel parent, rules must be put in place and expectations should be very clear. For example:

  • Let your ex-spouse know that all communication needs to be done either by email or text messaging. Avoid any phone conversations where it is easier for your ex-spouse to draw you into argument;

  • Set boundaries for the use of these communications such as issues that have to do with the children. These may include custody exchange details and school functions. Make it clear that you will you not respond if your ex-spouse uses these communications for any other reason. If it continues you will cease all further communications.

Realize that you and your ex-spouse will have different rules for your child. Although you may not agree with bedtimes, television shows, or menu choices, learn to let go of your frustrations with the different parenting styles.

Finally, in the event your ex-spouse tells school officials and teachers details about you that are untrue, it is important to contact them and make the school aware of the situation. The same should be done with any therapist your child may see. This is especially important if you are the non-custodial parent.

If you are considering a divorce and anticipate an acrimonious child custody battle, contact an experienced Aurora family law attorney to discuss your options and your case.

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