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Could parallel parenting help you cope with divorce?

What if you and your ex-spouse simply can't agree on how exactly to raise the children? If you find yourself in constant battles with your ex over things like bedtimes and bath toys, it makes co-parenting extremely difficult. It can also make for a very stressful and acrimonious post-divorce relationship with your ex.

Consider parallel parenting instead. Parallel parenting is a good substitute for co-parenting when you're in a high-conflict situation with your ex-spouse.

The primary goal is to control communications between you and your ex in order to minimize the conflicts. Essentially, you and your ex can agree to disagree -- each of you is then free to make parenting decisions for the kids without consulting the other when the kids are with you.

While it may not be an ideal solution, it's often a good way to reduce the amount of conflict that the children -- and adults -- experience on a regular basis.

How do you effectively control communication with your ex in a parallel parenting plan?

  • You have to restrict all your communication with your ex to "strictly business." No other subject except the children can be discussed.
  • All communication with your ex should be in writing to help minimize disputes about what was agreed between you.
  • Calendars or schedules can also be shared electronically or a family calendar can be created so that everyone is informed about important events.

It's important to keep your children out of the communications between you and your ex -- the kids should never be used as messengers. In today's world, there are plenty of electronic alternatives.

A parallel parenting plan doesn't have to last forever -- if the intense conflict between you and your spouse dies down after the early days of your divorce, you can try relaxing the rules and aiming for a more cooperative form of parenting down the line.

For more advice on child custody issues after divorce, talk to an attorney today.

Source: CustodyZen, "Parallel Parenting," accessed July 21, 2017

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