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What is parallel parenting?

Custody arrangements come in a range of varieties. So, such arrangements can be tailored to a family's particular situation. Many different things could impact what sort of custody arrangement would best serve the best interests of the children, including the children's specific needs and the specific circumstances of the two parents. Given the major implications a custody arrangement has for the parents and the children, getting the right custody arrangement in place, given the family's situation, in a divorce is very important.

Now, custody arrangements are not the only thing within the realm of divorce parenting where there can be a great deal of variation from case to case. There are also a variety of different types of co-parenting approaches divorced parents can take when they are splitting time with the kids and sharing in the care of the kids.

Some co-parenting approaches involve the parents regularly interacting and communicating with each other and developing a very close co-parenting relationship. When it is possible, this type of approach can have real benefits, as it can maximize parental coordination, which can be helpful for both the kids and the parents.

However, there may be situations in which such a close co-parenting relationship isn't a reasonable possibility. For some parents, the level of conflict between them is so high that having regular interactions/communications with each other likely won't be productive, but rather would open the door to major fights between them.

In such a situation, a more distant type of co-parenting might be more appropriate, in order to avoid exposing the kids to significant parental conflict. One such type of co-parenting is parallel parenting. Parallel parenting is a co-parenting approach that focuses on minimizing fighting between parents who have a high level of conflict between them by disengaging them from each other in the co-parenting process. Limiting communications and direct interactions between parents to just what is necessary is often a major part of this approach. As a note, when using a parallel parenting approach, having clearly set out rules as to how it will operate can be very important.

So, when getting divorced, parents may want to give careful thought to what kind of co-parenting approach would best help them serve their kids' best interests.

Source: The Huffington Post, "What’s The Best Alternative To Co-Parenting When Ex’s Don’t Get Along?," Terry Gaspard, April 1, 2016

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