If you and your ex-spouse have a highly acrimonious relationship, coming together to co-parent your children may seem like an impossibility. However, parenting together is not impossible even for the most acrimonious of relationships: it just starts off as parallel parenting.
To be able to parent efficiently with a hostile ex-spouse, very clear rules of engagement must be in play. According to Healthline, parallel parenting minimizes the contact between the parents while shielding the children from inter-parental conflict.
What does parallel parenting look like?
The major difference between co-parenting and parallel parenting is that with co-parenting the parents are openly friendly with one another (at least on the surface). Parallel parenting assumes that the relationship between the parents is not friendly and that it is not a good idea for the parents to be in the same room together.
With parallel parenting, the parents are not together for doctor’s appointments, soccer games or other activities involving the children.
How should we create a parallel parenting plan?
It is generally best to create a formal parenting plan through family court in order to ensure compliance on the plan from both sides. This plan should be very comprehensive and determine everything from how much time the children spend with each parent, to dispute resolution, to a neutral pick-up and drop-off space for custody exchange.
The distance of parallel parenting does not have to last forever, although it may. It is possible that after some time of parallel parenting the relationship between the parents will settle to a certain extent and it will end up looking like a traditional co-parenting arrangement.