Published: March 8, 2017

Parallel Parenting in Family Law

When you go to family court or mediation, in typical situations, the system deems that the best outcome for your children is to have both parents involved in their lives and for the parents to work things out amongst themselves amicably. This situation is also known as "co-parenting." If parents have difficulty getting along, the court may order for the parents to undergo co-parenting counseling. Ideally, parents come out of counseling knowing how to respectfully talk to each other and cope with relinquishing complete control over their children's medical, education, nutrition, and other needs.

But oftentimes, achieving that best-case scenario seems impossible. Instead, you may find that the other parent is such a nightmare to work with because they insist on negating everything you do or say just for the sake of it. Or you may find yourself in a situation where the other parent is trying to actively cut you out of parenting altogether, as you are unjustly accused of a litany of unfounded allegations.

In enduring such a contentious situation, sometimes the most prudent action you can take is to forego co-parenting, and instead, opt for parallel parenting. In parallel parenting, parents have minimal contact. That is, parents do not communicate with each other directly unless it's necessary, and only with regards to the care of their children. Research shows that parallel parenting allows high-conflict parents to maintain relationships with their children without dragging them into the parental conflict. Such a situation also allows parents to undergo a cooling-off period, where tensions lessen over time. Eventually, parents may even be able to engage in co-parenting.

Does parallel parenting sound right for your situation? There are some logistics to consider. For instance, will you and the other parent divide responsibilities over medical, educational, and other major requirements? Or will you continue to share major responsibilities and only split tasks for day-to-day routines? Another item to consider is how you will communicate. For example, is an application like Our Family Wizard appropriate?

qualified attorney can discuss these many nuances, and work towards obtaining an agreement or court order that best reflects your family's needs. An experienced attorney can also let you know what has worked for other similarly-situated families in the past.

Need a consultation with an attorney for your parenting plan? At Law Offices of Elena Mebtahi, we offer free phone consultations.