Parallel parenting plans are appropriate for parents who:
- do not get along,
- are highly reactive to each other,
- feel extremely uncomfortable in each other’s presence
- have an order of protection, OR
- cannot cooperate in one or more major areas of parenting.
Rationale for a parallel parenting arrangement:
- Every child has a right to a meaningful relationship with each parent
- Every child has a right not to be caught in the middle of parental conflict
- Every parent has a right to have a meaningful relationship with his or her child without the interference of the other parent.
- When parents separate, the greatest predictor of a child’s well being is the level of conflict between the parents. Children exposed to high conflict have a poorer prognosis.
- If the parents do not get along, feel uncomfortable in each other’s presence, prefer not to deal with each other or, more seriously, have an order of protection in place, then it appears to be in the child’s best interest for the parents to develop a parenting plan that eliminates the opportunities to interact and have conflict with each other.
Conduct of Parents In A Parallel Parenting:
- Nothing is assumed, everything is spelled out in the parenting plan. Your parenting plan must be extremely specific about who will do what and by when for each exchange of the children.
- Polite, businesslike, but not personal – There is a wall between your parenting relationship and the rest of your personal life; nothing personal is shared with the other parent
- Meetings are public and formal, not private, and scheduled by appointment at a mutually convenient time.
- Meetings and calls should take place during regular working hours and last no more than thirty minutes.
- Following meetings or communications, the parent initiating should send the a parent a written summary of understanding reached and the other parent should send back a confirming understanding, that includes any different understandings, if any. Keep these communications free of commentary! Just the facts.
- Meetings may require the presence of a third party. Ideally you should have a Parenting Coordinator to be present for all meetings; however, if you do not have one, you could use a therapist or someone from your house of worship staff to be present.
How Parallel Parenting Works: