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Parenting With a Toxic Co-Parent? Try Parallel Parenting

mom in front of kids on phone

It’s no secret that divorce is awful for the whole family. Initially, things will likely be uncomfortable or awkward for everyone in the family. However, divorced parents have to learn how to get along with each other for their children’s sake.

Typically, this is done through co-parenting, which is generally a positive experience where divorced or separated parents share parenting responsibilities. However, some parents cannot be civil around each other. There is another option, though -- parallel parenting.

What is Parallel Parenting?

Parallel parenting is an alternative approach to co-parenting. Essentially, it is reserved for parents that cannot get along or when one parent behaves in a toxic manner towards their ex-spouse. In parallel parenting relationships, each parent does their own thing while they have physical custody of their children. Essentially, both parents don’t consult each other on every parenting decision and instead focus on putting their kid’s interests first.

With this type of parenting relationship, there is less direct contact between parents, which is useful when past conversations have demonstrated that the two cannot respectfully communicate with each other.

Parallel parenting may be temporary or permanent. For newly divorced couples, this option may be best as they transition into parenting from two separate homes while bettering their communication. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen, and some couples cannot resolve their tension, which is why some parents may decide to continue parallel parenting indefinitely.

How to Parallel Parent?

If divorced parents have decided they want to try parallel parenting, there are several methods they can utilize to ensure they connect with each other while keeping matters professional.

Communicating With Each Other

Some ways parents can communicate through parallel parenting include:

  • Co-parenting counselors
  • Shared calendars for events
  • Co-parenting apps
  • Only using email to discuss custody matters

The main thing to consider when communicating with an ex is to treat correspondence as if you were talking to a business associate. Focus on the facts of your custody agreement, and don’t engage in small talk. The communication process should be transactional rather than emotional.

Custody Swaps

For pick up and drop off times, parents should choose public places to ensure that both parties stay calm and keep the situation from escalating. Also, it can be helpful to bring someone else with you when you drop off or pick up your children. However, you should refrain from bringing a new romantic partner, which can aggravate your ex and raise tension between you two as well as your children.

What if Parallel Parenting Doesn’t Work?

Essentially, parallel parenting aims to mitigate the animosity between divorced parents by giving them time to heal while upholding their children’s best interests. If your co-parent refuses to work together in any capacity, you might want to consider modifying your custody arrangement. At Rech Law, P.C., our Charlotte child custody lawyers can examine your case to help you determine if there are substantial grounds to modifying your custody order as well as any other options you might want to pursue.

Call our team today at (704) 659-0007 or contact us online to speak to our Charlotte divorce attorneys about your custody matter.

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