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Parallel parenting: How it works and why it matters

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2023 | Child Custody, Family Law |

Parenting models of modern parents are more nuanced, which only means there are now more ways to address varying family dynamics amid divorce. Parallel parenting, as implied by its name, is a parenting arrangement where spouses maintain a healthy distance from each other while each keeps a strong relationship with their child.

Unlike co-parenting, where parents do things together and appear on good terms in front of their child, parallel parenting limits direct interaction between them. In other words, this strategy entails communication kept at a bare minimum.

As you might have known, this type of framework sounds easier said than done. We’ll discuss how it works and why it might be the right approach for your family.

Creating a parallel parenting plan

Although terms may vary depending on each divorcing couple’s circumstances, Texas law always upholds the child’s best interests. Suppose they find your parenting plan to be counterproductive to your child’s growth, safety and development. In that case, they may request revisions and a hearing if they still find your edits unsatisfactory. To save time and resources, here are some elements of how parallel parenting works, so you can assess if it’s the suitable model for you:

  • Separate businesses: Each must attend to their custodial care of the child in separate households. Also, each has no say over how the other handles their parental responsibilities.
  • No joint celebrations: Celebrations include birthdays, holidays, vacations, medical appointments, school meetings and other extracurricular activities.
  • Predetermined visitation dates, times, means of transportation, and neutral pick-up or drop-off points: This is a fixed schedule with precise details to minimize unwanted conflict.
  • Contingency plans: Each parent must know how to manage cases of unpredictable events, cancellations or emergencies.
  • Virtual communication channels: To avoid face-to-face meetings, you may research online tools and platforms to regularly send updates and other important messages.

In the end, you must ask yourself if this parenting system aligns with your child’s best interests. If you believe your child deserves to know how you and your spouse cannot stand each other and yet you’re both ready to perform parental duties, then a comprehensive parallel parenting plan may save all of you from further damaging hostility.

Forging your parenting path

To ensure proper execution, you must seek the help of a legal team in drafting a parallel parenting agreement. The more unambiguous the agreement is, the safer it will be for all parties. If everything goes as planned and emotional tensions cool down, your family may transition to a calm and amicable co-parenting arrangement.