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What does parallel parenting mean, and when does it apply?

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2023 | Child Custody, Family Law

Although many divorced West Virginia couples rely on co-parenting to continue raising their children, that isn’t always an option. Depending on the circumstances of the split, child custody is sometimes best using parallel parenting. This is what to know about it.

Parallel parenting explained

Parallel parenting is a way for divorced parents to share child custody after a high-conflict split. Instead of working together with your former spouse, you each parent your children independently of one another and don’t work together like is done with a more traditional arrangement.

Although parallel parenting involves more independence for the parents, they maintain minimal communication as well. However, this is limited to extenuating circumstances. Divorced parents who have a history of domestic abuse often choose the parallel parenting model for sharing custody.

How parallel parenting differs from co-parenting

The main difference between parallel parenting and co-parenting is that the parents have less communication. If a serious problem existed during the marriage, it could make it impossible for the parties to communicate in the same way as those who co-parent. Instead of making decisions together on the welfare of the child, parents independently decide on important aspects such as education, religion and medical issues.

Creating a parallel parenting plan

Creating a parallel parenting plan is easier than you might think. Keeping things simple is best; detailed information about exchanges, each parent’s respective parenting time, transportation modes, decision-making and how to handle cancellations must be included. Although communication is limited, it’s helpful to choose a method such as email, calls or texts.

A parallel parenting plan can be successful when the child is the focus; maintaining as little communication as possible with your former spouse is helpful.

If certain situations apply, parallel parenting can work and benefit children. They can maintain their relationship with both parents without unnecessary drama.