Parallel Parenting Following a Divorce

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Ever since you and your spouse began talking about divorce, chances are your children have been your most significant concern. Parents may feel like they can’t just sign divorce papers and call it quits when children are involved because although the relationship ended, you must continue doing your part as parents. Choosing the appropriate parenting strategy for raising children moving forward will be one of the first things that you will have to decide on during the divorce procedures. Although co-parenting is the most common solution, in high-conflict divorces, parents must decide on what the best parenting plan may be in their case. An alternative method known as “parallel parenting” could provide a healthier environment for your children.

According to, parallel parenting allows each parent to choose how to handle their daily parenting duties during their time with the children. This childcare strategy allows couples in a high-conflict divorce to still play an essential part in their children’s life without interacting with their former spouse. This plan also allows parents to choose how to raise their child within their household and only collaborate on major decisions like the children’s medical care, for example. It’s important to note that parallel parenting doesn’t mean that a parent shouldn’t have any interaction with the other parent; rather, it should just minimize the contact between them. An article by Healthline claims that this type of parenting strategy might be necessary when dealing with a spouse who displays traits of narcissism or if you two were involved in a toxic marriage. A parallel parenting plan should be as specific and detailed as possible since the goal is to limit communication and contact between you and your former spouse.

According to Psychology Today, one of the benefits of parallel parenting is that it protects children’s relationships with both parents while shielding them from any parental conflict. This style of parenting can help to co-parent in high-conflict settings, according to research studies, and it keeps kids out of the heart of parental arguments. Studies show that children are harmed more by being exposed to parental disagreements than by the dispute itself. Parallel parenting also demonstrates that, despite the animosity, both parents play a significant role in their children’s lives.

An article by claims that when engaging in parallel parenting, it’s best to keep communication with your former spouse at a minimum. All your contact with them should be business-like and focused on your children. Whenever possible, it’s best to communicate via emails, text messages, or in writing to avoid personal interactions. On your scheduled days, it’s best not to reach out to the other parent unless an emergency arises, which will help diminish the possibility of any confrontations. Another tip is to avoid attending child-related activities. Attending school conferences or other extracurricular events together should be avoided due to the potential degree of conflict that may arise.

When going through a divorce, both parents need to put the needs of their children first and think about which parenting style best fits the dynamics of the family to avoid conflict. Parallel parenting may be a better choice for certain families than co-parenting, and while both have their advantages and disadvantages, both parenting strategies are equally as effective. With the help of an experienced family lawyer, you can make sound decisions regarding the parenting arrangement that will best serve your children’s interests.

Getting divorced is a highly personal, emotionally charged, and complex experience. Knowing what to expect can help ease the stress and create a sense of security when you may be uncertain about your future. At Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C. in San Francisco, our divorce lawyers offer the skill and knowledge to handle even the most complex and contentious divorces, with the object of securing fair resolutions. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation if you’re seeking legal advice from an experienced divorce attorney.

by Debra Schoenberg




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