Parallel Parenting: An Option for Parents Undergoing a Contentious Divorce
If you and your spouse are considering divorce and you have children together, you may have concerns about how you will share parental responsibilities and parenting time. Co-parenting with an ex-spouse can be extremely difficult—especially if the end of the marriage was wrought with conflict. If you and your child’s other parent cannot communicate without the discussion devolving into arguments, parallel parenting may be an effective strategy for you to consider.
The Basics of Parallel Parenting
Just as every marriage is different, every divorce is different. Some divorced parents can easily communicate with each other about child-related concerns. They may even spend major holidays together or take joint vacations. Other divorced parents feel a great deal of animosity toward each other and would rather not communicate at all. If you are getting divorced and you worry about you and your spouse’s ability to co-parent, parallel parenting may be the right choice for you.
In a parallel parenting scenario, each parent makes their own parenting decisions with little input from the other parent. Any communication between the parents is typically done via email or text messages and the parents only communicate if it is absolutely necessary. A multitude of research has shown that children are deeply damaged by being exposed to parental arguments and fighting. The goal of parallel parenting is to allow both parents to be involved in their child’s life while minimizing the potential for conflict as much as possible.
A Detailed Parenting Plan is Critical to A Successful Parallel Parenting Arrangement
If you and your spouse decide to parallel parent, it is essential that you create a detailed parenting plan. A parenting plan that specifies parental responsibilities, formerly called custody, and parenting time, formerly called visitation, is a requirement for parents getting divorced in Illinois. By assigning different child-related duties and decision-making authority between the parents, the potential for future conflict is lessened.
For example, you and your spouse may decide that one of you will manage school-related matters such as parent-teacher conferences while the other parent manages the child’s extracurricular activities. You can also decide on a method for transporting your child between the households in a way that minimizes the interaction you have with the other parent. Decide on as many of these issues as possible and then put those decisions in writing in your Illinois parenting plan. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on a parenting plan, a judge will make a determination that serves the child’s best interests.
Contact a DuPage County Child Custody Attorney
For help with child custody, parenting time, and other family law concerns, contact MKFM Law today. Call 630-665-7300 and schedule an appointment with an experienced Wheaton divorce lawyer to get the support you need.