It is very common to end up with joint custody of children with your ex spouse after divorce. This is because the family law court sees value in children having both of their parents equally in their lives.
While this is excellent sentiment, co-parenting with your ex-spouse can seem like an unreasonable demand if you are on bad terms with him or her. To combat these challenges, some families have chosen parallel parenting.
What does it look like?
Both co-parenting and parallel parenting involve both parents coming together and putting the needs of their child first. With traditional co-parenting, the parents typically will do this publicly as a united front. An example would be both parents attending a school graduation together and sitting next to each other even if they divorced years ago and have brought their new partners.
With parallel parenting, the parents would be completely separated. They may both attend the ceremony but sit nowhere near each other. They also may decide that one parent will attend the ceremony and the other will take the child out to a restaurant in celebration afterward. At no point will the parents come in contact with each other.
How is this beneficial?
One of the biggest benefits of parallel parenting is that it keeps the children away from the conflict between the parents. Additionally, if your ex-spouse is a narcissist or has other personality disorders, parallel parenting may be the only constructive way to parent. Finally, it is also possible that the conflict between you and your ex spouse will lessen in time and then you will be able to switch over to a more traditional co-parenting arrangement.