What is parallel parenting? It’ a type of
parenting plan that is used more and more in
divorce cases where a bridge is needed to cover the gap between the ideal situation
post-divorce (no or very little conflict) to extremely high conflict cases.
In the latter situation, there’s minimal room left to develop effective
communication for an appropriate co-parenting relationship. This is where
parallel parenting enters the picture.
First, you should understand what is being discussed when a situation is
described as “high conflict.” When two parents don’t
get along, we don’t necessarily jump to the high conflict label.
High conflict is typically reserved for those situations when one or both
of the parents involved is narcissistic or borderline personality or simply
exhibits such hostility that co-parenting as we have come to know it is
In these cases, parallel parenting may be an appropriate alternative. It
is, simply put, parenting without traditional co-parenting/communication.
Parents who are parallel parenting their children are detached from one
another and do not engage in frequent discussions regarding the daily
lives of their children or themselves. Each of the parents is in charge
of the children while they are under their care. Parallel parenting provides
each parent with parental control over their own parenting time and parenting
responsibilities during their specified parenting time. Decisions made
on behalf of the children do not need the approval or even a discussion
with the other parent unless it is an emergency. While parents using parallel
parenting still have to have contact with one another, it is extremely
minimal and only pertaining to issues that require discussion.
The parallel parenting plan depends upon more direct communication and
cuts out emotion as much as possible in regards to the interactions between
the two parents. For example, in most cases, the phone call or face to
face meeting is discouraged or prohibited. Instead, parents would be encouraged
or sometimes required to communicate by text or email, etc. in order to
avoid high conflict “reactions” that are often triggered by
visual contact or the sound of the ex’s voice on the phone. Written
communication also avoids unnecessary opinions and comments that may otherwise
be included in the discussion.
If you need more information about parallel parenting plans or if you
have questions about legal decision making and your pending divorce, contact
at Arizona Family Law Attorneys.