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What does parallel parenting mean, and how does it work?

On Behalf of | May 8, 2023 | Child Custody and Visitation

Many California divorced or separated parents focus on co-parenting, but this is not always the best option. For some former couples, it might not be possible to work together to co-parent their kids. This is where parallel parenting comes in handy. This is what it means and when it’s appropriate for parents.

Understanding parallel parenting

Parallel parenting is a way for former spouses or unmarried parents no longer together to continue raising their children. Instead of working together to parent, however, each party has their child custody time independent of the other. Parents have minimal contact with one another and only communicate when necessary, such as during an emergency. The purpose behind parallel parenting is to avoid potential conflict. It’s often considered appropriate when domestic violence has been an issue. It may also be recommended if one or both parents have mental health disorders.

How parallel parenting compares with co-parenting

The biggest difference between parallel parenting and co-parenting is the amount of communication between the parents. While co-parenting involves generous communication, parallel parenting sees parents communicating only in times of emergency. However, in some cases, communication may involve a neutral third party instead of occurring between the parents.

Co-parenting also entitles parents to be there for their children when events and activities arise. This is not the case with parallel parenting, as both parents being present in the same place could lead to conflict. If there is a history of abuse between the two, it could lead to a dangerous situation. As a result, parents take turns attending events involving their children.

If parents cannot co-parent, parallel parenting allows them to be hands-on with their kids. In the long run, this benefits the children as they maintain close relationships with their parents.