To some extent, every divorce comes with emotional fallout. The question is whether you and your future former spouse can put it aside in order to co-parent. If the answer is no, it does not automatically mean you are headed to court to fight it out to get time with your children.
You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse may not agree on much, but you may agree that your children shouldn’t suffer because the two of you can’t get along anymore. You may not like your ex, but you have to admit, albeit begrudgingly, that he or she is a good parent and your children love him or her.
You have another option
When most people here in New Jersey and elsewhere talk about the best results for the children in a divorce, they talk about co-parenting as if it is the only joint custody option. Fortunately, for you and the other parent, it isn’t the only option. Parallel parenting can provide your children with the most time possible with each of you without the two of you having to communicate on a constant basis. It’s all about the communication — or the lack thereof.
Of course, you will need to have some communication, but you limit it to just issues regarding the children that you and the other parent need to know about, such as emergency medical needs, changes in the children’s schedule due to school and extracurricular obligations, and more.
You gain certain benefits
When you agree to a parallel parenting plan, you and the other parent gain the following:
- Healthy boundaries
- A set method of communication
- Independent and confident decision-making regarding daily activities
- A focus that remains on the children, not each other
- Strict parenting schedule
- Reduced conflict between your households
- Reduced stress for the whole family, especially the children
Communications ordinarily do not happen via phone or text since those mediums tend to allow too much “ad-libbing,” which can lead to confrontation. The goal of parallel parenting is to structure your parenting plan to avoid conflict and stress by interacting with each other as little as possible.
You may find that over time, you and the other parent move past your feeling for each other and reach a point where you can increase your communication. You may even end up in a pattern that more resembles co-parenting than you ever thought possible. Even if that doesn’t happen, at least the two of you agreed to put your children’s needs ahead of your own and work out a plan that allows them to enjoy as much time, support and love as possible from each of you.