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Parallel Parenting: When Co-Parenting Is Not an Option


Some people find that their relationship with their ex-spouse actually improves after they divorce.  The little things that added up to ruin your relationship when you were married can no longer hurt you when you do not have to share a household or define your identity in terms of each other.  If your coworker eats fast food during their lunch break, spends too much money on clothes, lets dishes pile up in the sink, or has had crushes on people of both sexes, you don’t spend hours every day stewing in resentment about it, but all of these apparently minor things can be major points of conflict in a marriage.  After you get divorced, you and your ex-spouse can live out your separate identities separately but work together to raise your children.  At least, some people can.  If you have a conflict-free co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse, you are one of the lucky few.  For many divorced parents, the hurt feelings come back every time their ex-spouse makes an empty promise to the kids or includes his girlfriend, with whom he had an extramarital affair, in a family gathering.  A South Florida child custody lawyer can help you achieve an acceptable new normal if you have a difficult co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse.

How Parallel Parenting Works

Parallel parenting is co-parenting without the cooperation.  All divorced parents of minor children must have and follow a court-ordered parenting plan which determines which parent spends which days with the child as well as addressing other non-financial issues related to parenting; the schedule in the parenting plan serves as the basis for child support decisions.  One of the items in the parenting plan is about decision-making, specifically about children’s education, extra-curricular activities, and non-emergency medical decisions.  When the divorced parents have a reasonably good relationship, the parenting plan might say that the parents have an equal say in these decisions.  When the parents cannot be civil to each other, though, the parenting plan will state clearly which parent has the final say about which matters.  For example, it might say that Mom gets the final say about non-emergency medical care, but Dad gets the final say about which school the children attend.  As with all parenting plans, these matters are unique to the family; maybe Mom gets to decide about non-emergency medical care because she is a nurse and has more medical knowledge, and maybe Dad gets the final say about schools because the children have been attending private schools since before the divorce and because his income is higher.

On some issues, parents can agree to disagree.  For example, the children might attend church on the Sundays and holidays that they spend with Mom, but not on the ones they spend with Dad. Each parent gets to set bedtime on the days the children spend with them. In parallel parenting, the parents usually communicate by text message or a divorce app such as Our Family Wizard instead of by phone calls or in-person conversations.  If they need to talk about something too complex for a text message, they do it by email or through their lawyers.

Contact Us Today for Help

Your children have the right to a relationship with both parents, but if your ex-spouse is intolerable, you can leave it to your Boca Raton child custody lawyer to deal with them on your behalf.  Contact Schwartz | White for help today.


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