Sharing parental responsibilities for your child after divorce can be a considerable challenge for any parent. Divorced spouses might distrust each other, dislike each other and may not take the same approach to parenting as each other.
That said, raising a child together under these circumstances is not impossible. Parents and their attorneys can create a parenting plan that fits everyone’s needs and protects the child’s best interests. There are multiple types of plans to consider.
Parallel parenting is an approach that minimizes interaction and communication between parents. As one mother describes in this article, parallel parenting consists of each parent raising their child as they see fit without any interference from the other parent. Any discussions that do occur should be in writing. Often, it is referred to as a business-style arrangement. Parents should be cordial and interact only when necessary.
This can be a good option for high-conflict parenting situations.
Parents who are able to get along, respect each other and communicate positively can find that a co-parenting arrangement works for them. In these situations, parents are generally more involved with each other and typically communicate through a variety of mediums, not just in writing. And while there is a consistent, clear parenting plan in place, co-parents are typically more flexible regarding things like shifts in schedules when necessary.
This can be a good option for parents who are amicable and able to work together.
There are many other options for parents who find that neither parallel parenting nor co-parenting is exactly right, though most will involve elements of one or both of these. Finding the right option for you will depend on the balance of parenting time, your individual approaches to parenting and specific elements of your situation that affect communication.
Once you do figure out what works best for you and your children, be sure to put the details in an enforceable and clear parenting plan. An experienced family law attorney can help with this.