It is very common to have a joint custody situation with your ex-spouse after divorce if you have children. While the courts make this decision because it is usually in the best interest of the child, it may not be in the best interest of the parents’ mental health.
Whether your ex-spouse is a raging narcissist or if you are simply on extremely acrimonious terms with him or her, the idea of co-parenting may sound like torture. This is when parallel parenting may be the answer.
How is this different from co-parenting?
As the name implies, co-parenting involves a lot of mutual cooperation between the parents. Even if the parents are not on the friendliest terms, co-parenting means that the parents can put these differences aside long enough to show up in support of the child at a dance recital or baseball game. They may also host joint birthday parties and be cordial enough to each other to host family events.
With parallel parenting, this does not happen. The parents are never in the same place at the same time. One parent may take the child to the dance recital or the baseball game, and the other parent may take the child to the pizza party that happens after. It is possible that the parents may decide to host two separate birthday parties.
How does this benefit the child?
The idea behind joint custody is to keep both parents actively involved in raising the child. In some circumstances, parallel parenting can shield the child from whatever the conflict is between the parents while providing this equal access. In this way, parallel parenting stays true to the intent of joint custody while avoiding conflict.