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Co-parenting not working? Why not give parallel parenting a try?

If you're one of many Texas parents whose divorce was less than amicable, the whole co-parenting situation might not be going so well. If so, you can take comfort in knowing that you are definitely not alone in your struggle.

In fact, some co-parenting relationships are highly confrontational, even volatile. Whether your situation isn't quite that bad, but you want to make a change before it gets to be or you're in over your head and need immediate support, parallel parenting might be an option.

Parallel parenting is an alternative means of co-parenting after divorce when traditional arrangements aren't working out. If you and your ex can barely be in the same room without fighting, you might want to learn more about parallel parenting and learn how it can help avoid conflict. It's also always a good idea to have a strong support network in place if you need someone to intervene to help restore peace.

What is parallel parenting?

Perhaps this is the first you've heard of parallel parenting. The following information explains the basics of this post-divorce parenting style, which you might find helpful in your particular situation if high-conflict is causing co-parenting problems: 

  • Having as little personal contact with each other as possible is the main benefit of a parallel parenting plan. If you and your ex constantly lock horns in-person, this might be the best option for you.
  • Parallel parenting allows you to keep your children's best interests in mind while avoiding parental conflict.
  • You can take proactive steps to keep stress low, such as agreeing to only correspond in writing rather than communicating in person. Text messaging, email and other technology can be valuable tools to help carry out this type of plan.
  • In a parallel parenting agreement, you can ask a third party to supervise custody exchanges.
  • You can also agree to transfer children at a neutral location, rather than your personal households.
  • Parallel parenting allows your children to witness you and their other parent working as a team rather than appearing combative all the time.

Studies show that children exposed to high levels of parental conflict often experience emotional trauma and stress. Parallel parenting may be a way to help your children lower their stress levels because they won't constantly be subjected to parental arguing. 

Mapping out a plan

A parallel parenting plan must be very detailed. It's always best to obtain a formal court order so that the terms of your agreement are clearly defined in writing and there's not much room for confusion or debate. Most Texas parents seek guidance and support from experienced family law attorneys when implementing parallel parenting options.

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