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Parents who cannot get along might consider parallel parenting

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by Jaye Taylor
Shareholder and Attorney at Buckley Law P.C.

It has become common knowledge that, in most situations, children fare best after divorce when they can maintain close relationships with both parents. However, parents who may still be angry or hurt from the divorce can have difficulties making a co-parenting arrangement work. These difficulties can lead to a negative experience for the children.

When parents are not able to co-parent successfully, children can end up being exposed to parental conflicts and may feel like they must choose between their parents. Parents with a high-conflict relationship who struggle to co-parent effectively may consider a parallel parenting arrangement instead.

How do co-parenting and parallel parenting differ?

Co-parenting is a parenting arrangement that involves unmarried parents maintaining equal responsibility for their children's upbringing. This typically requires regular communication about the children and cooperation in decision-making that will affect the children.

Parallel parenting is a type of co-parenting that allows parents to limit direct contact with each other, while both remaining close with their children. Parents may still agree to make important decisions together but can make day-to-day decisions independently. When communication is necessary, it must be business-like and focused on the children. When possible, communication occurs online or through app-based services instead of face-to-face.

Healthy habits for successful parallel parenting

Some ways to help make parallel parenting successful, include:

  • Never using the children as messengers
  • Taking turns attending each child's appointments, such as those with doctors and dentists
  • Not making comments on the other parent's parenting style
  • Allowing each household to operate independently
  • Transferring children in a neutral location
  • Taking time to reread electronic communications before they are sent to make sure they are written respectfully

It is important for children to be able to spend time with both parents, but it can also be important for parents to have time to heal from their divorce. Although it is not appropriate for every situation, parallel parenting can provide the structure required to balance both needs.

Jaye Wickham Taylor is an attorney and Shareholder at Buckley Law P.C. and focuses her practice on family law litigation. Jaye Taylor has successfully litigated some of the most challenging and emotionally charged family law cases in the state, involving custody of children to fathers, severe parental alienation and abduction, allegations of domestic violence and international move-away cases.

Specialties: Custody, Support, division of assets and debts, modifications, elder abuse, will contests, adoptions, domestic violence, domestic partnerships, prenups.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You should not act upon any information contained in this article without consulting an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. 

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