Every divorce is different, and while one couple may be able to cooperate in making decisions about children, some former spouses may not. In New York, there is a shift toward parallel parenting.
What is parallel parenting, and does it work better than the traditional co-parenting?
For years, building a co-parenting-based plan for children after a divorce has been the norm. These types of plans call for parents to make decisions jointly about certain facets of a child’s upbringing. It also expects parents to communicate effectively to make these decisions.
However, with higher conflict divorces on the rise, especially in places such as California and New York, parallel parenting plans are becoming more frequent. Parallel plans address the parents’ inability to communicate effectively. It divides the decision-making process between the parents – for example, designating one parent the primary point of contact for medical decisions and giving the other the lead in education.
Separating the duties limits the communication between parents. In doing so, it gives parents the space they need after a highly volatile process. The general sentiment regarding parallel parenting is it allows enough time to pass that the frustration and anger often supplanted through separation and divorce proceedings can wane.
Divorce proceedings can bring out the worst in people. Divisive stances on things such as support, alimony, division of assets and distribution of wealth can cause anger to flare. Giving the parties time to step away with very little need to speak may be the best thing in these highly charged situations.
A parallel plan requires the initial parenting plan to account for every situation that may arise. It may also be a good idea to include a third party who will be able to communicate with both parties if necessary. The third party may be an attorney. In some cases, both parties may designate their respective legal counsel.
Always remember that crafting parenting plans and divorce settlements are unique situations. You should not expect the same results as another couple. Being open-minded about things such as parenting plans allows the parties the greatest chance to be successful parents living apart.
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