Dealing with joint custody can be difficult, even for co-parents who still get along after their divorce. However, if you are trying to manage a joint custody situation with a co-parent who suffers from personality disorders or is hostile, finagling this may seem like a Sisyphean endeavor.
Fortunately, parallel parenting can help make an impossible situation possible. According to Healthline, parallel parenting involves parents sharing custody of a child but never being in the same place at the same time.
What does it look like?
In a “traditional” co-parenting situation, the parents will sometimes come together for the sake of the child. For instance, it is possible that both parents will attend a child’s sporting event together, and they may bring new partners if any exist. With co-parenting, the parents may decide to throw a joint birthday party for the child.
In parallel parenting, this does not happen. One parent may attend the sporting event, while the other parent may come after to pick up the child and take him or her to the postgame ice cream social. During the child’s birthday or other holidays, both parents will plan separate events.
How does this help?
The idea of joint custody is to give the children equal access to both parents. Parallel parenting allows the child to benefit from this access while also ensuring that the parents have a strong degree of separation from each other.
With responsible parallel parenting, it is possible that hard feelings may dissipate over time and the situation can evolve into traditional co-parenting. In other situations, a permanent parallel parenting setup will benefit the family best.