Parallel Parenting: Practical Solution or Nihilistic Fad?
Some people feel a weight lifted from their shoulders the minute their divorce becomes final. Those people do not have minor children. If you and your ex-spouse have children together, divorce is a marathon, not a sprint. The wounds reopen every time your children repeat a passive-aggressive comment that your ex’s new partner made about an article of clothing your child was wearing, one that you chose and your child was delighted to receive as a gift from you. If you set rules for your children and your ex disregards them, it is a recipe for frustration and resentment. You are the one in control of how much real estate your ex-spouse can take up in your mind, but it is possible to resolve most co-parenting disputes through formal agreements, court decisions, or even just enlisting your lawyer’s help in communicating with your ex-spouse. A San Jose child custody lawyer can help you develop a parenting plan that will create stability for your children while preserving your sanity.
When Your Ex-Spouse Is Truly Impossible
Talking out your differences is certainly an admirable goal, but what if your experiences during your marriage and divorce have shown you that negotiating or arguing with your ex is entirely pointless? The potshots, stonewalling, and gaslighting that made you decide to divorce your ex in the first place do not go away when you are co-parenting after divorce. The assumption in divorce cases is that former spouses can behave in a civil manner toward each other for the children’s sake, the way that you behave professionally toward coworkers you don’t especially like. In some families, it works fine. Some people can easily converse with their ex-spouse by phone when circumstances require them to change their plans for the weekend, requiring a slight modification of the parenting schedule, for example. Other former spouses can’t stand to be in the same room together. If that describes your family, parallel parenting may be the best way for your children to maintain a stable relationship with both parents.
A Roadmap to Parallel Parenting
In parallel parenting, the ex-spouses talk to each other very little, if at all. Except as specified in the parenting plan, they stay out of each other’s business. For example, Mom might have a vegetarian household, while Dad eats meat and allows the children to do so. Perhaps Dad is a churchgoer, but Mom is a non-believer; the children attend church on their weekends with Dad, but not on their weekends with Mom. Here are some tips for successful parallel parenting:
- Don’t say bad things about your ex in front of your children. You and your ex should stay out of each other’s business.
- Communicate by text or email, not by phone or in person.
- Contact your lawyer at the first sign of trouble. Do not get dragged into another conflict with your ex.
For some families, parallel parenting is the best solution. Instead of constantly witnessing conflict, the children just adapt to each parent’s parenting style.
Let Us Help You Today
No matter how amicable or bitter your divorce, a San Jose child custody & visitation lawyer can help you give your children the stability you want for them. Contact Foster Hsu to discuss your case.