If you are contemplating a divorce right now, you may find it difficult to say one good thing about your partner. However, if you were asked to say one good thing about the parent of your children, that may be a different story. You may have no trouble acknowledging that your future former spouse is a good parent. He or she loves the children and has always been there for them — just not for you.
Even though your marriage is ending, neither of you want to disrupt the relationship the other has with the children nor “punish” the children for the demise of your marital relationship. The problem is that the two of you can’t be in the same room right now without an argument breaking out. How do you reconcile the two?
Consider parallel parenting
A good portion of the attention given to child custody goes to co-parenting these days. Parents should be able to put aside their differences for the sake of the children regardless of how hurt, betrayed, angry or sad they may feel — at least that is what the media and society seem to tell you. As much as you would like to live in that idyllic world, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse just can’t get there. You could try parallel parenting instead.
Parallel parenting differs from co-parenting in several ways, but most importantly in one fundamental way — communication between you and the other parent. Where co-parents may sit down to dinner together as a method of exchanging custody, you simply can’t fathom doing so right now, and that’s okay. In this post-divorce parenting option, you and the other parent communicate only minimally and only about the children.
How does parallel parenting work?
You both devise a parenting plan that outlines how you will communicate. You strictly schedule parenting time, and both agree to follow the schedule to the letter. If any conflicts arise, you deal with them in the manner agreed upon in the plan. You may conduct custody exchanges in a public place to deter either of you from starting an argument, and you never put the children in the middle. In fact, you also agree not to speak negatively of each other in front of the children.
The joint custody arrangement allows each of you to parent as you see fit when the children are with you as long as your or the other parent’s actions don’t compromise the safety of the children. You may agree on some loose house rules if you can in order to keep things as consistent as possible for the children, but otherwise, neither of you criticizes the other.
Does parallel parenting sound like a good alternative?
Once you and the other parent finalize your agreement, it will need the approval of the court before you can consider it official. If you think this arrangement would work in your situation, you could work with a family law attorney to protect your rights and help ensure your agreement complies with Connecticut family law.