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Child custody: Is parallel parenting an option?

It’s usually safe to say that many couples who have decided to divorce have had some pretty serious disagreements. But divorcing couples in Michigan have some major decisions they need to make moving forward, especially if they’re parents. Child custody is one of the most pressing issues, with joint custody being the most prevalent result. However, what do parents do when they aren’t on the same page and can’t agree on even the most menial of things regarding their children?

In these instances, parallel parenting may be a better option than co-parenting. This type of parenting allows each parent to see to the needs of their children without having to directly deal with each other — or at least keep direct interaction to a minimum. Parents are still able to have direct relationships with their children.

The difference between co-parenting and parallel parenting

Parallel parenting takes much more planning with a schedule that is nearly inflexible. Since the goal of this type of parenting is to keep parental interaction to a minimum, details like pickup and drop-off places and times need to be consistent. Parents will still need to make big decisions for their kids — like education and health care — but the smaller details like discipline, meals and rules — can be handled individually. In co-parenting, parents are more likely to work together and put their differences on the back burner for the sake of their children.

Is parallel parenting permanent?

There is no parenting plan that has to be forever. With child custody, a parallel parenting approach may temporarily serve some Michigan families well until some wounds have healed and parents can parent their children more cohesively. The bottom line is that parents have to choose what is best for their children.