If you have a difficult relationship with your ex-spouse but also have children with him or her, often dealing with the aftermath of divorce is more difficult than the legal process itself. This is because it is almost guaranteed that you will be in a joint custody situation after divorce. Essentially, even if you no longer live with your ex-spouse or see him or her on a daily basis, you will still need to work together to parent your children.
Particularly if your ex-spouse has personality disorders, this may seem impossible at best and like cruel punishment at worst. However, parallel parenting is a viable option for high-conflict families who still need to raise their children together.
How is this different from co-parenting?
In a co-parenting situation, the family does come together semi-often for family events. For instance, it is likely that the parents will throw a joint birthday party for the children or celebrate the end of year holidays together.
With parallel parenting, the parents are very rarely in the same place at the same time. It is possible that a family using parallel parenting will decide to have two completely separate birthday events for the child. They will also celebrate other holidays separately.
Can this last forever?
For some families, the only way to feasibly manage joint custody is to have a permanent parallel parenting situation in place. In other situations, sometimes the passage of time helps a bit and a parallel parenting situation can evolve into a more traditional co-parenting situation. It all depends on the needs of the family.