Not every newly divorced couple can get along. Even so, the prevailing attitude toward child custody these days is co-parenting, which requires a substantial amount of communication between the parties. That arrangement may work well for some newly single parents here in Connecticut or elsewhere, but not everyone can do it. Fortunately, couples who are not yet able to move past the anger, disappointment, sadness and resentment in their marital relationships can still enjoy relationships with their children through parallel parenting.

The parties may admit — perhaps begrudgingly at first — that a future former spouse is a good parent even at a time when he or she cannot find anything else good to say about the other person as a spouse. Each parent may acknowledge that the children need the other in their lives as much as possible despite the divorce. For Connecticut couples this scenario describes, parallel parenting could be the answer.

This style of parenting purposely limits the amount of in-person communication the parents have in order to minimize the potential for conflict, especially in front of the children. Parents agree to a strict parenting time schedule, a set location for pickups and drop-offs and a procedure for handling scheduling conflicts. All communications must be made in accordance with the agreement, and unless the children are in danger, neither parent can interfere in how the other spends time with the children.

This method may work well for couples as they move forward with their lives and heal from the divorce. For many people, parallel parenting ends up a temporary custody arrangement as they increase their communication over time. Whether that happens is as individual as the families who may choose this method of post-divorce parenting, but knowing this may provide some hope to parents currently struggling with forging a new future.