The idea is that joint custody is in the best interest of the child. There is a great amount of scholarship showing that if children have both parents in their lives it is good for them whether or not the parents divorce.
However, if you are not on speaking terms with your ex-spouse or if he or she suffers from personality disorders, joint custody may seem like more of a personal punishment than anything. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to manage this hard situation. According to Healthline, parallel parenting is a good way to manage joint custody with a difficult ex-spouse.
What is it?
In the “traditional” co-parenting setup, it is likely that the divorced family will come together for certain events. For instance, maybe both parents (and their new partners if applicable) will come together to celebrate a child’s birthday party. It is also possible that the family may come together for sports events or dance recitals.
With parallel parenting, the parents are never in the same place at the same time. For a child’s birthday, parallel parents may choose to have multiple birthday celebrations instead. One parent may take the child to the sporting event, while the other parent takes the child to the postgame ice cream social.
How does this help?
Parallel parenting allows the child access to both parents while separating the parents from each other. This allows the child all of the benefits of joint custody while lessening the confrontation surrounding the situation.
Additionally, in some situations after a period of successful parallel parenting, the situation can transition into co-parenting. For other situations, parallel parenting is the best permanent situation for a positive family situation.