Research has indicated that when children go through a divorce, what is most difficult for them is seeing conflict between their parents. If parents can minimize this strife, their children will usually adjust better to the situation. However, this is not possible for all parents. While there might be a co-parenting ideal that involves people communicating regularly and cooperating, if individuals cannot do this, there is another option. They might try an arrangement known as parallel parenting. With this method, parents share custody, or one person has custody, and the other individual has visitation rights. However, direct contact between the parents is avoided.
For this to succeed, there needs to be a detailed plan. People may also need a way to exchange information without direct contact, so they might decide to use email or share a calendar. Usually, individuals who take on a co-parenting approach do agree on major issues involving the children, such as education or religion. Parents might try to think of their relationship with one another as a business relationship.
A co-parenting relationship requires a high level of respect between the exes and for the child's relationship with the other parent. In parallel parenting, people must let go of the need to try to control one another. They should also keep in mind that their schedules might change as their children get older and need more flexibility.
During a divorce, parents may be able to negotiate the plan for custody and visitation even if they do not get along. Their attorneys can assist if they do not want to communicate directly, and they can also try mediation. This is a conflict resolution method that aims to find a solution with which both parties are happy. It is in contrast to the more adversarial approach of litigation, in which there may be a winning and a losing party.