It is highly likely that there is conflict between you and your ex-spouse. After all, there is likely a reason that he or she is your ex. Despite this, if you happen to have children with him or her, you will be in a partnership of sorts for life.
While this may be moderately unpleasant for many ex-couples, if your ex-spouse happens to have narcissistic tendencies or is otherwise abusive this may seem like a punishment. In this situation, parallel parenting may be your best option if you must share custody with your ex. Parallel parenting is different from co-parenting in that it involves greater separation between the ex-spouses.
What makes parallel parenting different?
In the majority of co-parenting situations, both parents are at least on reasonable talking terms with each other. This means that the parents will indeed come together to support and love their child when society expects them to do so, such as during the end of year holidays and birthdays.
However, with parallel parenting this does not happen. The child may have two separate birthday parties, with one thrown by each parent. It is also likely that holidays will be completely separate as will attendance of dance recitals or sporting events.
How does this help?
Parallel parenting allows your child equal access to both parents, which the courts often mandate and it is likely your child desires. However, it also provides strict separation for the parents which might be the only way to manage a continued family unit.
Depending on the nature of the rift between the parents, it is also possible that successful parallel parenting can convert into a more traditional co-parenting arrangement after some time.