If the thought of sitting down to a holiday dinner with your ex-spouse or going on vacation together makes you wince, you aren’t alone. Co-parenting can take many forms, and this idealistic view of the process isn’t for everyone. Divorcing parents tend to put too much pressure on themselves to meet the idealistic view of co-parenting since the media tends to focus on it.
Parenting your children post-divorce shouldn’t be so stressful. You should have the freedom to enjoy your time with your children. For you, that may mean not co-parenting, but the problem is finding a viable alternative. If you need an alternative to co-parenting, keep reading.
Have you heard of parallel parenting?
In co-parenting, parents work together, communicate often and spend time together with their children, even if it’s just at a sporting event. That may work for many couples, but it may not work for you, which is where parallel parenting comes in. You only communicate with your former spouse when necessary and nearly never in person. You won’t have to see the other parent at school functions, routine doctor appointments or other activities in your children’s lives.
Another benefit of this type of parenting is that each of you does your own thing. Granted, you will probably want to agree to certain house rules and a loose schedule in order to provide consistency for the children. This will also make life easier for you and assure that neither parent will be the “bad guy,” since both parents are following a somewhat comparable schedule. Following this parenting style eliminates a great deal of stress for everyone and nearly eliminates arguments between the parents.
What does a parallel parenting plan look like?
Even though you aren’t co-parenting, you and the other parent can still create a parenting plan that works for your family and serves the best interests of your children. Some of the common components of a parallel parenting plan are listed below:
- Parenting time schedule
- Location for drop-off and pick-up
- Start and end times for parenting time
- Procedures for cancellations
- A method for resolving any disputes that arise
You can certainly add any other items to your plan that would work well for your family and help eliminate any potential for contention between you and the other parent. For instance, you can create a set of “house rules” that apply to both households. You can put in what will happen if one of the children experiences an emergency. You can outline the method of communication and the parameters for it.
The bottom line is that you can still create your own parenting plan. While knowing this may help relieve your stress, you may want to keep in mind that you still need to protect your rights. The easiest way to accomplish this is to work with an experienced Florida attorney.