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What is Parallel Parenting? 

Posted on in Divorce

Western Springs Family Law AttorneyCreating a parenting plan during divorce is particularly challenging for parents who are so hostile towards each other that even the most minimal communication elicits an argument. Of course, this has a negative impact on the emotional and psychological well-being of parents, but the primary victims of this hostility are children who get exposed to conflict. 

In cases like this, Illinois parents may pursue a strategy called “parallel parenting.” Parallel parenting is an explicit acknowledgment that the children will be better off if the parents communicate as little as possible. 

Prevent Conflict with a Parallel Parenting Plan

Many couples can share the allocation of parental responsibilities, even if they do not get along all the time. But for parents who need to practice parallel parenting, parental responsibilities will not be shared at all - even if each parent has equal parenting time with the children. This is done by addressing issues as specifically as possible within a parenting plan so there is no question as to which parent is responsible for which issue. 

While every parenting plan addresses the most important areas over which parents exercise decision-making responsibilities - health, education, religion, and extracurricular activities - there is no limit to the issues that a parenting plan can manage. 

For a parallel parenting strategy, it is helpful to be as specific as possible. Parents can address exactly how children will be picked up and dropped off as they are transferred between households. If the father handles after-school sports, perhaps the mother will always manage the children’s music lessons. Parents practicing parallel parenting may even choose to pass on the right of first refusal, stating instead that it is preferable for parents to obtain third-party childcare rather than speak to each other when they must be away from the children. 

Parents who cannot agree about how to handle the children’s issues - as is likely to be the case for parents with high levels of hostility - will have the decisions made for them by a court. A guardian ad litem is often appointed in cases like these to determine what is in the best interests of the children. 

Consult with a DuPage County Parenting Plan Attorney

At Botti Marinaccio, LTD., our skilled Burr Ridge divorce attorneys have experience helping parents create effective parenting plans, even in the most hostile situations. We will work with you to help protect your children from exposure to conflict and help you find a resolution that appropriately manages communication with your ex for many years to come. Schedule your initial consultation with us by calling our offices at 630-575-8585




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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.


2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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