What can you do when you and your ex are unable to be in same room together, but you share children? Sometimes, despite our best efforts, interaction with an ex is the equivalent of oil and water: the two simply do not mix. However, finding yourself in this situation does not mean that both parents cannot remain actively involved in their children’s lives. You may find that the creation of a “parallel parenting” arrangement allows you to remain equally involved in your children’s lives while also protecting the mental health and well being of you and your children.
Parallel parenting is used in situations in which a person and his or her ex have a very contentious relationship and, for whatever reason, are unable to set their animosity aside. See e.g., L.C. v. V.C., 2012 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1752 at *12 (App. Div. July 23, 2012). Parallel parenting differs from a co-parenting (or cooperative parenting) situation in that, under a parallel parenting arrangement, parenting time is carefully and meticulously scheduled in such a way as to minimize interaction and communication between the parents. Such an arrangement is not uncommon; even Hollywood celebrity exes have been known to implement a parallel parenting arrangement. See Carrie Seim, Parallel parenting is the new conscious uncoupling: Camille Grammer, New York Post, https://nypost.com/2018/02/09/parallel-parenting-is-the-new-conscious-uncoupling-camille-grammer/.
As far as the specifics of a parallel parenting arrangement, that depends upon the circumstances of the parties, their children, and their lives (work schedules, extracurricular schedules, etc.). Parallel parenting arrangements may include neutral drop off/pick up locations (police stations, courthouses, mall parking lots, etc.), outside monitoring or facilitation of communication between the parties, established limitations to the subject matter of communication between the parties, adjustments to parenting time schedules to minimize the number of transitions for the children, and detailed parenting time schedules that account for holidays, birthdays, vacations, and extracurricular activities.
If you are interested in incorporating a parallel parenting arrangement into your custody agreement, our skilled and knowledgeable New Jersey family law attorneys at Lyons & Associates are available to speak with you and answer any questions that you may have. We invite you to contact us online or give us a call at our office at 908-575-9777 to schedule an appointment.