Minnesota parents who are considering a breakup may have been told the best parenting relationships are collaborative. Conflict between parents is a high source of stress for everyone involved. This is especially true for children who are already experiencing a major change in life and living arrangements. When there is a great deal of animosity between parents it is sometimes just not possible to have a collaborative co-parenting relationship. For these couples, the answer often comes from implementing a highly specific parallel parenting plan. The key for each method to work is parents putting their focus on the children involved rather than each other.
While collaborative parenting involves frequent and positive child-centered communication between the parents, parallel plans seek to limit communications as much as possible in order to avoid potential conflict. Parents must adopt a method of approved communication and keep those communications businesslike and focused strictly on logistics. Email is often the preferred method of communication but parents must commit to practicing good faith in checking and sending these messages as needed. Parents must learn to simply let go of efforts to control or be involved in whatever happens when children are with the other party. This can be a source or both stress and liberation for those involved.
The most successful parenting relationships of all types become less acrimonious and more collaborative as time passes. For this reason parallel parenting relationships can evolve over time into truly collaborative ones in which the children prosper and grow. In any case, parenting plans need to evolve with the children. Schedules, activities, and economic needs change over time and a periodic revisiting is generally appropriate to keep up with the times.
Anytime there is a child custody issue it may be prudent to consult with a qualified family law attorney. Getting guidance from an experienced advocate might help parents identify best practices and avoid potential pitfalls and hotspots in parenting relationships.