When it comes to high-conflict divorces, the ex-spouses aren’t the only ones in pain — their children are affected too.
Over the last decades, research reveals that conflict is the primary source of anguish for children of divorce. Despite seeing their parents argue before, the conflict becomes more painful when co-parents still cannot get along.
While co-parenting is more beneficial than sole custody, parents who do not get along make things difficult. As a result, the kids do not experience a nurturing environment; they struggle with seeing both parents fight and manipulate them to choose a side.
It takes two parents to make co-parenting work. But when tensions are too high, there’s another alternative that will help angry exes and scared children.
Parallel Parenting for High-Conflict Divorce
Most of Denver’s divorce lawyers recommend parallel parenting for difficult co-parenting situations. This arrangement involves divorced parents disengaging from each other and maintaining limited contact. They do not engage in situations where they are unable to communicate in a respectful manner.
Simply put, ex-spouses disengage from each other, but maintain closeness with the kids. For example, they remain committed with serious decisions (e.g., education and medical) but decide on schedules and logistics separately. The higher the conflict is, the more structured the plan should be.
Parallel parenting prioritizes the children’s welfare; it encourages both parents to not focus on each other, but on the kids. If exes cannot get along, then they can at least work together for the well-being of their children.
Making Co-Parenting Work
To make the arrangement work, ex-spouses seek a third party mediator. This person can be a social worker, a counselor, or even a member of the church. Mediators help divorced couples with any face-to-face meetings and keep the civility of the proceedings.
It is also important to develop a parallel parenting plan that describes specific schedules, places for exchanges, and plans for cancellations. Apart from the planning, however, ex-spouses should limit communication to necessary matters only.
In summary, modeling polite behavior and cooperation will set a positive tone for this arrangement. When children are confident in the love of both their parents, they will easily adjust to the divorce.