Please note – there is NO judgment here – whichever parenting method/style allows a post-divorce family to adhere to a Parenting Plan and involves the least emotional turmoil for everyone – that’s the best option for that family!
- Co-Parenting: Both parents are able to set aside (or hide?) any negative emotions related to the other in order to communicate and to agree on how to raise the child(ren), presenting a “united front”.
- Parallel Parenting: Each parent decides how to define his/her individual time with the child(ren) and the rules for his/her own home — without influence or interference from the other parent.
It is generally the hope that post-divorce parents could Co-Parent their children. If you are just now starting to think about a divorce, and would like to Co-Parent your children post-divorce, why not stack the deck in favor of your kids?
The following article from the Huffington Post gives one person’s perspective on why, after 7 years of attempting to Co-Parent, she found Parallel Parenting was the best option for her, her ex, and their tween girl. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tiffany-benyacko/5-reasons-why-parallel-parenting-is-better-than-co-parenting_b_8679076.html In the article, the mom details things both she and her ex were doing that made Co-Parenting an extremely difficult process for everyone involved (inability to set aside past emotions, desire to “control” the other parent, etc.). When she found Parallel Parenting, it was a “different” way of parenting that clearly defined changes both she and her ex would have to make; however, it did provide a structure for them to move forward and removed a ton of the emotional turmoil and frustrations that were fueling their constant battles.
What she doesn’t share are details about the process of how she got divorced… Chances are, if a couple elects to follow the traditional, attorney-driven, high conflict divorce process, once a judge grants the divorce, the animosity and other negative emotions will not just disappear. Moving forward, trying to work together to Co-Parent may be very difficult, if not impossible.
At Tampa Friendly Divorce, we offer a unique mediation process to help couples respectfully define the terms of the end of their marriage via a Marital Separation Agreement and a Parenting Plan. This process requires both spouses to be committed and willing to work out these details – and it is with the assistance of two professional, Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediators. And our process works for these couples! Spouses begin to redefine their separate, yet parallel, future lives as co-parents via negotiation with the guided communication assistance of two mediators – before filing for divorce! Working together to define the terms of your own separation and how you will continue to be parents to your child(ren), versus having a judge decide for you, automatically puts you ahead of the game. The divorce will be based on terms you have both agree to ahead of time — including how you will interact as parents!
Obviously, there are no guarantees as to what the future may hold. Once your agreements are signed/notarized (or once your final hearing date is set), the two of you will be on your own – no more help from mediators when trying to communicate with each other. However, we have to believe that a process built around improved communication, with both parents defining and agreeing to the details of how to meet your needs and that of your family, now and into the future, gives you a much better chance of actually achieving the goal of Co-Parenting!
Tampa Friendly Divorce saves time, money, and heartache. Do it for your kids.