Let’s face it. There are some parents that just cannot agree on certain issues related to their child, such as extracurricular activities or (legal) discipline of the child. As a result, Indiana has started utilizing a newer method to address co-parenting in these situations. This blog post focuses on parallel parenting, a concept targeted toward parents experiencing consistent conflict due to their inability to agree to virtually anything, sometimes reflective of different life views that led to divorce and, others, the on-going “wounds” from the breakup of the marriage.
Parallel parenting is a fairly new concept introduced in March of 2013 for the purposes of decreasing court litigation between parents with a history of high conflict. It is now included as part of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines as a way to minimize the contact between high conflict parents at least until the parent conflict subsides. The court may enter a Parallel Parenting Order that allows each parent to make day-to-day decisions about the child while the child is with the parent. The Order may also limit communications between the parents to written or emergency contact only.
High conflict parents are defined as parties who demonstrate a pattern of ongoing litigation; have chronic anger and mistrust; are unable to communicate about and cooperate in the care of the child; or exhibit other behaviors that place the child’s well-being at risk. Counseling professionals are recommended to help parents handle parallel parenting arrangements. If this definition reflects your parenting situation, then parallel parenting may be a legal tool right for you to seek as an order of the court.
Parents should understand that joint legal custody is normally not awarded in parallel parenting situations. Instead, one parent will be granted sole legal custody. In addition, mid-week parenting time, the opportunity for additional parenting time, and make-up parenting time may be eliminated due to the potential for conflict between the parties. So what is parallel parenting?
The standard parallel parenting order includes guidance on the following issues:
- Responsibilities and decision-making of both parents;
- Unacceptable excuses for denying parenting time to the other parent;
- The regular parenting time schedule, as well as holiday and summer parenting time;
- Transportation of the child;
- How to handle emergencies involving the child;
- Education, child care and health care for the child;
- Communication between the parties;
- Resolving Disputes.
It is important to remember that parallel parenting is intended not as a permanent arrangement. The court will review the order every 180 days and will extend the plan, modify the plan, or terminate the plan. Further, because parallel parenting is a new concept, there is not a lot of information on its effectiveness. As a result, parents should be mindful of its benefits and drawbacks.
Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. handles high conflict family law cases by advocating the best approach for the parents and the child. Parallel parenting is one of the many legal tools that may advocate for the parents of high conflict, post-divorce situations. This blog post is intended to provide general information and is not a solicitation for legal service or specific legal advice. It is advertising material. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates handle domestic cases throughout the United States.