Like couples in other parts of the country, many here in Illinois cannot simply turn off their feelings for each other once a judge signs the divorce decree legally ending their marriage. Even so, if they are parents, they need to find a way forward for the sake of their children. One thing the parties may agree on is that co-parenting is out of the question. Do they need to resign themselves to a child custody battle? Fortunately, they do not.

Parallel parenting could provide the answer. In this post-divorce parenting method, the parties communicate as little as possible and rarely in person. Instead, they choose a method of communication, usually electronic, to be used only to pass on information regarding the children. They do not interfere with what goes on in the other parent’s household unless there is evidence that the children are in danger.

This allows each parent to have as much time with the children as possible without the tension that attempting to co-parent would undoubtedly cause. Both parents agree to abide by a strict parenting time schedule, so it needs to be realistic. A parallel parenting plan should also include a way to resolve any scheduling or other conflicts that arise.

Illinois parents who believe that parallel parenting could serve as a viable option for their child custody issues will want to determine whether to ask the court to set the schedule or to do it themselves. It may be a struggle, but working it out without the assistance of the court could help both parents retain some control over their future, which could increase the willingness to abide by the agreement. In either case, it would be wise for each parent to take steps to ensure their rights are protected every step of the way.