For many couples, the divorce process can be emotionally grueling and completely necessary all at the same time. You might feel like you don’t ever want to see your ex again. But even though you’ve drifted, you still want your children to have an everlasting bond with both of their parents.

You’re probably wondering how you will be able to maintain your distance from your ex while sharing time with your children. Divorced parents who don’t know how to play nice anymore often decide it’s best they completely cut ties and limit interactions after the court approves their settlement agreement. And they do this by following a parallel parenting plan.

What is parallel parenting?

Through parallel parenting, parents not only take care of their children under their own roof, but they also set their own rules. Instead of constantly checking in with each other about child-related events, needs and progress, parents have the flexibility to take a more independent approach to taking care of their children.

This doesn’t mean you will freestyle your whole parenting plan. Rather, you’ll probably have to take the time to make a more detailed timesharing schedule than co-parents. This is because you’ll have to come up with a thoughtful child exchange system that allows for minimal contact and a procedure for how you will split your attendance at all child-related events. Which soccer games will dad get to attend? Will mom go to all parent/teacher conferences? These are all questions you will want to work through before you separate.

Who does it benefit?

When divorced parents can’t help but tense up around one another, it can be better for their emotional well-being to not be in the same room. Maybe at some point time will heal the negative energy surrounding your relationship or you will seek outside help from a therapist or a support group to be able to be near your ex without stirring up drama. Until then, parallel parenting might help you move forward with your life and save your children from witnessing any bickering matches.