Are there options other than co-parenting or sole custody?

When it comes to raising a child after a divorce, the parent's relationship with each other can have a significant effect on how child custody is handled. While some parents can cooperate well enough to make co-parenting a feasible option, in some cases parents simply cannot achieve such an amicable relationship after their marriage has ended. Do Kentucky parents have any options if co-parenting is not feasible for them but is still preferred to one parent having sole custody?

One option parents might want to consider is "parallel parenting." Despite the parent's high-conflict situation, parallel parenting allows parents to put the child's needs first while having little direct contact with each other. In some situations, parents may agree to make major life decisions such as decisions regarding the child's schooling and medical treatments together, but they will make decisions regarding the child's day-to-day care on their own. This may necessitate a very structured child custody plan, in which specific drop off and pick up times are laid out,. Knowing precisely what to expect in such situations makes the process less stressful not just for the parents but for the child as well.

It can also help to have a neutral third party mediate communications that the parents must have with each other. Moreover, whether in person or otherwise, parents should only speak together on topics regarding the child's direct care and well-being. Email may be preferable to texts, which could be interpreted as harsh. A notebook can be an alternative means of communication for parents who don't want to email each other. In addition, even if parents are harboring negativity against each other after a divorce, once the marriage has ended they should keep their relationship business-like for the sake of the child's well-being.

In the end, no matter how contentious a parent's divorce is, it is important to focus on the best interests of the child. The child should be encouraged to keep a positive relationship with each parent. This can foster a sense of security during what can be an insecure time in a child's life.