All parents want what’s best for their children, but after a contentious divorce, that may be the only thing that you and your ex have in common. Countless studies show that it’s the most beneficial after a divorce for children to have supportive relationships with both parents, but parental conflict causes them the most pain and anguish. How do you raise happy children together when you can’t stand one another?

Parallel parenting is a post-divorce arrangement in which parents have limited direct contact and co-parent by disengaging from each other. Here are three ways parallel parenting can make things easier with a problematic ex-spouse:

1. Reduces conflict with your ex

After a high conflict divorce, lingering resentment can make it challenging to get through a conversation without fighting – which can be harmful to your kids to witness. When you parallel parent with your ex, you will only consult each other on the most basic level regarding your children or important parenting decisions. By limiting interactions with your ex, you can limit the opportunities for conflicts and keep matters business-like.

2. Allows you both to maintain your parenting styles

If you and your ex have strong differences in opinion regarding lifestyles, child-rearing or morals, parallel parenting will let you both follow your own rules and parenting styles. For example, if your ex is religious, but you are not, you don’t have to maintain spiritual practices at your home with your child. Allowing both parents to set their own household rules can help stop arguments before they start.

3. Creates a peaceful environment for kids

If you have a hostile or tumultuous relationship with your ex, parallel parenting may provide your children with the most peaceful arrangement possible, especially if they are no stranger to seeing you fight. While it is often an adjustment at first, a conflict-free environment will provide the best option for reducing stress and anxiety in your child’s life.

Parenting with an ex is rarely easy. Fortunately, you don’t have to be friends with your former partner to parent together successfully. If you can’t stand to be in the same room with each other, parallel parenting lets both of you be involved in parenting and maintain peace with limited communication.