How are co-parenting and parallel parenting different?

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2022 | Child Custody

After divorce, many parents have to sit down with their ex-spouse to discuss how to continue raising their child. Parents often have to consider where their child will go to school, if they attend church, what are their diet restrictions, how visitation works, who’s allowed to babysit and what days of the week each parent sees their child. All of these decisions are for the well-being of your child.

Deciding each parent’s responsibility in a custody order can be difficult, especially if your ex-spouse was abusive during the marriage. If this is true, you’ll have to decide between agreeing to a co-parenting plan or a parallel parenting plan.

The two may not seem all too different, but they’ll determine how you’ll be working with your child’s other parent. Here’s what you should know:

When to consider co-parenting?

Essentially, co-parenting is the act of sharing parental obligations with your ex-spouse for the well-being of your child. In other words, you’ll have to work with your ex to determine the responsibilities and issues of raising a child with an agreed-upon solution. You’ll likely need strong communication skills to determine what the well-being of your child looks like for you and your ex.

Take, for example, you have to figure out when you and your ex-spouse see your child. You may consider having your child every other week, dividing parental obligations in half. Alternatively, you may see your child after school every three days, afterwards, your co-parent sees your child after school for three days.

When to consider parallel parenting?

Maybe you don’t have the strongest relationship with your ex-spouse. Perhaps your ex was abusive, controlling or narcissistic – ultimately, the leading cause of the divorce. When one parent is conflictive, it can make making a parenting plan difficult or near impossible to work – that’s why parents may decide to make a parallel parenting plan.

Parallel parenting allows you to widen the distance you have with your ex-spouse while protecting your child from conflict. Parents who use a parallel parenting plan are often given more individual freedom to parent their children.

You may be considering what type of parenting plan is best for you and your child. You may need to reach out for legal help if you have questions about a child custody order.