Co-Parenting vs Parallel Parenting
When it comes to separation, every couple is different. Some couples end the relationship on good terms, while others can´t even look at each other. And when children are involved, it can be even more difficult. Depending on the nature of their relationship between the individuals, parents can opt to co-parent or parallel parent.
What is co-parenting?
Co-parenting is a post-divorce, or post separation, arrangement made by both parents to continue to raise their child(ren) together.
This option is chosen by couples who are able to make decisions jointly about the raising of the child or children. In this arrangement, both individuals will continue to be involved in the child´s life, amicably interacting with each other for the overall benefit of their child(ren).
Part of co-parenting is having a plan that helps them be on the same page to raise their child and address important issues such as healthcare decision-making so that opportunities for conflict are minimized.
Keep in mind that both parents take part in their child´s activities, such as school recitals, extracurricular activities, and more, so communication is key for co-parenting, and differences between parents should be put aside for the child´s benefit.
Tips for co-parenting
- Have good communication: as we mentioned before, being able to communicate is key if you choose to co-parent. The information that is shared should be complete and accurate.
- Be prepared: whether you chose a digital tool or not, make sure to have a plan and a 12-month calendar. You can include the weekly parenting time schedule, the holiday schedule, school events, and any activity that involves the child.
- Maintain a cordial relationship with the other parent: this is not only about being able to communicate. The way parents relate to each other can affect their child, especially when the family is all together for certain events.
- Be positive about the child´s visit to the other parent: each parent must be supportive of the other parent´s right to a great relationship with their child.
- Give the child some control over parenting time: depending on the child´s age, you may want to consider letting them have some control over the time they spend with each parent. This may help the child know that his or her opinion and feelings are important and taken into consideration.
What is parallel parenting?
Different from co-parenting, parallel parenting is the option for couples who are constantly in conflict and are unable to communicate with each other. This kind of parenting allows both parents to spend time with the child(ren) independently. This way, the child will avoid a hostile environment and the relationship between the parents won´t negatively affect him or her.
In a parallel parenting plan, the need for interaction will be minimized as much as possible, both when making the plan, as well as in daily life. Due to the nature of the relationship, this type of plan often requires the need for a mediator or judge to establish the terms under which the child will be raised, based upon arguments and evidence presented by both parents.
Tips for parallel parenting
- Keep communication brief: if there´s ever a time where communication is needed, keep in mind that is better to keep to the facts, and firmly give or solicit the information that is needed. Also consider that being firm doesn´t need to be rude. Even when communication is kept brief, friendly interactions are advised.
- Take a moment to check in with the child(ren).
- Make the child the priority: leave your emotions about the other parent aside to the best of your ability, to ensure that the child´s wellbeing is the priority.
Getting divorced, or separated, and dealing with how to raise the children can be a difficult time for all parties involved. Assistance regarding custody issues is often a necessity. Russell Spatz has over 40 years of experience working on family law cases. Give him a call at 305-442-0200 to see how he can be of assistance in your child custody negotiations.