Parallel Parenting vs Co-Parenting


The thought of having to share custody with an ex is often the hardest part of getting a divorce if you have kids. It may feel like you cannot get away from the person you least want in your life. And you not only have to share your children with them, but you also need to work together to raise them successfully. Some form of shared custody is the norm for most divorces in which both parents are deemed fit. Therefore, you are not alone in facing this situation. And the good news is that there is not just one way to continue parenting with your ex. In fact, co-parenting approaches exist on a spectrum. We’ll discuss the two opposite ends of that spectrum: parallel parenting vs co-parenting.

What is Co-Parenting?

Some former couples part on good terms and have never disagreed about their children and child-rearing practices. For these exes, learning how to co-parent effectively is possible. It means making nearly every decision together, synchronizing rules and routines between households, supporting one another in front of the children, and communicating frequently and productively.

Some co-parents take this a step further and opt for a Florida nesting divorce.

This is arguably the co-parenting ideal, as the co-parenting benefits are many. But we are all human, and very few people can always achieve this ideal. For those parents who can get along, however, this is something to strive for.

What is Parallel Parenting?

The other end of the spectrum is “parallel parenting,” which is basically parenting separately and drawing distinct boundaries in communication and cooperation. If you and your ex cannot get along even though you share custody, parallel parenting might need to be your approach.

This parenting style means running two different households without collaborating on nearly anything. You do not want input from your ex, and you do not offer your own input or opinions. Contact between you is minimal and always related to practical matters.

Co-Parenting and Parallel Parenting

Co-parenting and parallel parenting are the two extremes, but many ex-couples will fall somewhere between these two (2) approaches. Deciding the best approach for your family will be crucial in finding a workable custody solution.

The most important principle to keep in mind.

If co-parenting seems like the “ideal” solution, it will stand to reason that parallel parenting is the worst solution. But that is not necessarily the case. One of the worst things for children of divorce is exposure to constant parental conflict. Either of these approaches minimizes conflict and keeps the focus on the children.

Contact a Tampa custody attorney to learn more.

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