Divorce comes with challenges for anyone who goes through it. You may find the process especially difficult, though, if you have children. To reduce your divorce’s impact on them, you will want to establish a parenting arrangement that provides them with stability. Yet, the type of arrangement that works for your family – whether co-parenting or parallel parenting – will also depend on the relationship between you and your spouse.
The differences between co-parenting and parallel parenting
Co-parenting is where divorced parents work together to raise their children. For you and your spouse to co-parent effectively, you must set aside any hard feelings you have toward each other and focus on your children’s needs. This is because, in a co-parenting relationship, you two will make important decisions about your children together, such as those related to education, healthcare and religion. As co-parents, you will work to reach consensus about how you will handle day-to-day parenting matters as well. And you may also attend your children’s events, appointments and school meetings as a team.
Parallel parenting differs from co-parenting because it is tailored for high-conflict situations. If you and your spouse cannot get along, this arrangement will allow you to share custody of your children while minimizing your interactions with each other. You two may communicate about major decisions affecting your children. Yet, you will do so in ways that are less likely to result in a dispute, such as through a co-parenting app or by email. Furthermore, you will each make day-to-day decisions about your children’s care on your own. And you will not attend your children’s events, appointments and school meetings together.
Understanding which type of parenting makes sense for you
Even if you and your spouse are going through an amicable divorce, co-parenting can be tough. For one, it requires you to communicate frequently about parenting matters. Furthermore, you will have to work hard to cooperate and problem-solve as you navigate any issues that arise. Yet, if you can manage these things – and if you can put your children’s needs ahead of your feelings – co-parenting could help your children feel safe, secure and cared for after your divorce.
The relations between you and your spouse, however, may be chilly, if not downright bitter. Co-parenting, then, may not be feasible if you two cannot speak with each other, or if every interaction between you two turns into an argument. Yet, you may both be fit parents who are dedicated to your children, and you may recognize how important it is for them to have both of you in their lives. By parallel parenting, you can accomplish this while minimizing your direct contact with each other.
It is crucial that you prioritize your children’s needs when working out parenting issues in your divorce. Yet, you must also account for the relationship that you and your spouse have. With the help of a legal professional, you can use these factors to establish a parenting arrangement that makes sense for your family.