As divorcing parents, being realistic about your ability to work together is crucial to forming a workable custody plan.
What most people set out to do is co-parent, but in some cases, this is unrealistic, and parallel parenting is more likely to succeed. So how do they differ?
Co-parenting requires reasonable efforts to cooperate
This will involve you talking to each other to agree on how you raise your children. Examples could include discussing whether it would be appropriate for your teenage daughter to have their boyfriend stay and whether you need to try and get your younger child to eat more vegetables. While rules don’t always need to be the same between the two households, continuity can help.
Parallel parenting is for when communication is problematic
If the conversation about your daughter’s boyfriend is likely to turn into an argument where you are unable to respectfully listen to each other’s point of view, then it might be best not to have it. Ditto the conversation about vegetables.
As parallel parents, you would agree not to question or comment on what happens when your child is in the other person’s house. Instead, you agree to let each other do things their way to reduce the risk of conflict, which is damaging for you and your children.
Protecting your child’s future can be complicated
Just because you parallel parent does not mean you can never speak up when you feel your child’s wellbeing is at risk when they’re with their other parent. What you are trying to do by parallel parenting is minimize the potential for conflict. Consider legal help to understand more about creating your custody plan.