Co parenting has become an increasingly popular option for parents who no longer live together but still share custody and responsibility for their children.
But what is it?
And how does it compare to parallel parenting (aka sole custody)?
This blog post will explore co-parenting vs parallel parenting. It will also discuss the pros and cons of each, so you can make an informed decision about which type of arrangement is best for your family.
What is Co Parenting?
Co-parenting is when two parents who are no longer romantically linked take on equal responsibility for raising their children.
The two parents may have joint physical custody, share financial responsibility, and sometimes live in separate homes. Nevertheless, they still, maintain the same parental rights as they did when married.
They also work to develop a healthy and cooperative relationship for the sake of their children.
Pros of Co Parenting
You maintain a parental relationship with your ex-partner, which can be beneficial when it comes to resolving conflicts between you if one parent moves away or remarries.
Co-parenting is also often less expensive than sole custody arrangements because parents only have rights to a common income, not separate ones.
Co-parenting also provides your child with more exposure to two parental figures and maybe good for their emotional development.
Cons of Co Parenting
If you have joint custody but different parenting styles or beliefs it can create some tension between you both.
Children in co-parenting arrangements often have a more difficult time developing their identity and may experience feelings of abandonment.
They are also subject to conflict between the parents as they’re exposed to arguments or disputes over discipline, household rules, and child-rearing decisions.
What is Parallel Parenting?
Parallel parenting (aka sole custody) is when one parent has full responsibility for the care and upbringing of their child. This can be due to divorce, separation, or death.
In parallel parenting, rather than structuring a co-parenting plan, the court will decide who’s granted legal custody and which parent pays child support.
On some occasions, parents need to consider whether or not to enter into a parallel parenting arrangement when facing and forgiving each other is not possible. Such arrangements settle issues like:
- which parent will have the child/ren present at their home for holidays, vacations, and other special occasions?
- who is responsible for making decisions about medical care or education?
- how much time with children should one spend during a week.
- which parent the child lives with
- how responsibility for daycare, health care, education, etc. will be split up between them
Pros of Parallel Parenting
Parallel parenting provides your child with more independence and freedom because they only have to worry about one set of house rules and single parent.
Children in parallel parenting arrangements have a more predictable life because they’re not moving back and forth between households or worry about exposure to conflict between parents.
A single custodial parent also has full responsibility for the child’s upbringing and doesn’t have to worry about another household impacting their decisions.
Cons of Parallel Parenting
One downside is that parallel parenting can be more expensive. The single parent pays for all of the child’s expenses, including daycare and education.
It also means that one person has to provide 100% of their time caring for the child while co-parenting both provide some relief from this responsibility.
Children in parallel parenting arrangements may feel they are missing out on time with a parent or their extended family members because the other household is only visited for short periods of time during holidays and vacations.
Co Parenting Vs Parallel Parenting
Co-parenting can be a good option for parents who want to maintain some of the same parental rights they had when married and work together on decision-making.
It also provides children with more exposure to two different parenting styles (parents may have different methods of discipline, household rules, and child-rearing decisions).
Parallel parenting is more expensive for single parents because they have to pay for all of their child’s expenses.
Children in parallel parenting arrangements may feel like they are missing out on time with a parent or other family members who live in different households than them.
Which one is best?
You need to consider your specific circumstances and what will work best for you and your family.
How to Get Started?
If you’re considering a co-parenting arrangement, talk about what you want and need from the other person in order for both of you to be satisfied with the agreement.
If it’s too difficult or comes down to one parent always feeling left out, then parallel parenting may be more appropriate.
Contact a family lawyer to help you work out the details of your co-parenting agreement so that it’s enforceable in court and can be followed by both parents with ease.
The Traditional Way: Visitation and Parenting Time
The more traditional way to take care of time with your children is in parenting time and visitation. This way, you can work out visitations and child custody arrangements with your spouse before divorce proceedings.
If you and your ex are willing to put the best interests of your children first but don’t want a continued relationship after divorce or separation, it may be best for both parents to create a parenting time schedule.
This way, the children will still have some contact with one another and maintain a relationship.
The visitation schedule may be something as simple as alternating weeks or even days of the week. It can also include special visits for holidays, vacations, school breaks, weekends, and overnights (ex: every other weekend).
This type of arrangement is often easier for parents to follow and children are usually more comfortable with knowing when they will be interacting with the other parent.
The type of parenting arrangement you choose is a decision that should be made based on your individual circumstances.
If you and your ex are willing to put the best interests of your children first but don’t want a continued relationship, then it may be best for both parents to create an amicable visitation schedule with set visitations in order to maintain some contact between them.
On the other hand, if one parent has sole custody or 100% responsibility for raising their child while another household provides financial support, parallel parenting arrangements may work better because they’re more affordable.
Whether you’ll co-parenting or have two households working together as traditional parental units will depend on what’s right for you and your family so do some soul searching before making any commitments about the type of parenting arrangement you want.
The new family dynamic can be difficult for parents and children to adjust to when one parent moves out or divorce is finalized.
This blog post has given some information about different types of arrangements that are available in order to help make this transition smoother for everyone involved.
Our goal was not only to provide useful tips but also to show that no matter what type of parenting arrangement you choose, it doesn’t mean one parent is better than the other.
It’s important for parents to work together and provide all children with the love, guidance, structure, and support they need in order to grow up healthy and happy.
What are your thoughts on the debate between co-parenting and parallel parenting?
What type of arrangement would you rather pursue in order to spend time with your children?