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Parallel Parenting Vs. Co-Parenting – What Are The Differences?


Co-parenting vs Parallel Parenting: what is the better option for you following a divorce? Your relationship with your children ought to be the most important thing in your life, but it doesn’t need to be at the risk of your own mental and physical health. At Buckhead Family Law, we know that, most often, the best option will fall somewhere in the middle for everyone.

So, let’s break down the two different types of parenting styles and see which will work best for you, your partner, and your family.

What Is Co-Parenting?

Co-parenting is a type of parenting where the two parents work together to problem solve for the best interests of their child, even if they no longer live together or even near each other. The child is able to easily transition between the different homes, while the parents work together to attend school functions, little league games, and anything else the child may need. Both parties are friendly and if there is any sort of tension, there is a plan in place to take care of it.

When co-parenting is done properly, the child gets the best of both worlds and everyone stays happy, healthy, and in harmony.

What Is Parallel Parenting?

Parallel parenting is for those who have a slightly tenser relationship with their ex-partner. They aren’t able to interact or problem solve in ways that are productive. These are parents who are better off keeping everything separate, going to different events, and attending appointments separately. They share only the necessary information in writing.

Often, this results in a parenting plan that isn’t equal: the child will spend more time with one parent over the other. Usually, one parent is determined the “primary” parent in these situations.

Parallel parenting is neatly laid out, so everyone understands what their roles are, what the rules are, and how everyone is to collaborate.

What Are the Differences Between Parallel Parenting & Co-Parenting?

For parallel parenting and co-parenting, there are some distinct differences in a few different categories. These include:

Communication Styles: With parallel parenting, communication is kept to an absolute minimum. Most of it will take place digitally or in writing. The parents keep everything short and to the point. For co-parenting, the parents usually chat whenever they can or want to regarding the child and any necessary arrangements.

Activities and Functions: Co-parenting allows for parents to attend the same doctor’s appointments, little league games, parent-teacher conferences, and more. Everyone is able to spend time together without animosity or conflict. For parallel parenting, the parents do not attend the same events if at all possible. Both parents need to determine who gets to go to what event and if they both need to attend something, they try to do so while staying apart and keeping interaction to a minimum.

Decision Making: In both types of parenting, parents have a say in what happens to their child. However, in parallel parenting, the default is almost always on the primary parent.

Need Help with Your Custody Agreement?

Parenting is difficult enough on your own, let alone trying to do it while coordinating with someone else. Even if you have different parenting styles, following a divorce, you still need to work together for the best interests of the child. It’s best to do all you can to make the transition as easy and smooth as possible. In some circumstances, a modification of your custody agreement and parenting plan may be appropriate.

No matter what, you need to work with your ex-spouse to create the best possible environment for your child. At Buckhead Family Law, our experienced legal team is here to present you with your most beneficial custody agreement and legal options to help you to move on with your life quickly while still getting what you justly deserve. We are here to assist you as you begin the next chapter of your life. Schedule a consultation today by calling at 470-600-6699.

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