California courts prefer that children of divorce maintain relationships with both parents. Unfortunately, not all divorced parents can develop a working, civil relationship with their ex-spouses. But in fraught situations, mom and dad can choose parallel parenting instead of co-parenting.
What is parallel parenting?
Parallel parenting is when child-rearing responsibilities are delegated between the parents, and each has discretion over their respective areas. The details are usually included in the divorce decree and settlement agreement.
For example, mom may be given reign over after-school activities while dad gets the yearly summer vacation. In most cases, significant decisions involving health, school and religion are worked out in the settlement and court-approved parenting plan.
Parallel parents usually go to different child-related events to avoid seeing each other.
Some people choose to keep this arrangement long-term. For others, it’s a temporary way to ease into raising children together while divorced, and they eventually work out a co-parenting arrangement.
What is co-parenting?
Co-parenting is possible when ex-spouses manage a cordial repartee and regularly talk to make joint decisions about the children. It’s a more collaborative process than parallel parenting.
When it comes to activities and events, co-parents have no problems attending the same things.
Both homes have similar rules, and the parents establish a strong, united front.
Choosing between parallel and co-parenting
Whether you choose co-parenting or parallel-parenting depends on your current relationship with your ex. Many people stipulate a parallel-parenting custody and visitation schedule in the early days until things calm down, and they switch to a co-parenting plan later down the line.
Parallel- and co-parenting are two ways to address custody and visitation. Assess your situation, then decide what’s healthiest for you and your family at this juncture.