Co-Parenting vs. Parallel Parenting

What Is Co-Parenting?

Parents may opt to collaboratively parent and raise their child if they share custody or parenting time, and they want to:

  • Encourage their child to have and maintain a relationship with both parents
  • Share the parenting responsibilities
  • Ensure each parent has a say in how their child is parented

In co-parenting situations, the parents typically have a cordial relationship, and in some instances, they may even be friends. A key part of the co-parenting relationship is communication; if you and your child’s other parent are considering co-parenting, you should consider whether or not you will be able to communicate with each other healthily and on a semi-regular basis. Co-parenting also requires:

  • Flexibility
  • A willingness to compromise
  • Patience

Benefits of Co-Parenting

Co-parenting has many benefits, such as:

  • Decreasing conflict for your children
  • Increasing stability and consistency through the use of shared schedules, routines, and rules between households
  • Encouraging better communication between parents
  • Allowing the child to have a positive relationship with both parents
  • Decreasing the chance of your child feeling alienated or having to choose sides
  • Minimizing the risk of the child taking on more adult responsibilities or acting as a peacemaker in response to parental disputes

What Is Parallel Parenting?

Parallel parenting minimizes the contact between the parents and each parent has their own parenting approach when their child is in their custody. Parallel parenting may be the best option for those who:

  • Are unable to communicate with one another
  • Are often in conflict with one another
  • And/or are unwilling to co-parent and work as a team with the other parent

Parallel parenting is very different from as co-parenting. While both methods allow for both parents to share custody and parental responsibilities, co-parenting involves collaboration, lots of communication, and a shared approach to parenting (i.e. same curfew in each home, same disciplinary approach, etc.).

Benefits of Parallel Parenting

In addition to allowing for minimal interaction between the parents, parallel parenting can also benefit you and your family by:

  • Reducing stress for the parents and children alike
  • Reducing the amount of conflict between parents
  • Limiting your child’s exposure to parental conflict
  • Allowing your child to foster a relationship with both parents despite your conflict with one another
  • Allowing each parent more autonomy concerning their desired parenting style and household rules
  • Giving both parents more time and space to heal from their separation

Apps for Co-Parenting & Parallel Parenting

To help them better communicate and manage their schedules, many parents use co-parenting apps. These apps can help you and your family whether you opt to co-parent or parallel parent. Some of the most popular co-parenting/parallel parenting apps include:

  • 2Houses, which allows parents to share, save, and organize their messages and notes concerning their child’s medical information, school updates, and more.
  • Coparently, which allows parents to share a calendar, message one another, document child-related expenses, and access a shared contact list for babysitters, doctors, etc. This app also allows for more than 2 people to share access, so grandparents and other family members can also see this information.
  • Cozi, which allows parents to share an event calendar, to-do list, and an expense tracker/shopping list.
  • Custody Connection, which allows parents to share a synced calendar that has a trades and alteration feature. If either party needs to request that they trade weekends or have a later drop-off time, they don’t have to communicate and can simply submit a request through the app. It is important to note that this app is for Apple device users only.
  • Google Calendar (G-Cal), which allows parents to sync their calendars and include notes and updates to specific events. If you use G-Cal, you can also set reminders and tasks that appear within your calendar.
  • Our Family Wizard, which allows parents, children, and third parties (i.e. family therapists, family members, etc.) to manage a shared schedule, track child-related expenses, and message one another. A great tool in their messaging system is the ToneMeter, which makes suggestions concerning how to improve a message’s overall tone.
  • Support Pay, which allows parents to manage child-related finances by submitting receipts, transferring money, and tracking tax deductions. This app also has internal mediation services.

Which Parenting Method Is Best for Your Family?

You know what is ultimately best for you and your family, and either style may work for your family. Consider what is best for your family dynamic and consult with an attorney as they can advise you regarding the different types of joint custody schedules, your parental rights, and the best strategy for your child custody case.

If you are still wondering which parenting method may work best, you can ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much contact do I want with the other party?
  • Can we communicate healthily and agree on our parenting methods?
  • Which method will reduce the amount of tension and arguments we have?
  • How important is it to me and our child that we work together and are consistent in our parenting methods?

Need help fighting for child custody or visitation? At Kallen Law Firm, LLC, our attorneys are equipped to help you understand your legal rights, protect your interests, and achieve the best possible results. Learn more about how we can help you by calling (314) 441-7793 or completing this contact form.