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The difference between parallel parenting and co-parenting

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2022 | Blog, Family Law |

During your divorce, you may hear a lot of terms that you are unfamiliar with. To add to the confusion, people use some terms interchangeably when they actually mean different things.

If you and your ex-spouse have children, you need to work out an arrangement by which they can spend time with each parent. Co-parenting and parallel parenting are two possible arrangements, but it is incorrect to use the terms interchangeably, as some people do because they are very different.


According to Healthline, co-parenting is an arrangement in which you and your ex-spouse can put aside your differences when it comes to your children. Your ability to be in the same room as one another without starting a fight allows you to attend your children’s activities and meetings with their teachers. Co-parenting is an option if you can interact with your ex-spouse without negative emotions and conflict.

Parallel parenting

On the other hand, there may be so much conflict and hard feelings between you and your ex-spouse that you cannot even stand to be in the same room as one another, and every discussion dissolves into an argument. Nevertheless, your children still have a right to spend time with each of you. Parallel parenting is an arrangement that keeps your parenting duties completely separate from those of your spouse. Transfers take place on neutral territory, and communication between you and your ex only takes place when absolutely necessary.

Parallel parenting may be a good option when co-parenting is not possible due to conflict between you and your spouse. While it can be good for children to see their parents trying to get along, it is ongoing conflict that can do them the most harm.



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