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Co-parenting or parallel parenting: What’s right for you?

On Behalf of | Dec 11, 2020 | Family Law

For most parents going through a divorce, navigating child custody is one of the biggest concerns. You want your children to reap the benefits of having both parents play an active role in their lives, but parenting with an ex can range from difficult to next to impossible depending on the terms of your relationship.

Parenting plans are a fundamental aspect of divorce in Florida, but raising kids together post-divorce is rarely easy. You may have heard terms like “co-parenting” and “parallel parenting” and wonder which would be right for you and your family. Here’s everything you need to know about these two parenting styles and how you can find the best parenting method for your circumstances.


Simply put, co-parenting describes when parents set aside their differences to implement a parenting plan that is in their child’s best interest. While parents are no longer romantically involved, they work together on all things parenting with frequent communication and mutual respect. In some cases, they may still participate in family events together, such as holidays and birthdays.

Parallel parenting

On the opposite end of the parenting-styles spectrum is parallel parenting. When parents cannot set aside their differences due to lingering conflicts or contrasts with the other parent, parallel parenting is often the best option. Parallel parents rarely communicate to minimize friction and raise their kids in two parallel households.

Finding the middle ground

When deciding on a parenting style, divorced parents don’t have to settle for one or the other. Co-parenting and parallel parenting show two extremes on the parenting continuum, but most people fall somewhere in the middle. Maybe you and your ex lean more towards parallel parenting, but you still come together as co-parents for your child’s birthday every year.

Ultimately, the best parenting style for your family is one that keeps the peace and allows your children to bond with both parents. If you settle on a parenting agreement that doesn’t work, you can always work with a family law attorney to revise your plan.