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What Is the Difference Between Co-Parenting and Parallel Parenting?

Posted on in Divorce

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If you are a parent who is planning to divorce, you may be unsure of how you and your spouse will share parental responsibilities and parenting time. You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse may not see eye to eye about parenting roles or what is best for your child and you are worried about how this will affect your ability to share custody. Fortunately, you and your spouse have the ability to design your own custody arrangement that takes your complicated relationship into consideration. There are two main strategies when it comes to sharing parental responsibilities and parenting time: co-parenting and parallel parenting.  

Co-Parenting Involves Collaboration and Teamwork

The term co-parenting is typically used to refer to situations in which divorced or unmarried parents work together to raise their children. They may communicate about the children regularly and keep each other up to date about what happened during their parenting time. The co-parenting relationship is often complex in nature. Each parent can still have some residual anger or resentment toward the other. They may also sometimes disagree with the parenting decisions that the other parent makes. However, both parents strive to be amicable and cooperative.

Parents Maintain More Independence in a Parallel Parenting Arrangement

Sometimes there is simply too much water under the bridge for divorcing or unmarried parents to remain on good terms. If parents are unable to communicate without getting into heated arguments or parenting discussions consistently prove fruitless, the best way to shield the children from parental conflict may be to utilize a parallel parenting strategy. Parents who parallel parent remain disengaged from each other. They rarely communicate about their children unless a major emergency occurs. They each raise their child the way they see fit and do not make an effort to maintain consistent household rules or practices between the two homes. The type of parenting arrangement you choose will be determined by your own unique circumstances. However, whatever strategy you use, it is crucial to formalize these decisions in your parenting plan.

Contact a Cook County Child Custody Lawyer

At Botti Marinaccio, LTD., we understand just how difficult it can be to parent after a divorce. If you need help negotiating the terms of your Illinois parenting plan, fighting for sole custody, or you have other child custody-related needs, we are here to help. Call our office today at 630-575-8585 to schedule a personalized consultation with one of our skilled and dedicated Burr Ridge family law attorneys.


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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.


2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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