Co-parenting is an option for divorcing parents who wish to have some control over how their children are raised. Each parent in a co-parenting plan is often given some physical and legal custody. Physical custody is a parent’s obligation to house and feed their children and maintain their daily routine. Legal custody is a parent’s right to decide how their medical decisions, education and religious upbringing are decided.
Co-parents often have to communicate frequently in this plan. They may do so over calls and texts or in person. Parents may discuss their needs and their children’s daily lives and struggles. However, co-parenting doesn’t work for everyone. The issues in a marriage that led to a divorce could make it harder for parents to discuss how their children are raised. There could be frequent fighting, for example, that disrupts a child’s well-being.
If co-parenting isn’t the right option for parents, there are other options. Here’s what you should know:
Understanding parallel parenting as an option
Parents who understand that co-parenting isn’t working often have the option to switch to a parallel parenting plan. Parallel parenting essentially allows each parent to maintain their physical and legal custody while giving each parent more autonomy when their children are with them.
This is often done by reducing how much contact each parent has with the other and allowing parents to control more of what they do with their children. Parents may then communicate through text or email and reduce how much to talk in person.
Switching from a co-parenting plan to a parallel parenting plan doesn’t mean every issue will be resolved. Parents may need to reach out for legal help to learn about their options.