Parallel Parenting vs. Co-parenting

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Parallel Parenting vs. Co-parenting

When you get divorced, there are multiple moving parts surrounding the split. The care and custody of your children are one of the most important. In making the decisions with your ex-spouse about how you will divide time, responsibility, and parenting moving forward, there are two styles of parenting that you can consider: parallel parenting and co-parenting.

Parallel Parenting

Parallel parenting is the practice of parenting your kids separately from your spouse. In this case, parents do not communicate with each other regarding their parenting decisions. While the child is with you and under your care, you as the parent are in control. The same applies to when your children are with their other parent. There is no need for conversations surrounding the daily lives of your children unless larger issues come up that need to be discussed.

Parallel parenting is an excellent option for parents who have anger or distrust between them or something more serious, such as a restraining order. It takes out the emotion of keeping in regular touch with your ex and allows you to avoid any conflict that would result from it. If communicating with your former spouse regularly is not a healthy or sustainable option for you, you may want to consider parallel parenting as you figure out custody.


Co-parenting occurs when both parents work together to raise their children. The parents work as a team even though they are no longer in a relationship. It can also be known as shared parenting. 

This parenting agreement works best if you are able to communicate with your former spouse regularly even after the split. It allows your children to have greater access to both parents and can help them adjust to the changes following the divorce. If you are able to have amicable conversations regularly with your ex-spouse, co-parenting is an option to consider. Within the state of Texas, there are co-parenting classes as well as a guide that the Texas Office of the Attorney General released to help you get started. 

Which Option Should I Choose?

When children are involved in a divorce, a parenting plan can be created to outline how things will work moving forward. Creating a parenting plan that works for you and your family is the number one goal as you figure out the custody terms for your children. You and your former spouse know your relationship more than anyone else does, so in deciding whether to parallel parent or co-parent, choose the option that will be best for everyone. Navigating parenting after divorce is new territory, and having a parenting plan that is mutual and clear is a helpful first step.

How an Attorney Can Help

Divorce can be a difficult time. When it comes to the legalities surrounding it, having a family law attorney can help you determine and finalize terms that work best for you and your children. Navarrette | Bowen, P.C. has a team of experienced divorce lawyers that can help. Our main office is located in downtown Denton. Contact us today for a confidential consultation

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