Childless couples only need to think about themselves in a divorce. Parents need to put aside some of their own preferences to do what is right for their children.
The ideal situation is that you can co-parent, but in some cases, it may be best to parallel parent. Let’s look at the differences.
Co-parenting requires you can cooperate
You do not need to agree on everything. You probably did not agree on everything concerning raising your children when you were married, either. Yet, to co-parent effectively, there needs to be a willingness to discuss decisions and make compromises.
If you simply fell out of love with each other, then working together to raise your kids might be simple. If, however, you did each other significant damage during the marriage, the emotional wounds may linger for years, making dealing with each other difficult. The divorce itself can often turn bitter, causing more harm which will make co-parenting even more challenging.
Parallel parenting requires less cooperation
This is how it works: When the child is with you, you set the rules. When they are with the other parent, they set the rules. If you want to let your teenage daughter stay out till midnight on the weekends, you can do so when they are with you. If the other parent wants them home by 8 pm on Fridays, that’s up to them. You should not criticize their choices, and they should not criticize yours.
You also minimize contact to reduce the opportunity for conflict. You each trust that the other will do what they feel is best for the child when the child is with them and that the child will learn to adapt to the differences between households.
Understanding more about custody options can help you reach a suitable custody agreement.