Although life after divorce will be a change of pace for many reasons, one constant you can count on is having your children. To continue to give the best possible care to your little ones, even when they split their time between two homes, it’s important to take your relationship with your ex into account.

Deciding a parenting plan and custody schedule, can take a lot of time and thought. But after deciding which parenting style will best suit your family’s situation, the remaining child-related decisions you have to make will be a lot easier. Ex-spouses that can get a long for the sake of their children usually opt for a co-parenting arrangement, while exes who don’t get along well usually choose a parallel parenting plan.

What does co-parenting entail?

Co-parenting after divorce essentially means each parent will have equal responsibilities and time with their children, even though they no longer live under the same roof. Essentially, children will get to spend close to same amount of days with each parent. Plus, parents put aside their differences to come together for important celebrations, events or doctor appointments. For example, instead of having each parent plan a separate high school graduation party for their child, co-parents might come together and plan a single party.

Since co-parents view their duty as a partnership, there is more room for flexibility. So, if last-minute scheduling conflicts came up, each parent is likely to be more understanding and willing to bend the schedule if it makes sense for their children’s needs.

What are the basics of parallel parenting?

Parallel parenting is best for parents who can’t seem to speak to one another without getting angry or frustrated. So, instead of regularly reaching out to one another to give updates on children, your exchanges would be minimal and more business-like. Parallel parenting plans have less flexibility built into them. Instead, divorced couples create a long-term calendar and there are strict guidelines for how and where you pick up and drop off your children.

Thankfully, there is no one size fits all plan when it comes to parenting after divorce. Perhaps, you are okay with interacting with your ex for the sake of your children, but prefer picking up your children at the same time and place every week. If combining typical co-parenting and parallel parenting elements helps you keep your family organized, then stick to it.