Co-parenting: What is co-parenting and is it for me?

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Co-parenting

Co-parenting is where two people who are not in a relationship agree to have a child together. They agree to bring up that child together as the child’s parents. There are many possible combinations of who might co-parent together. For example, a straight man and a lesbian woman may co-parent. A gay man and a straight woman may co-parent. People that separate may also co-parent. In this post, Pink Families explains what co-parenting is and we share some of the points to consider if you are thinking about co-parenting.

Is co-parenting for me?

Co-parenting may be the right option for you if you would like to share the parental responsibility for your child with someone else.

For men co-parenting may be an option if you wish to be involved in the child’s upbringing and not just be a sperm donor, for example. For women, you may want a child but you are single and you prefer to share the parental responsibilities for your child with someone else. You may feel more comfortable in becoming a parent with the knowledge that you will share this responsibility with someone that you trust.

Deciding to co-parent

Taking on the parental responsibilities for a child is a major decision. Thinking about how you might like to parent a child will help you work out whether co-parenting is an option for you.

Also, thinking about how you would like to raise your child may help you identify a potential co-parent. After you have decided that you want to co-parent, the next step is to find and approach your potential co-parent.

Who should I co-parent with?

Being a co-parent with someone is different to being in a relationship with them. You don’t need to think about whether you would like to be in a relationship with your potential co-parent. This is not the function of your co-parenting arrangement.

Instead, it’s important to think about what the potential co-parent will bring to the parenting arrangement in order to get the best for the child.

Thinking about how their style may complement your own parenting style may help. Identifying any differences in your beliefs about parenting may be useful. Identifying differences may also be a good place to find commonalities in your parenting style. Determining the resources that you may both bring to the arrangement might also be helpful.

Co-parenting agreement

Once you decide to co-parent, it may be helpful to establish a clear and considered co-parenting agreement.

Establishing this may help optimize the care of the child and it will highlight how you will go about raising the child together. When establishing a co-parenting agreement also consider including how any disagreements might be resolved.

It’s important to realize that a co-parenting agreement may not be legally binding. Nevertheless, it may help establish expectations, guide discussions and help deliver care within agreed parameters in order to provide the best care for the child.

Image: Vera Kratochvil | Wikimedia Commons

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