More and more people are becoming co-parents and living this alternative form of shared parenting. In co-parenting, two or more people team up to have a child on a friendly basis.
In this article we would like to summarize the most important aspects for Co Parents.
What are Co Parents?
Co parents are people who decided to have and raise a child on a friendly basis. The
is a fairly new form of family based on platonic friendship. Often, co-parenting brings together people who cannot have children because of their sexual orientation or who do not have or want to enter into a romantic partnership. Co parents share the responsibility for education, finances and time with the child.
Where do I meet a:n potential:n co mother/co father?
Rarely do you run into your future co-parent partner in the supermarket. The search process usually starts with personal acquaintances. Maybe you have a good friend who is permanently single and who you can imagine as the perfect family partner? Or there is a homosexual person or a couple in the circle of acquaintances with whom you can imagine such a project?
Alternatively, there are different platforms through which people can meet who want to co-parent. These sites function similarly to a dating app: users create a profile, can search for other members and get in touch with them.
In the DACH region, the
of Familyship is probably the best known. In addition to the fertility community, Familyship also offers a network of experienced fertility experts. These offer online consultations around the topics of wanting children, co-parenting and legal issues. In the Anglo-American area there are still providers such as Modamily or FamilyByDesign.
What should I look for when getting to know a co-parent?
When getting to know each other, one point is crucial: you should take enough time to get to know your co-partner. Similar to a romantic relationship, you should try to experience your counterpart in different situations and discuss many things with him. As a rough time frame, we recommend taking at least 12 months (preferably longer). Co-parenting is not suitable for “quick fixes”!
- Check motives of the co-partner
Trust is good, control is better. In a relationship as long-term as the one with a co-partner, it is important to be able to rely on what the other person tells you. Is he/she who he/she says he/she is? Are the things he/she tells true? Especially when you meet a previously unknown person, you should keep in mind the risk that he can also fake false intentions. A healthy dose of skepticism therefore applies here as a matter of principle. If your gut is sounding the alarm, it’s better to keep your distance.
- Agree on fertilization method
This is where ideas can drift apart. As a rule, co-parenting involves fertilization by the
. However, if there is agreement, the “natural method” can of course also be chosen.
It is important that none of the participants can be persuaded to do something that he/she does not actually want to do. Unfortunately, there are cases in which the parties involved initially agreed on the cup method, but then at the decisive moment the “natural method” should be carried out (usually at the request of the male side). Such behavior should not be accepted and should be interpreted as a sign to question shared parenting.
Having children is not only beautiful, but also quite costly. Especially when it comes to the children’s education later on. Therefore, it is important to clarify in advance what your own financial possibilities and ideas are. Does the parent with whom the child may spend more time receive financial support to help offset everyday expenses for the child? What about alimony? What happens when a parent becomes unemployed. Questions about questions that you should clarify and also put in writing.
- Clarify custody issue
The question of who is entitled to custody should also be thought through intensively in advance. In principle, there is the possibility of joint custody, in which the co-mother and co-father share custody. Likewise, there are models in which sole custody remains with the co-mother. The decision should focus on two things in particular: on the one hand, security for the child in the event of death and, on the other hand, the manageability of joint custody: regardless of whether it’s a parental meeting at the daycare center, moves, doctor’s appointments or decisions about school – the presence or signatures of both legal guardians are always required.
- Co parents housing situation & sharing
The future housing situation in shared parenting should also be discussed in advance. Should it be two separate apartments? Or maybe you would like to live in the same house? Or maybe in a housing project with other people? There are many different possibilities and ideas that need to be discussed.In this context, the question also arises as to who is involved in parenthood and how intensively – both in the period shortly after the birth and in the long term. Should parenting be shared equally? Or should the child spend a higher percentage with one parent? Or is it desired that a parent only see the child every 1-2 weeks? These questions should, of course, focus on the child’s best interest. If, for example, the father only sees the common child every 14 days, it is rather unrealistic for the child to spend the night in his apartment right at the beginning. Here it makes sense to define a direction and then fill it with life in close coordination of the parties involved.
- Educational issues
Co-parents should agree on the broad lines of parenting. However, each co-parent can of course decide and live the finer points for themselves. As a rule, children learn very quickly which rules apply with which parent.
- Relationship between co-parents and any new relationships.
First of all, it is important to have a good gut feeling. The other person should be likeable and a certain basic trust should exist. In addition, with the person should be able to be yourself and express your opinion. When deciding on a co-father / co-mother, you should be aware that – depending on how co-parenting is structured – you will have to coordinate very closely for at least 18 years and also spend (a lot of) time together.
- Health issues
Before fertilization occurs, clarification of some health aspects is essential. A “must have” is to have the co-father show current health certificates proving that he has no contagious STDs. Whether and to what extent hereditary diseases are discussed is at the discretion of the Co parents. Thought should also already be given to the special tests during pregnancy: here an agreement must be reached on which tests should be performed and which should not.