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The co-parenting arrangement is not yet a common family pattern, but it is experiencing a significant rise in the number of people opting to take this route. Our site provides guidance on how to succeed in this type of arrangement.

Before looking for a co-parent, ask yourself the right questions. It is critical to define what type of person is ideal to co-parent with you.

Some of the pertinent factors to consider include:

• How do you imagine it?
• What do you expect from a co-parent (character, socio-professional status and physical appearance)?
• How will you meet the co-parent?
• How would you share roles in the upkeep of the child (authority, relationship, alternating custody)?

Always consider the best interests of the child when defining the profile of the co-parent you prefer. A child needs a loving, stable and well-organised co-parenting arrangement. It is imperative to ensure that the arrangement matches your wishes. Ask your relatives and friends to help you put everything into perspective before making the final decision. You must consider every detail that could influence your choice. Co-parenting is an approach that is still somewhat rare; you may not find it easy to identify the ideal candidate due to scarcity of options.

Consider the education of the child



Some institutions express concern about co-parenting due to unfavourable perceptions regarding the general welfare of the child. Misconceptions are rife about how a child is raised by only one of his biological parents in conjuction with a gay couple. Yet this reality imposes itself, especially following a divorce or the passing away of one of the parents. Fortunately, children raised in a co-parenting arrangement manage to flourish. Moreso, if both parties are dedicated to maintaining a harmonious relationship. Children can thrive like others when they receive affection, attention and authority they need. With co-parenting, certain rules must be defined to create balance.

• Share responsibilities
• Clearly define roles (choosing a hobby for children, help with homework, etc)
• Decide how to share costs (clothing, food, supplies)
• Decide how to explain the situation to the child and how the child will differentiate the co-parents (naming)

If the co-parenting arrangement is initiated before the child is born, there is a need to support each other during pregnancy. Decide whether to accompany the pregnant partner to her medical appointments or witness the birth. To clear these points, the co-parents will need to engage in dialogue to reach an agreement.

Co-parenting: Understanding shared custody



It is natural for questions surrounding alternating custody to arise, including how to split parental roles. Co-parental families need to create a balanced approach depending on availability and capacity (work schedules, capacity limitation to accommodate a child). Alternating custody is an equitable solution; it allows children and parents to flourish. However, for the arrangement to work, the following conditions must be met:

• The co-parents should live close to each other to facilitate the sharing of roles, such taking the child to and from school or leisure activities.
• Offer sufficiently equipped rooms in both houses.
• Have work schedules compatible with school timetables.

The sharing of roles is not dependent on the willingness and availability of the two co-parents - it is an unavoidable obligation, which requires compromises. Regardless of age, the child's views must be considered to ensure satisfaction with this process. It is also vital to clearly define how the child spends time in both homes. In some cases, it might be necessary to keep the child in one home - if it makes him happy. Still, joint custody is an option to co-parenting, as well as other possibilities.

Rights and duties of co-parents



While the law does not define legal aspects of co-parenting, it is nevertheless very clear about the rights and duties of parents. This implies that the child has been recognised by the co-parents or there is a judgement appointing parental authority.

Rights



Parents (and therefore the co-parents), have the right to see their children, to live with them, to connect and to give them an education. These are rights that extend to other members of the family. Moreover, children and grandparents also have the right to meet, even in the case of co-parenting.

Duties



Like all parents, co-parents have an obligation to educate their children, to ensure their emotional, social and material well-being. They must provide guidance, affection, clothing, toys and other material assets that allow children to learn, grow and stay entertained. Co-parents have a duty to perform supervision and control over the child: monitoring correspondence, behaviour and other activities. With co-parenting, it is possible to define the level of support needed.

Frequently asked question (FAQs) about co-parenting



How can the children differentiate co-parents (naming)?

The terms dad and mom are suitable for a traditional family, but the situation becomes different when dealing with same-sex couples or co-parents. In recent years, the names have been evolving, the co-parents must be imaginative in finding names other than papa and mama. Find a term that reflects the image of the father or mother. Be creative!

Which home should the child spend most time?

Co-parenting by definition implies that the parties involved do not live together and therefore the child has two homes. The welfare of the child is to be favoured in the selection of a principal dwelling. Factors to be considered in determining the living arrangement includes distance from the school, recreation areas, doctors, grandparents or nanny. These practical aspects are taken into account in addition to the child's preferences.

Is co-parenting legal?

Conceiving a child is a right for all. Nothing prohibits anyone to become a parent or co-parent. By definition, co-parents become parents together. By recognising the child, a co-parent assumes the role of a parent, thus obtaining the rights and obligations associated with parenthood.