What Is Co-parenting?

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What Is Co-parenting?

What is co-parenting? Co-parenting is the process whereby two or more parents share in involvement with a child. While there are many kinds of co-parents, it usually means that the parents participate equally in parenting. They do this by discussing parenting plans and making decisions together. Taking turns with physical care and time spent with the children. And sharing worries about their social and emotional development. The hope is that the kids learn to trust both parents and feel safe around them.

Co-parenting is sometimes confused with joint custody. Joint custody gives both parents legal rights and physical placement of the child. Co-parenting does not mean that a child has to split time evenly between two homes. But that the parents will share parenting responsibilities.

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The Difference Between Co-parenting and Shared Parenting

Co-parenting is a more general term that can describe any arrangement where two parents share in parenting. But Shared Parenting has a specific meaning. The National Conference of State Legislatures defines Shared Parenting as an “arrangement in which both parents retain legal custody. And remain equally involved with day-to-day responsibility for significant decisions and activities of the child.”

In most states, this means that parents share physical custody of their children

The child divides their time equally between both parents. Fathers’ Rights groups often use shared parenting as a code word to describe joint custody in all cases when fathers seek equal time with children.

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Federal Law Does Not Require the States to Have Any Particular Parenting Plan

Each state is free to decide how parents and judges should handle custody issues. While many states have chosen to use joint custody standards as a guide, some still prefer sole legal decision-making for one parent—usually mothers. A shared parenting arrangement could result in equal time for both parents or involve children living with one parent more than the other.

Only About Seven Percent of Divorcing Couples Share Physical Custody—Which Means That 93 Percent of Them Don’t

This doesn’t mean that co-parenting doesn’t work; it just means that most couples don’t choose to co-parent. Shared parenting is a complex arrangement that requires both parents to agree on significant issues such as religion, school, medical care, and discipline.

Practicing Co-Parenting

Co-parenting can be learned by reading books or taking classes. A parent considering co-parenting should ask their partner and other parents of children about their experiences. A parent who is not involved in the child’s life may want to start slowly by sharing a few events with the parent who has had sole custody.

Learning to Co-parent Is as Much About Attitude as It Is About Logistics

It means both parents have to be flexible and non-judgmental if they want their kids to benefit the most from the new arrangement. Co-parents should agree on what they want for their children, especially regarding education and religion—and then discuss the details of how they will work together to make the children’s lives run smoothly.

Children Who Are in Co-parenting Situations Benefit When Both Parents: Put Their Child’s Needs First

Parents show respect for each other and the child; talk respectfully about each other; avoid trying to interfere with the other parent’s relationship with the child; don’t use money as a power tool, and even remember to include the child in their own life.

Children Who Are in Co-parenting Situations Also May Be at Risk if either Parent Uses the Child as a Way to Try to Control the Other

Insists on making all decisions without discussing it with the other; is highly critical of the other and their relationship with the child; makes comments about what is “best for the kid” rather than what the child wants, and uses the money to control or manipulate their partner.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you have found it to be informative and helpful. Please remember to share with your friends and family so that they can also learn about co-parenting.

By Rosa Norris

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