During a recent blog we discussed conceiving using a known donor or co-parent, now we have a chance to look at co-parenting in more detail. If choosing to co-parent, then all parties wish to be involved in the child’s life. In such scenarios, it is important that you have discussed many issues and the expectations that all involved may have. You may think that you have already considered all of the necessary topics in the lead up to conception or during the pregnancy, but a child’s minority of up to 19 years is a long time and not only can expectations change, but the child’s circumstances can throw up unexpected questions. You cannot cover all eventualities, but some of the most important areas to agree could be:
- Where will the child live or is the child to spend it’s time between two homes under a shared care arrangement?
- How will the parenting be managed – who will be involved? Do two of the parties have their owner partners or may they in the future and how will these partners be involved? Is the parenting style to be copied by all?
- What faith or values should the child have?
- Which surname will the child have?
- What will you inform the child and others about their arrangements?
- How much will each parent pay towards the child, if anything?
- Should the biological father have legal parental responsibility?
- Should your respective partners have parental responsibility?
If you have spent time thinking and agreeing about the child’s arrangements, and moreover, recorded them within a ‘co-parenting agreement’, you are more likely to adhere to your intentions and agreement and there is less chance of relations breaking down which could then impact upon your child. We would therefore suggest that you have a co-parenting agreement in place. Whilst it is not legally binding should one party make an application to the court in the future in the event of a dispute, it is persuasive to the court as to what your intentions were from the outset. It may also be helpful to refer back to it and reflect on it if there is a dispute to try and avoid any contested court proceedings.
Other legal issues that may be thrown up as a result of co-parenting could be whether you all wish to have Wills in place to provide for the child, whether you wish to have Guardians appointed as a result one parent’s death, and whether life insurance should be taken out. You may also want to consider how you would manage a scenario where there is a disagreement. Mediation may be the most amicable option and this could be recorded as point of first resort.
We should not forget that the arrival of a child is a blessing and happy time. This happiness should continue throughout the child’s life and therefore it can only be beneficial to put the foundations in place for your child’s future upbringing and arrangements now. We would suggest that this is done with the assistance of a specialist so that they can tailor your agreement to suit your individual circumstances.
Contact the Biscoes fertility team to discuss your exciting plans and any of the above points in more detail.