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What is co-parenting and where to find help?

In 2017, there were 8.4 divorces per 1,000 married men and women. When children are involved it may make the process of divorce feel more daunting. However, help on co-parenting is on offer. This is otherwise known as joint parenting; where parents have separated and no longer live with one another but they cooperate in order to raise their child in the most easily and stress-free way for both parent and child.

What is co-parenting?

Co-parenting takes time. It will not be easy at first; emotions will be difficult and at this time everyone involved will need support when re-balancing and realigning. Therefore, to support your child through this time, both parents will need to provide care and love, without transferring stress from the situation at hand. This disruption will not last and soon a new routine will be formed.

This is a very important stage when a divorce is taking place or has already taken place. This is because for your child they will need a sense of security. If the parents are modelling appropriate resolution for conflict, this will emanate a sense of stability to their child. According to Edward Kruk “Inter-parental conflict decreases over time in shared parenting arrangements; when neither parents is threatened by the loss of his or her children, conflict goes down”.

Where can I get help?

Many places and people will offer support throughout this time, and to help legally if needed. Additionally, there are many websites and other resources to help such as Co Parently, which is an online calendar and communication tool. This is extremely helpful to plan and organise shared parenting.

A third of separating families use the courts to resolve disputes about their children’s arrangements and what should happen to them. Cafcass says that effective co-parenting could be the answer to the increase of cases in the family courts.

Co-parenting agreements

It is possible to have a written co-parenting agreement and many people do elect this.  It mainly focuses on three essential objectives. These consist of:

  • The child’s time divided between both parents.
  • The role of both parents.
  • How specific aspects of the child’s upbringing will be approached. Such as religion, education etc.

It is important to remind you that co-parenting agreements are not legally binding if a dispute arises.

Co-parenting Disputes

Disputes are far from unusual in these circumstances, as emotions are heightened during this time. The court is able to adjudicate on certain aspects regarding the child’s upbringing, if a disputation arises.

  • The Welfare Checklist under the Children Act 1989 could be considered and applied.
  • However, there are powers of the court. Such as child arrangement order, specific issue order and prohibited steps order.
  • Organisations that facilitate family counselling.

Chief Executive at Cafcass, Anthony Douglas said: “Toxic parenting is as much a social problem as domestic abuse and knife crime.”

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