Co-parenting can have legal implications, as well as emotional and social ones. In some cases, co-parenting is undertaken voluntarily by two single parents who choose to share custody after a divorce. In other cases, co-parenting is chosen as a last resort, for parents who are not able to care for children on their own. In such situations, the court may allow this arrangement as part of a plan to reunify the family.
In those cases where co-parenting is ordered as a last resort, it is often seen as a temporary situation that allows the children to become accustomed to their new lives and parents. In such situations, each parent has a set amount of time with the children per week, which allows them time to bond without being overwhelmed by living together 24 hours a day.
In those cases where parents have chosen to co-parent voluntarily, the laws vary by state as to how much time each parent can spend with their children. In some states, courts will order a schedule that gives each parent equal time (50/50) until the situation has changed enough for it to be modified.
In general, it follows these steps:
1. The basic parenting principles
The basic parenting principles include negotiation and collaboration between both parents, open communication between parents and child, co-parenting education is implemented during this step.
2. Parenting plan
After both parties agree to co-parent they start working on a co-parenting agreement which will be signed by both of them that specifies who pays for what, how decisions are made, etc. Parties may use a parenting coordinator to help them create and implement the agreement.
3. Joint custody
Once both parents come up with a co-parenting plan that is accepted by the court then they can proceed to joint custody which means parents share legal responsibility for making decisions about the childlike education, religion, etc. Parents also share the physical responsibility of their child such as spending time with the child, taking care of the child, etc.
4. Shared Parenting
This is a step in co-parenting when parents share equal responsibility for decision-making about their children which can be challenging but is more effective and beneficial for child growth. In this method, both parents use to spend more time with their children by switching turns.
5. Round the clock parenting
Both parents can share round-the-clock parenting which means they stay together 24 hours to take care of their child even when the other parent is not available.
6. Joint physical custody
This term describes a joint arrangement where both parents spend at least 40% of their time with the child. In this method both parents stay with the child in different locations, i.e., one parent lives in one state and another parent in another state.
7. Split physical custody
This type of co-parenting follows a split arrangement where the child stays more time with the mom or dad according to the age and requirement of the child. Parents divide their living arrangements among themselves.