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Andrea WoelkeFor advice contact Andrea Woelke on 020 7407 4007 or email him. We do not do legal aid.

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Co-parenting

Some mothers feel that they want their future child to have a father the child knows and who can be a male role model in the child’s life. A man may want to have a child and (especially if he is gay) may not be able to have children easily or naturally. It is of course not necessary to have sexual intercourse and self-insemination kits are commercially available.

Of course, you will need to choose each other carefully because you will need to be able to work together for the next 19 years at least. You need to ensure that you have similar expectations about the future of the child, your respective involvement, your financial contributions and so on. You are in a way creating a situation similar to that of separated or divorced parents, which is often not easy. The difference is of course that you have not been in a relationship and that you are planning the child as friends.

It helps to discuss all issues before you finally agree to go ahead. If one or both of you have partners, you will of course involve your partners too because the child will also be parented by them. You can write down notes and later type them up in a concise way to confirm what you agreed in areas such as:

Circumstances and the child’s need change over time and it is probably almost impossible to agree on everything in advance. Nevertheless, you should be confident that you have similar views and ambitions and it will help to put something in writing to remind yourself of what you agreed at the time. If you were to disagree, the general law about parents and children would apply, although the court would look at the background and any agreement you recorded.

We can help you with drawing up a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding, which will have great evidential weight. It will probably be necessary for there to be at least two solicitors involved as there are potential conflict of interests. Please contact us to discuss your needs further.

If the child was conceived after insemination in a licensed clinic and/or the child has been adopted by the mother and her partner and therefore the biological father is legally not the father, he may be able to apply to the court for contact if he has had contact with the child regularly in the past and the child has formed a bond with him. He would be in a similar situation as a godfather or grandparent.

If the father is legally the father the legal situation may not be very different from one where you had been in a (short) relationship and then separated.

Maybe the man wants more involvement with the child than the woman wants him to have. Unless you fall into the provisions where the biological father will not legally be the child’s parent, you should consider carefully whether you want to go into a co-parenting arrangement. If you are the man and you do not want to pay maintenance or if you are the woman and you do not want the child to spend time with the biological father, or you want to be in control of the contact time as much as possible, you should consider choosing a different path to paternity.

Talk to others who are co-parenting and find out about the problems they have encountered and the solutions they have found.

Our support page has a wealth of resources for parents to help them to parent together successfully, nurturing their child.

For advice on your specific circumstances contact Andrea Woelke: ring or email us.

October 2010


Disclaimer

This is an outline of the law, practice and procedure in England and Wales. It should not be taken as specific advice. All families and couples are different. The law may have changed since this was written and we therefore accept no liability for inaccuracies. Where examples are given, your personal circumstances may vary slightly, but the difference may be significant for the outcome of the legal process. Contact us for specific advice on your own circumstances.

We take no responsibility for the content of any web pages linked to outside Alternative Family Law.