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Advantages and disadvantages of co-parenting

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Advantages and disadvantages of co-parenting

Co-parenting is steadily becoming a popular option for divorced parents and gay couples. Raising children following a divorce or death of a spouse can be challenging. Fortunately, joint custody is a viable alternative that many parents are pursuing with a view to ensuring the well-being of children. Parents have the choice of two forms of shared custody: joint legal custody and joint physical custody.

Joint legal custody ensures that both parties share responsibilities and rights when it comes to decisions affecting the children's welfare, regardless of whether they haven’t agreed on the two primary residences. On the other hand, physical joint custody allows the co-parents to share responsibilities in the best interests of the children by establishing a dual residence. The co-parents work together on matters concerning education, discipline, religious upbringing and health care. This prevents adverse changes to the kids' lifestyle. However, these arrangements come with a wide variety of advantages and disadvantages.


Children in shared parenting arrangements enjoy regular contact with one or both biological parents. They get a clear message that they are loved and taken care of materially and emotionally. Studies have shown that there are reduced levels of conflict in co-parenting families. Well-formulated parenting plans tend to minimise the possibility of conflict. Harmonious relationships between co-parents boost the self-esteem of children. It is common for children to enjoy financial support even beyond the age 18 thanks to the sharing of financial responsibilities. This is particularly important for children wanting to further their education. Shared parenting does wonders when it comes to childcare. It can act as a buffer against wide-ranging problems associated with single parenthood. Co-parenting relieves the pressure as both parties rely on each other for substitute care. Single parents are usually forced to rely on childminders for help and are prone to suffer from burnout.


Some co-parents may create conflict because they disagree on child-rearing or lifestyle issues. This can lead to disturbances in the daily activities and emotional well-being of children. Although the ability to alternate custody is valuable, the actual back-and-forth shuttling between two homes can affect the kids. This can create a problematic situation, particularly teenagers. The situation becomes worse when the distance between the two homes is far. The children's social life can be disrupted as they spend time in different locations.

In some cases, differences in parenting styles can affect their personal development. Lack of cooperation breeds parallel parenting. As a result, children can be entangled in the chaos created by the misunderstanding. Long-distance parenting comes with a wide array of challenges and both parties will need to make special efforts. Spending time away from children is one of the downsides of shared parenting arrangements. Co-parents may not meet the kids for a week or longer while they spend time at their second home. In cases were gay couples form part of the co-parenting arrangement, it is possible for the relationship to be strained by different views regarding lifestyle issues.

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