Co-parenting

11 Steps Gay Men Should Take Before Co-Parenting With a Female Friend

Considering entering an "intentional co-parenting" arrangement with a female friend or couple? These are the steps you need to take

Intentional co-parenting is when two or more parents raise a child together without being in a romantic partnership with each other. Here are some of the steps gay men interested in pursuing this process with a female friend or couple should think about prior to pursuing this path to fatherhood.

Step #1: Find a Co-Parent and Start Planning

First, find a co-parent. As with a romantic partner, one can be found anywhere. We found ours through a monthly prospective parent group. Others we know met through mutual friends, and others already were friends. There are now even match-making websites! Some common ones include: www.coparents.com; www.familybydesign.com/ and modamily.com/. Check out this article about a gay couple who met their co-parents through an online service

Step #2: "Date" Your Co-Parent Before Committing

It's important not to rush into things. You should "date" for a while to get to know each other. And if you're already friends, do not confuse friendship with being compatible co-parents.

Step #3: Have Uncomfortable Conversations

Discuss ALL expectations in advance no matter how uncomfortable: Religion, approach to discipline, legal custody, etc. Even abortion, should there be medical issues for mom or child.

Step #4: Create a Custody Schedule

In addition to the shared custody schedule, be sure to discuss how much time the whole family will spend together.

Step #5: Put it All in Writing

Put everything in writing. Parenting agreements are about more than just legal coverage (in fact, they provide little of it). It is about spelling out all expectations while everyone is calm and rational. You can refer to the agreement if there are disputes, as can legal authorities should it escalate.

Step #6: Be Ready to Call it Off

Bringing a life into the world is serious stuff. One of the advantages to intentional co-parenting is that you can take your time. If there's a strong sense that this parenting arrangement isn't right, then maybe it's not. Once that baby is around you are binding yourself to your co-parent in a profound way and there's no turning back.

Step #7: Take Note of All the Personalities Involved.

Co-parenting might not be for control freaks or those not able to assert themselves. Flexibility and an even temperament are key to long term success.

Step #8: Really Can't Stress the Personality Thing Enough...

Repeating: the personalities have to be compatible. I can't stress this enough. Ideally, the planning process will reveal if that's the case.

Step #9: Hire a Therapist

Get input from a counselor who specializes in shared custody arrangements. They can advise on the best custodial schedule for the children.

Step #10: Hire a Lawyer

Meet with a lawyer experienced with alternative families in your state. There will be a lot of documentation needed, and specific ways to handle certain steps (such as insemination), to ensure maximum legal coverage.

Step #11: Talk to Other Co-Parents

Seek out current co-parents. If possible, meet with the father(s) and mother(s) separately, to get the most candid advice. But also meet with everyone together, to get a first-hand view of the family's dynamics. One useful online resource is Rachel Hope's co-parent matchmaking website: www.partneredparenting.com

Show Comments ()
Gay Dad Family Stories

One Dad's Plan to 'Co-Parent Like Crazy' with His Future Husband and Ex-Wife

"I see my daughter being raised in such a loving home," said Nick. "She'll understand equality and love, and I hope I will instill those qualities in her so that she spreads it to others."

When we asked 30-year-old Nick from Fort Worth, Texas, about his path to fatherhood, he told us it was a long story and to get ready. Nick became a dad through a previous straight relationship and only came out a few years ago, but a lot has happened since then.

Growing up, Nick was raised with the belief that he should, one day, become a dad and have a family. He was brought up Catholic, and was taught that his only option to have a family was with a woman.

At first, he didn't question this belief, but he distinctly remembers the first moment when he realized he was attracted to men.

"At around age 14, I remember getting in trouble in class and was sent to sit in the hallway and this guy came walking down the hallway and I thought, 'Oh, he's cute.'" After pondering that thought for a while, Nick began to look at other guys and soon realized that he was attracted to guys. "I never asked my parents, or any religious figures from church, about these thoughts that were rapidly swimming around my head—even when I was supposed to confess my sins in confession at church. I was terrified that the Father of the church would tell my parents and I'd be exiled or forced into being straight."

Keep reading... Show less
Entertainment

"To Have and To Hold" Features Gay Dads Co-Parenting with Ex-Wife

To Have and To Hold: Charlotte, on Oprah's OWN channel, includes two gay dads and the challenges and opportunities that arise while co-parenting with one of the men's ex-wife

A modern family of two dads and a mom are featured in the latest reality television show, To Have or to Hold: Charlotte, showing on Oprah's OWN channel. And we can't wait to tune in!

To Have and To Hold: Charlotte follows the real challenges couples face, from financial stress, to issues with intimacy, to the ups and downs of parenthood. Dads Joshua Anglero and Peter Anthonii, and mom Juliana Gutierrez are raising their two kids together and are ready to share what life is like as a co-parenting family.

Keep reading... Show less
Change the World

Republican Utah Lawmaker, and Dad of Two, Comes Out as Gay in Moving Video

Nathan Ivie has many important identities he's proud of: Mormon, Republican, Utahn, father of two... and gay.

In a moving video posted to Facebook, Republican lawmaker Nathan Ivie finally admitted publicly something he's known since the age of 9: he's gay. Ivie, who serves as a County commissioner, is now the first openly gay Republican elected official in the state of Utah. His coming out video has already been viewed more than 25,000 times:

"There's no easy way to say this, I might as well just jump up and say it: I'm gay," Ivie says in the video. "That's my reality and that's what I need to talk to you about today."

In the video, Ivie reveals that he and his wife has separated. He refers to her as his "best friend and supporter," however, and that he is continuing to co-parent their two children with her.

"It's ok to be different, it's ok to live authentically," Ivie says in his video. "You can be gay and a Republican. You need to trust that people will love you for who you really are."

Jackie Biskupski, Salt Lake City's openly lesbian Democratic mayor, praised Ivie via Twitter, writing: "All the best to you, I love how a simple act of love among strangers helped you find your truth and that you are being embraced by family and friends."

What to Buy

A Gift Guide for LGBTQ Inclusive Children's Books

Need some ideas for good LGBTQ-inclusive children's books? Look no further than our gift guide!

Every year we see more books released that feature our families, and we're here for it! We're especially excited for the day when diverse and LGBTQ+ inclusive books are less of "the odd one out" and rather considered part of every kids' everyday literacy.

To help us reach that day, we need to keep supporting our community and allies who write these stories. So here's a list of some of the great books that need to be in your library, and gifts to the other kids in your lives.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Life

Broadway Performer's Surrogacy Journey Briefly Sidetracked — for One Very 'Wicked' Reason

"Broadway Husbands" Stephen and Bret explain the exciting reasons they had to hit pause on their surrogacy journey — but don't worry, they're back on track!

In the latest video of the Broadway Husbands sharing their path to fatherhood, Stephen and Bret explain their hiatus for the past 4 months. The couple have big news to share including a relocation, a job announcement, and the fact that they're getting ready to restart their journey (which they had to take a brief pause from since September).

Watch their video to find out their latest news.

Keep reading... Show less
Gay Dad Family Stories

These Gay Dads Lost Everything After Hurricane Dorian — Except Hope

The couple, who live in "Hope Town" in the Bahamas, lost everything after suffering a direct hit from Hurricane Dorian this past summer.

Max Bethel-Jones, 52, had traveled to more than 120 countries over the last 30 years working with the United Nations, but had never been to the Bahamas — in 2015, he decided to apply for a private teaching job as a special needs teacher in Freeport on the island of Grand Bahama.

Just weeks after his arrival, he'd get a whole lot more than another pin in his map of visited countries when he attended a social event at Freeport Rugby. "My object was to ogle the local male talent but several women had other ideas," he said. One woman was particularly insistent, he said, but after a couple of drinks she got the hint that he batted for the other rugby team. "She promptly told me there was someone I should meet."

Keep reading... Show less
News

Gay Dads Told One Must Identify as 'Mother' to Enroll in Daycare

The Israeli gay dads told one must identify as mother — like a "normal couple" — in order to receive financial assistance for daycare.

Israeli dads Guy Sadak Shoham and Chai Aviv Shoham were trying to enroll their two-year-old twins in daycare when they were told by a government official that one would need to identify as the "mother" in order to be cleared.

According to Out Magazine, the couple was attempting to apply for financial aid to help pay for the costs of preschool when a government bureaucrat called them to discuss their eligibility.

"I understand that you are both fathers and understand that you both run a shared household, but there is always the one who is more dominant, who is more the mother," the government said, according to an interview on the Israel site Ynet (translated by Out Magazine). "I am just asking for a written statement in your hand which of you is the mother. From the point of view of the work, which works less than the father. Like a normal couple."

The official, apparently, said she was beholden to rules set for in the Ministry of Economy.

"It is mostly sad and a little disturbing," one of the dads told Ynet. "These are concepts that we consider the past. We do not necessarily come up with allegations against this representative, she is ultimately subject to the guidelines and as she said, they are the state. It is also sad that the state's definition of a mother is someone who works less and is at home with the children, and that we must choose which of us meets that definition."

The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, fortunately, issued an apology following the incident, and promised to update its protocols. "We will emphasize that the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs practices explicitly treat all types of families and grant equal rights to all," the ministry wrote in a statement, an apology that was called "insufficient" by Ohad Hizki, the director-general of the National LGBT Task Force.

"The Ministry of Labor and Welfare must sharpen its procedures immediately to prevent recurrence of cases of this kind, as other public organizations have been able to do," he said.

Read more about this story on Out Magazine.

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse