New Co-Parenting Sites Match Partners Not Looking for Love

Family/Kids, Divorce, Relationships

These days, people have more options than ever, and that includes options when it comes to parenting. Co-parenting is a growing trend, and several websites help would-be parents connect.

The Disappearing Nuclear Family

The word “family” often evokes an image of the nuclear family, with mom and dad (married, of course) and two or three children. But times are changing, and they have been for the last several decades. Since 1940, the percentage of children born out of wedlock has been rising steadily, and is currently around 40%, according to the CDC. As unmarried childbearing becomes more common and more socially acceptable, new family models emerge.

One of these relatively new models is co-parenting, which was the subject of the 2011 movie Friends With Kids. Usually, couples that co-parent are in a friendly but non-romantic relationship. They both take part in the raising of the child or children, sharing the financial burden as well as the emotional rewards.

Through co-parenting sites, people who are interested in the idea of having a child outside the typical nuclear family can find other like-minded people. Like regular dating sites, co-parenting sites let users register and connect with other people based on their preferences and what they’re looking for. Unlike regular dating sites, they focus on building a family, not on finding love.

Growth of Co-Parenting Sites

One site, (from the portmanteau of “modern” and “family”) has over 5,000 people registered, while boasts over 55,000 registrations. Clearly there’s a demand for these kinds of services.

These sites, along with similar sites and, offer more than just co-parenting connections, though. They are concerned with all kinds of family planning, and provide resources and information on sperm donation, surrogacy, adoption, and more. Legal, financial, and medical aspects of co-parenting arrangements are addressed, too: users can find advice on finding a lawyer, creating a co-parenting agreement, and handling medical screening.

Co-Parenting: Can It Work?

Detractors say that complicated legal ramifications could arise from such unconventional arrangements, an issue that’s confounded by the fact that many laws regarding child custody vary by state. In many ways, these couples face issues that divorced couples face, such as how to create a fair and workable custody agreement, what to do if one parent wants to move out of state or out of the country, and what to do if one parent is not able to live up to their financial obligations.

Co-parenting couples should draw up a written co-parenting agreement that addresses these issues, even knowing that these agreements are not treated the same in every state. At least a written agreement shows intent of each parent at the outset.

Others opposed to co-parenting insist that children benefit from growing up with two parents who love each other, and that these kinds of co-parenting arrangements rob them of that opportunity. But supporters argue that divorce is also difficult for children, and with so many marriages ending, it makes sense to look at other alternatives. They hope that by making the child the center of the co-parenting relationship, the partners will remain committed to raising the child, without putting him or her through the stress of a divorce.

There’s no doubt that these kinds of sites are making it easier for people to explore their family planning options. Testimonials from new parents on the websites share how happy they are to have made their dream of being a parent come true.