‘Co-Parenting’: Strangers Having and Raising Kids Together

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Lots of women and men today want to be parents, but they don’t want to get married. They could just live together and have kids. But that would be too much like marriage. Yet, single parenting is hard for both the mother and her child. After all, a child needs both parents.

A solution has been found. A woman and a man who are strangers to each other agree to have a child together. Without any kind of personal relationship, they conceive a baby, either artificially or physically. They have joint custody, with the father having visitation rights and providing financial support.

The man and the woman have no ties to each other, just to their child. They’re seeking shared custody of a child without the baggage of the prior marriage and the usual animosity associated with a divorce.

This new lifestyle trend is called “co-parenting.” “Cohabiting” means couples live together without marriage. “Co-parenting” means couples have children together without living together. 

Melkorka Licea has written an article on the phenomenon for the New York Post. Co-parenting has inspired a number of websites that help match interested parties. In one TV show, “Labor of Love,” men compete to be chosen as a “dad.” 

The reporter interviews Ivan Fatovic, who runs the co-parenting website Modamily. He says that 60–70% of the site’s users are women, while 20% are gay men. Licea also quotes an expert who sees co-parenting as an enduring trend: “Five years ago, people were really gung ho about ‘I’ll have babies for myself, I’ll raise them myself,’ but I haven’t seen that as much, if at all, lately,” said Emma K. Viglucci, a Midtown marriage and family therapist. “If anything, people are getting pregnant and choosing not to have babies because they don’t want to raise them [alone].”

This movement away from single parenthood is positive, but not if it motivates a woman to seek abortion. 

Wanting to have children is a good thing. It is also good to recognize that children need to be raised by both a mother and a father. But children also need to be raised by a mother and a father who love each other. Children need to be part of a loving, committed family.

Co-parenting and cohabiting are both evasions of and poor substitutes for God’s design for men, women and children. 

Marriage and parenting are both holy vocations. God joins together a man and a woman in a one-flesh union that is not to be put asunder (Matt. 19:6). This union is a reflection of Christ and His church (Eph. 5:22–32) that often leads, if God chooses, to the additional callings of father and mother (Psalm 127:3). And, by working closely together, they rear children who will be blessed (Prov. 20:7) and who will be a blessing (Psalm 37:26).

When things go wrong for couples, parents or children, we turn to Christ who loves us as His Bride, the church, and calls us to be His children (1 John 3:1).

3 thoughts on “‘Co-Parenting’: Strangers Having and Raising Kids Together”

  1. “Letter to the Editor”

    In his article, adults embark as contracted entities on a parenting journey that will involve sacrifice, which means giving up something good for something better.

    If the nature of the parenting relationship is put aside, the role of parents may be distilled: 1. Protect the child. 2. Nourish the child. 3. Prepare the child to leave the parents.

    These core responsibilties of protection, nourishment and teaching occur naturally within safe, loving, empowering households.

    Wonderful parenting tools can help. The Montessori way helps children connect deeply with interesting things. The Danish Hygge (family cozy time) creates bonds. And a notion that children will be happy if they can – helps a child & parent unpack and change things preventing their happiness.

    Regardless of how one becomes a parent, it is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that will be the best tool, mindset, sacrifice, reward – pointing us to Jesus.

  2. My son is in a committed relationship with the mother of 3 children from previous marriages. He has no children. They would like to marry; however, 2 of 3 children receive Medicaid for health reasons (1 mental, the other physical). If they married, son’s insurance wouldn’t nearly cover their medical needs. They want to marry and vow their lives together forever before God though, but not get the state involved. Is there a way to do this?

    1. Dawn,
      Usually private insurance, such as that through an employer, gives much better coverage than Medicaid. If he marries the woman and now has three dependents, he could easily add the family coverage. We Lutherans don’t believe that marriage is a “sacrament,” as such, so, technically, the state, not the church, makes the marriage.
      — Dr. Veith

      Greetings. I’m sorry to hear about the difficult decision that faces your son. This is also a common struggle for older folks who receive government benefits of various types as well. The bad news is that, regardless of whether or not we want the government involved, it is. One should not get married surreptitiously and then lie to the state about it. This means that they should get married in the normal order and work to deal with the insurance; as Dr. Veith notes above, if he has private insurance, it’s usually better than the public options.
      Secondly, this is also where the church can step in to help when and where they are able. Has he spoken to his pastor and the congregation about their needs? I would be surprised if members of the congregation were not interested in helping their brother and sister in Christ who desire to live in marriage. Many hospitals and doctor’s offices have programs to help those who cannot completely cover their medical expenses.
      Indeed, this will be a burden. But as God’s people, this does not surprise us. We confess that Jesus sets before us the way of the cross. It’s the way of denying our own desires for the sake of living according to God’s Word and will. This is not easy; we will regularly fail. And we fall on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom we have forgiveness and life.
      Our Lord Jesus Christ did not refrain from coming to save His people because of the suffering He would have to endure. He gladly came to serve. Your son might have to endure hardship and difficulty; but this is precisely what our Lord calls husbands to do for their wives (Ephesians 5:22–33).
      Please do not hesitate to email me with further questions.

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