Love, marriage and a baby carriage - that’s the traditional picture of starting a family. But what if Mr. or Ms. Right never appears? Is there a non-traditional option for prospective parents?
People looking for a non-romantic partner with whom to raise a child have been taking their search online. Websites geared towards matching people in co-parenting arrangements attract people looking for parenting partners as well as those who would like to get to know their sperm donor better than they could at a sperm bank. Many users of sites like Modafamily.com and Family By Design say that searching for a non-romantic co-parent gave them the opportunity to more thoroughly consider the process of child rearing and to strategize with their partner, something that traditional couples may do less frequently.
But what are the complications of finding a non-romantic co-paren online? The legal implications vary state by state. In co-parenting situations without legal documentation, potential custody battles could be hard to negotiate.
As ideas of what constitutes a “traditional” family change and expand to include divorced couples, same-sex partners, and step-parents, are non-romantic parenting matches another sign of the times? Is it a given that parents should be romantically involved? What are the legal pitfalls of entering into a co-parenting arrangement?
Darren Spedale, founder of FamilybyDesign.com
Jennifer Lahl, president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture in the Bay Area. Jennifer is a former pediatric nurse (25 years), and she’s of the opinion that “co-parenting” is a form of experimenting on children to satisfy our own personal needs. She’s also in production on a documentary film about surrogacy.
Diane Goodman, attorney and past president of the Academy of Family Formation Lawyers, based in Encino