Divorce can be one of the most unpleasant—and often traumatic—experiences of your life, especially if you have children. It can be even more distressing for the kids themselves. In many cases, a divorce can severely affect a child’s emotional well-being, and in extreme cases, even tear apart a parent’s personal relationship with their offspring.
In light of these hardships, a new movement is sweeping the country, known as “platonic parenting.” The arrangement typically involves spouses who refrain from divorce—or get divorced but stay closely connected (even cohabitating)—in order to more effectively raise their children and reduce trauma. The couple remains highly amicable and cooperative, but ceases any romantic connection or commitment.
This isn’t about “staying together for the kids,” where couples remain unhappily married solely for the children’s sake—and which is often just as traumatic as divorce.
Platonic parenting was pioneered within the LGBTQ community, since until recently same-sex couples couldn’t legally marry, and thus were forced to create outside-the-box parenting arrangements following a romantic split. Today, many people of all genders and sexual orientation are entering into these relationships, and some believe this style of co-parenting can be just as healthy as those raised in happily married households.
Obviously, Platonic Parenting is no panacea, and the arrangement requires intense levels of trust, communication, and planning. The first step of the new partnership is for both parties to come up with a firm agreement around their financial commitments and living situation.
Other things to work out include how to handle new romantic relationships, if/how to incorporate the platonic partner into family gatherings, along with all manner of other basic ground rules. Then you must plan how you’ll discuss this with your kids and other family members, so everyone clearly understands exactly what this new life will entail.
Platonic parenting isn’t just limited to married or otherwise romantically involved couples: Numerous people of all genders and orientations are entering into such relationships.
For example, a heterosexual woman may partner with a gay man to provide a father (literally and/or figuratively) for her kids. Or maybe it’s two longtime friends of any gender combination, who are interested in starting a family but haven’t found a suitable romantic partner. There are even cases where the arrangement involves three or more platonic parents, who tag team, if you will, the immense responsibility of raising children.
With so many important agreements to be made, all parties involved are advised to seek legal counsel before creating such an arrangement. As your Personal Family Lawyer®, we specialize in helping you navigate these types of non-traditional partnerships. Whether you’re seeking advice on planning such an arrangement, or you need us to draft legally binding contracts, contact us today to make sure your new family is as happy and healthy as possible.