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Co-Parenting

  • By: Lynn Comerford
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Co-parenting is the law's attempt to adapt to the dissolution of a nuclear family and the changing legal status of women and children. The concept of co-parenting emphasizes shared parenting rather than a sole custody model. There is no consensus among legislatures or the legal profession regarding the definition of co-parenting. Co-parenting is also referred to as joint custody, shared parenting, shared custody, and co-custody. The “best interests of the child” standard remains paramount and tends to center on two factors that support co-parenting plans postdivorce/separation: (1) the child's ongoing contact with both parents, and (2) the parents' ability to cooperate in their continuing roles as parents.

Currently, over 2 million parents divorce annually, involving over 1 million children. Co-parenting acknowledges that divorce and separation do ...

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