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What topics should unmarried 'co-parents' discuss?

What topics should unmarried 'co-parents' discuss?

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Excerpted from previous Parent Chat on stltoday.com.

My granddaughter is 24, a nurse and expecting. She is not married to the father, but they've dating for a couple of years. She lives with him part-time and with her parents part-time. Everyone is happy about the baby. What the best way to encourage both parents in equally raising the child since they do not live together full-time and are not married?

Dr. Kathleen Berchelmann: Co-parenting is the term for parents who are not married or in a romantic relationship but are committed to raising a child together. I meet so many parents who are doing a great job co-parenting.

Aisha Sultan: It seems like you have some feelings about their situation. I'd be careful about giving them the impression that they might not be good parents because they aren't married yet.

Dr. B: Co-parenting really requires a lot of maturity. I would recommend that legal custody issues be determined soon, while parents are still in a positive relationship. Often co-parenting becomes difficult after one or the other partner enters a separate romantic relationship. It's very smart to get legal issues such as custody and child support clearly defined while parents are on positive terms together.

Aisha Sultan: Be an engaged and loving grandmother and offer to help out in whatever ways you are able.

Dr. B: Other issues to define clearly to each other include holidays, education, and faith tradition.

Compiled by Ian Price

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