Stranger Danger: Co-Parenting & Associated Risks

4 minutes reading time

Co-parenting websites provide a way for individuals to find a platonic partner to have a biological child. These websites are becoming increasingly popular; however, individuals seeking to embark on parenthood using this medium should be alert to the potential risks involved.

Having a child is a joyful and meaningful chapter in anyone’s life. However, having a child with a stranger could be fraught with significant emotional and financial consequences, which this blog from our Family Law Solicitors seeks to highlight.

Contact Our Family Law Experts

stranger danger and associated risks v2

What are co-parenting websites?

Co-parenting websites allow strangers to connect and agree to have a child together. They are like a dating website in that members upload a profile picture and details about themselves in the hope of matching with another potential parent.

There has been a rise in the number of adults looking to meet someone solely for the purpose of becoming a parent. Co-parenting websites cater for individuals looking for a platonic relationship, which can be an attractive alternative to sperm donation or surrogacy because the other parent can have an ongoing involvement in the child’s life.

In the modern day, women are opting to have children later in life due to focusing on their careers, and many seek to embark on co-parenting due to the fear of the ticking biological clock.

Contact Myerson Solicitors

what are co parenting websites

Will I be the legal parent of the child?

Co-parenting parties may decide to create a child naturally through intercourse or artificial insemination. The identity of the parents will be determined by the relationship status of the birth mother and how the child was conceived.

Legal parenthood is a complex area of law and the mother’s marital status impacts who is treated as the legal father. If parties naturally conceive the child, the child’s legal parents will be the woman who carries the child and the biological father.

If the child is conceived by artificial insemination, either at home or a fertility clinic and the birth mother is married or in a civil partnership, the legal parents will be the birth mother and her spouse.

If the birth mother is not married and not in a civil partnership and the artificial insemination is undertaken at home, the second legal parent will be the biological father.

Suppose the birth mother is not married and not in a civil partnership, and the artificial insemination is undertaken at a clinic licensed by the HFEA. In that case, nominating the second legal parent is possible by signing the relevant consent forms.

Specialist advice must be obtained early on to consider any issues about who the legal parent will be. We advise you to always get legal advice on consenting to legal parenthood before any treatment occurs.

To find out more information about Fertility and Surrogacy Law, please access the Fertility & Surrogacy Law section of our website.

Speak To Our Family Lawyers

will i be the legal parent of the child

What are the risks associated with co-parenting?

If you are contemplating having a child via co-parenting, you should obtain legal advice and be alert to the potential risks. Co-parenting facilitates a way for strangers to have children with one another, which can inevitably generate complications.

The first issue is that you may not truly know the person with whom you are having a child. 

Risk 1: Difficulties in agreeing on child arrangements 

It can be difficult for separated couples who know each other very well and were previously in a loving relationship to agree on arrangements for their child, let alone for two complete strangers to attempt to reach an agreement. 

Where parents have met through a co-parenting website, often the parents may live far away from one another. Therefore, from a practical point of view, having shared care may not be possible, and this can cause friction between the parents.

Co-parents may not agree on who the child should live with or who the child should spend time with. One parent may prevent the other parent from seeing the child altogether. Accordingly, this may result in a dispute between the parents.

If parents cannot resolve child arrangements between themselves, they may need to try and mediate on the issue or, as a last resort, apply to the court for a child arrangements order.  

For more information on child arrangements, see our blog Are You Prevented From Seeing Your Children? 

Risk 2: Opening the door to potential Schedule 1 Claims under the Children Act 1989 

Where parents are unmarried, Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 enables a parent with whom the child lives to apply for the below orders against the parent with whom the child does not live:

  1. Periodical Payments 
  2. Lump Sum Payments 
  3. Housing Provision 
  4. Legal Services Order

Accordingly, co-parenting could become an expensive arrangement; having a child with someone via co-parenting could result in you paying the other parent regular payments, a large lump sum, or even being compelled to provide them with a property to live in.  

For further information, please see our blog Financial Provisions for Unmarried Couples: Claims under Schedule 1 Children Act 1989

Talk To Our Children Law Experts

risks of co parenting

Next steps

The purpose of this article is not to deter you from the option of co-parenting; rather, it is to highlight the potential consequences which should be borne in mind before embarking on co-parenting.

It is crucial for anyone considering using co-parenting websites or using artificial insemination as a method of conception to seek legal advice at the earliest possible stage to limit the potential for disputes in the future.

Speak To Our Family Law Team

next steps with co parenting

Contact Our Family Solicitors

If you would like to discuss any of the above in further detail or seek specialist advice on co-parenting, artificial insemination, or surrogacy, please speak with Myerson Solicitor's Family lawyers on: