A mom writes in asking for advice about co-parenting. She wonders if any other moms have experience co-parenting their children shared with an ex without the need to go through a court process and settle on an official arrangement. She says she is not technically separated from her partner yet, but it’s coming. He has told her, after they split, she’ll be able to see their child every day and he is adamant they don’t involve the courts. But he also refuses to put a schedule in writing, which worries this mom.
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A member of the community asks:
“Has anyone co-parented without getting the courts involved?”
“Has anyone successfully co-parented with the other parent of their child after separating without involving the court? My child’s father and I aren’t married, but I’m planning on leaving him as it is something a long time coming (according to him).
We aren’t officially separated yet. He claims I’ll be able to see our child every day, and doesn’t want to involve the courts, but doesn’t want to oblige putting a schedule into writing and signing it for me.“
– Mamas Uncut Community Member
Community Advice for This Mom Who Wants to Know if It Is Possible to Co-Parent Without Getting Courts Involved
To see what advice the Mamas Uncut Facebook community has for this mom in need, read the comments of the post embedded below.
The community offered this mom in need a lot of great advice. Read some of their responses below.
“‘You’ll be able to see our child daily…’? I hope you don’t intend on just leaving the baby with the dad because then you’ll be put on child support. Sounds to be like the dad wants to end up eventually getting full custody.”
I’ve co-parented with my son’s dad for 2 years successfully without the courts. We agreed on everything verbally. We have 50/50 custody that we agreed on and we are both very flexible with each other’s schedule. What we do have is a notarized parenting plan that states we will stay flexible, stay 50/50, and pay 50/50 for school, sports, and all extracurricular stuff. We still fight and argue but you guys both need to make sure to not sure the child against each other no matter what. That’s how things get ugly. It’s not about you or the dad, it’s about the child. It’s doable as long as you both understand that it’s about the child.”
My ex and I split everything 50/50, including time with the kids. No child support, no visitation orders written into the divorce decree. We both lived in the same school district so that wasn’t an issue. First year they were with us each a week at a time, after that the kids led the length of time with each parent, but we kept the time even. Holidays were give-and-take, no quibbling, arguing, or having to keep it ‘even.’ We even all had brunch together on the days the kids switched places. Every time. For years. If you keep it about the kids and not yourselves, it will work itself out.”
“The fact that he refuses to put anything in writing is a huge red flag. Go to court.”
“You need to go to court to protect yourself and your child. Unless there is something from the courts, there’s nothing stopping him from taking your child and moving away from you. A court-ordered parenting plan would prevent the child from being withheld from the other parent and stop either parent from taking the child and leaving. It would also give everyone a set schedule to follow.”
“My daughter and my grandson’s dad have done well without the courts, but, on the other hand, I had a friend whose grandbabies’ dad took the kids and it was 3 years before the mom saw them again. Police said he was the kids’ parent too and could just up and take them. Protect your child and yourself and get something in writing from the courts that primary placement is with you.”
“I’m not sure where you live. But in Virginia, if there is no custody agreement he can take the child and not give him/her back until you go to court and the judge decides custody. And that could take months! I would not trust him. Why does he get to tell you when you’ll see the child? Take your child and leave. Go immediately and file for custody before he does. It can be done without the court but I wouldn’t trust it especially if he won’t put it in writing. Even then it probably won’t mean much unless it’s actually court-ordered.”
“You mean he will get to see the baby every day? You don’t have to leave her in his custody. If you do be prepared for him to get primary custody if you do end up in court, and court will probably be inevitable, and it protects you in the long run to have an arrangement that the court recognizes.”
“Not sure why he says ‘you can visit every day’ unless you’re leaving your child with him and that’s your choice. A couple of red flags are that he doesn’t want to sign anything and you must not trust him or you wouldn’t be asking. Best to go to court because odds are one day you’ll want to visit but you won’t know where.”
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