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Family Law Solicitor Cara Nuttall discusses alternative Family Structures

This week, Grazia magazine (my essential read for the week!) featured an article on the rise of Co-Parents, an arrangement which sees platonic friends raise Children together in a quasi-family structure.

Whilst arrangements between friends and acquaintances to conceive children to be raised in same-sex relationships are now well-known, it is reported that there is also an increasing trend for friends, whether gay or straight, to conceive children together with the intention of raising the child together, as parents, without ever being in a relationship.

The reasons for entering into such an arrangement are varied, but the article reports that for some, they see it as a more stable base in which to have a child, on the basis that without the complicating factor of a romantic relationship, the arrangements are more likely to be stable and more long-lasting. The report also however features examples of when this has sadly proved not to be the case, including complications which can arise when either parent then enters into a relationship and the difficulties this can cause.

As with any alternative Family structure, such arrangements can undoubtedly work well for many people if their circumstances permit, but it is always important to gain an understanding of the legal framework in which such arrangements are made, rather than relying on the enduring nature of a close friendship. It is also advisable for couples entering into such an arrangement to think about all possible future scenarios and consider how they would address them, to gain a clear understanding of expectations from the start. As has previously been explained in this blog, in many ways the current law is out-dated and does not always sufficiently cater for new and modern family arrangements. The result can be a lengthy and uncertain court battle and whilst sadly, there will always be cases in which this is unavoidable, for many others it can be avoided with careful and detailed planning in advance. For more information please email on or call us on 0800 916 9055.


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