Coparenting refers to a parenting situation where adults share the duties of parenting a child.[1] Coparents may include a variety of configurations, including a mother and a father, two mothers, two fathers, a parent with an adult sibling or grandparent, or a parent and another adult relative. The coparent relationship differs from an intimate relationship between adults in that it focuses solely on the child.[2] The equivalent term in evolutionary biology is biparental care, where parental investment is provided by both the mother and father.[3][4]

The original meaning of coparenting was mostly related to nuclear families. However, since the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 20 November 1989, the principle that a child has to continue to maintain a strong relationship with both parents, even if separated, has become a more recognized right. Thus, the concept of coparenting was extended to divorced and separated parents and to parents who have never lived together.[5]

Married and cohabition parentsEdit

Children benefit from more coparenting, but the amount of coparenting varies between couples. Bryndl Hohmann-Marriott has found that the level of collaborative coparenting was higher among unmarried cohabitation parents and among those who married in response to a pregnancy, compared to married couples that became pregnant during a marriage.[6]

In a shared earning/shared parenting marriage, child care is divided equally or approximately equally between the two parents. In a parenting marriage, the parents live and raise their children together in a purpose-based marriage without physical intimacy or expectation to share mutual romantic love.[7]

Separated parentsEdit

Main article: Shared parenting

Post-separation coparenting describes a situation where two parents work together to raise a child even though they are divorced, separated or never having lived together. Advocates for coparenting opposes the habit to grant custody of a child exclusively to a single parent, and promotes shared parenting as a protection of the right of children to continue to receive care and love from both parents. Epidemiological studies has shown that joint custody and other arrangements where children have greater access to both parents leads to better physical, mental and health outcomes for children.[8]

Elective coparentingEdit

Elective coparenting, also referred to as parenting partnerships or partnered parenting, may be used as a choice by individuals seeking to have children but who do not wish to enter into a conventional relationship.[9]

Coparenting by more than two adultsEdit

Template:See also Subject to the laws of their nation of residence, more than two adults may enter into a formal agreement to care for a child together even though only two of them may be granted official legal custody in most countries.[10] The Netherlands is consideringTemplate:When? a new law making it legal for up to four coparents to be granted official custody.[11] In one case, a family of four parents consisting of a gay and a lesbian couple care for their child based on a formal agreement.[12]


This principle of coparenting was established in Italy at the beginning of the 21st century by the Associations of Separated Parents that for years have been fighting against a culture, a social mindset, and a legislative and legal system that is discriminating among gendersTemplate:Citation needed in the conflicts between former partners, especially when children are involved. Such associations are in fact also committed to solve several problems related to separations and divorces, as international child abductions, parental alienation syndromeTemplate:Disputed inline, and equal rights between genders in judicial separations and divorcesTemplate:Citation needed.

The principle of coparenting (Italian: Principio di bigenitorialità) states that a child has always and in any case the right to maintain a stable relationship with both parents, even if they are separated or divorced, unless there is a recognized need to separate him/her from one or both parents.

Such a right is based on the concept that to be a parent is a commitment that an adult takes with respect to his/her children, not to the other parent, so that it cannot and must not be influenced by any kind of separation among parents.

According to article 30 of Italian Constitution, to be a parent is both a right and a duty. As a right, it cannot be constrained by the agreement of a third party, even if it would be the other parent; as a duty, it is not possible to abdicate it as well as it is not possible to abdicate any decreed right.

There are some very specific issues in this type of coparenting that make being a parent or a child difficult. Organizing the child's life and activities, making sure that children receive consistent types and styles of discipline, and making sure that both parents are made aware of the issues in a child's life.Template:Citation needed

See alsoEdit


  1. Template:Cite web
  2. Template:Cite journal
  3. Clutton-Brock, T.H. 1991. The Evolution of Parental Care. Princeton, NJ: Princeton U. Press. pg. 9
  4. Trivers, R.L. (1972). Parental investment and sexual selection. In B. Campbell (Ed.), Sexual selection and the descent of man, 1871-1971 (pp. 136–179). Chicago, IL: Aldine. Template:ISBN.
  5. Template:Cite journal
  6. Hohmann‐Marriott B. Coparenting and father involvement in married and unmarried coresident couples. Journal of Marriage and Family. 2011 Feb 1;73(1):296-309.
  7. Susan Pease Gadoua, Give Your Spouse the Gift of a Parenting Marriage This Year, Psychology Today, December 10, 2017.
  8. Template:Cite journal
  9. Template:Cite journal
  10. Template:Cite news
  11. Template:Cite news
  12. Template:Cite news
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