What is Platonic Parenting?
As the conventional notions of what we consider a standard family change, many people are choosing to raise children together but without any romantic involvement. This is known as, platonic parenting. This differs from more common terms such as surrogacy, as all parties are involved in the upbringing of the child not just the intended parents and the child may be conceived in one of a few ways.
There are several reasons people may decide to do this. As we have come to the end of Pride month, this parenting style is particularly common among those who identify with the LGBTQ Community - those who naturally cannot have children within a relationship but wish to have a child that is biologically theirs. This desire can have a range of outcomes: a gay couple and a straight woman, two gay couples coming together, a gay woman plus a gay man. This can arise from complete strangers who simply want a child, without having to consider marriage or finding the ‘right person’.
The legal stance
There are many legal implications to consider within this new concept. Both parties need to be clear about their expectations' and intentions within the agreement: who will the child live with? who will have parental responsibility? This should be decided beforehand in a ‘Co-Parenting Agreement’ after seeking legal advice.
What should be noted is that the women who gives birth will always have Parental Responsibility.
Also, a child can have only two legal parents, which can be disheartening for those in an agreement of more than two people. If this is the case, then the parties will need to consider granting parental responsibility to all of those involved. This means all parties will have an equal input in key decisions concerning the child whilst only two can be termed the ‘Mother’ and/or ‘Father’. The legal status of the Father/second parent then depends on whether s/he has been registered on the Birth Certificate.
Disagreements can arise which can bring the risk of legal action. Therefore, it is useful to know what action can be taken. There are less contentious routes available such as mediation, arbitration, or the collaborative model where a roundtable method is used to discuss issues. Alternatively, a solicitor can be used to negotiate on your behalf.
A Court Application can often be the most useful in providing clarity at the end of a matter. A Specific Issue Order can decide on issues like where the child would go to school, or a Child Arrangements Order would decide who the child would live with.
Platonic parents should try to discuss their expectations in depth before entering such agreements, in anticipation of bringing a child up in a solid foundation.