We all know too well raising a child in a two-parent household is tough - but raising a child solo is a whole different ball game!
And it's a responsibility more and more Australian parents are taking on.
I suppose the answer is, ‘as long as it needs to be and as much as you need to have’.
But that's probably not going to move the answer along much, so here is a good place to start your thinking.
While you might not be together romantically, raising children together leaves Co Parents financially connected in many ways — whether you want to acknowledge that or not.
The term Co Parenting was traditionally only used to describe a situation where a parent had split from their previous partner following a separation or divorce, but who were still actively involved in the lives of their shared children.
It's also a way to be actively involved in the life of a child along with other adults committed to helping you grow a happy child.
Whether you’re Co Parents by choice happily sharing parenting responsibilities, or Co Parents by circumstance post separation, having a life insurance policy on each of your lives, protects your child from the financial effect of losing one (or more) of their parents.
Having open and frank conversations about these realities of life we all face is just another part of putting the needs of a child first.
A life insurance policy is essentially designed to help protect the nominated beneficiary from the financial impact that losing a parent will bring.
Ultimately the loss of one parent will increase the financial responsibility of the surviving parent - and usually at a time when finances are already stretched.
Conversations about this essential part of life and parenting should always be about the benefit of the child in the long run.
Learn more about the risks families face when they lose an income-earning parent to unexpected death.
Download our free eGuide 31 Australian Families Lose a Parent Every Day.
Olivia has three kids to two separate fathers from past relationships and has been receiving child support for each of them ever since the relationships broke down. One of the kids has now been diagnosed with additional needs and requires more attention and care, so family budgets and free time can get out of balance quickly.
The answer - a life insurance policy on each of the children's Co Parent fathers.
In Australia, a life insurance policy can be owned and paid for by a person different from the Life Insured. For example, a policy can be owned by a parent and the life insured be their child or parent or even an employee who is considered a Key Person to a business.
In Australia, if you are the Policy Owner and paying the premiums for a Life Insurance policy, you have the right to nominate who is the policy beneficiary and make changes to the policy. The Policy Beneficiary is the person nominated and named in an insurance policy to receive a future life insurance payout.
When a life insurance policy is held in a super fund, it's fair to say the rules about who is allowed to be a nominated beneficiary, have not kept up with modern life. There are special rules about biologically related children under 18 that change once the child is over 18. The rules relating to stepchildren are even more confusing and may see a stepchild losing their right to inheritance once their stepparent dies.
Work with a professional adviser at Unusual Risks Insured who understands Co Parenting.
David separated amicably from his former partner last year who now has primary custody of his teenage daughter Sarah completing her private schooling. David's new partner has two infant twins who adore him and his time and finances for his new younger family are getting stretched looking after them all.
Both life insurance policies each name his daughter Sarah as the sole beneficiary of the policy. Of course, everyone hopes they will never need to make a claim, but now it's in place, they all benefit from the peace of mind this type of backup plan brings to all their families.
Take a proactive approach to your Co Parenting.
Although your Co Parent may already have their own life insurance policy in place naming a number of different beneficiaries, taking out a separate policy on them where you are the policy owner puts you in the driver's seat.
You know for sure the policy premiums are being paid, the beneficiaries cannot be changed without your approval and the peace of mind knowing the policy is accurate and up to date.
Purchasing a policy on your ex-spouse or partner requires their cooperation as they will need to answer the personal health and lifestyle questions during the application process.
This is when things can get complicated.
If your relationship with your ex is less than ideal, or they’re simply not invested in the welfare of their child, it might be difficult to convince them to complete the health and lifestyle questions that every life insurance policy requires.
The subject of who should pay for the premiums on a life insurance policy can also be problematic. Remember, the policy owner/payer gets to nominate the policy beneficiary.
As an independent third party, Unusual Risks Insured can send people applying for life insurance cover a confidential link to an online form so they can complete their own personal health questions confidentially, at a time convenient to themselves. This means we try and remove any face-to-face contact for them and maximise their privacy.
Unusual Risks Insured specialise in working with clients with hard to insure health or occupations, people with diverse backgrounds, family and relationship structures, and people with high privacy needs - Australia-wide.
We’re the experts at talking about what matters most.
Advice equality means our clients never have to prepare for a homophobic conversation, religious judgementalism, never have to be prepared to be ‘the constant educators’ and be forever ready to explain and defend the benefits of PrEP, that HIV is a chronic but now manageable condition or how Gay Dads and Lesbian Mums have different needs, that growing families takes time and ultimately some guys love guys and some girls love girls, that love knows no gender and that Love Makes a Family.
We get it, we love it, we defend it and we celebrate you.
Co Parenting, whether by choice or circumstances post separation is a part of Modern Australian Family Life.
Ultimately a Life Insurance policy alone is not the goal - it's a means to an end.
For a Co Parent, increased peace of mind and financial security may come in the form of a simple life insurance policy.
Like any modern family, there are many ‘ways to grow a family’ and Co-parenting is becoming just one of those many ways.
Regardless of whether you're Co-parenting from circumstances or choice, the parents agree to put the needs of the child first.
It really does take a modern village to raise a modern child.
Meet Chris and his partner Mirko.
Today they have a three-year-old daughter and they share her parenting responsibilities with their two female friends, Anna and Jennifer. Chris also shares additional parenting responsibilities with their 18-month-old son, while Mirko is just the Uncle. But it wasn’t always like that.
Wait - feeling confused and starting to need a flow chart to keep track of who's who and how?
Relax - it's Co-parenting.
A proud gay dad, if you ever ask Chris about his daughter he'll show you what can feel like 100+ photos of her (that he just happened to have on hand from last weekend's photoshoot). He'll also tell you,
“I always knew I would be a parent, I didn’t know how but it had to happen. I love kids and I love family - it's who I am and it's super important to me”.
As a child, Chris helped his own single mother raise 3 younger siblings, but when he began dating, his plans for future fatherhood seemed to be in conflict with his dating experience. That was until he met his partner Mirko, who was already a proud and active ‘Funcle’ (aka the Fun Uncle) to his own nephews and nieces.
Together, over the next two years, they looked for ways to build their own family. They discussed fostering, looked seriously into adopting, and even ran some very detailed numbers on the cost of altruistic surrogacy in Australia.
Chris wanted a biological link to a child of his own, whereas Mirko had no especially strong feelings either way, as long as he could be the fun dad.
“Through mutual friends, we met a lesbian couple Anna and Jennifer who also wanted to have a baby of their own. At first, we just shared our respective frustrations about growing our own family and the cost of surrogacy, over weekend dinners together. Over time it was clear they were looking for ways to create their on family too and we all became really good friends”.
Over time, they began to discuss if they ‘could use each other's reproductive capabilities’ to have a child?
They talked about each other's parenting expectations, their hopes for the future, compared ideas about how their own parents and circles of friends might react to them becoming parents, and discussed the types of support each had and might need.
Over time they all slowly edged a little closer towards the idea of them all becoming parents and Co-parenting. Eventually, they had separate discussions with a solicitor - both to get clarity on their important decision and to formalise their shared plans for the future.
Together they are happy Co-parents, and another modern family.
Simply put, Co-parenting is an arrangement (formal and in writing or informal but clearly understood) made between two or more people to raise a child together, when the two biological parents are not in a romantic relationship with one another.
Gay couples don't stumble into parenthood by accident. It's always a deliberate act.
Everyone who comes to us as a Co-parent has given parenting a great deal of thought, has the resources to care for a child and all share the same commitment - to make sure those they love are protected and provided for financially, in case a parent unexpectedly becomes disabled or passes away.
Most parents start with the idea of having a realistic picture of ‘what they want family life to look like, if they are unexpectedly disabled or no longer around’.
Pro Tip: As an absolute minimum, we say make sure you have adequate life and disability insurance in place to buy a nice place to live, to replace your income for at least a year, and consider what it will cost to safely provide for your children (and a partner or guardian to care for them) through to at least the end of their education.
You can read more about How Much is Enough, here.
Co-parents put particular time into making sure insurance policy beneficiaries are clearly identified and they make sure they get clear on their own estate planning needs as well, to make sure there is a family backup plan in place, just in case.
Having an ongoing relationship with a specialist financial adviser like the team behind Unusual Risks Insured, means they never lose track of important paperwork and policies, they can make updates as needed and they don't have to constantly re-explain their family structure to a stranger whose attitudes toward modern family life might not match their own.
In short, taking control of your family’s future means peace of mind - knowing you have done everything you can as a parent, to protect and provide for your family — biological and logical.
Read our blog Single Parents Need Life Insurances Too.
Whether you're Co-parenting by circumstance or choice, taking a deliberate approach to growing and protecting your family has clear benefits. Each person has different needs and abilities and each situation has unique risks to manage.
Regardless of how you might Co-parent, whether by circumstances or choice, putting the needs and best interest of the child you love first, is what guides your decisions.
And isn't that what a modern family should be about?
Young male P plate drivers? Young Tradies? Army Reserve personnel? Single mothers? No.
The Australian LGBTQI+ Community is one of the most underinsured and underserved markets with financial services.
This of course then leaves them and their families at greater vulnerability than their straight counterparts.
In 2019 over $33 million dollars in claims were paid out each day by the Australian Life Insurance industry.
HIV is not a top of mind conversation starter for most straight guys and girls so many straight people believe HIV is not a health issue for the straight community; but they would be very mistaken.
For years they wondered if it was ever going to be possible for them to start a family together?
They learned all about the Australian foster care system and adoption and even looked at expensive overseas options too.
After months of sleepless nights, endless conversations, and an exhausting search for what felt like the best thing for them, they both settled on the idea of growing their family through altruistic surrogacy in Australia.
Ultimately both Ricki and Devesh decided they wanted to have a child who was 'biologically' their own.
The next few months were a blur of appointments with Fertility Counselors, IVF treatments and cycles, genetic tests, couples counseling, and what seemed like a mountain of legal paperwork.
When it came to Ricki & Devesh getting Life Insurances in place to protect themselves and their Surrogate, their Fertility Counsellor recommended a confidential chat with unsuaulrisks.com.au who specialise in complex insurance situations.
For Ricki and Devesh, deciding which of them would be the biological father was fairly simple. Of the two, Rickie is far more attached to the notion of his child being biologically related to him, while Devesh is just simply excited by the prospect of becoming a ‘Dad’, especially if the baby has a biological connection to his husband.
Now Ricki regularly sends Jane (what is often described as ‘an entire florist shop in a delivery van’) thank you flowers. They're all excitedly looking forward to the arrival of their new child - made possible through IVF and the incredible love and generosity of a new family friend who agreed to become their Surrogate.
Learn more about the IVF & Insurance Timeline to arrange Life Insurances for Intended Parents and their Surrogate. Download our free resource, When to Arrange Intended Parent and Surrogate Life Insurances, chart.
Learn about our Surrogacy and IVF Life Insurances.
Have questions? See our Frequently Asked Questions specifically for Surrogacy services.
Read about our range of Services. See Our Services.
Ready to know if we can work with you? Get in touch with us for a chat.
If there is anything we know, it's that life is not black and white - and not everyone is neatly defined by an Acronym LGBTI.
When it comes to being single in the LGBTQI+ community, there's really no such thing as average.
And it's your single life, so live it your way.
When it comes to being partnered in the LGBTQI+ community, there's really no such thing as average.
There's no right or wrong way to live a purposeful life, just what works for you both.
When it comes to parenting in the LGBTQI+ community, there's really no such thing as average.
However you're doing it, Love makes a family.