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Co Parenting - it takes a modern village to raise a modern child

Gay couples don't stumble into parenthood by accident — it's always a deliberate act (and usually a complicated one too).

Like any modern family, there are many ‘ways to grow a family’ and Co Parenting is becoming just one of those many ways.

  • Back in the day, 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.
  • In the past, Gay Parents were mainly women or men, who had children from former heterosexual relationships and who had later separated or divorced, but who were still actively involved in the lives of their shared children.
  • Today, Co Parenting is becoming just another way of creating a family for many gay, lesbian, or gender diverse people often because it’s a way of having your own biological child, and being actively involved in its life and development with other adults who are committed to helping you grow a happy child, (and all without having to go through the uncertainty and financial stress of surrogacy).

Regardless of whether you're Co Parenting from circumstances or choice, the parents agree to put the needs of the child first.

Meet Chris & Mirko, Anna & Jennifer

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.

The biological link

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 families and the cost of surrogacy, over weekend dinners together. Over time it was clear they were looking for ways to create their only 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.

Hastening slowly

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 decisions and to formalise their shared plans for the future.

Happiness comes in pairs

  • That was two years ago and since then, little Miss ‘Charlotte Lousie’ arrived in the world two years later - daughter to two proud and doting dads Chris and Mirko.
  • A little over 18 months later Little Master ‘Samual Elijah’ arrived - son to widely happy Anna and Jennifer.

Together they are happy Co Parents, and another modern family.

Who is Co Parenting in Australia today?

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.

Single and Co Parenting

  • This could be a single man and a single woman (heterosexual or LGBTQI+ ) who have not found a partner and want to have a child.

Partnered and Co Parenting

  • This could be a same-sex couple and a single person of the opposite sex, (in this case the child might be brought up by 3 parents, for example, two fathers and one mother)
  • This could be a lesbian couple and a gay couple who agree to raise a child together which might be biologically related to one of the lesbian mothers and one of the gay fathers, (in this case the child might be brought up by 4 parents).
Gay couples don't stumble into parenthood by accident. It's always a deliberate act.

How we support modern Co Parents

Unusual Risks Insured is a modern financial advice practice that specialises in helping Modern Families get their life insurances stored.

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.

Where Co Parents start their insurance thinking

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.

Protect your family's future

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.

Professional Advice makes life easier

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.

  • An ongoing professional advice relationship also provides a family a clear and immediate pathway to managing an insurance claim too - if the unthinkable were ever to happen.

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.

Some of the advantages of taking control of your growing families insurance needs

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.

If you’re Co Parenting by circumstance post-separation

  • taking out a separate life insurance policy on your Co Parent places you in the driver's seat. Rather than risk future confusion or disagreements about what percentage of a policy payout goes to who and when, having a separate policy makes your expectations clear.
  • You're in the position to determine who the policy beneficiary should always be and to know how much the benefit payout will be.
  • Additionally, when you're the policy owner/payer you know for a fact that the policy is being maintained and the premiums are up to date.

If you’re Co Parenting by choice

  • You can decide how your own life insurance payout should be distributed, whether that's held in trust solely for the future benefit of your child or immediately split between a partner and your child.
  • If you're a non-biological partner, you can control who is your nominated policy beneficiary (or beneficiaries) and better understand the future tax effects.

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?

#LoveTakesAction

Where to now?

  Discover someone with a similar situation in our Case Studies.

  Have questions? See our Frequently Asked Questions.

  Make sure you Browse through our Blog.

  And when you're ready to know if we can work with you why not Skip the Que & Call for a Chat.

#LoveTakesAction

Published in All Case Studies

Meet Ramesh. Positive, energetic and living with a kidney transplant

He’s also an experienced software coder, ‘Guncle’ to three nephews and a little princess who he has brought every available Disney Princess Dress on the market for, and the best of partners to his boyfriend Ashish.

Published in All Case Studies

Meet Tina and Garry - proud new parents of a baby boy

A miracle you might say - because Tina and Garry are officially a serodiscordant couple. (In simple terms, it means one of them is HIV positive).

Deciding to have a baby is a big decision for anyone, but for a couple living with HIV the decision is more complicated. Tina and Garry today join the growing numbers of seroconcordant couples in Australia who have successfully given birth to healthy babies.

Mother to child transmission of HIV is rare in Australia and usually only occurs when the woman doesn't find out she's HIV-positive in time to take precautions to prevent it.

New advances in treatments

Thanks to the medical treatments now available, HIV positive people have a better quality of life, and that’s why it’s common for many couples in this position to consider the possibility of starting a family.

New advances in life insurance

And thanks to the specialty life insurance advisers at unusualrisks.com.au HIV positive people and diabetics can now also qualify for high-quality life insurance too. This was something that for many years was simply impossible.

Getting ready for getting pregnant

Tina and Garry wanted to become pregnant and decided they would learn everything they could before they become pregnant.  As part of their plan, they discussed their dream with their GP who also referred them to a HIV specialist. Tina had questions about whether the antiretroviral meds would have an impact on her fertility and found that for a healthy person with an undetectable viral load gives them the best chance of success.

After many long conversations, they eventually decided to use some reproductive assistance to help them navigate through the process to reduce the risks involved. After a couple of false starts, the good news arrived: they were pregnant.

Ask any new parent (or parent to be) what’s high on their list of priorities and they’ll mention protecting and providing for their partner and their new family.  That’s where the peace of mind or having your own life insurance policy in place comes in – just in case – because we all have someone special to protect and provide for.

Tina’s tips for other serodiscordant couples starting a family

"Sometimes you feel overwhelmed with advice but these are the 4 key things for our family".

  • Get as healthy as you can and get happy.
  • Speak with your GP and HIV specialist before you get pregnant.
  • Where possible plan ahead and get your life insurance sorted before you get pregnant (it’s just easier that way and whatever you can do to feel better and safer is a good thing.)
  • Learning about how to look after yourself and keep the baby safe are more complicated for a woman living with HIV. This adds to stress during the pregnancy and afterward so try and build yourself a support network for you, your partner and the baby.

“If you’re already pregnant – Congratulations!  Get your life insurance sorted. If you don’t do it today it can get lost under a pile of other things you have to do and slip your mind.  For us, it was more about feeling and being responsible and the habits of good parents I suppose” – Tina and Garry

Where to now?

  Learn more about how our process works. See How It Works.

  Have more questions? See Frequently Asked Questions.

  Ready to know if we can work with you? Take our Anonymous Pre-assessment.

Published in All Case Studies

Meet Donna and Jade - caterers to the stars!

Donna and Jade run a busy catering business with 2 full-time staff and a half dozen casual contractors. Donna is the company advertising and paperwork wiz and Jade transforms food into art you can eat. They're both company directors and each own 50% of the company's shares.

Published in All Case Studies

Meet Dave - life of the party

He's a big fan of the party life and 'works hard so he can play hard'. If you ever got into a serious conversation with him, he's an open-minded no-labels kind of guy.

His work ute looks as good as he does and he's in high demand on Saturday night - and always swipes right - if you know what we mean.

Published in All Case Studies

Meet Jennifer and Amber - partners for life.

Jennifer has spent the last 8 years climbing the corporate ladder in a busy city law firm and made senior associate last Christmas.

Her obsessive attention to detail means she's particularly good at what she does but the possibility of having to work through the fine print details of a life insurance policy is not something she's looking forward to.

Jennifer enjoys learning about products and services in her own time, doing her own comparisons and research and then preparing her list of hard-hitting questions, before talking to anyone about them.

Published in All Case Studies

Meet Naomi - nurse, single and super mum

Blood borne virus exposure insurance for nurses and doctors

Naomi is an experienced accident and emergency nurse with more than 5 years experience working in the surgical wards and in and around potentially dangerous medical workspaces.

She is used to managing chaos and moody teenagers; she has two of her own she's hoping to put into private school next year for their senior years before they hopefully go to university.

Published in All Case Studies

Meet Terry - a skilled fly-in fly-out mining professional who looked for unusualrisks.com.au

How cheap tattoos can change your life

'My name is Terry and I'm 37 and I married my childhood sweetheart. A few years ago we decided as a family that the only way we could get ahead and save a big deposit for a house, was for me to go work in the remote mines of Western Australia or Northern Queensland. The plan was to work hard for 5 or 6 years and use my high income to save a healthy deposit'.

Published in All Case Studies

Meet George - logistics co-ordination ninja

He spends most of his work day chasing boxes, deadlines and freight companies running late.

His partner is the love of his life (and drives him crazy at times). George has a stepdaughter who he adores and a well-earned reputation as a bit of Weekend DIY Tragic, relentlessly renovating his townhouse.

George’s shift-work is often unpredictable, so living closer to work and cafes makes his life easier.

Lately, here's beeing thinking about the hard emotional decision, How much is enough?.

How much is Life Insurance enough?

Published in All Case Studies

Meet Leanne and Jenni - experienced professionals

Leanne and her partner Jenni are corporate professionals working in HR and Town Planning. They've been together in a de facto relationship for over ten years now and worked hard to establish their careers and their family.

Published in All Case Studies
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