Written by Marc from London
Around 5 years ago I embarked on looking to become a co-parent. I joined an online LGTBQ social network called pride angel for finding others looking to co-parent. The site gave options for people who wish to find advice on co-parenting and somewhat like a dating site there were profiles of people looking to become parents, or sperm donors, or all manner of ways in which to have children.
I was specifically looking to co-parent, as I believe where possible it’s good to have two parents who will love and want to raise a child. On the site, which is somewhat more advanced than it was at that time, there was all sorts of advice on how a co-parenting agreement should be made. I met a lady who I felt I had much in common with who was looking to have a child and enter into a co-parenting arrangement.
We spend some time getting to know one another, together with our extended friends and family we put together a co-parenting agreement, cutting a long story short we progressed on trying to have a baby. After a miscarriage with the first pregnancy we immediately started again and a successful pregnancy ensued and 9 months later our son was born.
Almost from our sons birth things changed, the agreement we had made together was not honoured and in the first year I saw my son only 5 times. I tried many times to move things along to no avail and was left with little choice but to enter the court process. It took the best part of two years to get to the place we are now in where my son comes and stays with me and it’s taken me the last year to build a relationship with him. It has been challenging, stressful, acrimonious and very expensive however our son is now 3 and I’m pleased to say I have a good relationship with him.
So what I should have done was to have had mediation from the outset to have a third party help to make the agreement with us. We then could have had it lodged with a solicitor which would have helped should anything have not worked out. The mother and I are now entering into mediation for our son’s sake and are in a much more amicable place. I do feel a third party would have helped to really work out the agreement, perhaps in more detail than we had done and may have found out some of the things I clearly should have known about the lady with whom I was planning to have a child with. In the excitement perhaps of meeting someone willing to co-parent with you, one gets lost in the momentum and in the belief that nothing will go wrong and by taking things at face value we forget that all too often people present the person they want you to think they are, rather than who they really are in order to get the outcome they desire. A mediator could have seen this with real perspective and steered us to make informed decisions before commencing on this lifelong journey of raising a child with someone.