In a time where more and more families are straying from the nuclear model, raising children brings up a host of new questions: which parent gets the kids on which holidays? Who pays for what? How can parents keep a consistent strategy when they may not even live in the same city?
One Californian woman claims to have the answer. It’s a thorough, legal-style document that covers every aspect of parenthood and is created before the child is born.
Leah Hunter wrote in The Guardian about her unconventional co-parenting situation. Her pregnancy was unplanned and she was not in a relationship with the father, but their ‘parenting prenup’ has helped them raise their daughter, Cecilia, in a balanced and peaceful manner.
The ‘parenting prenup’ covers everything from custody and costs to spiritual upbringing, nutrition, and the child’s eventual gap year after high school. It even has a provision that Cecilia will spend the opening day of baseball season with her father.
Hunter’s daughter spends half her time with her mother and the other half with her father. “For me, this part of the agreement required clearing out a lot of archaic and ridiculous beliefs around the role of fathers. I had to accept that a father could be as good a parent to a baby and a child as a mother,” Hunter noted.
Hunter claims that her and Cecilia’s father don’t disagree on parenting issues because they’ve already discussed the eventualities that other couples squabble over. She is able to give her daughter her full attention when she is with her, and trust that Cecilia’s father is on the same page when he takes care of her.
A ‘parenting prenup’ is, of course, not legally binding. However, it could provide an excellent springboard for co-parents to discuss parenting strategies well before issues arise.
Such a document might even be a good idea for couples planning on raising a child together. When the news broke yesterday that Angelina Jolie has filed for divorce from Brad Pitt, the tabloids were awash with rumours that Jolie’s dissatisfaction over Pitt’s parenting methods had motivated the split. Of course an individual’s parenting philosophy can certainly change over time, and thus there is unfortunately no guarantee that a ‘parenting prenup’ will prevent disputes between parents from arising.