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Co-parenting with a virtual stranger can be challenging

When married couples with children divorce, they have their previous relationship to look back on when plotting their new co-parenting roles. While that can be both good and bad, it, at least, provides a familiar framework upon which a co-parenting relationship can be built.

But not all co-parenting relationships arise from failed marriages or even relationships. Some babies are born as a result of one-night stands or other fleeting and nebulous relationships between the parents. These situations can pose many dilemmas because, in reality, the parents may hardly know one another.

Where do you begin?

If you are approached by a former fling and informed that you fathered her child, the first step is always to legally determine paternity. Only when that has been established should you move on to the next step.

Forging a co-parenting relationship

This can be awkward initially, if merely because the qualities one looks for in a casual hook-up may be far different than those one seeks in their co-parent. But you have to work with what is and not what you wish would be. If you and your co-parent don't know one another well, it behooves you both to invest some time in getting to know one another.

It should be stressed that the focus here is getting to know one another as co-parents and not potential romantic partners. You and your co-parent must put your child's interests in front of your own hopes and expectations that the relationship deepens into something more than a civil co-parenting relationship.

Accept differences in parenting styles

Your co-parent may have a free-wheeling, organic parenting style while you prefer to parent by the book. Neither is necessarily wrong or harmful to your child. Unless your co-parent's method of parenting is so lax that your child is at risk of harm or so strict that it restricts your child's social development, it's simply a divergence in parenting styles.

Most children are able to adapt and understand that things are done a certain way at Mom's house and another way at Dad's. Especially if this is all they have ever known, it's an easily assimilated concept.

Seek legal guidance

Just because there is no need to divorce does not preclude retaining an Augusta family law attorney to draft your co-parenting plan. Your attorney can ensure that both your child's interests, as well as yours, are reflected in the co-parenting plan you submit to the court.

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