State Laws for Co-Parenting

Everyone has their unique parenting path, but many legal matters vary based on state. Whichever your arrangement is, it’s important to decide on an agreement that obliges with your state laws. 

What is Co-Parenting? 

Co-parenting occurs when two unmarried legal guardians of a child share responsibility for raising a child. The two parents communicate frequently and work together to raise the child in a healthy environment. Co-parenting can result from divorced parents or individuals who dated or chose to raise a child in a platonic relationship. 

While parenting and co-parenting may sound similar, they are quite different. When individuals choose to co-parent, they need to design an effective plan to address health-care issues, transportation, morals, and more. For a good co-parenting relationship to work, both partners must be fully committed to raising the child. This relationship is not the best situation for everyone. However, it can positively impact the child. 

Supportive vs. Non-Supportive Co-Parenting 

Deciding to co-parent is an ongoing process that continuously needs work. Parents that practice a supportive relationship help the child grow into a healthy individual. 


A supportive co-parenting relationship includes respect, forgiveness, and the ability to listen to each other. If both parents emit the same message, the child’s well-being benefits. A child will be able to handle difficult situations if both parents are working together. Here are some major points to include a supportive co-parenting relationship. 

  • Both parents do what is in the best interest of the child when handling decisions. 
  • Parents respect the other parent’s right to participate in parenting. 
  • Parents agree on some basic rules for raising their children. 
  • Let go of angry feelings and resentment.
  • The parenting environment is warm and loving.


A non-supportive relationship happens when parents don’t work together for parenting concerns. With this type of parenting, the child could feel guilty, stressed, anxious, and unsure of where to turn to between parents. Make sure to be wary of topics that include money, religion, politics, discipline, education, or medical services. 

Co-Parenting Benefits 

A supportive co-parenting relationship helps children by showing the child they have a home with both parents and reassures them that both parents want the best for them. It allows children to develop multiple meaningful relationships and communication skills. It can double the number of feelings of support and love as well. 

Co-Parenting State Laws 

Co-Parenting laws in the United States are generally the same, although there are some slight variations between states. For instance, states mostly conclude custody determinations based on the child’s interest, although a small number of states don’t legally consider the child’s wishes to get custody. On the other hand, some states use the terminology “parental responsibilities” instead of “child custody.” 

  • Alaska- The child’s interest is based on numerous factors that include the relationship between the child and each parent, emotional needs, and the child’s wishes.
  • Arizona- Courts will consider the wishes of the child in custody matters and assume joint custody. 
  • California- Child custody is made around creating a parenting plan, meaning custody details that are agreeable for both parents and the child’s best interests. If both parents and the child are not in agreement, the court will not approve. 
  • Colorado- this state honors child custody terminology of the term parental responsibilities. 
  • Florida- Courts will favor the wishes of the child in custody matters; joint custody is an option. 
  • Illinois- The child custody laws state that children age 14 and above choose which parent to live with; however, the court can overrule the child’s best interest is not taken into consideration. 
  • Michigan- the courts will consider the child’s wishes in the custody matters, but joint custody is an option. 
  • New York- When considering the child’s best interest, the judge considers many factors, including the state of the parent, work schedules, and the willingness to cooperate. 
  • Texas- Parents can agree to file a parenting plan. If they don’t, the court will decide for them. 

Child custody arrangements are not easy and can vary based on the state you live in. If both the co-parents live in different states, that should also be factored into making an arrangement. If you need more information about co-parenting without living together, visit our guide here. Be sure to check out additional information about a Co-Parenting relationship as well. 


Co parent holding her newly born baby

Modamily is a network where members can meet like-minded people who also have dreams of starting a family of their own. Being a parent can happen in many different ways, and Modamily helps members connect with someone that wants to raise a child similarly as they do. Modamily Concierge includes sperm donors/donation, egg donors, surrogates and offers a way for members to meet their co-parent!