communication, negotiation, lawyers, parents, together, negotiation, planning, parenting document, money, custody, vacation, disputes
Tara: Can I ask a little bit about this co-parent agreement? You’re the first family who has talked to us about, uh, an agreement. And I think it would be great for us to able to know a little more about what that’s like.
Alexis: Sure. Do you want to talk about that?
Ian: We um, so, we used resources that were available from the 519 Centre, so we – I’d gone into their Daddy and Papas course years and years ago – and they had, um, they had samples of co-parenting agreements. So my process individually through this was I had met other parents who had done co-parenting and interviewed them about their experience. So I did that with two separate groups of people, and I spoke to them on the phone, and I’d also met co-parents through Daddies and Papas previously. And um, the good news story is that these were bad news stories and I’m very much a worst case scenario kind of guy and that was the best thing for me to do because I got to hear two disaster stories that had gone horribly wrong, and, um, the one that I had been exposed to in Daddies and Papas had gone extraordinarily right, but the lessons were universal. So in every one of the cases, communication had broken down.
Tara: I see.
Ian: And they had stopped talking to each other, and started talking to lawyers. So the – for me when we’d gone into this process of answering the questions of “who are we as parents, who will we be together as parents” um, I’m a very logical bullet-pointy kind of guy and I needed it to be laid out that way so it would make sense to me. And when Alexis and I first started to have this conversation, I discovered something similar in her, which was really helpful for me and it made me instantly trust her, because if I was saying Subsection B in – in, you know, Area 2, immediately she was on the page and I went, “thank God” this is so easy…
Alexis: Looking at it and reading it. I like it that way too, personally.
Ian: So we did a lot of stripping out because the documents we read were written in very, um, earth-mothery, Gaia tones, which is fantastic for people that that works for, but it doesn’t work for me, and it didn’t work great for Alexis, so we had to do a lot of striking out, and then just getting down to a core document. And the document was, um, is and still exists, um, dispassionate about the facts, what we do, who is Joshua legally… Where does his money belong, who does it belong to, how do we contribute into that? What happens if one of us chooses to move, how do we handle vacations, how do we handle gifts? But the most important part of the document independent of all of that was actually the section that talked about how we resolve disputes.