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Risks of cohabitating as a single parent

April 13, 2017

When it comes to making child custody decisions as a single parent, you may begin to face additional obstacles after the initial agreement is drafted. Life changes in your Connecticut home may alter the way you handle visitation. One of the biggest life events is the day you decide to move in with another partner. This can be especially challenging if you are simply cohabitating with that individual instead of getting married. Although there has been a lot of research done about childless individuals in cohabitation settings, little is known about single parents. Experts provide a fundamental primer for single parents who choose to cohabitate; doing so is far different as a parent than as a childless individual.

First, it is important to note that cohabitation may slightly increase your risk of divorce if you do eventually choose to marry. In addition, and perhaps more critically, you must weigh the benefits of giving your children added interaction with another caregiver. Your kids could have a negative reaction to the new situation, which could involve some loss of freedom or a relationship with their biological parent.

Make sure both you and your partner understand your mutual expectations for the future. You want to have a playbook of parenting strategies that will prevent conflict about caregiving. Household routines are another critical component of cohabitation, as is careful communication with your kids about expectations and rules. Tell your children that your partner is not moving in to destroy their relationship with their other parent.

Ultimately, it is most important that both partners are communicative about the cohabitation situation. They need to be on the same page as far as caregiving and plans for the future. Without those critical pieces established, the relationship could suffer needlessly. Marriage rates are, in fact, on the downswing in our modern culture, and it is possible for your family to thrive without the formal documentation. Make sure you know exactly why you want to cohabitate before you make this major life change.

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