Shared Parenting: What is required to successfully co-parent my child(ren)?

Everyone is always talking about this concept of co-parenting, and why parents should co-parent their child(ren). However, no one really talks about what that looks like or whether it is practical for everyone single situation. The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines were modified to provide some guidance on co-parenting and the new concept of Shared Parenting. In order to determine if parents are able to implement a Shared Parenting plan, it is important to consider the following:

  • Factors Related to the Child:
    • The amount of joint work required in the rearing of the child(ren).
    • The ability of the child(ren) to benefit from Shared Parenting.
  • Factors Related to the Parent:
    • The factors that motivate each parent to take specific positions with respect to the rearing of the child(ren).
    • The interest that each parent shows in the work of raising the child(ren).
    • If the parent has a peaceful relationship with the child(ren).
    • The factors in the life of each parent that detract from the time and attention needed to perform the tasks of Shared Parenting.
  • Factors Related to the Parent-Child Relationship:
    • If the child(ren) will gain anything from each parent if the parents have the high level of engagement necessitated by a Shared Parenting arrangement.
    • If either or both parents exhibit positive relational qualities.
    • If a parent has a history which poses some risk to the child(ren).
  • Factors Related to the Co-Parenting Relationship:
    • The way in which the parents manage disagreements regarding matters pertaining to the child(ren).
    • The history of parental collaboration which needs to be protected by a Shared Parenting plan.
    • The potential for ongoing gate-keeping which could potentially be dampened by a Shared Parenting plan.
    • The impact a Shared Parenting plan would have on either parent’s mental health.
    • The ability of each parent to respond to the other parent in a conscientious manner.
    • If there is a history of highly regrettable behavior.
    • If the children have witnessed regrettable behavior.
    • The extent to which the child(ren) is/are aware of parental conflicts.
    • If the parents provide the child(ren) with evidence that they like each other.
  • Environmental Factors:
    • If a Shared Parenting plan increases the amount of actual time the child(ren) is/are cared for by a parent.
    • If a Shared Parenting plan saves the family money or increases the financial stability of the child(ren).
    • If a Shared Parenting plan drains the resources of the family to the extent that other needs of the child(ren) are significantly sacrificed.

Based on the foregoing, there are also questions that each parent should ask themselves and consider before determining whether to implement a Shared Parenting plan. Those questions can be found in the Appendix of the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. Ultimately, every familial unit is unique, and the parent will need to determine what is best for their child(ren) and their co-parenting relationship. 

For questions regarding Shared Parenting, contact a member of our Family Law team.

About the author: Sadie Dillon-Baatz focuses her practice in assistance with dissolutions, adoptions, custody disputes, child support issues and she is a Guardian Ad Litem. She can be reached at 260.423.8914 or at

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