Sometimes when child custody is being determined, it is between two unwed parents. These parents may not even know much about each other. So, the possibility of them working together may seem hopeless. Many times, the father will be forced to pay the mother for child support, that the mother will get full or near full child custody. This means the father might not get the chance to be a part of that child's life.
It can sometimes be that one parent simply doesn't have the knowledge or the ability to be a co-parent, meaning they share parenting responsibilities. Sometimes one parent might fight with addiction or another might be unemployed. In these cases, the parents might want to be a part of their child's life, but might not have the means to do so. A new trial program in another state is helping parents learn to co-parent and supplying them with the resources to make a better life for them and their child.
The program will soon wrap up, and its results will be studied. The program involves fathers and mothers sitting down and working out a plan. They will be offered workshops on co-parenting and resources for addiction, mental health, and employment. The results seem to be showing a positive ability for parents to take control of their lives and step up to the responsibility of parenting a child together.
While this doesn't mean the parents would live together, it means they would be able to raise the child with two parents. Many parents might strongly desire to be a part of their child's life. When given the chance and the resources to work out a solution, they may be able to succeed without a formulaic child custody agreement.
Source: The Christian Science Monitor, "Judge creates unique problem-solving court to help unwed parents," May 11, 2012