I suppose the answer is, ‘as long as it needs to be and as much as you need to have’.
But that's probably not going to move the answer along much, so here is a good place to start your thinking.
While you might not be together romantically, raising children together leaves Co Parents financially connected in many ways — whether you want to acknowledge that or not.
The term Co Parenting was traditionally only used to describe a situation where a parent had split from their previous partner following a separation or divorce, but who were still actively involved in the lives of their shared children.
It's also a way to be actively involved in the life of a child along with other adults committed to helping you grow a happy child.
Whether you’re Co Parents by choice happily sharing parenting responsibilities, or Co Parents by circumstance post separation, having a life insurance policy on each of your lives, protects your child from the financial effect of losing one (or more) of their parents.
Having open and frank conversations about these realities of life we all face is just another part of putting the needs of a child first.
A life insurance policy is essentially designed to help protect the nominated beneficiary from the financial impact that losing a parent will bring.
Ultimately the loss of one parent will increase the financial responsibility of the surviving parent - and usually at a time when finances are already stretched.
Conversations about this essential part of life and parenting should always be about the benefit of the child in the long run.
Learn more about the risks families face when they lose an income-earning parent to unexpected death.
Download our free eGuide 31 Australian Families Lose a Parent Every Day.
Olivia has three kids to two separate fathers from past relationships and has been receiving child support for each of them ever since the relationships broke down. One of the kids has now been diagnosed with additional needs and requires more attention and care, so family budgets and free time can get out of balance quickly.
The answer - a life insurance policy on each of the children's Co Parent fathers.
In Australia, a life insurance policy can be owned and paid for by a person different from the Life Insured. For example, a policy can be owned by a parent and the life insured be their child or parent or even an employee who is considered a Key Person to a business.
In Australia, if you are the Policy Owner and paying the premiums for a Life Insurance policy, you have the right to nominate who is the policy beneficiary and make changes to the policy. The Policy Beneficiary is the person nominated and named in an insurance policy to receive a future life insurance payout.
When a life insurance policy is held in a super fund, it's fair to say the rules about who is allowed to be a nominated beneficiary, have not kept up with modern life. There are special rules about biologically related children under 18 that change once the child is over 18. The rules relating to stepchildren are even more confusing and may see a stepchild losing their right to inheritance once their stepparent dies.
Work with a professional adviser at Unusual Risks Insured who understands Co Parenting.
David separated amicably from his former partner last year who now has primary custody of his teenage daughter Sarah completing her private schooling. David's new partner has two infant twins who adore him and his time and finances for his new younger family are getting stretched looking after them all.
Both life insurance policies each name his daughter Sarah as the sole beneficiary of the policy. Of course, everyone hopes they will never need to make a claim, but now it's in place, they all benefit from the peace of mind this type of backup plan brings to all their families.
Take a proactive approach to your Co Parenting.
Although your Co Parent may already have their own life insurance policy in place naming a number of different beneficiaries, taking out a separate policy on them where you are the policy owner puts you in the driver's seat.
You know for sure the policy premiums are being paid, the beneficiaries cannot be changed without your approval and the peace of mind knowing the policy is accurate and up to date.
Purchasing a policy on your ex-spouse or partner requires their cooperation as they will need to answer the personal health and lifestyle questions during the application process.
This is when things can get complicated.
If your relationship with your ex is less than ideal, or they’re simply not invested in the welfare of their child, it might be difficult to convince them to complete the health and lifestyle questions that every life insurance policy requires.
The subject of who should pay for the premiums on a life insurance policy can also be problematic. Remember, the policy owner/payer gets to nominate the policy beneficiary.
As an independent third party, Unusual Risks Insured can send people applying for life insurance cover a confidential link to an online form so they can complete their own personal health questions confidentially, at a time convenient to themselves. This means we try and remove any face-to-face contact for them and maximise their privacy.
Unusual Risks Insured specialise in working with clients with hard to insure health or occupations, people with diverse backgrounds, family and relationship structures, and people with high privacy needs - Australia-wide.
We’re the experts at talking about what matters most.
Advice equality means our clients never have to prepare for a homophobic conversation, religious judgementalism, never have to be prepared to be ‘the constant educators’ and be forever ready to explain and defend the benefits of PrEP, that HIV is a chronic but now manageable condition or how Gay Dads and Lesbian Mums have different needs, that growing families takes time and ultimately some guys love guys and some girls love girls, that love knows no gender and that Love Makes a Family.
We get it, we love it, we defend it and we celebrate you.
Co Parenting, whether by choice or circumstances post separation is a part of Modern Australian Family Life.
Ultimately a Life Insurance policy alone is not the goal - it's a means to an end.
For a Co Parent, increased peace of mind and financial security may come in the form of a simple life insurance policy.
Like any modern family, there are many ‘ways to grow a family’ and Co Parenting is becoming just one of those many ways.
Regardless of whether you're Co Parenting from circumstances or choice, the parents agree to put the needs of the child first.
It really does take a modern village to raise a modern child.
Meet Chris and his partner Mirko.
Today they have a three-year-old daughter and they share her parenting responsibilities with their two female friends, Anna and Jennifer. Chris also shares additional parenting responsibilities with their 18-month-old son, while Mirko is just the Uncle. But it wasn’t always like that.
Wait - feeling confused and starting to need a flow chart to keep track of who's who and how?
Relax - it's Co Parenting.
A proud gay dad, if you ever ask Chris about his daughter he'll show you what can feel like 100+ photos of her (that he just happened to have on hand from last weekend's photoshoot). He'll also tell you,
“I always knew I would be a parent, I didn’t know how but it had to happen. I love kids and I love family - it's who I am and it's super important to me”.
As a child, Chris helped his own single mother raise 3 younger siblings, but when he began dating, his plans for future fatherhood seemed to be in conflict with his dating experience. That was until he met his partner Mirko, who was already a proud and active ‘Funcle’ (aka the Fun Uncle) to his own nephews and nieces.
Together, over the next two years, they looked for ways to build their own family. They discussed fostering, looked seriously into adopting, and even ran some very detailed numbers on the cost of altruistic surrogacy in Australia.
Chris wanted a biological link to a child of his own, whereas Mirko had no especially strong feelings either way, as long as he could be the fun dad.
“Through mutual friends, we met a lesbian couple Anna and Jennifer who also wanted to have a baby of their own. At first, we just shared our respective frustrations about growing our own families and the cost of surrogacy, over weekend dinners together. Over time it was clear they were looking for ways to create their only family too and we all became really good friends”.
Over time, they began to discuss if they ‘could use each other's reproductive capabilities’ to have a child?
They talked about each other's parenting expectations, their hopes for the future, compared ideas about how their own parents and circles of friends might react to them becoming parents, and discussed the types of support each had and might need.
Over time they all slowly edged a little closer towards the idea of them all becoming parents and Co Parenting. Eventually, they had separate discussions with a solicitor - both to get clarity on their important decisions and to formalise their shared plans for the future.
Together they are happy Co Parents, and another modern family.
Simply put, Co Parenting is an arrangement (formal and in writing or informal but clearly understood) made between two or more people to raise a child together, when the two biological parents are not in a romantic relationship with one another.
Gay couples don't stumble into parenthood by accident. It's always a deliberate act.
Everyone who comes to us as a Co Parent has given parenting a great deal of thought, has the resources to care for a child and all share the same commitment - to make sure those they love are protected and provided for financially, in case a parent unexpectedly becomes disabled or passes away.
Most parents start with the idea of having a realistic picture of ‘what they want family life to look like, if they are unexpectedly disabled or no longer around’.
Pro Tip: As an absolute minimum, we say make sure you have adequate life and disability insurance in place to buy a nice place to live, to replace your income for at least a year, and consider what it will cost to safely provide for your children (and a partner or guardian to care for them) through to at least the end of their education.
You can read more about How Much is Enough, here.
Co Parents put particular time into making sure insurance policy beneficiaries are clearly identified and they make sure they get clear on their own estate planning needs as well, to make sure there is a family backup plan in place, just in case.
Having an ongoing relationship with a specialist financial adviser like the team behind Unusual Risks Insured, means they never lose track of important paperwork and policies, they can make updates as needed and they don't have to constantly re-explain their family structure to a stranger whose attitudes toward modern family life might not match their own.
In short, taking control of your family’s future means peace of mind - knowing you have done everything you can as a parent, to protect and provide for your family — biological and logical.
Read our blog Single Parents Need Life Insurances Too.
Whether you're Co Parenting by circumstance or choice, taking a deliberate approach to growing and protecting your family has clear benefits. Each person has different needs and abilities and each situation has unique risks to manage.
Regardless of how you might Co Parent, whether by circumstances or choice, putting the needs and best interest of the child you love first, is what guides your decisions.
And isn't that what a modern family should be about?
As most super funds have Life Insurance attached to their members account in some way, this ever increasing pool of wealth is hard to ignore.
So if you're an LGBTQI+ Australian with a Superannuation account, the next logical question is;
'Who's your Super Beneficiary?'
Yes, it makes perfect sense to think about life insurance today - especially today - because life still happens to us all, all the time, even during difficult times.
One of the dangers of living through difficult times (and the LGBTI Community is no stranger to surviving difficult times) is we can sometimes fixate on the biggest issue and ignore the most important issue - our life, love, and relationships continue regardless.
Our innate adaptability can lead many LGBTI couples to embrace wildly different financial goals, styles and circumstances in our partners.
For many Australians, having children and raising a family is a natural and important part of their lives. But for some people, this dream doesn't come easily and when other avenues have been exhausted, options for surrogacy are considered.
Gestational Surrogacy (as opposed to Traditional Surrogacy) uses a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) where a woman (the surrogate) offers to carry a baby through pregnancy on behalf of another — a person or couple, same-sex or heterosexual — and then returns the baby to the intended parent(s) once it’s born.
The gestational surrogate has no genetic link to the child she carries as her eggs cannot be used to conceive the child.
Traditionally, Surrogacy was one way only heterosexual couples, who had difficulty falling pregnant or who were unable to carry a pregnancy safely, could have a child of their own.
Now a growing number of single parents and same-sex couples looking to start their own families are looking to use Surrogacy.
We specialise in helping;
in a respectful and confidential way, with a minimum of paperwork and no need for a face-to-face meeting.
Life and Disability Insurances for your surrogate should be established well before any medical assessment or attempts to become pregnant.
Learn more about the IVF & Insurance Timeline to arrange Life Insurances for Intended Parents and their Surrogate. Download our free resource, When to Arrange Intended Parent and Surrogate Life Insurances, chart.
If you're an intended parent and partway through the roller coaster that can be Altruistic Surrogacy in Australia, you may have already spent what feels like a small fortune on medical and legal costs.
We also understand you may even have had to battle a level of ignorance and stigma from the un-informed portion of the community, or even extended family.
Although it may not be the most pleasant thing to think about, it's true pregnancy is not without risks.
This is why Unusual Risks Insured provides comprehensive life insurance and disability protection for intended parents and their surrogates.
Family Protection planning involves;
It is important to protect everyone involved in a surrogacy arrangement against the risk of one of the adults involved unexpectedly dying or unexpectedly becoming long-term disabled?
The intended parents should;
We can help you with these critical steps in your surrogate journey.
We understand the complex process (and an array of emotions) that can be part of the surrogacy journey, so we create solutions to fix potential problems before they ever arise so you can have more time and emotional space to enjoy the journey you’re on together.
We work with intended parents who are;
Laws relating to surrogacy are managed independently by different Australian states and territories. Altruistic Surrogacy is legal in Australia as is paying for a Surrogates's life insurance and disability insurance policy premiums.
Section 7(3) of the Act outlines what is considered the surrogates reasonable costs associated with the pregnancy or birth as;
(a) any reasonable medical costs associated with the pregnancy or birth (both prenatal and post-natal),
(b) any reasonable travel or accommodation costs associated with the pregnancy or birth,
(c) any premium paid for health, disability or life insurance that would not have been obtained by the birth mother, had the surrogacy arrangement not been entered into...
We understand for intended parents, knowing how and who should best arrange high-quality life insurance for their surrogate can be complicated and loaded with privacy and practical personal concerns.
For over 20 years, the Financial Advisers at Unusual Risk Insured have watched Australian legislation lag behind the needs and demands of the community and how insurance companies have tried to quietly avoid this type of client; so were decided to be the change we wanted to see in our community.
All life insurance policies vary from company to company, as do their policy features and conditions.
As the awareness of Surrogacy increases, some insurance companies have started writing policies that only cover a pregnancy within the family, not a surrogate pregnancy.
Our fee-for-service advice model allows us to provide Intended Parents the highest quality insurance for their Surrogate, at a wholesale price - something simply not available through traditional sources.
After the pregnancy, a Surrogate also has the option to simply take over the insurance policy (and keep its wholesale price structure) - potentially saving then thousands of dollars off the standard premium rates over the length of a life insurance policy.
Make sure you're aware of these recourses:
Learn about our Surrogacy and IVF Life Insurances.
Have questions? See our Frequently Asked Questions specifically for Surrogacy services.
Read about our range of Services. See Our Services.
Ready to know if we can work with you? Get in touch with us for a chat.
When it comes to being single in the LGBTQI+ community, there's really no such thing as average.
And it's your single life, so live it your way.
When it comes to being partnered in the LGBTQI+ community, there's really no such thing as average.
There's no right or wrong way to live a purposeful life, just what works for you both.
When it comes to parenting in the LGBTQI+ community, there's really no such thing as average.
However you're doing it, Love makes a family.