In 2016, One Family devised and conducted Ireland’s first national Shared Parenting Survey in response to a lack of public debate and narrative around shared parenting in modern Ireland. Over one thousand women and men who share parenting, or who have attempted to, responded.

The results have been analysed, and we are pleased to now publish a report entitled Ireland’s First National Shared Parenting Survey: Results & Recommendations which can be read or downloaded by clicking on the image on the left.

Key findings include:

  • The majority of respondents whose child does not live with them most of time, spend time with their child on a weekly basis.
  • While almost 27% of respondents arranged this time amicably between them, for almost 51% it was agreed with difficulty, through mediation or court ordered.
  • 62% of respondents whose child lives with them most or all of the time stated that their child’s other parent contributes financially to their child’s costs; 38% stated that the other parent does not contribute financially.
  • Just over 50% of respondents stated that they do not make decisions jointly on issues that impact on their child(ren).
  • Over 34% of respondents have attended mediation.

One Family extends its sincere gratitude to each of the parents who took the time to share their personal experiences. This report draws directly from their survey responses and includes many of their comments. One Family believes that their honesty and openness will help to make Ireland a better place to share parenting in the future.

National Shared Parenting Survey

What is shared parenting? One Family has developed a working definition of shared parenting based on our work with families:

Shared parenting is when both parents, who live separately, have an active parenting role in their child’s life, irrespective of how much time they might actually spend with their child. One Family has a broad and inclusive approach to what sharing parenting might look like in each family.

One Family, founded as Cherish in 1972, has almost 45 years experience of working with and representing one-parent families. Our evidence shows us that many lone parents share parenting to some extent with their child’s other parent, even though they live separately and are not in a relationship with each other.

Yet the Census does not capture this reality for many thousands of children and parents in Ireland. Services, policies and laws which could support them are severely lacking, as is understanding of their family form.

We want to change this. We want to finally give a voice to these parents and their children, so that policies and services in the future can be better designed to meet their needs. We seek to broaden our understanding of what shared parenting is. What does it mean to you?

Follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter on #SharedParenting.

Note: Family Relationships and Family Well-Being: A Study of the Families of Nine Year-Olds in Ireland by Tony Fahey, Patricia Keilthy and Ela Polek (2012): Shared Parenting in Lone Parent and Step Families (pg. 24) contains some information on shared parenting in Ireland and can be read here.