The results from Ireland’s First National Shared Parenting survey found that a staggering 38 percent of lone parents are not being financially supported by their ex, something that can really put strain on the sole carer.


The survey was conducted by One Family, a charity that works with all types and all members of one-parent families in this country.


“I told the authorities that he gives me money even though he doesn’t because they put me under pressure to have a maintenance agreement in place and so I miss out on some money from rent allowance each week,” a mother-of-two who took part in the survey admitted.


While another said that she is owed over €7,000 in maintenance arrears, admitting that she is going further into debt as she tries to meet her children’s needs. “I have been told by solicitor that he will never be made to pay it all back.”



However, of the 1,014 women and men who took part in the research, 62 percent said that the other parent does contribute to their child’s costs – highlighting how the majority of parents agree that their children must be their central focus.


“Our survey highlights the positives and the challenges, and the diversity and range, of shared parenting relationships in Ireland today.,” Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO said.


“It finds that parents overwhelmingly agree that their children must be their central focus, but that conflict between them often impedes this. What helped some was a commitment to the mediation process, where it was available and appropriate.” 



Decision making was also something that parents seem to struggle with, with more than half of respondents stating that they do not make decisions jointly on issues that impact on their child(ren). And others would like to see an improvement in the court services.


“We badly need a court welfare system and services available to family court users to improve outcomes for parents and children, improve efficiencies in the court system and reduce repeated court visits, Keith Walsh, Chair of the Law Society of Ireland Family and Child Law Committee, said.


“The new family law facility planned for Hammond Lane in Dublin must provide these support services and all stakeholders in the family law system now need to work together to ensure that the best family law system is put in place. One Family has started the dialogue and we all need to plan a better way to solve family law problems.”



Highlights of the survey:

  • 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.
  • 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.