Netherlands: huge increase in co-parenting

15th September 2010, Comments 0 comments


At least one in five Dutch children live partly at one parent’s house and partly at the other’s. That is a huge increase compared to 10 years ago, when only five percent of children were co-parented. Children with parents who live separately, but share equal parental responsibility, often have a step parent too.

These are the findings in the report , published by Ed Spruit and Helga Kormos of Utrecht University, on children and divorce.

The number of families with one step-parent in the Netherlands is also much higher than official Statistics Netherlands CBS figures suggest, as many step parents do not register where they are residing. There are at least 250,000 step families, rather than 150,000. This means there are almost 500,000 children in step families, 200,000 more than was thought.

The study looked into the lives of 4,400 children at 60 schools. The researchers found that children in step families fared just as well as children with single mothers. Although children who live with their fathers are more prone to depression, anxiety and aggression and did less well at school. This may be due to the fact there is usually “something wrong”, when children are not allocated to their mothers.

Step mothers Step mothers do not do as well as step fathers. This may be because they are younger and less experienced in child-rearing than their step children's mothers, while at the same time they are more likely to be involved in bringing up the children. Only five percent of children of divorced parents live with their father. Most children with divorced parents live with their mother.

The publication of the report coincides with Divorce Day in the Netherlands. The first divorce in the Netherlands was granted on 15 September 1796. Divorce Day has been declared by the Association of Family Law and Divorce Mediators.


© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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