The majority of the 110,000 children living with co-parenting arrangements spend most of their time with the parent at whose address they are registered, according to new data from Statistics Finland. At the end of 2018 there was a total of 1,038,000 underage children in families with children in Finland, according to the number crunching agency.
The data showed that at the end of last year, one-third of kids in co-parenting situations spent roughly the same time at each parent’s home, while few spent the majority of their time at the home of the parent where they are not registered as a resident.
In most cases, under-15-year-olds in co-parenting situations were registered as living with their mothers. That translated into 63,000 mothers who shared their children with another parent. Children who belonged to the group of minors registered at their mothers’ homes also regularly spent time with their fathers, for example on weekends.
The numbers showed that 92 percent of children shuttling between two homes were recorded as having two caregivers – meaning that both parents had joint custody of the kids. Approximately 40,000 of kids moving between two homes spent equal amounts of time with both parents, the statistics agency reported.
Numbers difficult to come by
2018 was the first time that Statistics Finland looked into children living with co-parenting arrangements. The organisation solicited information from 18- to 64-year-olds with at least one child under the age of 15.
The survey found that nearly 14 percent of women respondents and 17 percent of men had children living in two homes.
Respondents did not define how much time children were supposed to live with each parent. According to Statistics Finland head actuary Tarja Nieminen, a justice ministry working group has proposed a definition of dual homes that would include children who spend more than 40 percent of their time with both parents.
"Researching children living in two homes is tricky because it’s difficult to ask about it. That’s why the numbers are largely estimates," Nieminen added.
Co-parenting usually means that children of parents who are not co-habiting spend time with each parent in their respective homes. It also includes the rarer situation where the children remain in the home, but parents who are no longer together take turns sharing the home with the children. Only in very rare circumstances do children’s second homes include that of someone who is not their mother or father.
Researchers also struggled to find information about kids with dual homes because the population registry system only provides one address for a child. In situations where parents divorce, the children are registered at one parent’s address, although they may spend time with both parents in turn.