Are You Really a Single Parent?

It annoys me when people say they are a single parent when, in my opinion, they are not. Which makes me to question: what is the definition of a single parent?

To me, a single parent is someone who makes the decisions almost all of the time, if not exclusively, for the children. This parent also has the vast majority custody with the children – say, has the children 85-90% or 12-14 nights a fortnight.

A co-parent is someone who shares between 50-85% (or 7-11 nights a fortnight) of the custody and makes joint decisions regarding the welfare and wellbeing of the children. Co-parents take an active interest in the child’s daily life.

So, what if you don’t fit these descriptions? Perhaps the best description for you is single person with children or a parent who is single or a divorced dad/mum? You may be a parent who has become alienated from your children or a person that for a variety of other reasons doesn’t see the children.

I have heard some single parents describe the other parent of the child as a “sperm donor”. This title isn’t very kind (especially when it wasn’t a donor situation). However, it does aptly describe the absence of one parent and lack of communication between the parents.

So when you next meet a person that says they are a single parent, it could be worth investigating what that person means. Or perhaps, you might like to reconsider how you describe yourself in relation to your parenting status.


This is general advice only and is not provided as legal advice. If you have a legal issue, you should contact a lawyer and/or accountant before making a decision about what to do or applying to the Court. cannot provide legal advice. If you have an emergency situation, please contact Emergency '000'. © Divorce Pty Ltd