Research report on guidance on contact time for infants and young children in separated families

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McCaughren, Simone
Holt, Stephanie
Parkes, Aisling
Gregory, Soma
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One Family
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This study explored the perspectives of parents and professionals who manage contact arrangements in relation to a child/[ren] in common (aged 0-6 years) as well as the manner in which their childrenâ s views have been ascertained and represented as part of the process. Concern with the impact on children of discontinued parent-child relationships following parental separation or divorce has resulted in a depth of empirical knowledge in the maintenance of those relationships through the medium of "contact". While research consistently demonstrates that shared parenting arrangements (post-separation/divorce) work best when they are informally arranged between two parents who are committed to making those plans work in the interests of their children, the emotive nature of the separation/divorce experience for many families may demand formal and legal regulation (Holt S., 2016a). This timely research was undertaken during a period when the Irish Family Law system is in the spotlight with a view to reform. This research attempted to gain a birdâ s eye view of how, and in what ways, contact arrangements are established for infants and young children in the 0-6 years age category. It set out to capture the lived experiences of those who share parenting as well as those who work with these families and young children. It therefore consisted of an in-depth literature review on the issue of contact concerning 0-6 year olds; the distribution of an online survey for parents who share the parenting of infants and young children; two focus groups with professionals working in the area of family law, one consisting of social professionals and one with legal professionals; and six interviews with members of the Irish judiciary working in the area of family law.
Research Report
Contact time , Separated families , Infants , Young children
McCaughren, S., Holt, S., Parkes, A. and Gregory, S. (2022) Research report on guidance on contact time for infants and young children in separated families. Available at: (Accessed: 30. January 2023)
© 2022, the Authors and One Family - Ireland’s national organisation for people parenting alone, sharing parenting and separating