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Shared Earning/Shared Parenting Marriage is a type of Marriage popular in various countries where the partners choose at the outset of the marriage to share the work of childraising, earning money, housework and recreation time in relatively equal fashion. It refers to an intact family formed in the relatively equal earning and parenting style from its initiation and is distinct from Shared parenting and the type of equal or co-parenting that Father's Rights activists in the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere seek after a divorce, particularly when the marriage was not set up in this fashion at the outset.

The equality is usually measured primarily with regard to the psychological perspective of the participants: both take responsibility for earning money sufficient to make a substantial contribution to the family's income and both identify as primary parents to children and as responsible for unpaid work of the home, vehicles, etc. [1]

Because earning levels can vary with marketplace conditions, "equality" of earnings may vary, although each parent does consider him/herself to be a core earner in the family and neither one's employment is considered more important than the other's. With respect to child care, time spent on the task is equal, although parenting styles may differ between the two parents. Although the biological demands on women in Pregnancy and Childbirth may mean that they take more leave from work during this time, men in these marriages will take an equal amount of leave, perhaps subsequent to or staggered with the woman's leave. Parental leave laws in different countries facilitate this in different ways. In the United States, the Family Medical Leave Act is gender-neutral. In Sweden, there are tax incentives for parents to take leave equally. If the woman breastfeeds, the man will make an effort to spend as much time with the baby as she spends on Breastfeeding. Some men focus particularly on other childcare needs like Diapering, or other interaction with the baby, while others will feed Breast milk that was pumped.

Some couples seek reduced schedules, such as 30-hour or 35-hour work weeks, while others will work full time and outsource child care.[2] If the care is outsourced it is typically paid for by the parent outsourcing his or her share of the care. Efforts are made to choose caretakers of the same gender as the parent outsourcing. [3]

Sociologist Stephanie Coontz has written that in early 2012, 49% of marriages in the United States with minor children are comprised of couples who report that each parent spends equal time on child care.[4]

Some high-profile shared earning/shared parenting couples in the United States, such as Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and David Goldberg, CEO of Survey monkey have been public about the 50/50 nature of their marriage and family responsibilities.[5]

Effect on Child Development

A number of child development and other psychology professionals have considered the implications on child development of shared parenting/shared earning marriage, from both theoretical and empirical approaches.

Dorothy Dinnerstein, in The Mermaid and the Minotaur[6] speculates that the change to this type of upbringing from the traditional female-dominated and female-dependent childhood releases prevents developing in boys' psychology a type of compulsive dominance and aggression and in girls' psychology a type of compulsive dependence and seduction and would allow both sexes better access to cognitive and emotional processing.

Child pyschologist [Kyle Pruett]] has also considered the needs children have for care by their fathers.[7]

Educator John Badalament has considered some of the ways these marriages meet the psychological needs of children as contrasted with marriages set up in other styles.[8]

Others have considered empirical data on the school performance, emotional health, and rate of teen pregnancy, drug abuse, eating disorders, criminal acts and other behaviors of children raised in shared earning/shared parenting families.[9] Research by sociologists Scott Coltrane and Michele Adams looked at national survey data and found that when men increase their share of housework and child care, their children are happier, healthier, and do better in school. They are less likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, less likely to be put on prescription medication, and less likely to see a child psychologist for behavioral problems. They have lower rates of absenteeism and higher school achievement scores.[10]

Marriage Stability and Fertility Rates

A recent study in the United States estimated that couples who share employment and housework responsibilities are 50 per cent less likely to divorce.[11]

Countries with higher rates of this type of marriage tend to have higher fertility rates than those with programs which focus on women as primary parents.[12]

Economic, Financial and Tax Implications

Economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers have considered some of the economic and tax implications (under tax laws in effect in 2012) of equally shared parenting marriage.[13]

The taxation of these families in the United States has also been analyzed in a number of contexts.[14] The National Bureau of Economic Research reported a study showing "that two earner couples--the horses that pull our economic plow-- pay for the second job with taxes that are far beyond the well known marriage penalty."[15]

One concern is that these marriages are subsidizing one-earner/one-primary parent families in a number of ways. For example, in Social security, the two-earner couple pays for its own Social Security benefits, while one-earner couples receive an unfunded benefit of 50% or more extra benefit.


  1. ^ Vachon, Marc and Amy (2010). Equally Shared Parenting. United States: Perigree Trade. ISBN 0399536515. 
  2. ^ Meers, Sharon (2009). Getting to 50/50: How Working Couples Can Have It All By Sharing It All. Bantam. ISBN 978-0553806557.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help);
  3. ^ Vachon, Marc and Amy (2010). Equally Shared Parenting. United States: Perigree Trade. ISBN 0399536515. 
  4. ^ The Family Revolution
  5. ^ Groth, Aimee. "Sheryl Sandberg: 'The Most Important Career Choice You'll Make Is Who You Marry'". Business Insider. Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  6. ^ Dinnerstein, Dorothy (1999). The Mermaid and the Minotaur. U.S.: Other Press. ISBN 978-1892746252. 
  7. ^ Pruett, Kyle (2001). Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child. United States: Broadway. ISBN 978-0767907378. 
  8. ^ Badalament, John (2010). The Modern Dad's Dilemma: How to Stay Connected with Your Kids in a Rapidly Changing World. United States: New World Library. ISBN 978-1577316606 Check |isbn= value: checksum (help). 
  9. ^ Coleman, Joshua (2005). The Lazy Husband. United States: St. Martin's Press. pp. 3–4. ISBN 978-0312327941. 
  10. ^ Kimmel, Michael. "Has a Man's World Become a Woman's Nation?" (PDF). The Shriver Report, A Woman's Nation Changes Everything. Center for American Progress. Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  11. ^ "Equally Shared Parenting". Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  12. ^ "Working Women are the Key to Norway's Prosperity". Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  13. ^ Lovenomics: Forget Formulas, Have Children New York Times February 13, 2012
  14. ^ Bureau of Economic Research (1996). [ Empirical Foundations of Household Taxation] Check |url= value (help). United States: University of Chicago Press. pp. 39–75. ISBN 0-226-24097-5.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help); More than one of |author= and |last= specified (help)
  15. ^ "The Real Tax Burden of Two Earner Coup". Retrieved 21 February 2012.