Single parents

A family where a man or a woman lives with his/her child or children is called a single-parent family. Sometimes this family form is temporary.

Single parents

  • If the parents of a child are not married or in a registered cohabiting partnership when the birth takes place, then the mother alone will have custody, unless the parents have agreed on a joint custody. The agreement shall specify with which parent the child have legal resident. The parent that has custody gets child support payment.
  • Maternity/paternity pay may be paid to single parents living in Iceland who are supporting two or more children below the age of 18.
  • Single parents and students can apply for subsidies for day-care and nursery-school fees. Most local authorities require single parents to submit a certificate regarding their marital status and residency.
  • Students must submit a certificate from their school or college confirming that they are in a full-time study programme, and the certificate must be renewed every semester. Further information on subsidies can be obtained from local community websites.
  • Child support is paid for children who are younger than 18 if one of the parents is deceased or receives a disability pension or a rehabilitation pension. Double child support is paid for each child if both parents are deceased or are disability pensioners.
  • You can apply for housing benefits and financial assistance from the local municipal family and social services.
  • Housing benefits are intended to lower housing costs for low-income tenants and to reduce the differences between individual citizens on the housing market. When calculating housing benefits, the reference point is rent, income, and assets minus liabilities and support for children.
  • The objective of social services in local communities is to ensure the financial security of the residents. Financial assistance entitlements accrue to those who have legal residence in the community and whose income is below a certain threshold.
  • When applying for assistance, Social Services assess the level of need; but the purpose of assistance is to help individuals or families to help themselves. Assistance may be in the form of a loan or aid. All financial aid for maintenance is tax liable.

Links of interest


Laws and regulations