The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.
Haymarket, NSW : Women's Safety NSW, 2020.
This report presents new findings into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on family violence, focusing on family law issues, It presents the findings of two surveys of frontline service workers and service providers from New South Wales, on the impact of COVID-19 on child contact, shared care and family law arrangements in the context of domestic and family violence. 76.8% of respondents had seen an increase in clients who were experiencing issues in relation to child contact, shared care and family law since the outbreak of COVID-19. 67.9% of respondents had seen an increase in the complexity of these cases, such as abusers threatening to infect victims with COVID-19, and 74.4% of respondents had seen women agreeing to child contact with a violent parent due to their own lack of other supports. Apprehended Violence Orders (AVO) and victims on temporary visa are also discussed. The main survey involved 56 workers: an additional survey of 22 workers was also undertaken on child handovers, with 77.3% of those respondents reporting concerns over a lack of safe places being open or available.
Paris : OECD Publishing, 2020.
"Modern family life brings with it profound changes to children's family living arrangements. An increasing number of children live with unmarried parents whose informal cohabitation implies unequal rights in terms of access to welfare benefit and social protection programmes compared to those in married life. In addition, children experiencing family dissolution are increasingly likely to share their time between the two homes of the separated parents, and/or to live in a stepfamily. The family living arrangements that result from these trends are very diverse and generally not well identified by official statistics, as well as their consequences on families' living standards. This paper takes stock of the trends in children's family living arrangements based on available international statistics and calls for the development of data that more accurately and reliably reflect children's family situation and its economic consequences. It also discusses adaptations of social protection systems to ensure that all children receive support appropriate to their concrete family living arrangements, and to guarantee that children in a non-traditional family setting are treated on an equal footing vis-a-vis children with married parents. The paper particularly discusses issues raised by the fact that children whose parents live together informally do not always have the same legal and economic security as children of married couples. It also reviews challenges associated with the fact that parents are increasingly sharing custody of their children after separation."--Publisher abstract.
The Conversation 10 Mar 2020
This article argues that reforms to the family law system ought not to be about winners and losers, but about how to protect the vulnerable parents and children who are forced to rely on it. The article highlights findings from a 2015 study by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, which surveyed about 6,000 separated parents on their use and views of the family court system. The parents were asked how they sorted out their parenting arrangements after separating, what formal family law services they used, their satisfaction with the court system, and concerns about family violence and child safety. The study found most parents had worked out their parenting arrangements with little or no reliance on the formal family law system, and that most of those were satisfied with the result. However, the people who were the most reliant on the family law system were often the most affected by family violence, child safety concerns and other issues and were obliged to use difficult, expensive formal pathways because informal or mediated discussions between the parents were not an option.
Perth, WA : Family Court of Western Australia, 2019.
This annual report provides information on the activities and workload of the Family Court of Western Australia for the year 2018 calendar year. Topics include: judiciary and staffing, divorce applications, parenting and financial orders, self-representation, clearance rate and finalisation time, appeals, The Family Court Counselling and Consultancy Service (FCCCS), Case Assessment Conference (CAC), court services, and committees. 2018 saw the highest number of final order applications (3,112) and interim applications (5,341) filed in the Court in the last decade, with a significant impact on the Court's workload and clearance rates. 5,408 divorce applications were also received in this period.
Colchester, UK : Institute for Social and Economic Research, 2019.
Shared care is becoming the most popular separation arrangement internationally, but the evidence base on its use in the United Kingdom remains thin. This paper investigates whether the dataset of the Understanding Society longitudinal study can be used to answer questions about rates and trends in shared care. Drawing on interviews with a small sample of main carer mothers and non-resident fathers who reported at least weekly contact, it examined the utility and appropriateness of existing survey questions to identify shared care. Some preliminary data analysis is then presented on rates of shared care and contact arrangements. Based on the findings, it proposes that shared care is based on two key dimensions: parenting activities and parental communication.
Southbank, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2019.
Over the past 10 years, the Australian Institute of Family Studies has conducted several large-scale studies involving nationally representative samples of separated parents. This paper highlights the findings relating to parenting arrangements after separation. It provides information on the most common parenting arrangements after separation, how common it is for parents to go to court, and what court orders are made for custody. There is considerable variation in the ways that families arrange their children's care after separation, with issues such as the children's age and the parents' working patterns playing a significant role in decision making. Most parents (97%) don't go to court to make these arrangements: they decide matters between themselves, and only about 6% consult lawyers to help them make arrangements. Many of cases that do go to court often involve complex issues such as family violence or mental health issues.
Ottawa, Ontario : Statistics Canada, 2019.
"This study uses the Census of Population and the 2017 General Social Survey on Family to examine the characteristics of the population living alone in Canada. The demographic, socioeconomic and housing characteristics of persons who live alone are examined, as well as their conjugal history, family relationships, and well-being indicators. The number of persons living alone in Canada has more than doubled over the last 35 years, from 1.7 million in 1981 to 4.0 million in 2016. Solo dwellers represented 14% of the population aged 15 and over living in private households in 2016, up from 9% in 1981. In recent decades, the number of persons living alone has grown fastest among adults aged 35 to 64. Reflecting this shift, persons living alone in 2016 were more likely to be male and separated or divorced than in the past ... Despite living alone in their usual place of residence, solo dwellers may nonetheless have close connections with loved ones: in 2017, the majority of these individuals had at least one child, and one-third of those aged 20 to 34 were in a Living Apart Together (LAT) relationship with a partner. Most young adults who lived alone in 2017 intended to either form a union or have a child in the future, suggesting that they consider this lifestyle to be a temporary arrangement."--Overview.
Singapore Academy of Law Journal v. 30 Special issue on family law 2018: 518-544
Shared-time parenting - also known as co-parenting and shared care - is growing in use for separated families in Western nations. This article reviews the situation in Australia, including key legal reforms over the last four decades and major research studies. Sections include: the Australian family law system, reforms to Part VII of the Family Law Act on the care of children, 1995 principle of a child's best interests, 2006 presumption of equal shared parental responsibility, child support scheme reforms, data sources on the incidence and prevalence of shared care time, and research on benefits and risks. Though the experience in Australia cannot be generalised to other countries, the article concludes with some general insights on shared-time arrangements.
Washington, D.C. : Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 2018.
This paper explores the characteristics of families experiencing homelessness in America, focusing on parents separated from their children and the experience of separation in the lives of homeless children. A previous paper in this series found that in 24% of families staying in shelter, at least one child was separated from the family. This paper provides a more detailed examination of these families and their children before and after the initial shelter stay, revealing more extensive and persistent levels of child separation. It gives detailed characteristics of separated children and examines whether future child separation after a shelter stay is related to either housing instability or previous separations. It analyses data from the Family Options Study, which followed 2,282 homeless families, with 5,397 children, who entered shelter between late 2010 and early 2012. The paper looks into voluntary and involuntary child separations for children in the initial 2,282 families who were either with their family in emergency shelter or were separated from their family at shelter entry, and subsequent separation and reunification experiences of children in the 1,857 families who responded to the 20-month survey and the 1,784 families who responded to the 37-month survey. The findings highlight the high rates of separation in these families, and its association with housing instability. About 30 percent of all children had been separated from their family at some point: most of these separated children were staying with their other parent or with a grandparent or other relative.
Perth, WA : Family Court of Western Australia, 2018.
This annual report provides information on the activities and workload of the Family Court of Western Australia for the year 2017 calendar year. Topics include: judiciary and staffing, divorce applications, parenting and financial orders, self-representation, clearance rate and finalisation time, appeals, The Family Court Counselling and Consultancy Service (FCCCS), Case Assessment Conference (CAC), court services, and committees. During 2017, the Court received 5,341 divorce applications - with 60.2% filed electronically, up from 33.5% in 2016. Though parties are required to undertake a Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) process prior to commencing parenting proceedings, this occurred in only about 15% of cases, with other cases obtaining an exemption.
Growing Up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children - annual statistical report 2017. Melbourne : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2018: 9-24
This chapter provides an overview of the variety of housing circumstances that children experience in Australia. Using data from 'Growing Up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children' (LSAC), it provides information on the types of housing that children live in, whether their parents own or rent, mortgages and costs, the condition of their homes, neighbourhood liveability, how often they relocate, the impact of family separation on housing, and rates of short-term or ongoing housing stress, inadequate housing, and overcrowding. Changes from infancy to adolescence are also included, as are differences by socioeconomic status, between rural and urban areas, and with general population data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. By age 14-15, only 22% of these children had remained in the same home for their entire life - 22% had moved once and 56% had lived in three or more homes since birth. These moves were often due to a parent separating or re-partnering: of children who moved house around the time of their parents' separation, 41% moved into a situation of housing affordability stress.
Wellington, N.Z. : Ministry of Justice, 2018
In 2014, major reforms were made to the Family Justice System in New Zealand, shifting the focus from adversarial court resolution of parenting disputes to encouraging parents to reach agreement themselves where this is appropriate. The main change of the reforms was a portfolio of services to resolve disputes that families could access without entering into the court system, known as out-of-court services, which included Family Dispute Resolution (FDR), the Parenting Through Separation (PTS) programme, and Family Legal Advice (FLAS). This review tracks a cohort of people who entered the Family Justice System after the reforms and evaluates the efficiency and effectiveness of in- and out-of-court services. It compares pre-and post-reforms cohort outcomes: specifically: the proportion of people on each pathway in the Family Justice System; the time taken for people to move through each pathway; and outcomes for people in each pathway. 15,727 people were followed. The analysis found that people were more likely to achieve a lasting outcome within a reasonable timeframe in the pre-reforms system. However, the post-reforms out-of-court pathway was most likely to see a lasting outcome when compared with the pre-reforms system and other post-reforms pathways.
Melbourne : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2018.
This report was commissioned to learn more about children and young people's experiences of the family law system during parental separation and how the system could better meet their needs. 61 children and young people aged 10-17 years old were interviewed, with 47 parents also helping with background information. The findings provide rich insights into the experiences and needs of children and young people, as well as the pathways used to resolve family law matters. Topics include: issues important to children and young people in making post-separation parenting arrangements, valued supports in dealing with parental separation, flexibility and changes in parenting arrangements, building post-separation relationships with parents, meaningful participation in decision making, experiences of the family law system, acknowledgement of their views and experiences, services that supported participation in decision making, and professional services and support considered effective by children and young people.
Child and Family Law Quarterly v. 30 no. 1 2018: 3-21
This article provides insights into the nature and meaning of 'home' for children in separated families in Australia. It investigates how children experience the emotional concept of 'home', with a new analysis of interview data with 22 children participating in a 2011 longitudinal study on living arrangements in separated families. Themes include sense of belonging in a household, access and control, and the role of relationships in defining what is home.
Journal of Interpersonal Violence v. 33 no. 11 Jun 2018: 1805-1829
This article adds to the evidence base on the characteristics of homicide-suicide cases. Despite their rarity, homicide-suicide events can have far-reaching impacts on individuals and families and generate significant public, media, and policy attention. However, there is little empirical information on this type of crime and recent research has suggested greater national, regional and cultural variation than previously thought. This new study examines the of individual and situational characteristics of homicide-suicide in Australia, with particular emphasis on establishing whether and how homicide-suicide differs from homicide-only and suicide-only. Data is taken from Australian Homicide Project (AHP) data set and the the Queensland Suicide Register (QSR). The findings are consistent with previous studies in relation to typical location of homicide-suicide events (in private), marital status of the perpetrators (in a relationship), and the presence of mental health issues and/or past suicidal behaviour, as well as stressful life events including relationship, financial, and child custody issues. An unexpected finding was that homicide-suicide events did not share any characteristics with homicide-only cases that it did not also share with suicide-only cases.
Perth, WA : Family Court of Western Australia, 2017.
This annual report provides information on the activities and workload of the Family Court of Western Australia for the year 2016 calendar year. Topics include: judiciary and staffing, divorce applications, parenting and financial orders, self-representation, clearance rate and finalisation time, appeals, The Family Court Counselling and Consultancy Service (FCCCS), Case Assessment Conference (CAC), court services, and committees. 2016 saw the implementation of an electronic divorce process 'eDivorce' and the commencement of a review of the Court's case management system, the Digital Court Program Project (DCPP). During 2016, the Court received 5,496 divorce applications - with 33.5% filed electronically, up from 17.7% in 2015. Though parties are required to undertake a Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) process prior to commencing parenting proceedings, 57.4% of all of such proceedings in 2016 commenced with an exemption instead. Note, previous annual reviews were issued for financial years rather than calendar years.
Journal of Youth Studies v. 20 no. 7 Sep 2017: 904-926
This article investigates the factors that influence young people's housing pathways in Australia, using data from the 'Our Lives' longitudinal study. It examines family and demographic characteristics, individual factors, and leaving and returning home for 2,082 young people followed from 12/13 years old to 21/22 years old. The study finds that early residential pathways reflect a mix of stable and dynamic influences, not all of which are in young people's control. It finds that events such as partnership formation or parental union dissolution encouraged leaving home, whereas close, supportive relationships with family and friends served to 'anchor' respondents at home for longer. Being employed at a younger age and having grown up rurally predicted both leaving and remaining out of home, and parental socioeconomic resources enabled young people to leave home and return if needed.
Wellington, N.Z. : Ministry of Justice, 2017
In 2014, major reforms were made to the Family Justice System in New Zealand, shifting the focus from adversarial court resolution of parenting disputes to encouraging parents to reach agreement themselves where this is appropriate, with the court to be used for the most serious or urgent matters. One reform was the removal of lawyers from the initial stages of parenting order applications, with lawyers only able to represent parties when applications are made without notice, there are previous related applications, or the application is made concurrent to a different application type. Since the reforms, the number of these 'Care of Children Act (COCA) 2004' applications filed without notice has more than doubled and continues to climb, even though no change was made to the application criteria. This has significantly impacted on court capacity and resourcing. This report investigates the reasons for this increase, drawing on qualitative interviews with parents and court staff. 43 applicants, 3 judges, 8 lawyers, and 5 Family Court staff took part. The report examines the key drivers for applicants when choosing to file without notice applications, its impact on involved parties and processes, and the extent to which the reforms influenced this increase. The applicants identified several reasons for making the application, largely based around the desire for legal representation, with applicants viewing the Court process as daunting and complex. The reforms have increased the stress on applicants: as a consequence, issues can take longer to resolve and the potential for harm for applicants and their children is increased.
Wellington, N.Z. : Ministry of Justice, 2017
This report investigates why some people refuse to participate in family dispute resolution in New Zealand. In 2014, major reforms were made to the Family Justice System, including the introduction of independent Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) to shift the focus from court resolution of childcare disputes to encourage people to reach agreement themselves. People can be exempt from participating in FDR if domestic violence has been disclosed, if a power imbalance exists between parties, if one or both parties are unable to effectively participate, or where parties would not participate in FDR. Between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2017, there were 1561 disputes with a completed mediation. However, in the same period, the number of exemptions reached 1542 and, of these, 1276 (83%) were because one of the parties would not participate. To investigate this further, the 3 service providers contracted to deliver FDR started collecting data on reason for non-participation. From February to May 2017, 366 exemptions where one person would not participate occurred: the most common reason (40%) was refusal to engage with the supplier. There could be many reasons why someone may not engage with the FDR process, such as simply not wishing to have contact with the other party, but there is no way to determine this. Other reasons listed included the party could not be reached (23%), cost (14%), wanting to go directly to court (7%), did not believe the other party would approach mediation constructively (6%), or had been advised to go to court by a lawyer (5%). These first two reasons apply equally to men and women, but the other reasons do vary by gender.
Canberra, ACT : ANU Centre for Social Research & Methods, 2017.
Section 60I of the Family Law Act calls for all persons who have a dispute about children's matters to make a genuine effort to resolve that dispute by family dispute resolution. Apart from some cases of exception, parties cannot commence proceedings for orders relating to children unless they have filed a certificate issued by a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. In turn, practitioners can issue any one of five different categories of certificate, that cover cases from refusal to attend, attendees did not make a genuine effort, FDR deemed no longer appropriate, and all attendees made a genuine effort. Interrelate - a provider of family dispute resolution services throughout New South Wales - commissioned this study to explore its processes and outcomes by examining its certificate-issuing processes. It examines whether the number and categories of certificates issued have changed over time, the characteristics of clients, how practitioners decide which certificate to issue, clients' understanding of the purpose of the certificate, and their pathways through the law system after they gain a certificate, with reference to the type of certificate issued and personal and parenting characteristics. The study draws on administrative data for 10,848 cases from 2011-12 to 2014-15, interviews with 27 practitioners, and interviews with 777 former clients. The findings suggest that the requirement to nominate a category is problematic at many levels, and that the certification system is not working well for families with complex needs. A summary version and the appendices are published separately, including Appendix A, 'Mandatory mediation in family law - a review of the literature'.
Family Court Review v. 55 no. 4 Oct 2017: 586-603
One aim of the 2006 Family Law reforms in Australia was to encourage equal shared-time arrangements for children in separating families where possible. Though the uptake of shared-time arrangements gradually increased early this century, they appear to have plateaued or even declined in recent years. Correspondingly, more recent family violence amendments that give greater weight to protecting children from harm lead have not led to a marked decline in shared time. Neither legislative reform appears to have led to marked changes in the incidence of shared-time arrangements. This article explores the possible reasons for this surprising outcome, with reference to trends in consent orders and detail in parenting orders.
Bonn, Germany : IZA, 2017.
"Previous literature has established that unilateral divorce laws may reduce female household work. As shown by Stevenson (2007), unilateral divorce laws may affect overall marital investment. In addition, if unilateral divorce has differential costs by gender, then unilateral divorce may impact household work by gender through bargaining channels. However, little research has examined how divorce laws may affect males' household production and the gender distribution of household work. To examine this issue, I use data on matched couples from the [Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) in America] and exploit variation over time in state divorce laws. This research indicates that unilateral divorce laws lead to a decrease in marital investment, as measured by both males and females' household work. The evidence also supports a bargaining response to divorce laws, as fathers in states without joint custody laws show a significantly higher share of household work with unilateral divorce than those in states with joint custody laws, consistent with a relatively higher cost of marital dissolution among fathers who stand to lose custody of their children."--Author abstract.
Edinburgh : Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, 2016.
This briefing paper presents findings from a study from Scotland into the factors that influence children's views about contact with non-resident fathers in the context of domestic abuse. Interviews were conducted with 18 children and 16 mothers recruited from domestic abuse support services. The children held diverse views about contact, shaped by their own circumstances, relationships and personalities, and their fathers' previous and continued abuse, and the impact this abuse had on the children themselves and their mothers. Exposure to domestic abuse did not neatly predict whether children wanted contact with their fathers: for many of the children, contact held significance beyond the relationship they had with their fathers: such as an opportunity to reconnect with their old lives, siblings and wider family members following separation. Repartnering by fathers was generally viewed negatively.
London : Ministry of Justice, 2016.
This report adds to the research on the nature and consequences of post-separation contact. It investigates whether contact between a child and a non-resident parent is associated with child well-being at age 11, and whether this varies by parental marital status, the level of post-separation contact, and whether separation issues were resolved with court involvement or not. Data is taken from the Millennium Cohort Study from the United Kingdom, for the subset of children who had experienced parental separation at some point between the ages of 9 months and 7 years. Outcomes included subjective well-being, engagement in antisocial behaviours and risk taking, and social-behavioural problems. The report also investigates patterns in the nature and frequency of contact, whether the provision of financial support varies by family characteristics, and whether court use during the separation process varies by family characteristics. Consistent with previous studies, the report finds that children who experienced parental separation by age 7 tended to have worse outcomes at age 11 than those whose parents were married at the time of birth and remained married: these differences were small, however. The results also tentatively suggest that court involvement during the separation process might be negatively associated with child outcomes and that more contact with the non-resident parent was associated with better outcomes for children. Further research is required.
International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy v. 5 no. 2 2016: 107-120
Based on three recent high profile cases of abduction or homicide in New Zealand, this article explores the representation of separated fathers in the news and the role of the fathers' rights discourse in this media representation. All three cases garnered much media and public attention at the time: Stephen Jelicich's abduction of his five-month-old daughter, Caitlin in 2005; the 2006 abduction of Chris Jones' six-year-old son Jayden Headley, by his maternal grandfather, speculated to be on behalf of the boy's mother, Kay Skelton; and the 2014 murder-suicide whereby Edward Livingstone killed his two children, Bradley and Ellen, in their mother's house, before killing himself.
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2015.
The Australian Institute of Family Studies has been commissioned to evaluate recent reforms that aimed to improve the family law system's response to disclosures of family violence, child abuse, and safety concerns. The evaluation is comprised of 3 programs: this report presents the findings of the first component, "Responding to Family Violence: A Survey of Family Law Practices and Experiences". It examines the views and experiences of professionals working across the family law system as well as parents who used family law services after the reforms were introduced. In total, 37 judicial officers and registrars, 322 lawyers, 294 non-legal family law system professionals, and 2,473 recently separated parents were surveyed. The findings of this study indicate that the reforms of the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011 are a step in the right direction for identifying and responding to the risk of harm.
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2015.
The Australian Institute of Family Studies has been commissioned to evaluate recent reforms that aimed to improve the family law system's response to disclosures of family violence, child abuse, and safety concerns. This report presents the overall findings of the evaluation, which are described in more detail in 3 additional reports. The evaluation research program consisted of: the Responding to Family Violence survey of professionals on their practices and experiences; the Experiences of Separated Parents Study, which provided pre- and post-reform data on parents' experiences of separation and the family law system; and the Court Outcomes Project, which analysed administrative court file data. Together, these studies examined whether the Family Law Legislation Amendment (Family Violence and Other Measures) Act 2011 has changed patterns of parenting arrangements, disclosure of concerns, service use, and professional practices, or produced any unintended consequences.
Canberra, A.C.T. : Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2015.
This product provides information and trends about the composition of households and families in Australia, drawing on findings from the 2012-13, 2009-10, and 2006-07 Family Characteristics section of the Multi-Purpose Household Survey. The product is presented as a summary webpage with the main statistics available as spreadsheets. Topics include: family structure and households, family type by age of child, employment status of parents by family type, children with parents living elsewhere, couple relationships by age group, expectations of having children, main reason for leaving - or not leaving - home, and proportion of adults whose parents had divorced, separated, or died during their childhood. Of the 6.7 million families in Australia in 2012-13, 85% (5.7 million) were couple families and 14% (909,000) were one parent families.
Rochester, N.Y. : Social Science Research Network, Social Science Electronic Publishing Inc., 2014.
This paper explores the experiences of mothers after an unsuccessful relocation dispute in Australia. Fifteen women were interviewed three times over a 4-5 year period after they had unsuccessfully applied to relocate, regarding issues such as coping and adjusting, accepting the decision, and the relationship of the children with their father. Four factors seemed to have made the most difference in terms of being able to adjust - or not - to the adverse outcome: the degree of control they were able to exercise over their own future; their recognition that the children benefited from a close relationship with their father; the father's degree of involvement with, and responsibility for, the children; and the level of toxicity in the father-mother relationship. The implications for improving decision-making in relocation cases is also discussed. The findings are part of a broader longitudinal study of the outcomes of relocation disputes.
Ottawa, Ontario : Statistics Canada, 2014.
"Using data from the 2011 General Social Survey (GSS) on Families, this article examines parenting and child support after separation or divorce, looking at those who have separated or divorced within the last 20 years. A brief national and regional overview of separated or divorced parents is first presented. This is followed by an examination of parenting decisions in the wake of a marital or common-law breakup, including child residency, time-sharing, and decision-making. The next section turns to financial support arrangements for the child, examining payment amounts and schedules. For both parenting and financial support arrangements, issues relating to the presence and type of arrangements are discussed, along with the approaches taken to reach arrangements, compliance and satisfaction with these arrangements."