Post-separation parenting - Trends and statistics

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.

See more resources on Post-separation parenting in the AIFS library catalogue

Annual review 2017.

Western Australia. Family Court
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.

Children's housing experiences.

Warren D
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.

Family justice reforms: an initial cohort analysis

New Zealand. Ministry of Justice
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.

Children and young people in separated families: family law system experiences and needs

Carson R, Dunstan E, Dunstan J and Roopani D
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.

Children's experiences of 'home' after parental separation.

Fehlberg B, Natalier K and Smyth B
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.

Characteristics of homicide-suicide in Australia : a comparison with homicide-only and suicide-only cases.

McPhedran S, Eriksson L, Mazerolle P, De Leo D, Johnson H and Wortley R
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.

Annual review 2016.

Western Australia. Family Court
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.

Young, anchored and free? Examining the dynamics of early housing pathways in Australia.

Tomaszewski W, Smith J, Parsell C, Tranter B, Laughland-Booy J and Skrbis Z
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.

Without Notice Applications in the Family Court

Wehipeihana N, Spee K and Akroyd S
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.

Exemptions from Family Dispute Resolution: exemptions from Family Dispute Resolution where a party did not participate

New Zealand. Ministry of Justice
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.

Certifying mediation: a study of section 60I certificates

Smyth B, Bonython W, Rodgers B, Keogh E, Chisholm R, Butler R, Parker R, Stubbs M, Temple J and Vnuk M
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'.

Shared-time parenting after separation in Australia : precursors, prevalence, and postreform patterns.

Smyth B and Chisholm R
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.

Cleaning in the shadow of the law?: bargaining, marital investment, and the impact of divorce law on husbands' intra-household work

Roff J
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.

Child outcomes after parental separation: variations by contact and court involvement

Goisis A, Ozcan B and Sigle W
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.

'I'd just lose it if there was any more stress in my life' : separated fathers, fathers' rights and the news media.

Elizabeth V
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.

Responding to family violence: a survey of family law practices and experiences

Kaspiew R, Carson R, Coulson M, Dunstan J and Moore S
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.

Evaluation of the 2012 family violence amendments: synthesis report

Kaspiew R, Carson R, Dunstan J, Qu L, Horsfall B, De Maio J, Moore S, Moloney L, Coulson M and Tayton S
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.

Family characteristics and transitions, Australia, 2012-13

Australian Bureau of Statistics
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.

When mothers stay: adjusting to loss after relocation disputes

Parkinson P and Cashmore J
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.

Parenting and child support after separation or divorce

Sinha M
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."

Post-separation parenting, property and relationship dynamics after five years

Qu L, Weston R, Moloney L, Kaspiew R and Dunstan J
Canberra : Attorney-General's Dept., 2014
The Longitudinal Study of Separated Families examines the experiences, circumstances, and wellbeing of separated parents and their children in Australia. It was commissioned as part of the evaluation of the 2006 Family Law reforms, and three waves of surveys have now been conducted. This current report presents findings from wave 3, conducted in 2012 with 9,028 parents five years after separation. It explores the opinions and experiences of separated parents regarding: quality of inter-parental relationships; child-focused communication between parents; safety concerns and violence and abuse; use and perceived helpfulness of family law services; pathways for developing parenting arrangements; family dispute resolution; stability and change in care-time arrangements; property division and their timing and perceived fairness; and child support arrangements and compliance. The report also asks parents about their child's wellbeing, and compares this with care-time arrangements and family dynamics.

Family circumstances and care arrangements of children.

Hahn M and Wilkins R
Wilkins, Roger, ed. Families, incomes and jobs. Volume 9 : a statistical report on waves 1 to 11 of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey. Melbourne, Vic. : Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2014: 7-15
Using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, this chapter explores the care arrangements of children are how these are affected by changing family circumstances. Statistics are provided on: family circumstances of children at the start of the survey and whether these have changed; frequency of contact with non-resident parents; types of shared care arrangements of children with a non-resident parent; work and non-work related use of formal or informal child care; child care use by family type and child age; and households experiencing difficulties with child care. The survey finds that over one-quarter of children in live with only one parent, of whom approximately one-quarter again never have contact with the non-resident parent. In the last decade, there has been little change in either child contact with non-resident parents or shared care arrangements. However, children in shared care arrangements are spending an increased amount of time with their non-resident parents. In terms of child care, the total prevalence hasn't changed much since 2001, though the composition has shifted towards work-related care and away from non- work-related care.

Post-separation parenting arrangements involving minimal time with one parent.

Kaspiew R, De Maio J, Qu L and Deblaquiere J
Hayes, Alan, ed. Higgins, Daryl J., ed. Families, policy and the law : selected essays on contemporary issues for Australia. Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2014. 9781922038487: 225-234
The 2006 Family Law reforms introduced the principles of equal shared parental responsibility and a children's right to a meaningful relationship with each parent. However, there are still post-separation parenting arrangements involving only minimal time with one parent. This chapter examines the characteristics of these families, their care-time arrangements, and the mediation or court processes used to come to these arrangements. Findings are taken from recent research from the Coordinated Family Dispute Resolution (CFDR) pilot evaluation study and the Longitudinal Study of Separated Families.

Family violence and financial outcomes after parental separation.

Fehlberg B and Millward C
Hayes, Alan, ed. Higgins, Daryl J., ed. Families, policy and the law : selected essays on contemporary issues for Australia. Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2014. 9781922038487: 235-243
This chapter explores the financial impact of family violence in separated families. It presents findings from a Victorian study on parenting arrangements, financial and property settlements, child support, and financial difficulties in separated families. The study found that family violence or the fear of violence often influenced parenting arrangements and thus indirectly influenced financial settlements, as well as having a negative influence on legal processes, disputes, and outcomes.

When mothers stay : adjusting to loss after relocation disputes.

Parkinson P and Cashmore J
Family Law Quarterly v. 47 no. 1 Spring 2013: 65-96
This article 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.

Overnight care patterns following parental separation : associations with emotion regulation in infants and young children.

McIntosh J, Smyth B and Kelaher M
Journal of Family Studies v. 19 no. 3 Dec 2013: 224-239
Children living in a shared-time parenting arrangement following separation (also known as joint physical custody or dual residence) spend equal or near-equal amounts of day and night time with each parent. Little data exist regarding developmental sequelae of such arrangements for infants. The current study examined a theoretically driven question: are there associations between quantum of overnight stays away from a primary parent and the infant's settledness, or emotion regulation with that parent? Nationally representative parent report data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) were used. Three age bands were studied and three levels of overnight care contrasted. When parenting style, parental conflict and socioeconomic factors were controlled for, greater number of shared overnight stays for the 0-1 year old and the 2-3 year old groups predicted less settled and poorly regulated behaviours, but did not for the 4-5 year old group. Limits of these data are discussed, including application to the individual case. Findings suggest emotional regulation within the primary infant-parent relationship is one useful index of infant adjustment to parenting time arrangements.

Post-separation parenting and financial arrangements : exploring changes over time.

Fehlberg B, Millward C, Campo M and Carson R
International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family v. 27 no. 3 Dec 2013: 359-380
Previous research has identified a 'maternal drift' in shared time arrangements - whereby previously equal arrangements drift back towards primary mother time in the 3 or 4 years following separation. This article investigates the financial implications of this shift for primary carers and their children. Data is taken from an annual survey of 60 separated parents in Victoria, regarding their parenting time, property, child support, and maintenance arrangements, as well as parent relationship quality and repartnering. The findings were more complicated than the researchers anticipated.

Modern family: the changing shape of Australian families.

Cassells R, Toohey M, Keegan M and Mohanty I
Sydney : AMP Limited, 2013.
The modern family unit in Australia has changed. There are still plenty of families with Mum, Dad and two kids, but living alongside these are same-sex families, blended families, step families, de facto couples and couples choosing not to have children at all. This report describes families in Australia today. It uses data from the Census and Household Income and Labour Dynamics of Australia (HILDA) survey to explore changes in family structure and formation, marriage and divorce, having children and child custody, income and housing tenure, attitudes to equal rights for same-sex couples, and the rise of the female breadwinner family in Australia and overseas.

Post-separation parenting and financial arrangements over time : recent qualitative findings.

Fehlberg B and Millward C
Family Matters no. 92 2013: 29-40
Previous research has indicated that there tends to be 'maternal drift' from shared parenting time back towards primary mother care in the few years after parental separation. This article explores this issue further. It presents findings from a qualitative study in Victoria, conducted from 2009 to 2011, that examined the links over time between parenting arrangements and financial arrangements - in particular, whether mothers and children suffered financial disadvantage if time sharing reverted to primary mother care. Sixty parents were interviewed once a year over three years, with a sample of 22 children also interviewed in the final year. Key themes from the data include the importance of having cooperative, flexible and child-focused parenting relationships, regardless of the parenting time split; the ongoing role of mothers as the main caregivers and decision-makers for children; fathers' satisfaction with shared time; the often divisive role played by new partners; and the negative effects of family violence when perpetrators continued to exercise control through parenting arrangements.

Australian households and families

Qu L and Weston R
Melbourne, Vic. : Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2013.
This paper reveals how family forms have changed in Australia over the last few decades. Drawing on the national census and other Australian Bureau of Statistics data, it explains changes and transitions in family and household forms, including couple and one person households, families with dependent children, one parent families, step- and bended families, same-sex couple families, grandparent-headed families, separated parents with shared care arrangements, and couples living apart together. These trends in family and household forms result from the interaction of many factors; for example, the increasing size and ageing of the population, immigration patterns and cultural changes, economic shifts and the changing financial capacities of families, delays in adulthood and parenthood milestones, changes in fertility, the increased instability of relationships, and the increased participation of women in the workforce.
Subscribe to