Parent-child contact after separation

Parent child contact after separation

Face-to-face parent-child contact

Face-to-face contact between children and their non-resident parents is an important part of parenting after separation. Research suggests that there is a discrepancy in reporting between resident parents and non-resident parents in terms of the level of parent-child contact. Statistics from the ABS Family Characteristics 2012-13 survey show:

  • 31% of children aged 0-17 who had a natural parent elsewhere met with that parent on a daily/weekly basis
  • One in four children saw the parent they were not living with less than once a year or never.
Frequency of face-to-face contact between parent living elsewhere and child
Daily/weekly 31.0%
Fortnightly 18.8%
Monthly 6.1%
Once every 3-12 months 15.9%
Less than once a year/never 28.2%

View source data on frequency of face-to-face parent-child contact

Overnight stays with non-resident parent

It is important to distinguish between day-time only contact and overnight stays because the latter provides greater opportunities for family activities to occur, which encourages emotional bonds to develop between children and their non-resident parents. According to the Family Characteristics Survey (ABS 2012-13):

  • 51% of children did not spend a single night at their non-resident parent
  • 16% of children spent 1-35 nights with their non-resident parent
  • 11% of children spent at least 110 nights with their non-resident parent.

View source data on number of overnight stays per year

More family facts and figures

AIFS podcasts

Leading researchers discuss significant issues affecting Australian families.

Explore our featured podcasts


AIFS news

Get the latest news about our publications, research and upcoming events.