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Family Matters No. 48 - September 1997

Divorce and Family Relations in Later Life

Christine Millward

Abstract

Parental divorce or separation can modify family networks, thus affecting the levels of intergenerational support available to people as they grow older. Overseas research has found that being divorced or separated decreases levels of contact and exchange between older parents and adult children, and leads to poorer parent - child relationships. In this article the author examines the effect of parental divorce and separation on the nature of intergenerational relations between older Australian parents and their adult children. At issue is whether or not public policies based upon assumptions of private support from adult children to older parents are ill founded where the parents have experienced divorce.

Parental divorce or separation can modify family networks, thus affecting the levels of intergenerational support available to people as they grow older. Overseas research has found that being divorced or separated decreases levels of contact and exchange between older parents and adult children, and leads to poorer parent - child relationships. In this article the author examines the effect of parental divorce and separation on the nature of intergenerational relations between older Australian parents and their adult children. At issue is whether or not public policies based upon assumptions of private support from adult children to older parents are ill founded where the parents have experienced divorce.

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