There is considerable variation in the ways that families arrange their children’s care after separation. Issues such as the children’s age, the parents’ abilities to communicate and resolve post separation issues, and the parents’ working patterns play a significant role in decision making.
The Australian Institute of Family Studies conducts multiple, large-scale studies of post separation parenting outcomes. In October 2019 it published a research summary.
Some of its key findings were:
- About 3% of separated parents use courts as their main pathway to making parenting arrangements (based on a sample of about 6,000 separated parents about 18 months after separation). These are predominantly families affected by family violence, child safety concerns and other complex issues.
- About 97% of separated parents do not go to court to decide their parenting arrangements, although 16% use Family Dispute Resolution Services or lawyers.
- Orders for no contact with 1 parent are rare: 3% of all court orders.
- There are 2 significant ways in which court orders and arrangements in the general separated population differ:
- Court ordered arrangements are less likely to involve no contact between children and their father: only 3% of court orders, compared to 9% of the general separated population.
- Arrangements where children spend most of their time with their father are more common in orders made where litigation occurs (10–19%) than in the separated population generally (2%).
If you want to read more about this topic, a link to the research summary is: https://aifs.gov.au/publications/parenting-arrangements-after-separation
If you require advice on parenting issues, please contact our Family Law Team.