Post-divorce parenting arrangements increasingly diverse

Children|Family|News|November 28th 2012

A study of separated parents in Australia suggests that child contact arrangements are becoming more diverse. The findings point to a shift from traditional arrangements where a father would see their children every second weekend, to agreements with more paternal involvement.

The study of separated parents registered with the Australian Child Support Agency found that children generally move between parents’ houses two or four times a fortnight. The research also suggests that there is more sharing of parental responsibilities than has been evident in the past. For instance, there are now more 50/50 arrangements where children spend a week at a time with each parent.

Study leader Dr Bruce Smyth, of the Australian National University, said concern had been expressed about moving children between homeses too often. However, according to the report:

“The new data suggests that arrangements involving frequent moves between homes are not the norm. Fewer transitions help to limit children’s exposure to parental hostility at handovers and offers greater predictability for children, especially young children.”

Dr Smyth added:

“All parenting arrangements involve trade-offs, single long blocks of time with each parent require fewer transitions for children, but involve longer absences from one parent. By contrast, more fragmented schedules require more transitions for children but help to minimise the time away from each parent.”

He said creative arrangements can be effective in amicable situations:

“Most parenting arrangements can work well where parents get along, there’s some flexibility, and the arrangements are child-responsive.”

Author: Stowe Family Law

Comments(10)

  1. JamesB says:

    “Most parenting arrangements can work well where parents get along, there’s some flexibility, and the arrangements are child-responsive.”
    I like that, indeed I have posted it in my notebook to myself. It is better if you are able to put the children first. Although often people are so financially or emotionally damaged that they are unable to do so. That is what the professionals in this area do not advertise. That is a good (overwhelming) reason why not to get married, or if you do, to have an all-encompassing pre-nuptial agreement.

  2. Paul Gilson says:

    The way I look at it, the growing diversity of parenting arrangements in Australia is a demonstration that their shared parenting law is working. Parents are becoming more cooperative and their agreed arrangements thus more diverse as so it should be. Not the stale reliance on ‘every other weekend’ kind of post-separation arrangement that dominates here, both in legal thinking and application. That just reflects the sclerotic nature of what passes here for ‘family law’.
    We need fresh thinking in the UK. Yet seeing the brouhaha over the proposition to insert one small, relatively innocuous phrase into the Children Act, one wonders how we are going to get there. The luddites, represented by the Liz Trinder/Gingerbread axis, are still pushing their propaganda that the Australian model has put children and their mothers ‘at greater risk’ of DV despite the falsity of the facts behind their claim. Now they claim through a piece of research that UK children don’t want shared parenting but would prefer the single mother model that has failed too many children, and their fathers, for far too long.
    As to the government’s shared parenting proposal, that should have been issued in the form of statutory guidance to the Children Act back in 1989.1990 when the new legislation was first rolled. It should have been made clear from the off, that both parents were to remain involved. There should never have been a debate in the first place.
    The fact that it is needed now is a sad reflection on both social policy and judge-made law as to how poorly fatherhood is regarded in the UK.

  3. troy says:

    A study of separated parents in Australia suggests that child contact arrangements are becoming more diverse.
    The new data suggests that arrangements involving frequent moves between homes are not the norm. Fewer transitions help to limit children’s exposure to parental hostility at handovers and offers greater predictability for children, especially young children

  4. Lukey says:

    If the following is happening in Australia:
    ————————————————————————-
    “For instance, there are now more 50/50 arrangements where children spend a week at a time with each parent.”
    ————————————————————————-
    then I don’t think their system is working at all, that will generally involve waaaaay too much disruption and strife for the children.
    I think it is imperative that the non-resident parent gets plenty of contact – but the kids need routine and a base – making them decamp on a weekly basis is nuts.

  5. troy says:

    The study of separated parents registered with the Australian Child Support Agency found that children generally move between parents’ houses two or four times a fortnight.
    Fewer transitions help to limit children’s exposure to parental hostility at handovers and offers greater predictability for children, especially young children

  6. JamesB says:

    Thanks Troy. Sometimes egg sucking classes really help, seriously.
    The point “Fewer transitions help to limit children’s exposure to parental hostility at handovers and offers greater predictability for children, especially young children”
    Helps me and rings true and I haven’t always been able to stick to it – the parental hostility at handovers has been a problem. I will try my hardest to stop that happening again for the sake of the children. I can’t be accountable for my exes but I can for myself and that will help the children I hope and think.
    Your posts really struck a chord with me, thanks.

  7. JamesB says:

    Another two (basics) I was told recently which rang true and others might benefit from.
    1. Children can understand that both parents still love them but not each other and that is a relatively ok way to describe the situation to them.
    2. Enjoy the time you have with your children. Especially if you dont get much, for example if like me you dont get much because of the f’d-up legal system in this country.

  8. JamesB says:

    Re : 1. Children can understand that both parents still love them but not each other and that is a relatively ok way to describe the situation to them.
    Indeed it’s an ok reason for the whole subject and resoning of divorce I think.

  9. JamesB says:

    Reasoning that was.

  10. troy says:

    The findings point to a shift from traditional arrangements where a father would see their children every second weekend, to agreements with more paternal involvement.

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