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The Dispute Resolution
Training and Membership Specialists

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Parenting Arrangements After Separation

Parenting Arrangements after Separation

The Australian Institute of Family Studies released a report based on a study of 6,000 separated parents 18 months after separation in October 2019.

The information in the report may be interested for members who are working as Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners and possibly our Family Group Conference Facilitator Members.

You can download the report here.

Key report findings:

  • About 3% of separated parents use courts as their main pathway to making parenting arrangements (based on a sample of about 6000 separated parents about 18 months after separation). These are predominantly families affected by family violence, child safety concerns and other complex issues.
  • Most (97%) separated parents do not go to court to decide their parenting arrangements, although 16% use family dispute resolution services or lawyers.
  • A study based on court files shows that in both court and non-court ordered arrangements, it is most common for children to spend the majority of their time with their mother and to see their father regularly.
  • In the small proportion of cases determined by a judge, 45% of court orders provide for sole parental responsibility by the mother, and 11% for sole parental responsibility by the father.
  • Orders for no contact with one parent are rare: 3% of all court orders.

There are two 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%).

Read more on the AIFS Website

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