Children’s residence after separation and parents’ reports of their child’s progress at school: Do children’s living arrangements matter?

Young people and wellbeing
Thursday 26 July, 1340 – 1400


Dr Alex Masardo
University of Gloucestershire

In many western countries, shared-time parenting after separation — where children spend equal or near-equal time with each parent — is emerging as a new family form. Yet many areas of family policy remain predicated on the notion of a “primary carer” model of post-separation family life, where one parent —predominantly but by no means exclusively the mother — takes on the primary responsibility for the care and upbringing of the child. In this article, we explore children’s living arrangements (mother residence, father residence, equal-time arrangements) and parents’ reports of how their child is doing at school or formal early years education/child care.

This paper draws on data (n=5,046) from a large cross-sequential Australian study of post-separation parenting arrangements and child outcomes (including progress at school). A subset of the data also include 1,000 ex-couple dyads (n=2,000 individuals). Implications for policy and practice are briefly examined.