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Increasing range of post-divorce parenting arrangement

A recent study in Australia has found that modern parenting schedules post-divorce show a greater sharing of parental responsibilities and richer paternal involvement than previously evident.

The research, led by Dr Bruce Smyth of the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, found that children generally moved between homes two or four times each fortnight, on average.

“This is an important new finding because there have been concerns that children in 50/50 arrangements often move between mum’s and dad’s house in ‘ping-pong’ type arrangements,” Dr Smyth said.

“But 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.

"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.

“We are finding that separated parents are putting in place much more varied, creative and lateral arrangements to spend time with their children than was previously the case.”

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