Skip navigation
The Australian National University

Shared Parenting after Separation Study

Information for respondents

Dr Bruce Smyth and colleagues are conducting a study of parents’ experiences of and views about different post-separation parenting arrangements - including shared-time arrangements.

In Australia, shared-time parenting after parental separation – where children spend equal or near-equal amounts of time with each parent – is emerging as a new family form. This study is exploring shared-time arrangements and other patterns of care to see how different post-separation parenting arrangements are working for children and parents. A particular focus of the study is to understand how families make equal or near-equal shared-time arrangements ‘work’.

In 2013, computer-assisted telephone interviews were conducted with a random sample of 780 separated parents from around Australia. In the next and final phase of the fieldwork, separated parents with different parenting arrangements will be interviewed in focus groups (comprising 6–8 participants of the same gender in each group). The groups will be conducted in Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide in the first half of 2015. The study is due to be completed by March 2016.

This research is funded by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship project.

Further information about the study can be obtained from Dr Bruce Smyth (freecall: 1800 702 927) or Bruce.Smyth@anu.edu.au

Information for respondents

Questions & Answers

About the study
Who is conducting the research?
Who is funding the study?
What are the aims of the study?
Who has been invited to participate in the survey?
Who will be in the focus groups?
Where will focus groups be held, and how long will the focus group discussions take?
Is there any help with transport or childcare costs?
Is participation voluntary?
Is my information treated as confidential?
How do we ensure your privacy is protected?
Why participate?
Where can I get more information about the study?

About the study

Making decisions about children’s living arrangements after divorce can be challenging. The Shared Parenting after Separation Study explores parents’ experiences of and views about different post-separation parenting arrangements to see how different arrangements work for children and parents.

Who is conducting the research?

Associate Professor Bruce Smyth is the Chief Investigator. Professor Bryan Rodgers, Dr Vu Son, and Shelby Higgs, are also involved in the study. All of these investigators are based at the School of Demography (formerly the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute (ADSRI)) at the Australian National University, Canberra. Dr Alex Masardo (University of Bath, England) is also involved in the study.

Who is funding the study?

This study is funded by the Australian Research Council (Grant No. FF110100757).

What are the aims of the study?

The study seeks to understand how different post-separation parenting arrangements are working for children and parents, and how families with equal or near-equal shared-time arrangements, in particular, make these arrangements ‘work’.

Who has been invited to participate in the focus groups?

Separated parents with at least one dependent child have been invited to participate. Parents are being recruited from family relationship support services (eg, mediation services), fathers and mothers groups, and from other sources. 

Who will be in the focus groups?

Each focus group will comprise 6–8 separated parents with a particular parenting arrangement (eg, where children spend approximately equal amounts of time with each parent, or most of their time in the care of one parent). Focus group participants will be of the same gender in each group. Separated parents are being recruited from family relationship support services (eg, mediation services), fathers and mothers support groups, and from other sources. 

Where will focus groups be held, and how long will the focus group discussions take?

Interviews will be conducted at an organisation with focus group facilities. Organisations are located at easily accessible locations in the CBD area of each capital city (eg, at an organisation that specialises in family relationship support services, or research institute). The focus groups are expected to last between 1.5 and 2 hours in length. Only one interview will be required of each participant.

Is there any help with transport or childcare costs?

Each focus group member will receive $40 to help cover the cost of transport and childcare expenses.

Is participation voluntary?

Participation in this project is voluntary. Participants may, without any penalty, decline to take part or withdraw from the research at any time without providing an explanation, or refuse to answer a question.  Requests to withdraw from the study should be made by 1 September 2015. Because identifying comments by individuals in focus groups can be difficult, if you choose to withdraw, isolating and destroying your individual contribution may be impossible – though every effort will be made to do so.

Is my information treated as confidential?

All information will be treated in strict confidence as far as allowed by law.  Focus group data will not contain names or addresses or other readily interpretable identifiers. Participants’ responses will be de-identified prior to data analysis. Focus group members will be asked to maintain the confidentiality of group discussions, and to refrain from making statements of a confidential nature or that are defamatory of any person.

How do we ensure your privacy is protected?

We are bound by the provisions of the Commonwealth Privacy Act, as amended in December 2001. All focus group data and any personal information will be stored in a secure office at the Australian National University on a password-protected computer.

Why participate?

It is important that a broad spectrum of separated parents participate in this research. The study aims to help improve the family law system, and ultimately the lives of children and parents.

Where can I get more information about the study?

If you would like more information about the study, please contact the Project Manager, Dr Bruce Smyth: freecall 1800 702 927 (business hours) or Bruce.Smyth@anu.edu.au

 

 

 

 

Updated: 30 September 2015/ Responsible Officer:  Head, School of Demography / Page Contact:  Website Administrator