Initial research findings: the typical levels of parental involvement where post-separation parenting is resolved by court order

Maebh Harding, Annika Newnham

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Abstract

This case file study explored the typical patterns of parental involvement in postseparation parenting arrangements finalised by court order. It is estimated that 9-13% of parents resort to court to arrange their post break down parenting patterns (A Blackwell & F Dawe, Non-Resident Parental Contact (Office for National Statistics, 2003) at p39). We selected five County Courts (which we code-named Ambledune, Borgate, Cladford, Dunam and Esseborne), and looked at 197 case files which began as applications for a Section 8 Order and were recorded as ending in a final order between February and August 2011. The purpose of this selection was not to achieve generalizable results but rather to ensure that we encountered as many of the different types of issues that affect the use of contact and residence orders as possible. As current policy is to divert as many cases as possible away from court it is important to understand how cases that reached court were handled during this period.

In 174 cases (88%), the parties to the dispute were the two parents. In 23 ‘non-parent’ cases (12%), one party was either a relative or, in one case, a neighbour and long-standing family friend. This article will focus on our findings in relation to the 174 parent versus parent cases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)672-675
JournalFamily Law
Volume44
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

Keywords

  • parents
  • participation
  • court orders
  • case records
  • family law
  • separated parents
  • contact

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