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Father And Mother-Child Custody Statistics In Australia

Charlote Lee

Father And Mother-Child Custody Statistics In Australia

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If you are thinking that after a couple’s divorce in Australia, it is the mother who gets the child’s custody always, then it is not so. In several cases of mother vs father custody disputes, Australian courts evaluate many factors before determining the child’s custody. 

However, if you look at the statistics, it shows that most of the time the children’s custody in the case of couple separation goes to the mothers, the majority of times. It is often the result of a consensual parenting agreement.

Here, we will get to know some of the key statistics and facts that will throw more light on mother vs father-child custody in Australia. Let us also become aware of the belief of the court about the parents when it comes to the case of child custody. Contact Divorce lawyers Perth for your case. 

Divorce In Australia

To understand all about the child custody statistics, it is important that we know all about the prevalence of divorce and separation laws in Australia. Here are the separation or divorce statistics highlighted in Australia:

  • The most important role in relation to divorce in Australia is played by the Family Law Act 1975.
  • After this legislation, the rate of divorces rose in 1980.
  • But in recent decades, divorce rates have reduced.
  • As per the reports, some 30 to 40 years back, 2.7 out of every thousand members divorced every year. This figure of the divorce rate reduced to just 2 people per thousand in 2018.

Australian Institute of Family Studies

Australian Institute of Family Studies conducted a thorough study that resulted in eye-popping results:

  • In the child custody arrangements by the court, 93% of parents share equal parental responsibility.
  • 3% of fathers have no contact with their children.
  • 68% of children live with a single parent and 20% live in blended families.
  • Only 3% of parenting cases go to court and only 6% of the parents go for family dispute resolutions.
  • 10% of children have no contact with one of their parents.
  • 30% of children were separated from their parents for many years. Most of the children were living with a grandparent or other family members.

Child support lawyers Perth are aware of more statistics. Contact them to know more. 

Custody Law in Australia

The Family Law Act 1975 in Australia is the body that lays laws for the custody of children after separation. Under this Act:

  • The courts work for the benefit of children. They prioritize the best interests of the child.
  • The court does not consider that most of the children spend a greater amount of time with their mother or father. The main question that they consider is what is best for the child.
  • The courts also try to find out the child’s views. Child custody lawyer can help ascertain that. 
  • The nature of the child’s relationship with the parent is also considered.
  • Since the law believes that the child has a right to a meaningful relationship with both mother and father, they should be allowed to have a relationship with both of them.
  • The court takes care to protect the children from family violence, harm, and abuse.
  • Most of the time, the Australian court starts with an assumption that it is an equal parental responsibility to rear the child. But in cases where they find family violence and questionable child safety, then the court has to rebut the assumption.
  • If you are thinking about what an equal parenting responsibility means, then it does not mean that the child spends an equal amount of time with both parents. The court considers whether it is in the benefit of the child to spend substantial time with both father and mother.

Mother Vs Father Custody Statistics

As per the 2014 survey, it was found that in most of the cases of custody arrangements for children of separated parents, it was mothers with whom the children spent at least two-thirds of their nights. This statistic may indicate that the children lived with mothers during the school days and lived with their fathers during the weekend.

As per the same survey, it was also inferred that a smaller proportion of less than 20% of children spent every night with their mother and spent day time with their fathers. This is a common arrangement for children under the age of two. It results in a genuinely equal time.

The child gets to spend an equal number of nights with each parent like changing every alternate week. This occurs in fewer parenting arrangements.

It was also seen that 10% of children have no contact with one of their parents and they live entirely with one of the parents.

Parenting Agreements Statistics

Some people think that it is the court that is responsible for making parenting arrangements. The truth is different.

  • Only 3% of separating parents in Australia go to court for the parenting arrangements through the courts. The courts are more involved in the cases like family violence, child safety, mental health, substance abuse, etc.
  • Most of the separating parents use a family dispute resolution or solicitors to reach a conclusion.
  • Just 20% of parenting arrangements are done through these services.
  • So, a wide majority of custody agreements are arranged by parents only without involving the court or the assistance of a solicitor or lawyer.
  • As per the statistics, the courts that are involved in making parenting arrangements, 45% of court order mothers sole parental responsibility and 11% for father sole parental responsibility.
  • When the sole parental responsibility is given to either of the parents, it is rare that the court issues an order that the child will not have contact with one parent.
  • Out of the total 3% of cases going in the court, only 3% result in the orders that the child will have no contact with one parent.
  • In 4% of cases, the court ordered that the child must have contact with one parent under supervision.


As per the Sydney Morning Herald story in 2019, the Federal Circuit Court judge Robyn Sexton said only 3% of fathers do not have the right to see their children, with family violence as the main reason.  Australia’s Family Law Act is gender-neutral and does not favor either party.

What matters the most is to hire the best child lawyers Perth for the best interest of the child and have a meaningful relationship with both of their parents. 

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