Monash University
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Financial outcomes for parents after separation

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-05-05, 01:11 authored by Silvey, Jerry, Birrell, Bob
Jerry Silvey conducts research for the Child Support Agency, Canberra and Bob Birrell is Reader in Sociology and Director of the Centre for Population and Urban Research, Monash University. This article examines the financial circumstances of separated parents who were registrants of the Australian Child Support Agency (CSA) at the time of separation (in 1997) and who remained registrants until at least 2001. The data facilitate a unique longitudinal analysis of matched separated couples over the crucial early years of their separation. The men in question were predominantly on low incomes some one to two years prior to registering with 45 per cent earning less than $15,600 per annum. Their situation did not change much between 1997 and 2001. Over these four years slightly more men moved out of this low income category than moved into it. Conversely movements in income for those men earning more than $15,600 appear to be in line with working age men in the general population. These findings do not confirm the suppositions of those who believe significant numbers of CSA registrants seek to evade their obligations by reducing their engagement in the labour market after separation. Indeed this evidence supports other research suggesting that poverty or ongoing financial pressures are driving separation. This issue of a high percentage of men remaining on low incomes after separation has been recently responded to by government in a new initiative targeting newly separated and unemployed non-resident parents. Most mothers of their children are low income recipients at the time of the separation and remain so four years later. Their average incomes are under $15,600 per annum irrespective of the income of the fathers. Because of the predominantly low income of the paying fathers, their CSA liabilities are low and as a result do not add significantly to the mother’s income. Copyright. Monash University and the author/s


Date originally published



People and place, vol. 12, no. 1 (2004), p. 45-56. ISSN 1039-4788

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