Children’s experiences of ‘home’ after parental separation

Belinda Fehlberg, Kristin Natalier, Bruce Smyth

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper is part of an ongoing Australian project that seeks to explore the meaning of ‘home’ for children in separated families. No prior family law research has done so. This is despite the personal and social significance of home, the reality that most Australian children now move to some degree across two households if parents separate, and increasing emphasis in policy, law and professional practice internationally on listening to children regarding their post-separation living arrangements. Drawing on interviews with 22 children conducted in 2011 as part of a larger qualitative study, we find that home – or its emotional absence – was constituted primarily through relationships. Children felt at home when their relationships with others at the house signalled they belonged, or were welcome in that space. There was no apparent connection between how often a child stayed at a house and whether they experienced that house as a home. This preliminary work suggests the value of further research using a larger sample in which ‘home’ is the focus.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3-21
    Number of pages19
    JournalChild and Family Law Quarterly
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • comparative law
    • domestic relations
    • juveniles


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