In Australia, as in other jurisdictions, recent legislation and policy addressing child support was introduced as a response to child poverty in single-parent families. However, there has been very little research conducted on the question of how child support money is used by sole parents. This paper extends current knowledge by exploring how- and indeed, if-child support money is a useful resource in meeting the housing needs of the children of separated parents. The study reports on the findings arising out of in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 33 parents who received child support money. The impact of child support is often limited by three factors: the amounts paid, the circumstances of its payment (and in particular, unreliable payments), and the values guiding its allocation. The paper argues that ultimately, the benefits of child support are constrained because it is a privatised response to gendered, structural inequalities in housing, care and income following separation and divorce.
- Child support
- housing choice