What is a good post-separation relationship? The perspectives of Australian parents

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Socio-legal research has established the importance of a ‘good’ post-separation parental relationship; however there is little work addressing the definitions and experiences of parents themselves. Thus, we have few insights into how socio-legal expectations align with those of separated parents. This paper draws on interview data from 27 separated Australian parents to explore the question: how do parents define a good post-separation parental relationship? Our analysis indicated a typology of three relationships: allied, arm’s length and autonomous relationships. These were differentiated by parents’ emotional connection, practical interdependence and deliberate co-operation in caring for their children. They shared in common parents’ focus on the wellbeing of children, which both motivated parents’ on-going connection and informed their definition of a good post-separation relationship with their former partner. Our findings indicate an alignment between socio-legal expectations of good relationships and those of parents, albeit in sometimes unexpected forms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-187
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Social Welfare and Family Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2019


  • Co-parenting
  • divorce
  • post-divorce parenting
  • post-separation parenting
  • separation
  • shared parenting


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