The LSAC data provide a unique opportunity to examine parent-child relationships from both parents' and children's perspectives.
Although the main focus is on children from separated families, those from not-separated families are included in some analyses to provide comparisons.
Such arrangements, whereby children spend equal or close to equal time with each parent, are now often referred to as shared care-time arrangements.
While shared parental responsibility and shared care-time are linked in the legislation and are often considered together under the term "shared care", in this chapter, the main focus will be on shared care-time.
This section begins with a discussion of the LSAC measures of care-time arrangements and then provides a preliminary analysis of patterns of care-time arrangements in the LSAC dataset.
In each wave of LSAC data collection, information about the study child has been collected from Parent 1.
This means that a court must make orders for equal shared parental responsibility unless it is shown that such orders would not be in the child's best interests, or that the presumption should not be applied because of issues relating to child abuse or family violence.
However, as the authors noted, parents' levels of satisfaction with their care-time arrangements may colour their assessments of their children's wellbeing.
Although there is a large body of research examining the effects on child wellbeing of fathers' care time after separation, less attention has been given to the links between care time and aspects of parent-child relationships such as enjoyment of time together, particularly in the Australian context.
One Australian study that briefly touched on this topic found that fathers in shared care-time arrangements reported having better quality relationships with their children than those in other care-time arrangements; however, no such differences were found for mothers (Mc Intosh et al., 2010).
Children have an especially difficult time with divorce.
Many times, parents neglect to consider the ramifications of the effects of the divorce on their children.
In the United States, Amato and Gilbreth (1999) argued that frequent interaction between children and their separated parents is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for developing close relationships, and that quality of time spent together is more important than quantity for building and maintaining relationships.