Post-Separation Visitation Disputes: Differential Interventions

BACKGROUND PAPER

(2001-FCY-6)

BACKGROUND

The number of children challenged by the process of separation and divorce is growing. In 1997, Statistics Canada reported that approximately 50,000 children experienced parental separation and divorce annually. However, these figures exclude children of separated couples or dissolved common law unions. Findings from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (1995) demonstrated that between 1991 and 1994, the number of children living with a lone parent increased 19 percent to just under 1.8 million.(1)

The same conclusion can be drawn from population-based studies in the United States, Britain and Australia. For example, in the United States, the number of children affected by their parents' divorce varied between 1 and 1.2 million during the years from 1972 to 1990. Of the children involved, 16.8 per 1,000 were under the age of 18. (2) In England and Wales, the number of divorces doubled over the last two decades and 25 percent of children under the age of 16 will experience their parents' divorce in any given year (Walker and Hornick, 1996). In Australia, 51,742 children under the age of 18 experienced the divorce of their parents in 1997 (Strategic Partners Pty, 1998).

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