With mother, with father or shared residence?
Individual changes in residential arrangements for children of parents living apart
This report presents tables describing individual changes in how parents not living together organize the residential arrangement for their children, whether the residential arrangement has changed since the parents split up, and, if so, what kind of changes that took place. The analyses are based on the survey Contact and residential arrangements 2012 conducted by Statistics Norway and on information about the youngest child in the relation. The tables distinguish between three types of residential arrangements, mother sole custody, father sole custody, or shared residence, i.e. shared physical and judicial custody for their child. The child lives approximately equal time with each parent, and the parents take care of the child equally much.
Among parents living apart in Norway in 2012, 66 per cent had mother sole custody, 8 per cent father sole custody, and, 25 per cent had shared residence for their child. If the parents earlier had decided on mother sole custody, 92 per cent still had this arrangement at the time of the survey. Among those who decided on shared residence, 83 per cent still had shared residence when they were interviewed, and, among those who decided to let the child live with the father only, 71 per cent still had father sole custody when interviewed. Thus, mother sole custody seems to be the most stable residential arrangement.
Whereas 78 per cent of the not employed fathers reported that they practised mother sole custody from they split with the mother till the time of interview, this was the case for 55 per cent of those employed. Among the mothers, the difference between the not employed and the employed was not that high. 72 per cent of the not employed reported that they had mother sole custody all the way, 67 per cent of the employed.
Among mothers who were employed, the percentage reporting that they had a stable mother sole custody arrangement for the child is higher the less the mother works. 75 per cent of the mothers working part time (30 hours or less per week) when interviewed, reported that they had mother sole custody from the split up to the time of the interview. The same was true for 67 per cent of those working approximately full time (31-40 hours per week), and 58 per cent of those working more than full time (41 hours or more per week). The percentages of mothers who reported that they had shared residence for their child all the time after the split were 13 per cent for those working part time, 21 per cent for those working approximately full time, and, 26 per cent for those working more than full time. Among those mothers working the longest hours 5 per cent had changed residential arrangement, from mother sole custody to shared residence. However, about the same percentage (4 per cent) had changed the other way, from shared residence to mother sole custody.
Conflicts among parents may impede maintaining shared residence. Among parents who earlier had shared residence for their child, and who reported that they had conflicts with their ex partner “to a great degree” or “to a certain degree” at the time of the survey, the percentage that still had shared residence for their child at the time of the interview was somewhat lower (76 per cent) than among those with less conflicts (84-85 per cent). In most cases the changes were made from shared residence to mother sole custody.
Among the same group of parents (those who earlier had shared residence for the child), mothers and fathers who were single at the time of the interview more often had shared residence for their child at the time of interview, than mothers and fathers who lived with a new partner. Shared residence seems to be a more stable residential arrangement when the parents stay single, than when they have a new partner.