Custody, Access and Child Support: Findings from The National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth

III - WHEN PARENTS SEPARATE: CANADIAN CHILDREN FROM BROKEN FAMILIES AND THE LAW (continued)

Living Arrangements of the Children by Whether or Not A Court Order for Custody Existed

Regardless of whether parents said they had a court order, the data in Table 7 show that the overwhelming majority of children live only with their mothers at the time of separation.

This arrangement is slightly more common where parents said there was no court order: 86 percent of the NLSCY children who were not the subject of a court order lived solely with their mothers at the time of separation.

Table 7: Living Arrangements at Time of Separation for Children of Broken Families, by Whether a Court Order for Custody Exists--NLSCY, Cycle 1, 1994-1995
  Total 1
Living Arrangement Court Order Court Order in
Progress
No Court Order A B
Sole custody of mother 80,8  
Sole custody of father 6,6  
Shared physical custody 12,6  
Child lives with mother only   68,6 80,1 86,1 86,8 84,0
Child lives with father only   10,5 12,1 5,4 7,0 6,8
Shared, mainly mother   7,8 3,3 4,2 2,9 4,3
Shared, mainly father   3,9 2,1 0,9 0,9 1,3
Equally shared   9,2 2,4 3,4 2,5 3,7
Total 100,0 100,0 100,0 100,0 100,0 100,0
N 2 1215 153 331 1730 3276 2214
% 37,1   10,1 52,8 100,0  

Interestingly, most children for whom parents said there was a court order for shared custody in fact lived only with their mothers at the time of the separation. Equally shared physical custody arrangements were reported in only a very small proportion of cases, regardless of whether parents said there was a custody order or not. Less than 2 percent (9 percent of the 13 percent of children for whom a shared physical custody order existed) of children who were covered by court orders for shared physical custody actually shared residences with both parents, while less than 4 percent of children for whom parents said there was no custody order lived under these arrangements.

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