When Parents Separate: Further Findings from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth



  • [1]  Throughout the text, unless otherwise clearly indicated, shared custody refers to "physical" custody, with children living part of the time with each parent. No information is available at the NLSCY regarding shared "legal" custody, where parents share responsibility for important decisions about the child without necessarily sharing living arrangements.
  • [2]  Joint custody implies that children's "legal" custody is shared, giving parents joint responsibility for important decisions, such as children's schooling; in some cases of joint custody, parents also share their children's physical custody.
  • [3]  For more information on the NLSCY, please consult the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (Applied Research Branch of Strategic Policy Section) website.
  • [4]  Cohorts included for the first time at Cycle 3.
  • [5]  Except in Prince Edward Island where three-quarters of births are within legal marriage and only 6% of births are to single mothers.
  • [6]  Calculated using the Life Table Method, a mathematical model used to describe lifelong events experienced by a cohort. A key advantage when applied to retrospective data is the possibility of including incomplete life histories of cohort members.
  • [7]  Settled or in progress.
  • [8]  Odds ratios greater than 1 indicates that the category in question increases in the likelihood of the event occurring compared with the reference category, which is always equal to 1; odds ratios below 1 decreases the likelihood. For example, in Table 3.2, children in Quebec are more than twice (2.45 times) as likely to be in shared rather than mother custody than children living elsewhere in Canada.
  • [9]  By Cycle 3, the parents of approximately 400 children organised to share their children's physical custody when they separated.
  • [10]  This data is not presented due to problems of confidentiality with many of the categories.
  • [11]  The "less frequent contact" category includes children with no contact during the previous year; those with no visiting rights were excluded from the analysis.
  • [12]  The same or similar guidelines were adopted in all provinces except Quebec, which designed its own formula. For a comparison, please refer to Chapter 3 of the publication, "Children Come First" (Department of Justice, 2002).
  • [13]  Support payments are more common when children in shared custody are living mainly with their mother.

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