Taking a longer view of contact: Perspectives of young adults who experienced parental separation

This recently completed empirical study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, fills a significant research gap. It makes an important contribution to our knowledge of how the contact arrangements made by separating parents for their children affect children’s long-term relationships with their parents throughout their childhood and then into adulthood. Based on a survey of just under 400 young adults, plus in-depth interviews with 50, it elucidates what features of contact arrangements work and do not work for children - both in the long and short term.  

The report of the research, published in November 2012 by the Sussex Law School was authored by Emeritus Professor Jane Fortin and Dr Lesley Scanlan, of Sussex University and Joan Hunt, University of Oxford. Its publication is timely, given the government’s recent announcement of its intention to introduce new legislation designed to change the courts’ approach to parental contact disputes. The report’s findings suggest that the government’s plans, although well-intentioned, are misguided.