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‘It should be a big responsibility’: Separated low-income mothers’ evaluation of child support arrangements and the conduct of fathers
journal contributionposted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Hayley MckenzieHayley Mckenzie, K Cook
The Australian Child Support Scheme was established as a means of ensuring adequate financial support for children of separated parents. However, within the financial transfer of child support exist notions of ‘trust’ and ‘fairness’ based on parents navigating their changed relationship post-separation. Previous research has explored the assessment and outcomes of child support for both payee and payer parents, however little attention has been given to how women evaluate the assessment and outcomes of child support. As such, this research aimed to explore payee mothers’ evaluation of their child support experiences based on the value of their child support assessment and the extent to which these payments were received. Following the methods of constructivist grounded theory, in-depth interviews were conducted with 20 low-income single mothers. Analysis revealed that payee mothers evaluated child support based on the moral assumptions and the rationalities they perceived were underlying payer fathers’ child support compliance. While payee mothers desired arrangements that reflected joint parental financial responsibility, in reality many experienced problematic child support payments, which may ultimately undermine payee parents’ confidence in the Child Support Scheme.