Edith Cowan University
The process of marriage breakdown can be one of the most painful experiences in life (Qu, 2004). The person who initiates the separation is more likely to experience more positive post divorce adjustment than the non-initiator (Wang & Amato, 2000) and is likely to undertake preparation for separation. In Australia, only 32% of men initiated separation in 2003 (Hewitt, Western & Baxter, 2006), it is possible then, that many separated men are ill prepared for mediation. The 2006 Amendments the Family Law Act presumes shared parental responsibility of children and requires that former partners make a genuine attempt to resolve parenting disputes through mediation (Fletcher & Visser, 2008). Even with legislative changes, many fathers continue to lose residential status with their children, and some fathers disappear from their children’s lives (ABS, 2008). This review explores fathers’ typical experience of separation and suggests that fathers may be ill prepared for mediation due to not seeing the separation coming in conjunction with the existing barriers to social support and services.