Higher child support doesn’t lead to welfare dependency for single mums

Hayley Fisher, University of Sydney Child support reduces poverty among single mothers in Australia and does not discourage employment or reduce the number of hours worked. My analysis of data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia survey studies how the amount of child support a single mother receives, affects how much she works. Previous research has found that single mums with bigger child support payments worked less than those with lower payments. This is partly due to the formula that determines how much child support should be paid. The formula means that when the non-resident father’s income is higher, child support increases. But if a single mother stops working and the father’s income stays the same, her child support payments increase. The formula directly causes child support to increase if hours of work decrease. My analysis adjusts for this and finds that receiving a higher child support payment leads to an increase in the employment rate o…
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How do you know when it’s time to break up? Here’s the research

Elnur/Shutterstock Veronica Lamarche, University of Essex Christmas may be a time of giving, but it’s also a peak time for break-ups. Facing the prospect of spending yet another festive season with their romantic partner, many people start having doubts about their relationship in the run up to Christmas. This is even the case for marriages, with formal divorce applications tending to peak in January. But knowing whether it is time to break up can be extremely difficult. Should you try harder to make the relationship work, or have you wasted too much energy on it already? Making a list of pros and cons can be one way to decide. A study from 2018 showed that most people are able to produce a list of reasons to stay with or leave their partner. Based on 447 participants’ open-ended responses to questions about their relationship, the researchers were able to identify 27 reasons people want to stay in their relationship. Common reasons to stay included the fulfilment of emoti…
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‘Sham marriages’: why Europe needs to get off its high horse

Mixed marriages are viewed suspiciously by European immigration officers. Wikimedia Commons Apostolos Andrikopoulos, University of Amsterdam “Why do you want to marry a Nigerian?”, a visa officer at a European embassy in Nigeria asked Helen while her partner was interviewed in a nearby room. “I’m asking this more as a father than an officer,” the man added. “Because I love him,” Helen answered. Marriages with non-European nationals, such as that of Helen and her Nigerian partner, are often suspected of being “sham” and subjected to strict controls. For immigration authorities, a “sham marriage” or a “marriage of convenience” is one that’s contracted with the purpose of enabling the migrant spouse to obtain a visa or a residence permit. The officer seemed to accept that Helen and her partner were in a relationship and planned to get married. But he was still doubting the motives of her Nigerian partner. “Do you see that?” he asked Helen, pointing with his finger to a buildi…
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One in four children grow up in a single-parent family – so why is there still a stigma?

Just the two of us. shutterstock /LightField Nicola Carroll, University of Huddersfield Given that one in four children now grow up in one-parent homes and that 42% of marriages end in divorce you might expect prejudice against single parents to be a thing of the past. Yet a 2014 poll found that 75% of single parents had experienced stigma. Indeed, Boris Johnson has recently been confronted about a column he wrote for The Spectator in 1995 which described the children of single mothers as “ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate”. When pressed on the comments by callers on LBC radio, Johnson said this was written before he was in politics. It’s maybe not surprising, then, that mothers who took part in my research interviews described feeling isolated, stigmatised and frustrated with negative stereotypes. In fact, most participants in the study said they wouldn’t tell someone they met for the first time they were a single parent, viewing it as a “label” which they…
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Men feel stressed if their female partners earn more than 40% of household income – new research

Shutterstock/5 second Studio Joanna Syrda, University of Bath The best marriages are probably based on teamwork. But it seems individual contributions do matter – specifically, who earns how much of the household income. My research shows that in, heterosexual couples, men are happier when both partners contribute financially – but much prefer to be the main breadwinners. With stress levels high when they are sole breadwinners, men appear to be more relaxed when their wives or partners earn anything up to 40% of the household income. But their distress levels increase sharply as their spouse’s wages rise beyond that point. And they find it most stressful when they are entirely economically dependent on their partners. The findings are based on an analysis of over 6,000 married or cohabiting heterosexual couples over a period of 15 years. Levels of distress are calculated based on feeling sad, nervous, restless, hopeless, worthless, or that day to day life is an effort. M…
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