Half Australia's distant dads want to spend far more time with their children. But they blame busy workloads, long distances and hostile mothers for limiting involvement in their children's lives.
And one in four fathers who live apart from their children do not want to spend any extra time with them.
The first national data on part-time dads, by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, shows that 10 per cent of one-year-old children, and 21 per cent of eight and nine-year-olds, do not live with their father.
Of those older children, nearly one in five have never lived with their dad - and in 7 per cent of cases their parents broke up before they were born.
Nearly a third of absent fathers do not pay any child support, the survey shows.