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Melvin Stephens, Estimating Program Benefits

The Complexity of Fathers' Parenting Responsibilities and Involvement with Nonresident Children

Publication Abstract

Manning, Wendy, Susan Stewart, and Pamela Smock. 2003. "The Complexity of Fathers' Parenting Responsibilities and Involvement with Nonresident Children." Journal of Family Issues, 24(5): 645-667.

Most policies that legislate father involvement with nonresident children treat men as if they have obligations to only one set of children. This paper describes the complexity of nonresident fathers' parenting circumstances and assesses whether and how parenting configurations are associated with the fathers' involvement with nonresident children. We find that nonresident fathers often have parenting obligations within and outside their current residences, and that the complexity of these obligations may result in less economic support to and visitation with nonresident children. Our results suggest that new policy efforts need to recognize the complexity of nonresident fathers' family ties.

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