Parental beliefs about nonresident fathers' obligations and rights

  • Lin I
  • McLanahan S
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Abstract

The new welfare reform law includes a number of provisions designed to increase the amount of child support paid by nonresident fathers, but little is known about whether stronger child support enforement may create parental conflict. Parental conflict may increase when fathers do not wish to pay or when fathers pay and demand more time with their child but mothers resist these demands. Using seven-city data from the study of Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing, we find that very few parents are opposed to the idea that fathers should have child support obligations and rights to see their child and make decisions about how their child is raised. We also find very few disagreements among couples. However, we do find that nearly 20 percent of mothers object to fathers' rights to make decisions among parents whose romantic relationships have ended. We also find weak evidence that tough enforcement increases the odds that mothers will object to fathers' rights. © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Child support
  • Decision making
  • Gender
  • Nonresident father
  • Visitation

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Authors

  • I. Fen Lin

  • Sara S. McLanahan

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