The Post-Divorce Nonresident Father-Child Relationship
A Review of Critical Factors and Guidelines for Clinical Practice
In the United States, divorce is estimated to occur in approximately 50% of all marriages. As a result, children are increasingly being exposed to the divorce process and are at increased risk for emotional and behavioral difficulties. The maternal preference for child placement following a divorce is well documented and often places fathers in the role of the nonresidential parent. Parent-child relationships frequently continue after divorce and fathers have been shown to play a critical role in child development. Factors that contribute to the quality of the nonresident father-child relationship are not well understood and the primary interest of this literature review is to highlight the post-divorce critical factors that affect the nonresident father-child relationship. After reviewing the literature, the following critical factors are revealed and discussed: 1) frequency of contact, 2) financial child support, 3) parenting style, 4) nonresident father role transition, and 5) the coparental relationship. Current treatment approaches are reviewed and areas for future research are suggested. In addition, treatment guidelines for enhancing the post-divorce father-child relationship are recommended.