Child Support and Father-Child Contact In Fragile Families

Publication Year
2007

Type

Journal Article
Abstract

I use three waves of panel data to examine the relationship between child support payments and fathers' contact with their nonmarital children. I disaggregate support into fathers' formal and informal payments and incorporate cross-lagged effects models to identify the direction of causality between payments and contact. After including the behavior from the prior wave (lagged term) and a rich set of family characteristics, I find a marginally significant effect of paying formally at Time 1 on the likelihood of contact at Time 2 but no effect of contact at Time 1 on formal payments at Time 2. In the first examination of the relationship between informal support and father-child contact, I find a strong, positive reciprocal relationship between the likelihood and frequency of father-child contact and the likelihood and amount of informal support, with slightly stronger and more consistent effects of contact on payments than of payments on contact. Support for this research was provided by a grant (R01-HD-35301) from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. I gratefully acknowledge Irv Gar nkel, Marcy Carlson, Julien Teitler, and Nancy Reichman for their ideas, suggestions, and encouragement. I also thank several external reviewers and the editors for their helpful comments.

Journal
Demography
Volume
44
Issue
1
Pages
93-112
Call Number
2004-12-FF