Non-resident fatherhood in Britain: factors affecting contact and the payment of maintenance

Ann Berrington, University of Southampton
Isabel Cobos Hernandez, Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Centre
Roger Ingham, University of Southampton
Jim E. Stevenson, University of Southampton

This work uses data from the 1970 British birth cohort study to quantify the extent to which younger fathers are more likely to be non-resident and to explore, for younger fathers, the factors associated with differential levels of contact and payment of maintenance. Information about cohort members has been collected in a number of survey waves, from birth until they were aged 30. We use a life course framework to examine the way in which parental characteristics and childhood experiences impact on the probability of becoming a young non-resident father. These earlier experiences together with more recent circumstances are then examined for their impact on levels of contact and maintenance among non-resident fathers. Of key interest is the way in which contact and maintenance are affected by the subsequent family formation experiences of both the father and the natural mother of the child. The paper concludes with some policy implications of these findings.

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Presented in Session 15: Partnership dissolution and children