In the UK large numbers of children are not growing up living with both their parents, and separation is affecting them at younger ages. However, there is little research on the extent to which a father’s contact post-separation represents a continuation of his pre-separation involvement in the child’s life, and none that uses nationally representative data with parenting measured before and contact measured after separation.
Researchers Tina Haux, Lucinda Platt and Rachel Rosenberg exploit a longitudinal nationally representative data set of children born in the UK in 2000-2001 to uniquely address the links between pre-separation fathering and post-separation contact.
They find a positive association between more involved fathering prior to separation and more frequent contact after a split, though there is some variation according to the parenting measure and the type of contact outcome. They also find that time since separation decreases contact, while those who separate when their child is older have higher levels of contact, other things being equal.
Download the full paper here.