Father-child relations after divorce in four European countries: Patterns and determinants

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Using nationally representative data on secondary school children in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden, this study describes the relationships that children have with their fathers after divorce. Differences in the post-divorce relationship are explained in terms of demographic factors, socioeconomic factors, and contextual differences (between countries and between immigrants and natives). The focus is on living arrangements after divorce, the amount of contact with the father, and the perceived quality of the relationship. Many children have at least weekly contact with their father but one in six children never see their father at all. Fathers in high-status families are more highly involved in the child’s life after divorce than fathers in low-status families. A mother’s employment also has a positive effect on the post-divorce relationship with the father. Co-parenting is most common in Sweden. Post-divorce relationships are also strongest in Sweden and relatively weak in Germany. Immigrant children see their fathers less often after divorce than native children. In the second generation, children of mixed marriages in particular tend to have little contact with the father.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-276
JournalComparative Population Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • SSCI
  • divorce
  • fatherhood
  • children
  • parent-child relations
  • immigrants


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