Engaging fathers in the post-divorce family

Sanford L. Braver, William Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Data we collected in longitudinal and cross-sectional studies of divorcing families provide an empirical basis for understanding the dynamics of divorced fathering. Our findings focus on the difficult circumstances of divorced fathers, rather than on their defective characters. We find that fathers continue visiting and paying at high levels when they perceive that they retain some degree of paternal authority. The loss of this sense of paternal authority appears to occur, in part, because fathers perceive that the legal system and their divorce settlements were unfair to them. We also find that the custodial mother, who sometimes sees little value in the father's involvement, limits the father's role within the post-divorce family. These findings formed the theoretical foundation for an intervention we developed for recently divorced fathers called DADS FOR LIFE. This 8-week program focuses on retraining divorced fathers' attitudes and motivations by teaching them skills to manage conflict with the custodial mother, and giving them parenting tools to use during visitation. We are in the process of a randomized trial to evaluate this program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-267
Number of pages21
JournalMarriage and Family Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 5 2000


  • Divorced fathers
  • Father involvement
  • Parenting skills
  • Paternal authority
  • Post-divorce conflict

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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