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Children With Nonresident Parents: Living Arrangements, Visitation, and Child Support


Department of Sociology, Iowa State University, 107 East Hall, Ames, IA, 50011-1070 (


One third of all children in the United States have a nonresident parent. On the basis of 13,085 children with a nonresident parent drawn from the 1997 National Survey of America's Families, this study examines nonresident mothers' and fathers' involvement (visitation and child support) with children who reside in different household types: single-parent families, married and cohabiting stepfamilies, and families headed by grandparents, other relatives, or nonrelatives. The relationship between children's living arrangements and nonresident parent involvement is complex and depends on both the gender of the nonresident parent and the type of involvement. Because nonresident parent involvement is low regardless of household type, policies and programs designed to increase involvement should include children in a variety of family forms.