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When fathers lose touch with their children after a separation

Population and Societies

500, May 2013

Many fathers rarely see their children after a separation, and some lose touch altogether. How many children are concerned? Analysing data from the French version of the Generations and Gender Survey (Étude des relations familiales et intergénérationnelles, ERFI), Arnaud Régnier-Loilier studies the frequency of this loss of contact between fathers and their children, and the circumstances in which it occurs.
According to the 2005 ERFI survey, almost one in ten under-age children whose parents are separated never see their father. The younger the child at the time of parental separation, the less frequently he or she subsequently sees his father. The proportion of children who never see their father is high when the divorce was not by mutual consent but initiated by either the mother or the father only. It is also higher when the father has a low level of education, has an unstable job or is unemployed, or has a low income. Loss of contact between father and child is less frequent in cases of alternating residence.

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