Economic theory can be used to explain family behavior and trends in marriage, divorce, births, and child development. This chapter provides an economic perspective to explore questions about why some nonresident fathers withhold financial and emotional support from their children. The economic model includes variables such as the level of consumption by each parent and child, shared and private goods, the amount spent on children, parental cooperation, and differences in spending of fathers and mothers. The text summarizes evidence about trends in child support and visitation and the ability of fathers to provide financial support. According to research, the following factors influence child support payments: father's income, race, remarriage, and mother's income. Visitation depends on the payment of child support, age of the child, maternal education, physical distance, and parental conflict. The chapter also reviews the impact of child support and visitation on child development, paternal employment, and remarriage. More research is needed to discern how child support payments affect a child's academic achievement and to identify techniques for promoting child support among low-income fathers. 60 references and 1 table.
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