To provide a context for discussion of father engagement when parents separate or divorce, this chapter begins with three brief sections summarizing research on married and cohabiting couples. A burgeoning literature indicates that fathers play an important role in their children's development, a role that is often quite different than that of mothers. Further, a plethora of recent studies show that when parents have high levels of unresolved conflict, or cold and withdrawn relationships, their children are at risk for behavioral, social, and emotional symptoms, as well as difficulties meeting academic challenges in school. After developing and summarizing these studies as relevant background, some central issues of father involvement when couple relationships dissolve but co-parenting obligations continue will be considered: Dilemmas about continuing a collaborative co-parenting relationship even though the partners are in conflict with each other; and Special problems of father involvement associated with maternal gatekeeping and establishing overnights with children. Finally, an evidence-based intervention designed to support and enhance father involvement prior to separation and divorce is described, with suggestions about how it could be adapted for separating and divorcing couples. (Author abstract)
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