Research Clusters

Separated and Divorced Fathers

Led by Dr. Edward Kruk, School of Social Work and Family Studies, University of British Columbia. Based in Vancouver and Vancouver Island

Focus: To understand the legal, emotional, and parenting issues faced by separated and divorced fathers and how those issues can affect father/child relationships.

Published Articles Based on this Project

Kruk, E. (2010). Parental and social institutional responsibilities to children's needs in the divorce transition: Fathers' perspectives. The Journal of Men's Studies, 18(2), 159-178.

Kruk, E. (2008). Child custody, access and parental responsibility: The search for a just and equitable standard. Father Involvement Research Alliance


Project Description

Divorce and separation have a profound affect on families in general and on father involvement in particular. Moreover, few issues relating to father involvement are more controversial than those having to do with fathers' rights and responsibilities after divorce and separation.

This cluster of the Father Involvement Research Alliance interviewed 82 separated and divorced fathers, using a grounded theory analysis to understand their experiences of separation and divorce and its effect on fathering, father/child relationships and fathers' well-being after divorce. The majority of subjects (70%) were non-custodial fathers including some who had little or no contact with their children. Other post-divorce situations such as sole paternal custody and shared parenting were represented in the sample as well.

Interviews covered various areas relevant to the needs and concerns of fathers who encounter difficulties after divorce and separation. This includes legal issues, fathers' perceptions of their children's needs and their own post-divorce parenting responsibilities and rights, and ways in which our current system of divorce might be changed in order to better balance the needs and aspirations of fathers, mothers and children.

The Partnership: University-based researchers worked with community-based professionals and voluntary associations of separated and divorced fathers to shape the investigation and recruit subjects. The professionals who were involved provide services such as counselling, support groups or educational resources to separated and divorced fathers. All partners have worked together as advocates for sustaining father involvement after separation and divorce. These partners are: Catholic Family Services, Vancouver (Roy MacIntyre, MSW), BC Men's Resource Centre (Jerry Arthur-Wong, Ph.D. Director), and Nanaimo Men's Resource Centre (Theo Boere, Director). Dr. Kruk supervises students participating in the project.

Executive Summary (Father Involvement Community Research Forum Spring 2006 - Early Results)
Authored by Edward Kruk. A summary of research into factors relating to parenting by separated and divorced fathers. Summary includes an overview of both quantitative and qualitative findings, as well as potential implications for post-divorce father involvement. 

Related Articles

Kruk, E. (2005). Shared parental responsibility: A harm reduction-based approach to divorce law reform. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 43(3-4), 119-140.This article by Edward Kruk selectively reviews divorce research from 2000-2005, a period during which important new data on children, families and divorce appeared. These data support an approach to post divorce parenting based on reducing the harms attendant to divorce for children and parents, parental equality and family autonomy

Whitehead, D.L. and Bala, N. (2012). The Short End of the Stick? Fatherhood in the wake of divorce and separation. In Ball, J., & Daly, K. J. (Eds.). Father Involvement in Canada: Diversity, Renewal, and Transformation (pp. 149-170). Vancouver, BC: UBC Press.

Whitehead, D. L. (2010). Divorcing parenting from child support: Justice and care in the discourse of the rights and responsibilities of shared custody. Fathering: A Journal of Theory, Research, and Practice about Men as Fathers, 8(2), 147-162.


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