Past child support research has largely focused on cash payments made through the courts (formal support) or given directly to the mother (informal support) almost to the exclusion of a third type: non-cash goods (in-kind support). Drawing on repeated, semistructured interviews with nearly 400 low-income noncustodial fathers, the authors found that in-kind support constitutes about one quarter of total support. Children in receipt of some in-kind support receive, on average, $60 per month worth of goods. Multilevel regression analyses demonstrated that children who are younger and have more hours of visitation as well as those whose father has a high school education and no current substance abuse problem receive in-kind support of greater value. Yet children whose fathers lack stable employment or are Black receive a greater proportion of their total support in kind. A subsequent qualitative analysis revealed that fathers' logic for providing in-kind support is primarily relational and not financial.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Child support
- Family policy-child-related
- Low-income families
- Noncustodial parents