Similarities and differences in the experiences of non-resident mothers and non-resident fathers

Sandra Kielty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


This article reviews the available literature to give an overview of what is currently known about the situations and experiences of mothers who become the non-resident parent post-separation/divorce. Comparisons are made with non-resident father literature where possible in order to explore the similarities and differences in women and men’s experience of parenthood across households. The principal question explored is: to what extent do the experiences of non-resident parents relate primarily to gender, or to their status (as non-resident parent), or a combination of the two? Findings indicate that there are many similarities in women and men’s experience regarding the difficulties they each encounter when parenting at a distance. However, dominant cultural norms, which indicate that mothers should be co-resident with children, make the experience of non-resident motherhood a different psychosocial phenomenon from non-resident fatherhood. It is argued that more information is needed regarding the distinct experiences of both mothers and fathers if there is to be a more comprehensive understanding of non-residential parenting. Also, the steady rise in the number of non-resident mothers suggests a need for further investigation of parental role-reversal post-divorce parenting arrangements. Specifically how this type of arrangement impacts upon child welfare and whether this type of post-divorce parenting arrangement is acceptable to men and women as individuals and also to society in general.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-94
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Law, Policy and the Family
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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