Divorce and Disengagement: Patterns of Fatherhood Within and Beyond Marriage


138 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 1-895686-23-7
DDC 306.874'2





Robert B. MacIntyre is head of the Psychoeducational Clinic at the
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.


This is a timely and interesting book. The author combines new data
about the experience of fathers in the separation and divorce process
with his own reflections on that process. Certainly the issue of absent
fathers is an important one in the present psychological and social work
literature. The general cultural notion that men do not strongly bond to
their children and easily “desert” them after divorce is widely
held. Perhaps the most interesting idea in the book is the suggestion
that those fathers who are the most connected to their children may be
the ones least able to maintain a “visiting parent” role. These men
expressed the pain they felt in that role and the thought that their
children might be better off not being part of a continuing parental
control struggle. Although the sample sizes are small, the words of the
fathers are compelling evidence that, for some at least, the pattern of
prescribed visitation and parenting rights becomes painfully
unsustainable. The author includes an important chapter on our current
family law and the effects it has on the worsening of a couple’s
relationship and the disengagement of fathers from their children. He
points out that, if his sample is representative, and if more young men
are currently bonding with their children, we may expect to see an even
higher proportion of “disengaged” post-divorce fathers. This book
provides material for thought for those going through family breakup,
for counselors dealing with them, and for those engaged in social
planning through legislation and legal decisions.


Kruk, Edward., “Divorce and Disengagement: Patterns of Fatherhood Within and Beyond Marriage,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed November 28, 2023, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/6843.