Chat-room, divorced fathers, non-residential fathers, child support, family court


This study uses postings by divorced fathers to an unmoderated Internet chat room to sound and analyze their voices. The findings show that the posters expressed an acute sense of powerlessness with respect to their status as non-residential fathers, the imposition of child support, the mothers of their children, the family courts, and lawyers and helping professionals. Although most of their grievances have already been reported in the literature on non-custodial post-divorce parenting, the anonymous postings allow us to hear an intensity of feeling that comes through much more faintly in studies based on interviews or focus groups. Since the posters seem to be a particularly aggrieved and angry group of men who are unlikely to seek professional counseling, the authors suggest professional intervention via the Internet. The challenges that chat room data poses to research are noted.

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