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Kane, Jennifer Buher; Nelson, Timothy J.; & Edin, Kathryn J. (2015). How Much In-Kind Support Do Low-Income Nonresident Fathers Provide? A Mixed Method Analysis. Journal of Marriage and Family, 77(3), 591-611. PMCID: PMC4452028


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.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Marriage and Family


Kane, Jennifer Buher
Nelson, Timothy J.
Edin, Kathryn J.