Low-income, nonresident fathers are often involved in complex coparenting networks that may involve multiple mothers, relatives, and other adults. However, the coparenting literature has often obscured this complexity through limiting attention to father–mother relationships. The current study used family systems theory to examine the effects of fathers’ coparenting with mothers and relatives on fathers’ parenting self-efficacy, father–child closeness, and father–child conflict. Predictors included the number of fathers’ coparenting mothers and relatives, the quality of those coparenting relationships, and coparenting alliances specifically between fathers and the biological mother of a target child. Approximately 19% of a community sample of fathers (N = 401) reported more than 1 mother in their coparenting network, and 63% reported at least 1 relative. Overall, fathers who reported having more-cooperative coparenting relatives in their networks reported higher parenting self-efficacy and father–child closeness. We further noted a race or ethnicity interaction effect for closeness and conflict, such that having more-cooperative coparenting relatives was associated with increased closeness for non-Hispanic Black fathers but not for non-Hispanic White fathers. Amount of cooperation with coparenting relatives was associated with increased conflict for non-Hispanic Black fathers but not for Hispanic fathers. Implications for future research and practice are discussed. Info Only.
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