From living apart to living together: The impact of women's children born before the current partnership

Helga de Valk, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI-KNAW)
Clara Mulder, University of Groningen, Population Research Centre
Roselinde van der Wiel, University of Groningen

The development of new partner relationships by single mothers has an undeniable effect on the wellbeing of both mother and children. Using wave 1-4 from the Netherlands Kinship Panel Study, event history analysis was performed to examine the effect of the presence of children born before the current partnership on women’s likelihood of making the transition from living-apart-together (LAT) to co-residence. We found that women with pre-partnership children were relatively unlikely to transition to co-residence with their current LAT partner, compared to childless women. Separated mothers were significantly different from childless women who had previously been in a co-residential union. Widowed mothers and mothers after out-of-union childbearing were estimated to be even less likely to transition to co-residence. The presence of children on the male partner’s side was not found to affect the likelihood of a transition to co-residence. Women’s age and the duration of the partnership were particularly influential in the transition. The results underline the influence of motherhood and partnership history on the development of later partnerships, and the different response of men and women to a partner with children. Considering that many men and women, with and without children, experience the separation from a partner at least once in their life, living-apart-together may offer an alternative to co-residence to a growing number of people.

Presented in Session 121: Union Formation