Family Trajectories after Divorce: Patterns and Predictors in Germany

Lisa Schmid, University of Cologne, Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology
Sergi Vidal, Centre for Demographic Studies

Divorce rate trends have been an important driver of the diversification of contemporary family landscapes in post-industrial societies, including increasing numbers of lone-parent and step-family arrangements. Despite the enduring importance of non-intact family arrangements to explain the consequences of divorce for adults and children, the heterogeneity in family life courses and the nature and stability of specific family patterns after divorce remains understudied. Adopting a trajectory-based approach to the study post-marital life courses, this research provides answers to the questions: What are the typical family trajectories after divorce? And, what are the conditions and circumstances during marriage that lead to specific family trajectories after divorce? We draw a sample of 1,048 first-marriage divorcees from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP, 1984-2015) and follow their post-marital trajectories of combined partnership and parenthood episodes for 60 months since divorce. To gather evidence of heterogeneity in post-divorce trajectories, we employ sequence analysis methods and cluster analysis. To examine the nature of post-divorce trajectories, we employ discrete-time event history analysis for multinomial outcomes using first-time married respondents (who do not divorce) as a censoring group and typical predictors of divorce. Findings from our study will enable us to better understand post-marital life courses, which have important implications for the study of the effects of divorce.

Presented in Session 71: Post-Separation Life Courses