Recent trends in union formation and parenthood after separation or divorce in Europe

Jeroen J. A. Spijker, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Carles Simó, University of Valencia
Montse Solsona, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Over the last three decades, Europe has experienced both diverging and converging social and political changes among European countries that have had an effect on both temporal and structural divorce patterns and post-divorce trajectories. For instance, several southern European countries underwent important legislative modifications regarding divorce (including its legalisation) as well as (or perhaps due to) social and cultural transformations, including the weakening of the traditional family and socially acceptance of divorce, a process that took place in northern Europe several decades earlier. In contrast, most central and eastern European countries endured a period of political, economic and social upheaval from the late 1980s until well into the 1990s. Nevertheless, despite an international convergence in family law and attitudes towards divorce in Europe, country differences in post-divorce repartnering and parenthood still exist today. The goal of this study, therefore, is to describe recent trends in divorce and separation, repartnering and new parenthood whereby gender differences are emphasised. In addition, we discuss whether one could speak of different divorce systems and post-divorce trajectories in Europe. The data that are used come from Eurostat, national statistics institutes and the Fertility and Family Survey.

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Presented in Session 4: Dynamics of remarriage and stepfamilies