Research consistently finds that divorced mothers with full-time residential children exhibit lower repartnering rates than mothers whose children also stay with their ex-partners. Yet the selectivity of mothers who take up sole physical custody could have biased the estimations. Using data from the Divorce-in-Flanders study (N = 959), the authors model mothers' heterogeneity in the uptaking of sole physical custody as a factor influencing repartnering. They find that failure to account for the endogeneity of sole physical custody leads to a large underestimation of its effect on repartnering. Accounting for its endogeneity, sole physical custody reduced the mother's repartnering rate by 63%, whereas this was just 33% according to the naïve estimate. The results suggest that mothers with full-time residential children are disproportionally selected among those who have better chances of repartnering but that sole physical custody itself acts as an important impediment to stepfamily formation following divorce.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-890
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

    Research areas

  • child custody, divorce, family research, policy, remarriage, stepfamilies

ID: 29768886