Volume 32 - Article 31 | Pages 859–872 Author has provided data and code for replicating results

Post-divorce family trajectories of men and women in Flanders

By Sofie Vanassche, Martine Corijn, Koen Matthijs

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter


Date received:03 Jun 2014
Date published:07 May 2015
Word count:2427
Keywords:childbearing, divorce, repartnering, stepparenthood
Additional files:readme.32-31 (text file, 1 kB)
 demographic-research.32-31 (zip file, 137 kB)


Background: Most studies investigating family life after a separation or divorce focus on single or competing events or transitions. Despite the growing popularity of the life-course perspective, few studies have given an overview of the sequence and timing of various post-divorce partner and parenthood trajectories.

Objective: In this study we apply the technique of sequence analysis to describe the complete post-divorce partner and parenthood trajectory of divorced men and women in the first seven years following residential separation from their spouses.

Methods: We use data from Divorce in Flanders, based upon a representative sample of first marriages drawn from the National Register. Our research sample consists of 1,530 men and 1,762 women who had been divorced for at least seven years at the time of interview. Ward’s method is used as a clustering method.

Results: A large proportion of divorced men and women remain single or outside a union, and make no partner or parenthood transition at all. However, we identified eight patterns of post-divorce partner trajectory and eight patterns of post-divorce parenthood trajectory. These trajectories differ from each other in the occurrence, the order, and the timing of specific partner and parenthood transitions.

Conclusions: Our results do not suggest complete de-standardization of the post-divorce family trajectories of men and women, but do suggest a substantial heterogeneity in post-divorce family life. This heterogeneity is often ignored or hidden by focusing on single events or family transitions.

Author's Affiliation

Sofie Vanassche - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium [Email]
Martine Corijn - Studiedienst van de Vlaamse Regering, Belgium [Email]
Koen Matthijs - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Traditional and modern cohabitation in Latin America: A comparative typology
Volume 32 - Article 32

» Rivalry, solidarity, and longevity among siblings: A life course approach to the impact of sibship composition and birth order on later life mortality risk, Antwerp (1846-1920)
Volume 31 - Article 38

» Characteristics of joint physical custody families in Flanders
Volume 28 - Article 29

» Post-divorce custody arrangements and binuclear family structures of Flemish adolescents
Volume 28 - Article 15

» Family size and intergenerational social mobility during the fertility transition: Evidence of resource dilution from the city of Antwerp in nineteenth century Belgium
Volume 24 - Article 14

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Recent trends in the Chinese family: National estimates from 1990 to 2010
Volume 44 - Article 25    | Keywords: childbearing, divorce

» Introduction to the Special Collection on Separation, Divorce, Repartnering, and Remarriage around the World
Volume 37 - Article 38    | Keywords: divorce, repartnering

» The change in single mothers’ educational gradient over time in Spain
Volume 36 - Article 61    | Keywords: divorce, repartnering

» A reflection on the changing dynamics of union formation and dissolution
Volume 36 - Article 12    | Keywords: divorce, repartnering

» Demographic trends in Sweden: Childbearing developments in 1961-2000, marriage and divorce developments in 1971-1999
Volume 5 - Article 3    | Keywords: childbearing, divorce