Volume 40 - Article 14 | Pages 359–394

‘Will the one who keeps the children keep the house?’ Residential mobility after divorce by parenthood status and custody arrangements in France

By Giulia Ferrari, Carole Bonnet, Anne Solaz

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Date received:16 Apr 2018
Date published:22 Feb 2019
Word count:7473
Keywords:custody arrangements, divorce, residential mobility, separation


Background: After divorce, at least one of the partners usually relocates and, according to past research, it is more often the woman. Women’s housing conditions are likely to worsen. Divorces where children are involved are frequent and shared custody arrangements are becoming more common in Europe.

Objective: This paper analyses the extent to which residential mobility after divorce is linked to parental status and child custody arrangements in France, a topic that remains largely unstudied. We assess not only the probability of moving but also the distance of the move and changes in housing conditions.

Methods: We apply logistic and linear regressions to different indicators from a recent administrative database, the French Permanent Demographic Sample, 2010–2013, which makes it possible to track divorced people and their households over time.

Results: One year after divorce, women are more likely to move than men, although the gender gap is narrower for parents. While sole custody is associated with fewer moves than noncustody for both sexes, shared custody arrangements imply many more moves for mothers than for fathers. Parents more often move near their previous joint home than nonparents, especially those with shared custody. Housing conditions do not necessarily deteriorate after separation, but women are often disadvantaged compared with men.

Contribution: This paper expands on the current literature in that it addresses changes in residency after separation by including the effects of parental status and child custody arrangements.

Author's Affiliation

Giulia Ferrari - Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), France [Email]
Carole Bonnet - Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), France [Email]
Anne Solaz - Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), France [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Social policies, separation, and second birth spacing in Western Europe
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» The influence of employment uncertainty on childbearing in France: A tempo or quantum effect?
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» Siblings and human capital: A comparison between Italy and France
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» Generations and Gender Survey (GGS): Towards a better understanding of relationships and processes in the life course
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