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.
- child custody
- family research