Stepfather or biological father? Education-specific pathways of postdivorce fatherhood

Christine Schnor, Sofie Vanassche, Jan Van Bavel

Onderzoeksoutput: Article

6 Citaten (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE Men are commonly assigned the role of economic providers in the family, and education informs about their capacity to fulfil this role. Yet having biological ties to coresident children can determine the man's willingness to step into the provider role. This study investigates how education is linked to fatherhood after divorce, distinguishing between biological father and stepfather positions. METHODS We analysed life course data from 1,111 divorced Belgian men collected in the 'Divorce in Flanders' project. We used descriptive methods of sequence analysis to illustrate the pathways of postdivorce fatherhood. In multinomial logistic regressions, we estimated the likelihood of, firstly, being a father with coresident biological children or/and stepchildren and, secondly, repartnering with a mother and fathering children in this union. RESULTS The family situations of divorced men are dependent on their educational level. Moreeducated men are more often in the role of a resident biological father, whereas lesseducated men are more often stepfathers. Men's resident arrangements for firstmarriage children, their selection into a new union, and the parental status of their new partner help explain the educational differences in postdivorce father positions. Highly educated men live more often with the children from their first marriage and repartner more frequently, especially with women without own coresident children, which is beneficial for their transition to postdivorce childbearing. CONTRIBUTION The findings suggest that both capacity and willingness to support the postdivorce family are lower among the less educated. These education-specific pathways of postdivorce fatherhood are likely to enhance social inequalities.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)1659-1694
Aantal pagina's36
TijdschriftDemographic Research
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusPublished - 30 nov 2017


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