Living arrangements after marital dissolution: findings from the European Community Household Panel

Stefano Mazzuco, Università di Padova
Silvia Meggiolaro, Università di Padova
Fausta Ongaro, Università di Padova

It is universally acknowledged that marital dissolution has important consequences on the life organization of spouses. Most of the debate around the consequences of divorce is focused on the economic ones. However, it is not clear to what extent the financial deterioration of splitted couples is combined with the changes in living arrangement a divorce implies. With this work we aim to analyse these changes and what factors determine different residential solutions. Data from the European Community Household Panel allows us to take a comparative perspective considering Italy, United Kingdom and Netherlands. In these three countries there is a different attitude towards divorce on the cultural and normative side given the different phases of the spread of phenomenon they are living. Descriptive analysis shows that generally residential solutions after marital split are more variable for men. They are more prone to return the parental home in UK, but especially in Italy; this is not the case of Netherlands, where almost everyone moves into either a single household or a monoparental family after marital breakdown. And this is the common solution for women even in the other countries. Moreover in UK there is a higher propensity to form a new couple. The determinants of the living arrangement after the separation are analysed using a multinomial logit model. Cultural preferences and economic weakness seem to be the two main factors pushing separated individuals to return the parental home. The first factor is by far the most important in Italy where strong intergenerational bonds are persisting. Conversely in UK the second factor is dominating and some (especially ex-cohabitors who are usually economically weaker) are forced to go to parents because of economic constraints. In the Netherlands individuals are freer to live alone after separation, presumably because the welfare state relaxes these constraints.

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Presented in Poster Session 1