Separated dads: determinants of father-child contact in Germany

Michaela Kreyenfeld, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
Heike Trappe, University of Rostock
Katja Köppen, University of Rostock

This paper studies the determinants of father-child contact after separation in Germany. Particular attention is given to the question of how the partnership biography of the father affects father-child contact. Previous research has shown that father-child contact deteriorates if the father engages in a new relationship and has further children with a new partner (Cooksey and Craig 1998; Bradshaw et al. 1999; Stephan et al. 1994; Juby et al 2007). However, little attention has been paid to the “duration dependencies” of changes in the partnership biography on father-child contact. Does father-child contact deteriorate permanently after the father engages in a new partnership? How does the association vary by the child’s current age and by the age at separation? How does contact change if the father moves in with the new partner? How does it change when he gets married? In order to answer these questions we draw on data from the German family panel (pairfam) and its’ Eastern German subsample (DemoDiff). The great advantage of this data set is that it contains detailed partnership biographies, including information on the duration of non-residential partnerships. The other advantage of this data set is that it allows us to investigate Eastern and Western Germany separately. This seems vital as partnership dynamics in the two parts of Germany are still radically different.

Presented in Poster Session 2