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Shared Parenting and Parents’ Income Evolution after Separation: New Explorative Insights from Germany

SOEPpapers 1131, 37 S.

Christina Boll, Simone Schüller


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Based on panel data from 1997 to 2018, we investigate the socioeconomic preconditions and economic consequences of ‘shared parenting (SP)’ forms in Germany. Referring to the post-separation year, we build SP groups from information on child residence and fathers’ childcare hours during a regular weekday. We explore the short-term gender and SP group associations with economic well-being as well as, for mothers only, its medium-term associations in the five years after separation. Our findings indicate that around separation, intense SP is a superior strategy in terms of equivalized household income. This also holds true for mothers in the medium-term, but their earnings barely improve during that time. Mothers stay highly involved in childcare even in shared parenting settings and/or fail to redirect released childcare time to the labor market. Our data support the notion that even high resources do not shield mothers against remaining trapped in economic dependence post-separation.

JEL-Classification: J12;J14;J22
Keywords: union dissolution; shared parenting; childcare; child residence; household income; earnings; household composition; SOEP