I study the risks of a birth and separation in step-families and families with no prior children. I test whether a birth transition is determined by the ‘parenthood motive’ or by the ‘commitment effect’. Also, I test whether common children stabilize a partnership and whether the pre-union children are associated with higher risk of dissolution. Elements of family complexity, such as presence, number and parentage of step-children, are considered. Using multiprocess models, I model partnership transitions with fertility, allowing for the correlation between the unobserved individual characteristics affecting each process. The analysis is based on Wave 1 of UKHLS of men and women aged 16-45. The findings indicate that the parenthood and the commitment motives influence the transitions to a birth, under different family configurations. Further, the risk of separation is reduced by shared children, while the children from prior unions does not generally increase the risk of dissolution.
Presented in Session 4. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions