Seminar: Legal arrangements in cohabitation and marriage
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- Most studies on cohabitation and marriage have ignored legal variations within these relationship types. This study distinguishes between: (1) marriage in community of property, (2) marriage with prenuptial agreements, (3) cohabitation with a contract/registered partnership, and (4) non-legal cohabitation.
These legal arrangements have important implications for gender inequality and children’s life chances, and are indicative of individualization and institutionalization of relationships. Using Dutch survey-data from 1995 and 2002-4,cohabitation contracts and prenuptial agreements are found to have become more common in this period.
Marriage in community of property continues to be most popular. An examination of the correlates shows that practical reasons in the form of homeownership and self-employment are most important.
Remarkably, the need to protect women against the risks of specialization and children appears to be of little importance, nor do the interests of children from previous relationships seem to matter much. Furthermore, the determinants are gendered: his characteristics matter more than hers.
Anne-Rigt Poortman is associate professor at the Dept. of Sociology. She has specialized in family sociology and social demography. She is particularly interested in divorce and separation, new relationship types and legal aspects of partner relationships. Currently she is program leader of a large data collection and related research program about contemporary parenthood among divorced and intact families.
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