Better Parents, More Stable Partners: Union Transitions Among Cohabiting Parents

Authors

  • Lauren Rinelli McClain

    Corresponding author
    1. Savannah State University
      Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 3219 College St. Box 20389, Savannah State University, Savannah, GA 31404 (mcclainl@savannahstate.edu).
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  • This article was edited by Jay Teachman.

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, 3219 College St. Box 20389, Savannah State University, Savannah, GA 31404 (mcclainl@savannahstate.edu).

Abstract

Data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N = 1,702 couples) are employed to examine the association between mother- and father-reported parenting characteristics (father involvement and coparenting) and transitions out of cohabitation through marriage or separation in the 5 years after a child is born. Father involvement and coparenting may be signs of commitment and investment among couples without the legal bonds of marriage. Both the level and change in father involvement and coparenting are associated with a decreased likelihood of separation, although neither is associated with greater odds of marriage. These results suggest that higher levels of father involvement and a positive coparenting relationship may keep couples together, which allows children to spend their early years with both biological parents in the household.

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