in-law relationships in the American kinship system: the impact of divorce and remarriage



This paper reports on in-law relationships in middle-class kinship systems in which grandparents, divorcing parents and their children were studied longitudinally. The analysis first includes the definitions and meanings individuals assign to in-law relationships during the processes of divorce and remarriage. Second, the structure and organization of the family and kinship system are mapped as they change with marital change. The patterns of cleavages and coalitions formed were found to be associated with the difficulty grandparents have in gaining access to grandchildren affected by divorce. Models were constructed that expressed the duality of oppositions found between relatives by blood, by marriage and by divorce. [American kinship, in-laws, divorce, remarriage]