Table of Contents

Effects of Stepfamilies on Financial Stability

1. Income

Remarriage increases a divorced parent’s family income; though it is still lower than that of the always-intact married family (Chart 1). In the United States during the 1970s, approximately one in five women remarried within a year after a divorce. Remarriage improves the average woman’s post-divorce economic situation.1) In Europe, the income of divorced European women who do remarry increases by 26 percent.2)

2. Net Worth

Men who remarry after divorce have 29 percent less net worth than continuously-married men.3) Though remarriage after divorce brings an increase in household net worth, many remarried spouses choose to keep money in separate accounts rather than pooling all their resources, indicating some fall-out from their earlier experience of divorce.4)

Median Income of Households with Children by Family Structure

1) Greg J. Duncan and Saul D. Hoffman, “A Reconsideration of the Economic Consequences of Marital Dissolution” Demography 22, no. 4 (1985): 488
2) Caroline Dewilde and Wilfred Uunk, “Remarriage as a Way to Overcome the Financial Consequences of Divorce– A Test of the Economic Need Hypothesis for European Women,” European Sociological Review 24, no. 3 (2008): 403.
3) Janet Wilmoth and Gregor Koso, “Does Marital History Matter? Marital Status and Wealth Outcomes among Preretirement Adults,” Journal of Marriage and Family 64, no. 1 (2002): 261.
4) Judith Treas, “Money in the Bank: Transaction Costs and the Economic Organization of Marriage,” American Sociological Review 58, no. 5 (1993): 732.

This entry draws heavily from Marriage and Economic Well Being: The Economy Rises or Falls with Marriage.