This study contrasts adult and child perspectives on divorce and separation. Based on harmonized retrospective life history data from eight European countries, we study the risk of divorce and separation from the perspective of adult unions and the perspective of children born into these unions. The analysis connects adult and child perspectives, focusing on union cohort changes (1945 to 2005) in the associations between parenthood, education, and (parental) separation. Our findings show that trends differ substantially between adult and child perspectives. First, the cohort surge in divorce and separation is stronger in adults than in children. Second, inequality in the risk of divorce and separation grows faster in children than in adults. For both trends, disparities between adult and child perspectives grow across cohorts due to increasingly negative associations between parenthood, education, and separation. In several countries, the separation surge has been trivial for children of higher-educated couples.
- second demographic transition
- diverging destinies