Couples and families2015 Edition
This first edition of Couples and families in the "Insee References" collection provides a description of the different types of couples and families in France today. It highlights the permanence of lifestyles and their changes, with an increase in separt
Variations in the living standards of men and women following divorce or termination of a PACS civil union agreement
In 2009, the Minister for Justice registered 17,000 terminations of PACS agreements and 130,000 divorces, the latter having increased constantly since the 1970s. Ending a couple-type relationship has significant effects on living standards. Following a separation (divorce or termination of a PACS agreement, observed here in 2009), women's living standards dropped: -14.5% on average between 2008, when they were part of a couple, and 2010, when they lived without a partner. Living standards would have increased by 5.5% if they had stayed in the couple. For men living without a partner in 2010, the standard of living after a separation was higher on average than before the separation (+3.5%), but this increase was less than if they had remained in the couple (+6.5%). Therefore, both men and women lose out financially when they separate, with a greater loss for women. Thus, the loss in the standard of living directly attributable to the separation is in the region of 20% for women and 3% for men. These variations depend particularly on each partner's contribution to the couple's income, partly due to specialisation between domestic work and paid professional work. Women who contributed little or no (less than 40%) resources to the household during their marital life lose most (26.5% on average), while those who earned more than their partner improved their standard of living (+1% on average). Variations in the living standards of mothers do not depend much on the number of dependent children before the separation, unlike those of the fathers. Social welfare payments and, to a lesser degree, child maintenance payments between partners limit the degree of loss experienced by mothers of large families.