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Divorce

1 minute reading time (229 words)

Divorced couples' experience of co-parenting

A research study in America has found that couples that have gone through a bitter divorce don't always continue to retain the same level of hostility to each other.

The study, by researchers at the University of Missouri, found that when hostile divorced parents tried to set their differences aside to focus on the needs of their children, their relationship continued to improve over time.

“Most people falsely believe that, when people get divorced, they’ll continue to fight, to be hostile,” said Marilyn Coleman, Curators’ Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at MU. “We found in our study that’s not always true. Some couples get along from the very beginning, and, for about half of the women we interviewed, the couples whose relationships started badly improved over time.”

The study highlighted that a shared custody arrangement didn't automatically lead to a happy, post-divorce relationship. A successful co-parenting relationship required concerted effort from both parents.

“The courts tend to use a one-size-fits-all philosophy when dealing with divorces and determining custody of children, and that really doesn’t work for some parents—especially if there has been abuse or if high levels of conflict continue,” Coleman said. “We need to find out how joint-custody works for families. The goal for divorced parents should be to maintain the best co-parenting relationships possible by moving past prior relationship issues and focusing on children’s well-beings.”

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