For far too many couples, conflict doesn’t end after the divorce papers are signed and finalized. Because many ex-spouses must keep in contact because of their children, fights, disagreements, and discord can continue long after a marriage ends. While many take it as a given that they will always spar with their ex after the divorce, a new study has shown that the relationship with your ex-spouse can improve in the years after a divorce as long as both parents agree to put the needs of their children first.
A new divorce study from the Human Development and Family Studies Department of Missouri University has found that about half of divorces that begin with parental conflict improve over time as exes stop focusing on their past issues and begin to focus on co-parenting their children.
Of course, a new focus on their children isn’t the only factor that goes into what researchers call “bad-to-amicable” post-divorce relationships. Ex-partners who became cordial after several years often said that they communicated well with their exes and that they did not have issues with money. Women who said they had better co-parenting relationships with their exes noted that they tried not to limit the time their children spent with their fathers and did not criticize the other’s parenting style.
The study’s authors hopes that the information provided in the research helps us better understand how joint custody can work more effectively and how we can minimize the effect of divorce on children. The full study will appear in the journal Family Relations.