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Source of conflict: Study finds factors that can shape divorced mothers' co-parenting experiences
Date:8/9/2012

the co-parenting relationship.

"All mothers in this type of co-parenting relationship reported differences in parenting styles and were concerned with how the ex was raising the children," Markham said. "Parenting practices that concerned the mothers varied greatly and included putting children in harmful situations, not bathing the children, not disciplining them and having no rules or routines. It was especially difficult for these mothers to share custody with ex-partners who were uninvolved during the marriage. They didn't believe their exes were responsible parents."

Markham said eight of the women in the continuously contentious relationships didn't want to share custody of the children with their ex-partner, but most were told by lawyers or the court that they would have to do so.

Four mothers in the study had amicable co-parenting relationships, where they reported always getting along with their ex-partners from separation to the present. The positive factors that affected these relationships were that the mothers believed their ex-partners were responsible parents, money wasn't a source of conflict and the mothers chose to share physical custody.

Seven of the mothers in the study had bad-to-better co-parenting relationships, where co-parenting was contentious at the time of separation, but greatly improved over time. At the time of the study, these women's relationships were similar to those of women with always amicable relationships. These mothers wanted to share physical custody, thought the father was a responsible parent and most said money was not a source of conflict.

But all mothers in bad-to-better relationships said they were unable to co-parent amicably with their ex-partner in the beginning because personal issues were not kept separate from parenting responsibility.

"Although ex-partners with bad-to-better relationships originally allowed their feelings about one another to negatively affec
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Contact: Mindy Markham
mmarkham@k-state.edu
785-826-2929
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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