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Divorce and children: minimizing the damage

Children are frequently hurt more in a divorce than either parent. This is somewhat unavoidable on one level -- primarily because children don't fully understand the process or don't want to see their families split apart. In many cases, however, children suffer unnecessarily because of the openly hostile fighting parents sometimes engage in both before and after the divorce process has concluded.

While this next bit of information may not be news to many of our Tennessee readers (if any), a new study soon to be published in Family Relations magazine reinforces the idea that children are hurt less by a divorce when parents are friendly or at least cooperative with one another.

According to researchers at the University of Missouri, cordial or cooperative co-parenting relationships before, during or after a divorce are most likely to exist between parents who keep their focus on the children. They also found some relationship characteristics that were common to many of these "success stories."

One of the keys seems to be regular communication between ex-partners using multiple methods (text, phone e-mail, weekly meetings, etc.). Researchers also noted that parents who reported positive relationships after a divorce also seemed to communicate more efficiently regarding conflicts over parenting style and be committed to promoting children's relationships with the other parent.

While all of this might strike you as simple common sense, staying focused on the best interests of your children can be difficult to do during a heated divorce or afterward. In our view (and we admittedly have some bias here), the best way to avoid this problem and minimize the effects of divorce on children is to work with an experienced family law attorney throughout the process.

Source: Psychcentral.com, "Focus on kids eases conflict for divorced parents," Janice Wood, Aug. 16, 2012

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