Study: More focus on kids yields less fighting for ex-spouses

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According to a recent study conducted at the University of Missouri, ex-spouses who focus on the needs of their children, rather than on their own differences, put less stress on their children and themselves. The study highlighted the fact that parents should pay attention to the feelings of the children involved, which made child custody arrangements flow much more smoothly.

About half of the ex-spouses surveyed in the study reported working amicably together while half reported continuous problems with the ex-spouse over visitation. Of the ex-spouses who worked well together, most reported that they had begun the divorce process with animosity between the parties. However, according to the study, half of these spouses saw how harmful this was to the children and modified their behavior toward each other.

The study’s co-author says that it is incumbent upon parents to set aside their past differences and focus on the well-being of the children above all else. Although it is not always easy to forgive and forget, couples ought to weigh their desire for revenge or their need to be right in the balance with their children’s happiness and comfort. Hopefully, concern for the children will outweigh the negative feelings toward the ex-spouse.

One of the most important factors in building an amicable relationship with an ex-spouse is a strong divorce settlement agreement. A poorly written settlement, particularly regarding custody or child support issues, will inevitably lead to conflict between the parties. A professional divorce attorney can help to craft an agreement that work to provide clearly defined rules for custody, visitation, child support, and other important issues.

Source: Futurity, “Ex-Spouses Fight Less When They Focus on Kids,” Jesslyn Chew, Aug. 17, 2012