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New research shows quality of co-parenting matters

Historically, courts favored mothers in child custody proceedings, and it appears that even today, moms are more likely to have custody of their kids post-divorce. However, California courts that deal with child custody and support issues are more likely to award joint custody than ever before to ensure that both parents stay involved in their children's life after a divorce. New research by Dr. Elizabeth Karberg, developmental scientist at the University of Maryland, shows that parents who can co-parent successfully are more likely to have well-adjusted children.

Karberg used data from 1,500 families to analyze whether the quality of co-parenting influenced the children's behavior. Her research showed that when parents fail to establish a good co-parenting relationship, the children tend to be hyperactive and aggressive due to the instability of the situation. Sometimes, a new romantic partner moving into the home can make things more difficult in that it makes it harder to maintain a strong co-parenting relationship with the child's biological father.

If one decides to part ways with a spouse, it is generally in everyone's best interest if ex-spouses work together to raise their children in a positive environment. Both parents should find ways to put personal feelings aside and communicate effectively with each other for the sake of the children. Experts also advise that they should avoid talking negatively about the child's other parent in front of the child, as it could damage their relationship and cause major rifts in the family. Lastly, make sure that when it comes to the child, ex-spouses maintain a united front with all decision-making.

Getting along with one's ex may not be easy, but if one finds a way to co-parent successfully, their children will likely be happier and less likely to get into trouble.

Source: WDTV, "Co-parenting and divorce," April 30, 2018

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