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University of Missouri Professor Marilyn Coleman and Dr. Mindy Markham interviewed 20 women who shared physical custody of children with ex-partners.  Half of the women reported amicable relationships with their ex’s.  The other half reported combative relationships in the beginning that improved over time.

“To me, it’s almost as if the parents in the bad-to-better relationships matured,” Coleman said. “Mostly, it’s because the parents began focusing on their children. The parents saw how upset their arguments made their kids, so they decided to put their differences aside and focus on what was best for the children.”

“The goal for divorced parents should be to maintain the best co-parenting relationships possible by moving past prior relationship issues and focusing on children’s well-being,” Coleman said.

Shared Physical Custody Usually Works

Although the sample was small, the result reflects my own experience as a divorce lawyer.  Once the stress and fighting between spouses is resolved by agreement or trial, the parties can then calm down and focus on their children.

Every once in a while, I get to use the word pettifogger in a letter. A pettifogger is someone who likes to bicker or quibble over trifles or unimportant matters.

I was responding to one of those lawyers who is dead right on the law, but dead wrong on being sensible.  In the middle of mediation his client has taken a small and unnecessary action that is permitted by law, but which will torpedo the good faith environment required for successful conflict resolution.

Now I am looking for a chance to use flibbertigibbet, which means a chattering or flighty, light headed person or gossip.

I read somewhere yesterday something that stuck in my mind.  It said that you should resolve to love your children more than you hate your ex.

Divorce has a major impact on children.  Parents in conflict usually have so many problems of their own, that they don’t think about it from the child’s point of view.

The National Network for Child Care has published online “Divorce Matters:  A Child’s View”.  The article has bullet points for what children understand, how they react and what parents can do for each age group, including infants, toddlers, preschoolers, elementary students, preteens and adolescents.