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Sharing Child Custody is Pain for Majority of Women

Update Date: Aug 11, 2012 07:32 AM EDT

A child is put in the shared custody of divorced parents to make sure there are fewer conflicts. However, if the couple is not able to stay in good terms, the situation may worsen. 

All divorced or separated couples do not come to terms with their situation and not everybody manages to have friendly relationship with their ex-partners. Thus, according to a U.S. researcher, there is a lot of animosity expressed by some divorced women sharing custody of their children.

"Nearly half of the mothers in this study continue to have conflicted relationships with their ex-partners, and conversations with these women negate the notion that shared physical custody ensures cooperative, less conflicted relationships," Mindy Markham, from Kansas State University's Salina campus said.

"Shared physical custody is not a panacea for post-divorce problems -- and that in some cases it exacerbates them," Markham, who initiated this study as a part of her dissertation said in a statement, according to

The participants of the study were 20 predominately white, well-educated women aged 26 to 49 years. The women were either divorced or separated from the father of their children and shared legal custody of the children. The children were between 21 months and 12 years of age.

Markham identified the relationship between the parents and the patterns of co-parenting as - continuously contentious, always amicable or bad to better.

According to Markham, eight out of the nine women who had a continuously contentious relationship with the fathers of their child, did not want share custody of the children and were doing so just because they were told by lawyers or the court. 

These women did not trust their ex with parenting abilities or finances. Concerns also included an ex not paying child support, abusing, or an ex who is unable to separate marital issues from co-parenting.

Seven mothers reported having contentious relationships with their ex at the time of separation, but got better with time. Four mothers had friendly co-parenting relationships with their ex-partners and were always getting along and trusting their ex as a good parent, Markham said.

The findings were published in Family Relations.

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