The Consequences of Divorce for Parents

-Braver, Shapiro and Goodman

“…we trace the consequences of the process of becoming divorced on the parents. Thus, we trace the consequences for adults who divorce who have children. There is a separate and largely non-overlapping literature on childless dissolutions. Generally these impacts are milder and of shorter duration, in the sense that recovery is almost always rather swift (Metts & Cupach, 1995; Masheter, 1991). The consequences for the children are reviewed in Barber’s chapter.

The consequences of divorce for parents to be mapped below include:
-the legal process and consequences

-the financial consequences
-the psychological and emotional consequences
-the consequences for the parental relationship
-the consequences for the interparental relationship”

  1. 1.     It turns out that there is a great deal of overlap between these three dimensions: mothers generally are the parents that get custody; and mothers generally are the dumper. While evidence for the first assertion will be presented in the section on legal consequences below, evidence for

the second is presented here. Virtually every study has shown that women initiate about two thirds of all divorces, men a quarter, and the remainder are mutual decisions (e.g., Zeiss, Zeiss, & Johnson, 1980; Kitson, 1992; Ahrons, 1994; Braver, Whitley & Ng, 1993).

According to a recent national study (Nord & Zill, 1996), in 75% of divorce cases, mothers become the sole custody parent, and fathers the nonresidential parent; in about 4% of cases it is reversed…

…coping with less contact may be particularly difficult for fathers, when they feel that that they have a diminished level of control with their children and that their role is not valued (Braver et al., in press. Braver and O’Connell (1998) argued that a number of fathers feel “parentally disenfranchised”: they feel they that have only a limited amount of control over child-rearing issues with their children and that the role they do have is not valued by their children’s mothers or by the legal system.

read the whole study here


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