New Reports on Divorce — Special Issue of Family Relations

The December 2011 issue of the journal Family Relations is devoted to the latest research findings on divorce and dissolution is a variety of families.  In articles that examine the dissolution of relationships among same-sex couples and cohabitators, you begin to understand the varieties of family life.  Even those of us who study families are prone to think about the dissolution of relationships in narrow and historical terms and forget that there are many more types of couples and families and that the breakup of these relationships follow their own legal and personal pathways.

The lead article also examines the idea of the “good divorce,” a term coined by Dr. Constance Ahrons who followed a group of families over a number of years.  In this article by Paul Amato and his colleagues explore whether there is any scientific support for the a “good divorce,” that is, a divorce in which there are few difficulties for children.  There results provide limited support for a pattern of “cooperative coparenting” that results in the fewest number of problems for children on some measures and better parent-child relationships, but there are many ways that these children do not differ from parenting patterns they describe as “parallel parenting” and “single parenting.”  Ahrons provides an interesting commentary and reflection on the term “good divorce.” 

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