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Transitioning to Postdivorce Family Life: A Grounded Theory Investigation of Resilience in Coparenting



Court-ordered shared physical and legal custody has led to greater numbers of couples that must coparent following divorce. We conducted a grounded theory study to examine resilience processes in postdivorce coparenting. Data were collected through in-depth interviews from 47 divorced mothers and fathers. The analysis revealed that successfully transitioning from married to divorced coparenting required intrapersonal changes (i.e., how participants thought and felt about their ex-partners) as well as behavioral changes (e.g., avoiding conflict). Parents who reported focusing on children, regulating their emotional responses, and choosing battles about time and money were more effective than those who had difficulty letting go of divorce anger or engaged in frequent conflicts. Implications for parent educators and clinicians are discussed.