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Family Process Heft 1/2007
1/2007 - 2/2007 - 3/2007 - 4/2007 - Überblick


Imber-Black, Evan (2007): Reflections on the Special Issue: Divorce and Its Aftermath. In: Family Process 46(1), S. 1-2


Ahrons, Constance R. (2007): Introduction to the Special Issue on Divorce and Its Aftermath. In: Family Process 46(1), S. 3-6


Coontz, Stephanie (2007): The Origins of Modern Divorce. In: Family Process 46(1), S. 7-16

abstract: High rates of marital dissolution and easy access to divorce are not unprecedented, historically or cross-culturally. But contemporary divorce in North America and Western Europe has different origins and features than divorce in previous cultures. The origins of modern divorce patterns date back more than 200 years, to the invention of the historically unprecedented idea that marriage should be based on love and mutual affection. Ironically, then, the fragility of modern marriage stems from the same values that have elevated the marital relationship above all other personal and familial commitments: the concentration of emotion, passion, personal identity, and self-validation in the couple relationship and the attenuation of emotional attachments and obligations beyond the conjugal unit. The immediate causes of divorce may range from factors as diverse as the personal psychological characteristics of one or both spouses to the stresses of economic hardship and community disintegration. But in a larger perspective, the role of divorce in modern societies and its relatively high occurrence both flow from the same complex of factors that have made good marriages so much more central to people's happiness than through most of the past, and deterioration of a marital relationship so much more traumatic.


Adams, Michele & Scott Coltrane (2007): Framing Divorce Reform: Media, Morality, and the Politics of Family. In: Family Process 46(1), S. 17-34

abstract: No-fault statutes changed divorce from an adversarial system pitting victims against victimizers, with the state acting as enforcer of marital norms, to a private decision between unhappily married but legally blameless partners. Divorce reform following no-fault primarily focused on making divorce more fair for the parties involved. Over the last several decades, divorce reform has transitioned from making divorce better to making marriage healthier. The good divorce has slipped from policy attention, elevating the potential for restigmatization of divorced couples and their children. We trace the trajectory of media framing of divorce reform discourse in three general circulation newspapers from the start of the no-fault revolution, noting how media framing parallels and naturalizes the transition in divorce reform policy. We conclude by observing the prevalence of divorce and the related need for therapists to be cognizant of this naturalization process, thereby keeping the good divorce as a goal for those who desire to end their marriages.


Kelly, Joan B. (2007): Children's Living Arrangements Following Separation and Divorce: Insights From Empirical and Clinical Research. In: Family Process 46(1), S. 35-52

abstract: When parents separate, children typically enter into new living arrangements with each parent in a pattern determined most often by one or both parents or, failing private agreement, as a result of recommendations and decisions by lawyers, therapists, custody evaluators, or family courts. Most of these decisions have been based on cultural traditions and beliefs regarding postseparation parenting plans, visitation guidelines adopted within jurisdictions, unsubstantiated theory, and strongly held personal values and professional opinions, and have resulted since the 1960s in children spending most of their time with one residential parent and limited time with nonresident, or "visiting," parents. A large body of social science and child development research generated over the past three decades has identified factors associated with risk and resiliency of children after divorce. Such research remains largely unknown and untapped by parents and professionals making these crucial decisions about children's living arrangements. This article highlights empirical and clinical research that is relevant to the shape of children's living arrangements after separation, focusing first on what is known about living arrangements following divorce, what factors influence living arrangements for separated and divorced children, children's views about their living arrangements, and living arrangements associated with children's adjustment following divorce. Based on this research, it is argued that traditional visiting patterns and guidelines are, for the majority of children, outdated, unnecessarily rigid, and restrictive, and fail in both the short and long term to address their best interests. Research-based parenting plan models offering multiple options for living arrangements following separation and divorce more appropriately serve children's diverse developmental and psychological needs.


Ahrons, Constance R. (2007): Family Ties After Divorce: Long-Term Implications for Children. In: Family Process 46(1), S. 53-65

abstract: Drawing on the data from the longitudinal Binuclear Family Study, 173 grown children were interviewed 20 years after their parents' divorce. This article addresses two basic questions: (1) What impact does the relationship between parents have on their children 20 years after the divorce? and (2) When a parent remarries or cohabits, how does it impact a child's sense of family? The findings show that the parental subsystem continues to impact the binuclear family 20 years after marital disruption by exerting a strong influence on the quality of relationships within the family system. Children who reported that their parents were cooperative also reported better relationships with their parents, grandparents, stepparents, and siblings. Over the course of 20 years, most of the children experienced the remarriage of one or both parents, and one third of this sample remembered the remarriage as more stressful than the divorce. Of those who experienced the remarriage of both of their parents, two thirds reported that their father's remarriage was more stressful than their mother's. When children's relationships with their fathers deteriorated after divorce, their relationships with their paternal grandparents, stepmother, and stepsiblings were distant, negative, or nonexistent. Whether family relationships remain stable, improve, or get worse is dependent on a complex interweaving of many factors. Considering the long-term implications of divorce, the need to emphasize life course and family system perspectives is underscored.


Bernstein, Anne C. (2007): Re-visioning, Restructuring, and Reconciliation: Clinical Practice With Complex Postdivorce Families. In: Family Process 46(1), S. 67-78

abstract: I address three themes in therapeutic interventions with complex postdivorce families: I begin by deconstructing the "Child of Divorce" as a dispositive narrative, or "script," that restricts possibilities and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for children and parents in divorcing families and for therapists who work with them. I then discuss the gap between preconceptions and possibilities in the "new extended family" created by divorce and new partnerships, addressing such questions as family membership, restructuring workable postdivorce family forms, and how therapists can assist families in building both "good fences" and "good bridges." I conclude by examining the potential for repairing relationships that have become strained by marital transitions, examining the application of such concepts as "accusatory suffering," "self-defeating spite," and "witnessing" to family therapy with this population, with especial emphasis on the relationship between parents and their adult children.


Lebow, Jay & Kathleen Newcomb Rekart (2007): Integrative Family Therapy for High-Conflict Divorce With Disputes Over Child Custody and Visitation. In: Family Process 46(1), S. 79-91

abstract: A growing number of divorcing families become locked in intractable disputes over child custody and visitation. This article describes an integrative family therapy approach targeted toward such families. Aspects of this treatment include negotiating a clear therapy contract, creating a multipartial alliance with all parties, assessing through the lens of specific understandings about these cases, incorporating multiple therapy session formats, holding both systemic and individual focused perspectives, incorporating a solution-oriented focus, and drawing upon a wide range of intervention techniques. The treatment aims to create a good-enough postdivorce climate in which a new family structure can be constituted in which parents maintain distance from one another, and conflict and triangulation can be minimized.


Katz, Elana (2007): A Family Therapy Perspective on Mediation. In: Family Process 46(1), S. 93-107

abstract: Many times, family therapists are both the first to learn that a couple may separate and the last to see them in the same consultation room, still relating to each other and the same professional before the adversarial system takes over. Mediation offers a viable alternative to that system because clients are helped to speak directly and craft the decisions that will delineate their move toward separate lives. Mediation is defined and the divorce process demystified, and the similarities and differences between mediation and therapy are discussed. Brief examples and a longer case discussion are provided to illustrate the mediation process. A familiarity with this process will enable therapists to hold more informed discussions about mediation with their clients and invite them to consider a process that is congruent with many of the values of family therapy.


Pape Cowan, Carolyn, Philip A. Cowan, Marsha Kline Pruett & Kyle Pruett (2007): An Approach to Preventing Coparenting Conflict and Divorce in Low-Income Families: Strengthening Couple Relationships and Fostering Fathers' Involvement. In: Family Process 46(1), S. 109-121

abstract: In the context of current concern about levels of marital distress, family violence, and divorce, the SFI study is evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention to facilitate the positive involvement of low-income Mexican American and European American fathers with their children, in part by strengthening the men's relationships with their children's mothers. The study design involves a randomized clinical trial that includes assignment to a 16-week couples group, a 16-week fathers group, or a single-session control group. Couples in both group interventions and the control condition include partners who are married, cohabiting, and living separately but raising a young child together. This article presents the rationale, design, and intervention approach to father involvement for families whose relationships are at risk because of the hardships of their lives, many of whom are manifesting some degree of individual or relationship distress. We present preliminary impressions and qualitative findings based on our experience with 257 families who completed the pretest, and the first 160 who completed one postintervention assessment 9 months after entering the study. Discussion centers on what we have learned and questions that remain to be answered in mounting a multisite preventive intervention to strengthen relationships in low-income families.


Cookston, Jeffrey T., Sanford L. Braver, William A. Griffin, Stephanie R. De Luse & Jonathan C. Miles (2007): Effects of the Dads for Life Intervention on Interparental Conflict and Coparenting in the Two Years After Divorce. In: Family Process 46(1), S. 123-137

abstract: The ability of parents to forge harmonious coparenting relationships following divorce is an important predictor of their children's long-term well-being. However, there is no convincing evidence that this relationship can be modified through intervention. A preventive intervention that we developed, Dads for Life (DFL), which targeted noncustodial parents as participants, has previously been shown in a randomized field trial to favorably impact child well-being. We explore here whether it also has an impact on mothers' and fathers' perceptions of coparenting and interparental conflict in the 2 years following divorce. Results of the latent growth curve models we evaluated showed that both mothers and fathers reported less conflict when the father participated in DFL as compared with controls. For the fathers, perceptions of coparenting did not change over time in either the DFL or control conditions. Alternatively, mothers' perceptions of support declined over time in the control group, whereas those whose ex-husbands participated in the DFL program reported significant positive growth change toward healthier coparenting. The positive findings for mothers' reports are particularly compelling because mothers were not the participants, and thus common alternative explanations are ruled out. The DFL intervention, then, offers courts a promising program to improve families' functioning after divorce.



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