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Electronic communication can bring divorced parents, kids closer

According to a recently published study, Maryland children of divorce may benefit more from regular communication with their parents than from their parents having a good relationship with each other. While it has been assumed that the relationship between the parents is a significant factor in a child's adjustment to divorce, study results did not support this.

Researchers identified several aspects of a child's relationship with the parent as well as putting each relationship between divorced parents into a category of cooperative, conflicted or moderately engaged. They found that how the parents related to one another had little impact on the child at all. However, communication was important, and parents who communicated with their children monthly or less did not know as much about their children.

Experts point out that for most children, online communication such as Facebook, texting and Instagram are their preferred methods of communication. In addition to this being a high-value way of connecting from the child's point of view, it allows the child to avoid being caught in the middle between parents. Some parents hesitate to phone a child if they anticipate having to talk to an ex-spouse before they can speak with the child.

If parents cannot reach an agreement regarding child custody, they may have to go to court. Even if the parents do not have joint custody, "visitation" does not necessarily mean that a parent only sees the child once or twice a month. Some visitation schedules can give the noncustodial parent a generous amount of time with the child. Parents who need to make permanent adjustments in the custody schedule will need to go back through the legal system and get a modification.

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