Divorce is never easy – especially if the parties do not agree on issues such as child custody or division of assets. According to a new study by psychologist Søren S. Sander in co-operation with the Institute of Psychology at the University of Copenhagen, one in seven (or 14% of) divorces involving children end badly.
Almost 1,000 divorced parents took part in the study, which defined a “bad” or “bitter” divorce as one in which the level of conflict is so high that the parents can’t speak to or be present at important family events with each other – even though this behavior is likely to have a negative effect on their children.
“It often has to do with right of access to children, but money is another important issue,” Sander told Danish Radio news DR Nyheder. “When you ask the protagonists, they say that personality also plays a great part in divorce,”
The possibility of a bitter divorce crosses socio-economic, racial, and religious lines, but Sander did find some common ground among his interview subjects. It seems that divorces after short marriages with children are more like to end badly than divorces after longer marriages: 20% of co-parents in a bitter divorce had been married for less than three years. Sander suggested that when couples get married, have children, and get divorced in a very short time-frame, it can generate a lot of stress in the family.
Denmark is experiencing its highest divorce rate since 2004: 46% of Danish marriages ended in divorce in 2012.