Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Robin Cooper

Second Advisor

Ronald J. Chenail

Third Advisor

Elena Bastidas


communication, conflict, coparenting, divorce


This study explored the experiences of parents choosing to coparent after divorce in an effort to understand the challenges and conflicts they encountered and how they managed those conflicts. The qualitative study included the experiences of 18 individuals, 9 mothers and 9 fathers through semi-structured interviews. Participants ranged in age from 31 to 52 years old. While all shared custody, they varied in custody arrangements. The number of years divorced ranged from one year to fifteen years. Parents had anywhere from one to four children between them. At the time of the divorce, children ranged in age from seven months old to 18 years old. The narratives were analyzed using an interpretive phenomenological analysis approach. Using this approach, the shared experiences were summarized using emergent themes which correspond to the central research question: How is conflict managed between parents who are divorced and continuing to coparent? The analysis conducted summarized the commonalities among their narratives. By continuing a coparenting relationship after divorce, these parents encountered the challenges of redefining their roles as they transition from spouses to post-divorced coparents, establishing new boundaries in reorganizing families, and managing conflict and communication as it applied to their coparenting goals. This study explored an important issue impacting many families in a world where divorce is prevalent, and the reorganization of families is necessary. Results from this study contribute to the field of conflict analysis and resolution by offering additional insight into how policies, social workers, judges, lawyers, and educators may better support parents mitigating the negative implications of the inability to manage the complexities of this process. Recommendations for future research are included.