Sharing of parenting after divorce.
Separation and divorce have become normative life events for many families throughout the world. According to the most recent statistics, during 1998, a total of 35 792 divorces were granted in South Africa alone, resulting in 45 123 children being affected by the divorce of their parents (Statistics South Africa - Statistical Release PO 307). Children who best survive their parents divorce are those maintaining significant and positive relationships with both parents. Children whose parents share parenting also cope better with the consequences of divorce. This study therefore attempted to provide insight into the personal experiences of divorced parents in relation to sharing of parenting after divorce. In this qualitative study, the researcher used the snowballing technique of sampling. A total of 16 divorced parents, including eight mothers and eight fathers, were included in the sample. The sample comprised of custodial, noncustodial and joint custodial parents who had been divorced for a period of at least two years. The interview schedules were personally administered and manually analyzed by the researcher. From the main findings, it was ascertained that respondents experienced tremendous difficulties in coping with the aftermath of divorce more especially in the realm of co-parenting. The main challenges they have had to face were problems relating to access to children, conflict in post-divorce relationships, stress related to the remarriage of ex-spouses, lack of sharing of parental responsibilities, communication problems and lack of therapeutic support. In order to promote effective post-divorce parenting, the researcher made recommendations with regard to the provision of educational programmes and therapeutic services for parents, children and other interested parties affected by the divorce. Recommendations, pertaining to divorce, are also made in respect of the justice system in South Africa.