Coparenting through conflict: An evaluation of an intervention for high-conflict court-connected family systems


December 2023

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Over the last decade, researchers have investigated the impact of high-conflict coparenting dynamics on children living in dual-household family systems. Subsequently, a large body of evidence has demonstrated that children exposed to ongoing interparental conflict are at an increased risk of experiencing developmental difficulties, including emotional and behavioral maladjustment, and reduced academic achievement (Amato & Anthony, 2014; Becher et al., 2019; Cummings & Davies, 2010; Smyth & Moloney, 2019). In an effort to provide empirical support for an intervention designed for high-conflict families, the purpose of this research study was to explore the experiences of parents who completed the in-person New Ways for Families® in Separation or Divorce program. The NWFF® program is designed to teach dual-household parents the skills they need to protect their children from the adverse effects of interparental conflict while at the same time preserving the parents’ and court’s resources (Eddy, 2009). An interpretive phenomenological qualitative research design was used, implementing an emergent and exploratory focus. Three main themes and twelve subthemes were identified: (1) Family Relationships (Improving the Coparenting Relationship and Improving the Parent-Child Relationship), (2) What Parents Found Helpful (Individual Meetings, Homework Assignments, Practitioner Support, Joint Parent Session, and Joint Parent-Child Sessions), and (3) Suggestions for Program Improvement (Extend Program Length, Expand Program Content, Require Participation of Both Parents and Collaboration with Other Professionals).



High-Conflict Court-Connected Family Systems