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Staying close after divorce: is it wise?

Figuring out how to raise children together with an ex is a complicated process. There is no one right way to do it, which means parents must figure out for themselves what type of arrangement will work best for their family.

One particularly difficult element to navigate is deciding how close parents should be after a split or divorce. To decide what might be best for your family, consider the following two scenarios:

The case for staying close

Recently, actors Anna Faris and Chris Pratt finalized their divorce and reached an agreement sharing custody of their son. According to reports, the former couple agreed to stay physically close to each other for at least five years. They agreed to live within five miles of each other until their son finishes sixth grade.

This approach to staying close can preserve some sense of stability for a child. It can also make custody exchanges easier and avoid the complications of a child having to adjust to two separate communities.

The value of distance

Though there are benefits to staying close, there can also be some drawbacks. For instance, in a recent article, one woman discusses her experience as a child of divorced parents who continued living together after they ended their marriage.

As she notes, it was confusing having her parents remain that close. Though she didn't have to shuttle between homes, she says that the proximity exposed her to considerable conflict between her parents and she grew up with a skewed understanding of what a normal partnership might look like. Distance between her parents could have been better at creating natural -- and necessary -- boundaries.

Finding the solution right for you

Of course, these are only two isolated cases. However, they can show others that there may be benefits to staying close after divorce, but setting healthy boundaries will be important.

These cases can also be a reminder that every family's situation is different, and what is most important is finding solutions that best protect a child after divorce. 

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