The family stays a family after divorce, albeit a family that is organised in a different manner. It seems that some families manage re-organisation with an effortless ease where others find it very difficult to adjust to new ways of relating after separation and divorce.
Let us illustrate the re-organisation of the family after divorce with the following example of a family with a father, mother and two children. Prior to separating or divorce the family system could be described in the following manner.
In this diagram you could see that the adults form a system, the children form a system and the family form a system. In the adult system two relationships exist simultaneously. They have a relationship as spouses and they have a relationship as parents. The children have relationships as siblings and the parents have parent-child relationships with their children. They are all family.
Once there is a separation, the family re-organises itself. The re-organisation could be something as set out in diagram two.
In the re-organised family the spousal relationship between the parents cease to exist. The parental relationship between them continues. The children sustain their sibling relationship and now have to develop a distinctly separate relationship with each parent. The family is still a family.
As mentioned previously not all families re-organise with the same ease. Here are some reasons why families experience difficulties in this regard: