Former Spouse Ties and Postdivorce Relationship Quality: Relationship Effort as a Mediator


former spouse issues, relationship effort, relationship self-regulation, divorce, remarriage, relationship quality


One potential problem area in remarriages is problems with or ties to an ex-spouse. This study focuses on identifying factors central to the relationship dynamics such as relationship satisfaction and stability. Additional emphasis is placed on specific and targeted work in a relationship with the goal of improving it, and its potential mediating effect on any negative relationship between ex-spouse ties and low relationship quality. Using secondary data from the RELATionship Evaluation Survey (RELATE), a sample of 1,546 individuals in postdivorce romantic relationships was examined. The results indicate that unresolved issues and negative interactions with an ex-spouse are negatively associated with relationship quality, but effort to mediate this negative association shows promise. Practice recommendations include exploring how family service agencies and clinicians can better serve couples in postdivorce relationships. Further, a focus on the repartnered family system and a recognition of its difference from other family system types (i.e., first marriage) are important for agencies, clinicians, and researchers interested in providing services to stepfamilies and family life after divorce.

Original Publication Citation

Shafer, K., Jensen, T.M.*, Pace, G.T.*, & Larson J.H. (2013). “Former Spouse Ties and Post-Divorce Relationship Quality: Relationship Effort as a Mediator.” Journal of Social Service Research, 39(5): 629-645.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Social Service Research




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor