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It's things like using force together,

Shouting till you're hoarse together,

Getting a divorce together,

That make perfect relationships.
Company, "The Little Things You Do Together"


So, people who get divorced must indefinitely hate each other, right?

WRONG.

Increasingly common in media are situations where a divorced couple still get along for the most part, and in many cases still care about each other even though they're no longer together. In many cases the divorce happened because of distance, circumstance or the simple fact that people change rather than infidelity, betrayal or other serious problems, and the fact that they got divorced is treated as a fact of life rather than due to a flaw in the people. Both parties also generally agree that it was for the best for both of them. It may also be caused by one or both parents realizing that they are gay, and one or both of them realizing that "I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy."

If there are children from the marriage they are shared without much complaint, and the amicability of the parents can often be interpreted as being partly for their sake. As such, this tends to show up in children's cartoons, perhaps as an attempt to counter the stereotype of the children of divorced parents being largely unhappy. May involve a Visit by Divorced Dad that will usually go well, and for the most part any Divorce Assets Conflicts are avoided or settled reasonably.

The increase in this trope can be attributed in the dramatic shift in divorce rates and public perception of those who have gone through with divorces in the last 50 years. While divorce used to be scandalous, it's now a fairly common occurrence, and this trope reflects the view that it's just a fact of life that doesn't have to permanently poison a relationship. Sometimes it even results in Divorce Is Temporary, though this is less common in more realistic works.

Note that this trope requires more intimate knowledge of the people involved than we are generally afforded of Real Life couples, so No Real Life Examples, Please.

Can apply to non divorced former couples as well, thus the name.

Compare Working with the Ex and Sex with the Ex. No, this is not about friendly .exe files.

Examples of Amicable Exes include:


Anime & Manga Edit

  • Marmalade Boy starts when Miki's parents Rumi and Jin tell her all smiling "we're having a divorce ♥!" They get divorced and stay friends, then they swap spouses with Yuu's parents Chiyako and Youji, and both families move into a Big Fancy House so the two teens won't lose their parental figures and things will be easier in the financial and emotional senses.
  • Ami's mother in Sailor Moon seems to bear no ill feelings toward her ex-husband, but this has never stopped Ami herself from angsting about it.
  • Haruka's parents in Noein have come to terms with their divorce and are able to get along when together. This is something that took time, as their initial feelings were far more bitter, but they eventually realized that despite their attraction to one another they were simply too different to function as a stable couple, and rather than raise a child in that environment they decided to split up to give her a life where her parents weren't constantly fighting. This makes it a case where the split was mainly for the child's benefit.
  • Cher Degre and Hubb Lebowski of Wolf's Rain get along professionally, though there is definite tension in their relationship, and they split mainly because Cher was so caught up in her work that their relationship suffered. By the end of the series, they have mostly reconciled, but Cher dies suddenly, causing Hubb to cross the Despair Event Horizon, and he spends his last moments cradling her scarf and inhaling her scent.
  • Brick and Cathy are this in Bondage Queen Kate, mainly by the misfortune of both of them being strong dominants.
  • Ureshiko and Tamotsu in Okusama wa Mahou Shoujo aren't officially divorced, but they don't live together anymore. Ureshiko comes over to help him clean once in a while. In the end, they presumably do get divorced amicably, since Tamotsu told Kagura to treat her well.
  • Austria and Hungary in Axis Powers Hetalia are still very much going out together, despite having been divorced after World War I.


Comic Books Edit

  • Hank Pym and his wife Janet of The Avengers after their rough divorce got along very well and even had romantic relations before Janet's death.
  • Longshot and Dazzler of the X-Men divorced off-panel, but seem to still get along well enough and still enjoy the occasional roll in the sack for old time's sake.
  • Jefferson Pierce, aka Black Lightning and his wife Lynn Stewart split up because of the stress Jeff's superhero life put on their family, but the two remain in friendly contact and Lynn makes sure that their daughters, Anissa and Jennifer remain in contact with their dad, and both even become superheroes later.


Film Edit

  • L.A. Story. Sara and her ex-husband Roland get along well together. Roland thinks it's because of their nationality:

 Roland: England and America are different. The English keep civil relations with their exes. The Americans sue them.

  • In Night at the Museum, Ben Stiller's character and his ex-wife are quite friendly with each other and have no trouble with both of them taking care of their son.
  • The conclusion of Mrs. Doubtfire show Miranda and Daniel coming to terms with their divorce and end any custody disputes.
  • In one of the short stories in Paris, je t'aime, a separated couple have one final date before the divorce papers are settled.
  • Similarly with Mrs. Doubtfire, in The Santa Clause, Scott Calvin and his ex-wife came to terms with their divorce, custody with their son Charlie, as well as Scott being the new Santa Claus.
  • At the beginning of Taken, Liam Neeson's character and his ex-wife are definitely not this trope, having divorced mainly because of his career with the CIA convincing her that he didn't care about them, but by the end of the film after he single-handedly rescues their daughter he most certainly earns back a measure of her love, as well the friendship and respect of her new husband.
  • In Bon Cop, Bad Cop, David Bouchard still lives in the same house as his ex-wife (in a basement apartment) and both seem committed to raising their daughter together, sharing meals and attending school recitals together. Somewhat subverted in that David still has regrets.
  • In Definitely, Maybe, Ryan Reynolds' character and his ex-wife were amicable when together at a trip with the daughter.


Literature Edit

  • Watson Brewer (Kristy's step-father) and his first wife in The Baby Sitters Club.
  • Robert B. Parker's Sunny Randall and her ex-husband Richie still spend quite a bit of time together, to the detriment of their other relationships. Their divorce was due to a variety of factors, but is mostly Can't Live with Them Can't Live Without Them and the fact that Sunny realized that Richie was very similar to her father. They don't have any children, but their miniature bull terrier Rosie is shared between them, with much Lampshading about how they want the best for their "kid."
    • By the same author, Jesse Stone has an interesting relationship with his ex-wife Jenn that varies between this and less amicable, since while she did cheat on him to further her career they are on relatively good terms, and cooperate on a few cases (the TV movies based on the books play their relationships as much more antagonistic). Parker himself was Happily Married for over 50 years to his wife Joan.
    • It's no surprise, then, when Sunny and Jesse end up hooking up in a Crossover between their series.
  • In The Pale King, Chris Fogle's parents try to give this impression, but both of them are deeply affected by it.
  • One Day has Dex and Sylvie amicably sharing custody of their daughter and still caring about each other.
  • TheWake Of The Lorelei Lee has Jacky and Higgins getting married as a cover. As soon as possible, they get divorced, and their relationship goes back to the way it always was.
  • Charlie and Renee in Twilight.
  • An Ed McBain novel began with the protagonist in bed with his ex-wife.


Live Action TV Edit

  • While they still trade plenty of barbs, Frasier Crane and Lilith Sternin of Cheers and Frasier were on amicable enough terms to have Thanksgiving together without killing each other or anyone else, and when Lilith wanted another baby and needed a sperm donor, she came to Frasier first.
    • This relationship was also subjected to a bit of Early Installment Weirdness when Martin comments that Lilith was worse than Niles' then-wife Maris. It would later become evident that Maris was two inches away from a Complete Monster Domestic Abuser, who didn't deserve, much less attain, this trope when she and Niles split up. Lilith was an angel, and her relationship with Frasier positively heavenly, by comparison.
  • Jules and Bobby on Cougar Town get on extremely well, hang out together all the time. It seems that they both think they work better divorced.
  • Once on Seinfeld George dated a woman who still lived with her ex.
    • Jerry and Elaine were, at one time, in a long-term relationship.
      • Interesting, given that Julia-Louis Dreyfus, who played Elaine, would go on to play Old Christine in The New Adventures of Old Christine. There, Christine and her ex-husband, Richard, are the epitome of the Amicably Divorced, tossing deprecatory puns back and forth between them while helping each other sort through their problems. In fact, they both count as being among each other's best friends.
  • Ted and Robin in How I Met Your Mother broke up very amicably with no heartbreak or fighting whatsoever (after realizing that they wanted completely different lives and didn't want to force each other to compromise), and not only remained very close friends throughout the series, but it is revealed that they will always remain close friends, as Robin is known as "Aunt Robin" to Ted's future children and apparently interacts with them a great deal. They were even platonic roommates in seasons 4-7, and Ted has promised to be Robin's best man should she ever get married.
  • The main character on the TV series Dream On got along very well with his ex-wife.
  • Desperate Housewives: After their divorce at the beginning of seventh season, Bree and Orson Hodge are in better terms with each other.
    • Lynette's mother and her favorite stepfather are this trope. They only divorced when the husband came out as gay and he even agrees to be her caretaker when they're both elderly.
  • Dr Cox and Jordan in Scrubs coped far better divorced than they ever did together. They still constantly snipe at each other, but it's just the way they are. In fact, when they find out that their divorce was never made official due to a clerical error, they actually get divorced again to save their relationship. The divorce is even performed in front of their friends and family as a big romantic ceremony. Of course, this is a slightly different example than normal because despite being divorced they have returned to a romantic relationship. They live together, have sex with each other, fight and interact as a normal married couple would.
  • Toby Ziegler and Andrea Wyatt on The West Wing, who were so, uh, "amicable" he wound up impregnating her while they were divorced, of course, this may have been a left over of part of the couple's previous fertility treatments while they were married. It's possible that Andy was impregnated by previously fertilized and stored ova, the actual means of how Andy got pregnant are not discussed or revealed, so it's unknown exactly what happened, but either way they'd have to be pretty amicable to even agree to it in the first place.
  • Flash-sideways Jack and Juliet in Lost.
  • Brock and Reba in the eponymous sitcom.
  • The Jacksons on The Sarah Jane Adventures: Remarkably so considering Chrissie left Alan for her Judo instructor.
  • Lowell of Wings divorced his wife Bunny after a long separation, only to have the split end up completely reinvigorating their sex life. They would end up having to work at staying apart.
  • Except for a flashback to when their marriage was on the rocks, Buffy's divorced parents seem to get along fine, and afterwards Joyce recalls their relationship with fondness.
  • Richard Castle gets along with both of his ex-wives. He likes Alexis' mother, but it was just that being married didn't work for either of them. And his second wife continues being his publisher and publicity agent even after their divorce.
  • Earl and Joy from My Name Is Earl. Their relationship was a complicated one from the beginning, where Joy got him drunk enough to get a Vegas marriage when she was 6 months pregnant. Then she cheated on him with Darnell and Earl ended up raising two kids that weren't his. She divorced him when he was laid up in traction from getting hit by a car and eventually married Darnell. Despite all of this, and a very rocky start of their post-marriage life due to Earl's lotto money, they became pretty close friends and have a small celebration on their anniversary. Earl often spends time with the family and Joy's kids even refer to him as "Old Daddy." This became even more complicated in the last episode when they discover that Earl actually was the father of Joy's first son (due to mistaken identity and Earl being drunk), and Darnell wasn't the father of the second.
  • On Babylon 5 John Sheridan and ex-wife Elizabeth Lochley not only get along but have an implicit trust in each other than makes them an ideal command team. According to Elizabeth they both realize that the marriage was a horrible mistake due to their aggressive command personalities. The divorce saved their friendship.
  • Cal Lightman from Lie to Me gets along very well with his ex-wife.
  • Zack and Cody's parents are on good terms.
  • On Happy Endings Dave and Alex try to play out this trope even though they were never actually married (Alex left Dave at the altar). They have many friends in common and value those friendships too much to make those friends choose sides.
  • George and Anne from The Secret Life of the American Teenager. They broke up when George cheated on her, got back together, then broke up again. Yet they're still friends, frequently chat, and have no issue with the shared custody of their three children.
    • George and his first wife Kathleen are also on good terms, both agreeing that they were simply too young and immature when they got married.
  • Eureka has two cases: Carter's Ex actually shows up and establishes that the breakup was because Carter would always rush off to work, and when she realizes how much a part of the town both he and daughter Zoey are, she's even willing to step aside and let Zoey remain, even though the agreement was for her to return with Abby at the end of the school year.
    • Allison and Nathan Stark divorce over the course of the initial season, but still work together because of their son, and eventually commit to remarry , until Nathan 'dies' while ending a time loop.
  • Sae Hee and Young Joo in the Korean Drama The City Hunter. They broke up because of his job, but still see each other frequently as friends.
  • In Men of a Certain Age, Joe and his ex-wife divorced before the events of the first season. As of the second season, they appear to be getting romantically involved with each other again, or at least exploring the possibility. At the very least, they are friendly and have shown up to their kids' school events together.
  • Ross and Carol in Friends still get on very well; if Carol wasn't a lesbian, they'd probably still be together. This may explain why Carol's partner Susan doesn't seem to like Ross much.
  • Nate and Maggie of Leverage, so much so that she's the only person he talks to outside team.
  • Viva Variety is hosted by Mr. Laupin and the Former Mrs. Laupin. They even do a romantic musical number together called "My Divorce."
  • Pilot neighbor Howard Borden on The Bob Newhart Show is friendly with his ex-wife, although his insecurity makes him competitive over impressing their son.
  • David Rossi gets along with at least one of his ex-wives...so much so that when she'd diagnosed with ALS, she asks him to assist in her suicide.
  • Colonel Sheppard and his ex-wife Nancy seem to get along well enough to understand how much strain their respective jobs had put on their relationship and she's able to use her position at Homeland Security to pass along some information to him when he's back on Earth to track down a Replicator.
  • In Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the Pink Ranger Kimberly's parents are divorced but start off kneedeep in this trope - their one appearance involved the mother showing up with her new flame in a meet-the-parents affair at Angel Grove High. The real Aesop though is that the divorce hasn't affected their relationship with their child rather than each other.


Theater Edit

  • This trope is the basis for a scene in Company:

 Robert: You mean you two are not married now?

Susan: Well, not since the divorce.

Robert: Then where are you living now, Peter?

Peter: Why, here at home. I mean, I've got responsibilities. I've got Susan and the kids to take care of. I certainly would never leave them.

Robert: So, are you two considering getting married again?

Susan: Married? Oh, no, we tried that, thank you very much.


Video Games Edit

Webcomics Edit

  • In Questionable Content, Marten Reed's mother is a famous fetish model, and his father is the owner of a very successful gay nightclub who realizes as an adult that he is himself gay. Their marriage falls apart as it becomes clear that they simply aren't a very good match for one another, and they remain in friendly contact. Despite being an unsuccessful couple, they are excellent parents to Marten; Veronica's approval for Henry's remarriage is contingent with Marten's. She says that they just make better friends and parents than they do husband and wife.
  • In Midnight Macabre, Gaspar and Natalie are friendly after their divorce. This is probably because they were friends even before they dated; Gaspar's friend Art, however, thinks it's because Texas didn't have alimony laws at the time the comic takes place.
  • In I Don't Get It, this is the case with the main character's stepmother, who is still close to the father despite being divorced.
  • Commander Badass of Manly Guys Doing Manly Things is still on good terms with his ex-wife to the point of having a barbecue together and casually exchanging custody of the kids after work. As a result, it's a huge kick in the tear ducts when Nomura Syndrome renders the Commander unrecognizable to them.
  • In Niels, Agent 250 and his ex, Irene, are practically best friends.


Western Animation Edit

  • Buster's parents from Arthur seem to get along when they interact, and Bitzi certainly doesn't seem to mind it when Bo takes Buster traveling for a long period of time (this is the focus of the Spin-Off Postcards From Buster).
  • Pepper Ann's mother and father, who split up because he was away as a blimp pilot so often.
  • Tino's mother and father in The Weekenders. The main factor of their divorce seems to be that Tino's dad needed to stay on the East Coast for his job.
  • Mary and Warren McGinnis from Batman Beyond seemed reasonably amicable until Warren's death. Terry however had some issues with the divorce and living with Warren, and joined a street gang before the start of the series and was caught shoplifting, prompting Warren to spend more time with both of his sons.
  • Rodolfo and Maria on El Tigre, even though Rodolfo still pines to reconcile with her.
  • Lois and Jonas Foutley on As Told by Ginger were divorced, though it was never made clear why, but implied due to changes in their lifestyles. Lois and Ginger still can accept Jonas despite him not always being there, but the divorce has made Carl distant with his father, and this conflict appeared in a few episodes, since wasn't even around for the first season or two of the show and completely failed to keep up on events with his kids. When he suddenly came into the picture it was as a hesitant, awkward but trying man, and fits with the theory of someone who ran away from a problem but now trying to fix it, but is aware they don't really deserve a second chance.
  • On Phineas and Ferb, Charlene seems to have this sort of relationship with her ex-husband Doctor Doofenshmirtz, even defending him when their daughter calls him evil. (Even though he is by his own admission). Doofenshmirtz himself is civil around her and Vanessa, but one can tell that he doesn't appreciate her Deadpan Snarker attitude and remains a tad bitter:
    • In her first appearance in "Ice Cream, You Scream" Charlene tells Vanessa that "no one's evil" and that their marriage didn't work because they both wanted "different things" ("was one of those things, being evil? 'Cause he's evil").
    • In the episode "Run Candace, Run", Doof's building is being foreclosed on since he spent his mortgage money on some gargoyles. Despite Charlene being able to lend him the money to cover the cost, he refuses to call and ask her, since she told him gargoyles were a stupid idea. In the end, he does ask her, and she does lend him the money after the obligatory "I told you so."
  • In The Legend of Korra, Tenzin and Lin Beifong had a failed Childhood Friend Romance before the start of the series. They appear to get along well enough, and Tenzin claims that while Lin was angry about the breakup at first, she's moved past it. However, Korra thinks that Lin hasn't entirely moved past it as Tenzin believes, and it's implied that Lin's rude and abrasive attitude towards Korra is partially because of this.