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Alex Rodriguez has made strides over the years in maintaining an amicable co-parenting relationship with his ex-wife Cynthia Scurtis.
Sources tell PEOPLE that the newly single father of two, 45, and Scurtis, 48 - whom he recently called a "world-class mommy to our girls" Natasha, 16, and Ella, 13 - have made improvements in their friendship for the sake of their daughters.
"There was a great deal of animosity and jealousy when Alex and Cynthia split," a source tells PEOPLE of the pair's 2008 divorce after six years of marriage. "Cynthia is very religious and family-oriented and was devastated when the marriage broke up. But over the years, Alex has been a great father. The couple's interactions have gotten better over the years, and they ended up co-parenting in a very positive way for all."
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When Scurtis filed for divorce, she claimed Rodriguez "emotionally abandoned" her and their children, and allegedly had a series of affairs. Then, years following their divorce battle, Rodriguez and Scurtis, who had a prenup, went back and forth over his spousal support payments to her.
"They have a good relationship now, having put their kids ahead of everything else," the source says. "Somehow they worked out the financial arrangements, but it was a long time coming."
The source adds, "They have love and caring from both sides. And each parent admires how the other handles the kids."
Another insider also tells PEOPLE, "It was tough at first, especially for Cynthia, but time has passed and family has come first for both, so things gradually improved," adding, "In the end, the children were the most important as it should be."
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These days, the Florida-based exes appear to be getting along, even recently working out together weeks after his split from ex-fiancée Jennifer Lopez. And a friend of Scurtis' in Miami tells PEOPLE that "[Cynthia's] husband was with them at the gym, all is good."
Scurtis married Miami realtor Angel Nicolas after her split from Rodriguez, and they share a daughter.
Rodriguez previously opened up about co-parenting with Scurtis on the Raising the Bar podcast. "It's been a really, really nice experience for us," he said. "I'm very friendly with [Cynthia's husband] Angel, he's wonderful with my girls. I think having four good people at the table, well, three good people and me."
The retired New York Yankees star also said in the podcast that he's learned to be a "more compassionate, more considerate" person after "navigating" fatherhood through the years.