Divorce mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution or ADR.
Research shows that a high-conflict divorce has a negative effect on children. For this reason, many parents choose the less stressful mediation option.
The results of research
The Canadian Department of Justice undertook years of research into high-conflict divorce and its effects on the children of a marriage. The term “high-conflict” refers to the combative relationship between the divorcing parents that often increases during a traditional divorce proceeding in court. According to the research, the more conflict there is the more the children suffer.
The benefits of mediation
Mediation is a more informal divorce process that takes place outside of court. The divorcing couple meets with a neutral trained mediator who provides guidance as the couple works to create a divorce agreement that is satisfactory to both parties. The couple discusses and negotiates each major item from the distribution of property to the creation of a parenting plan. The mediator will keep negotiations on track and help find resolutions to any conflicts that arise.
The communication key
Mediation works through open communication between the two parties. Compared to litigation, the tone is more peaceful and respectful. Aggressive or abusive behavior is not tolerated, and the lack of animosity is beneficial to all members of the family. The Canadian researchers found that it is the conflict rather than the divorce itself that affects children adversely. With open and effective communication as the key, mediation goes a long way toward helping children enter the post-divorce era with a more positive outlook.