Studies show that high-conflict divorce has an adverse effect on children in a variety of ways.
As compared with litigation, divorce mediation has steadily increased in popularity, especially for couples who find their children handle the process with reduced levels of anxiety and stress.
When high-conflict issues already exist between the parties in a divorce action, an adversarial court proceeding only exacerbates the problems. Studies show that children display less depression and anxiety after their high-conflict parents divorce. It is therefore the conflict rather than the divorce itself that causes behavioral and mental health issues for children.
Mediation is a divorce option that takes place outside of the courtroom. The parties work together to develop a settlement agreement that is satisfactory to them both. It is a calmer and more respectful process that lacks the often-contentious atmosphere that accompanies litigation. Mediation is often a much faster process and therefore less expensive. In addition to working out property division matters and other major concerns with the guidance of a mediator, divorcing parents can also develop their parenting plan. Since it is a product of mutual agreement, the parenting plan can reduce stress for everyone in the family going forward.
The Canadian Department of Justice conducted in-depth studies to determine the effects of high-conflict divorce on children. Released in 2019, the findings revealed that the parental conflict children experience has an adverse effect on their ability to adjust, their self-esteem, their success in school and more. Divorcing parents can help change this trajectory when they opt for mediation and the creation of an effective parenting plan.