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Sharon Easley
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Can mediation lessen the impact of your divorce on the kids?

A family breakup can be devastating for children. A contentious litigation process will only make it more difficult for them to accept your divorce and move on with their lives.

Mediation is an option in which the participants have much better control over the outcome. Studies find that this approach has a high satisfaction rate and has less of an adverse impact on children.

Trying to cope

When you tell the children you are divorcing, reactions will vary from disbelief to anger. Younger children might be afraid that you will leave them or that you do not love them anymore. Older children may feel deep resentment; they may either lash out at you in anger or become sullen and withdraw from the family. Your priority must always be the welfare of your children, and this more than anything might steer you toward the most sensible framework for achieving your divorce.

The mediation difference

Studies show that when parents engage in high conflict, their children are more prone to suffer anxiety and depression. Their schoolwork may deteriorate as they try to handle a major disruption in their lives caused by your divorce. Mediation is not only a much faster process than a traditional divorce proceeding in court, but it is also a process in which a neutral mediator helps couples understand the options available to them in sorting out their differences in a reasonable, peaceful manner. When this sort of approach extends to the relationship Mom and Dad have with their kids, everybody wins. Minimal parental conflict seems to result in fewer adjustment issues for children.

Following court orders

In the state of Texas, the court can order the divorcing parties to mediate, especially when there are children to consider. A skillful mediator neither offers advice nor makes decisions. However, knowing the divorce will affect the lives of everyone in the family, especially the children, the mediator is able to help couples make the best of a serious, life-altering situation.

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