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Children & Divorce - Why Divorce Mediation Offers Hope

Studies indicate that the challenges and losses experienced by children of divorce are more profound and longer lasting than previously thought. Children of divorce tend to be at risk for poor academic performance, health problems, poor sense of personal accountability, and even substance abuse.

Recent studies have suggested even more alarming risks. These risks may not appear until late adolescence or young adulthood. They include:

  • The inability to deal constructively with conflict, often avoiding conflict
  • Early sexual experimentation
  • Avoidance of relationships and even child-bearing
  • Misuse of sex to punish or to vent frustration, fear, or anxiety
  • Relationship problems

These problems are long ranging, variable and enduring into adulthood.

What can parents do who are divorcing or already divorced?

One of the best solutions is mediation. Parents who mediated their divorce reduced the conflict experienced by their children. This reduction in the short term (during separation and divorce) was followed by even greater reduction in conflict over the next 12 years. This contrasts strikingly with parents who chose conventional divorce. These conflicts remained high during separation and divorce, and they increased to even higher levels over the 12 years following divorce.

Mediation provides parents an opportunity to discuss parenting decisions at the time of divorce and afterward.

Parents who mediate their disputes provide their children with a model facing conflict and resolving disagreements. Litigated divorce cannot and does not do that. In fact, a long-term study found the children of parents who litigated divorce had difficulty facing conflict even in adulthood, and they were left with a sense of helplessness and anger. With mediation parents can provide their children with problem-solving tools to take them through life.

There is no doubt in my mind that one of the greatest life lessons we can offer our children is how to solve disagreements. Mediation offers parents that opportunity.


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New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the division of property in a divorce is to be done fairly, not necessarily equally. The court can take into consideration any factor it deems relevant when dividing property, but it must consider certain factors, such as how long the couple was married and the age and health of both spouses, the income or property brought to the marriage by each spouse, the standard of living that was achieved during the marriage, and the extent to which one spouse may have deferred career goals, among others.
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