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Mediated Divorce versus Litigated Divorce: The Effects on Children

Author: Avalene Bateman

Let take a look at mediated divorce versus litigated divorce and the effects on children.

Let’s look at mediated Divorce versus Litigated Divorce: Effects on Children. A litigated divorce can be financially and emotionally draining on those involved in the process. When going through a divorce or separation, the parents are undoubtedly on a rollercoaster journey of emotions and this is a taxing time, often heightened by the more lengthy and costly litigation process.

While the emotional difficulties will be an obstacle, either way, the process of divorce mediation provides a more relaxed environment where parents are encouraged to reach amicable solutions, including those regarding the children.

Children are more perceptive that generally noted, and are greatly affected by the environment around them. They will flourish in a loving, calm environment, and feel anxious in a hostile, drastically changing environment. When the parents are functioning on heightened emotional levels of frustration and stress, it is possible that the children will pick up on this and feel the stress of the situation themselves which can be harmful on a child’s emotional wellbeing.

When parents are in the throes of a litigation battle, it is possible a child can be involved in custody battles. In an event such as this a child could be exposed to a hostile environment between parents, and the child’s voice may not be heard, further leading to emotional distress in the child.

On the other side, divorce mediation is a shorter, less financially taxing process, where the focus is on reaching agreed upon solutions and compromise. Divorce mediation encourages parents to work together when making decisions regarding their children. When children are able to see parents cooperating, they will be able to feel more secure in their environment and are less likely to feel the emotional turmoil associated with arguing parents.

It is important to show the child that they are still loved by both parents and are not being put aside. In divorce mediation, parents are guided and encouraged to be cooperative, which allows the child to feel a sense of security in the family unit. Divorce mediation is conducted in a safe, caring environment, and divorce mediators are trained to guide the divorce discussions in a way that keep relationships functioning as best they can. This will be beneficial to the children who’s emotional wellbeing is at the forefront of parenting plans.

The divorce mediation process encourages the children’s voices to be heard and taken into account during the mediation process and when making decisions regarding the children. Therefore, what is best for the children is the main focus when discussing the parenting plan.

Mediation aims at minimizing stress, financial and emotional disruption as best as possible, and maximizing the ability of parents to communicate effectively and constructively during the divorce proceedings and going into the future, which in turn keeps theirs and their children’s wellbeing a major focus.


Pictured Above: Avalene Bateman

Avalene Bateman is a clinical psychologist with 20 years of experience in the field of psychotherapy and mediation. She is registered with the Health Professionals Council of South Africa and the Board of Healthcare Funders.