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Mediation can help divorcing Massachusetts couples

There is no doubt that divorce can be a stressful and highly emotional time. Some couples may be so far apart that they need to settle matters in a courtroom, but evidence is accumulating that couples who choose divorce mediation may help not only themselves but their children as well after the process is concluded.

The study followed nearly 150 couples who were undergoing a divorce. The researchers attempted to get a sample of couples who were roughly similar to each other in order to rule out the effect of other factors. Therefore, only couples with one child younger than 6 years old were included. In addition, certain types of couples were excluded, such as those with drug and spousal abuse problems and those who were prone to confrontation.

One-half of the divorcing couples represented a control group that went through the standard court procedures. The other half saw a divorce mediator and received other support, including educational programs. Afterwards, the researchers inquired how well the couples were getting along, paying particular attention to how they had agreed to share child custody.

The study revealed that mediation and the other supportive techniques improved collaboration between divorcing parents. Couples in the second group were more likely to stick to child custody and visitation agreements. Fathers were more likely to become involved in the new custody agreement, and mothers were more likely to support the father's role in that agreement.

Mediation and supportive techniques were also associated with lower levels of litigation over the divorce. Couples looking for a non-contentious resolution to their divorce may want to consider mediation.

Source: The Huffington Post, "How To Prevent Litigation In Divorce Disputes," Robert Hughes, Jr., March 27, 2012.

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