There have been a number of studies on the effects of divorce on children. Divorce has been found to be “an intensely stressful experience for all children.”  Children often are frightened, confused and feel a loss of
control and security. 
The amount of parental conflict during and after a divorce is the single most important factor in determining children’s well-being.  The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry concluded:
Children will do best if they know that their mother and father will still be their parents and remain involved with them even though the marriage is ending and the parents won’t live together. Long custody disputes or pressure on a child to “choose” sides can be particularly harmful for the youngster and can add to the damage of the divorce. Research shows that children do best when parents can cooperate on behalf of the child. 
Parental conflict and custody battles can result in serious and long term problems for children.  For example, children who had parents in high conflict were more likely to experience feelings of “loss and regret” even as adults. Id. Young adults of divorced parents also experienced renewed “anxiety, fear, guilt, and anger” in adulthood when they had to make important decisions, including those involving their own relationships. 
Children who do the best in life after a divorce are those whose parents “who can communicate effectively and work together as parents.”  Parents who want to minimize the negative impact of divorce on their children should, therefore, look to mediation.
Litigation only increases animosity and decreases focus on the needs of the child. As stated by Dr. Kathleen O’Connell Corcoran: “On the average, it takes family members approximately four to eight years to recover from the emotional and financial expense of a bitter adversarial divorce. In an adversarial divorce, there is no possible resolution of the emotional issues, only decreased trust and increased resentment.”  In litigation, parents often spend their time and money publically attacking the credibility and parenting of the other parent. It is difficult to foster cooperation and co-parenting after that.
Mediation, by contrast, is a process in which parents put their children’s needs first by communicating, cooperating and fashioning a parenting plan that is in the children’s best interests. The mediated agreement will address how the parents will peacefully address future changes and future conflicts, if any. Mediation allows participants to forego the economic devastation that often follows acrimonious litigation, and that also benefits the children.
Arizona Divorce may be accompanied by feelings of rage, pain and hurt for the adults involved. While attacking the other party in litigation may seem more satisfying in the short term, the long term impact on children should make parents want to avoid litigation whenever possible. Mediation allows parents to quickly restore stability and control in their lives and the lives of their children. Choosing mediation may be the single most important gift you ever give your children.
 Sara Eleoff. An Exploration of the Ramifications of Divorce on Children and Adolescents. 2003
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Children And Divorce. 2008.
 Kathleen O’Connell Corcoran, Ph.D. Psychological and Emotional Aspects of Divorce. 1997.
 Robert Hughes, Jr., Ph.D. The Effects of Divorce on Children. 2009.
Alona M. Gottfried is a family law mediator and attorney in Arizona. If you have questions about mediation, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or email@example.com. This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice. See a legal professional before making legal decisions.