A study conducted by Dr. Robert Emery concluded that divorce through method of mediation kept most families out of court and was less disruptive to the lives of those involved. The study also showed that family members were more likely to keep in contact even 12 years after the mediated divorce.
The following is a summary of Dr. Emery’s 12-year study on the effects of divorce mediation. This divorce mediation study is also available in Microsoft PowerPoint presentation format here.
- Used a high conflict group – families who had filed for contested custody hearing
- Used random assignment (the magic of science) — a flip of a coin determined whether families went to mediation or adversary settlement
- Sample was young and low income
- Mediation was short-term (5-hr average) and problem-focused but sensitive to emotions, especially grief
- Was a longitudinal study — families were followed for 12 years
Mediation Kept Most Families Out of Court
- If the coin came up tails and they stayed in the adversary system, 75% of families appeared before a judge
- But if the coin came up heads, less than 20% appeared before a judge
- Even when mediation failed, parents tended to settle out of court with the help of their lawyers
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Emery, Robert. Emery’s Divorce Mediation Study. Emeryondivorce.com. Retrieved on July 1, 2014, http://emeryondivorce.com/divorce_mediation_study.php.