By Steven G. Mehta

I just heard of a friend of mine who spent $70,000 in legal bills and his wife spent over $200,000 to get divorced.  I couldn’t help but think, why didn’t they go to mediation.  Well a new review of other long term studies has found that divorce mediation does help and is better than the alternative:  trial.

According to Researcher Lori Shaw in her Meta study entitled, Divorce mediation outcome research: A meta-analysis, mediation produced a grand effect size of 0.36 difference from litigated matters.  According to Ms. Shaw, this small-to-moderate effect size reveals that across the included studies mediation is a beneficial alternative to litigation for divorcing couples.

Although Ms. Shaw’s research is invaluable in helping to determine the scientific validity of mediation, it is clear that parties need to resort to mediation first rather than last.  In the case of my friend, after the combined expenditure of $270,000, they decided to go to mediation.  Had they chosen this alternative as the first choice, the family could have been much happier and much more wealthy.  As it stands, these parties succumbed to the illness named, divorce pyschosis.   After the love is gone, they go to all efforts to punish the other.

Research Source:  Conflict Resolution Quarterly

Volume 27, Issue 4, pages 447–467, Summer 2010