Divorce Mediation and its Impact on Children

Divorce Mediation and its Impact on ChildrenDivorce Mediation and its Impact on Children

by
Brianna L. Nelson, BSW, LSW
MSW Clinical Research Paper
Presented to the Faculty of the
School of Social Work
St. Catherine University and the University of St. Thomas
St. Paul, Minnesota
in Partial fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
Master of Social Work
Committee Members
Lance Peterson, LICSW, Ph. D.
Jennifer Briest, MSW, LGSW
Marilyn McKnight, MA

Abstract
The percentage of children experiencing divorce in the United States and around
the world has dramatically increased in the last fifty years and currently affects one
million children every year. Divorce mediation can be helpful and beneficial for families
when resolving emotional and familial conflict, which could decrease the negative effects
divorce can have on children. This research aims to address the decision making process
that mediators use when deciding to include children in the mediation process. A
qualitative study was conducted, in which professional mediators were interviewed
regarding the decision making process used to determine whether or not children are
included in the mediation process. Data were analyzed and coded using inductive
grounded theory. Significant similarities between the literature and findings included
mediators providing education to parents, parents deciding whether or not to include
children in mediation, and the age of the child impacting the inclusion of the child in
mediation. These findings were linked to research, but provided an additional focus on
the age of children, how mediators can be mindful of children’s developmental levels and
how that would affect how and when they are included in the mediation process. Further
research is needed to determine how mediators are being trained to work with children
and provide developmentally appropriate and competent services.

Divorce Mediation and its Impact on Children

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