How Addictions Can Affect Divorce Mediation

Communication is a vital component of the mediation process. The divorcing parties must talk to each other and with the mediator. One of the most important subjects to cover during mediation is the underlying reason for the divorce. Unfortunately, addictive behavior in a spouse can be one of the main reasons a person seeks a divorce.

Root Causes 

The background of a person’s addiction can be a difficult topic to discuss. Sometimes addiction is the result of learned behavior, passed down from generation to generation. Other times it can be the result of a genetic predisposition. Addiction can also be used to escape from one’s feelings. Whatever the reason, addiction typically remains a primary cause for divorce and is communicated early on in the mediation.

Harmful Effects

Regardless of the addiction’s origins, both parties in a divorce need to communicate the effects the habit had on the marriage. If the mediator suspects that harmful effects are continuing in the marriage, he or she will ask questions to determine the extent of the problem, particularly if children will be at risk with unchecked behavior. Although the mediator is not a therapist, he or she will act to protect the parties.

Impaired Judgment

Addictive behaviors can include a variety of activities, including overeating, gambling, or abusing drugs and alcohol. No matter what the addiction, it causes distorted thinking and destructive behavior. An essential part of the mediator’s job is to recognize if this conduct is impairing the judgment of one of the parties and recommending actions, including treatment options, that can help both parties think more clearly and rationally during the mediation process

Mediators play an essential role in helping a couple going through a divorce communicate more effectively. Discussion addiction will help the participants better understand each other and they will be more likely to make informed, rational decisions during a stressful time.

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