One of the best sources of information about the complex topic of effects of divorce on children is The Truth About Children and Divorce; Dealing with the Emotions so You and Your Children Can Thrive by Robert E. Emery, Ph.D. In summary, he makes the following points: (1) How you parent and work with your children’s other parent is key to whether or not your children are resilient. (2) Divorce is almost always stressful for children. (3) The great majority of children whose parents divorce do not develop serious behavioral or emotional problems. Most children from divorced families feel and function pretty much like kids whose parents are married. (4) Many resilient children still report painful memories and ongoing worries about divorce, their relationships with their parents, and their parents’ relationship with each other.
Other good sources are on the book list included in the resource section
Dr. Emery did a 12-year follow-up study on families who had filed for a contested custody hearing. Half of them were randomly sent to mediation and half to court. Twelve years later there was a dramatic difference between those who had mediated and those who had gone to court in terms of the contact between the non-residential parent and the children. 28% of non-residential parents who mediated saw their children weekly and 52% talked with their children weekly. Compare this with non-residential parents who litigated: only 9% of them saw their children weekly and 14% of them talked with their children on a weekly basis.