Child Inclusive Mediation
What is involved?
Once the decision to separate has been made one of the first things that parents consider are arrangements for the children. Family mediation, and particularly child inclusive mediation, is a way of resolving disputes relating to the arrangements for children before, during or after separation or divorce. Common topics for mediation include childcare arrangements and co-parenting plans. Mediation can also be useful in helping parents restore communication when it has broken down.
It is a voluntary and confidential process enabling parties to explain their concerns and needs to each other in the presence of a qualified family mediator, whilst also offering the opportunity for children to meet with the mediator and enable the parents to hear and consider their children’s wishes and views and how their children might view arrangements. During mediation that involves the arrangements for children, mediators must think about how the voice of the child will be heard. In some situations this can be sought directly from the child or children by meeting with our mediators.
The family mediators at Freeths are specially trained to enable them to directly consult with children during the mediation process, where appropriate. This is normally most appropriate for children over the age of 10. Both parents, and the child must agree before any meeting can take place. The meeting can be with a child alone, or with their siblings depending on the child’s wishes.
Children benefit from and value their views and opinions being heard. Although their views will be discussed during the mediation process (if the child agrees to this) our mediators will help the child understand that they are not responsible for any decisions and that the parents remain the decision makers in the mediation process. Often children express the view that they would like to talk to someone neutral when their parents are separating and like to be invited to see and talk to the mediator, without feeling they have to make the decisions. Direct consultation with children can help parents to listen more to their children and to each other and to make good decisions.
Our accredited mediators can arrange a confidential meeting with children who will then have a chance to put their point of view about their family situation and changes. Children’s views will be respected, with no pressure being put on the children and the meeting will be friendly and informal. Neither parent is present during the time the mediator spends with the children. The children decide with the mediator what they want relayed back to their parents.
As parents, our mediators will discuss the choices open to you and help you to negotiate with each other to reach decisions that are acceptable to you both. Very importantly the mediator will help you to keep the needs of any children at the forefront of any negotiations and you can always discuss how you can talk to children appropriately about the arrangements you reach.
The mediator’s job is to act as an impartial third party and manage the process of the mediation, helping you to exchange information, ideas and feelings constructively. The mediator has no power to impose a decision or settlement, the responsibility for all decisions remains with yourselves since you know better than anyone else what is right for your family. The mediator will not advise you about the best option for you or your children, nor can the mediator protect your individual interest. However, the mediator can give you legal information where this is needed to ensure that you reach informed decisions.
The four key principles of Child Inclusive mediation:
- It is voluntary
- The mediator is impartial
- It is confidential
- It is flexible
Why choose Freeths?
- We have two excellent child inclusive trained accredited mediators with a clear record of success in helping couples reach agreements relating to their children
- We will put you, and your children at your ease by creating a safe environment
- We specialise in working with couples to help them resolve disputes about their children keeping focus on the children’s needs and feelings
- Our discussions are entirely private and confidential
Our Child Inclusive Mediation Legal Team
‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.
Talk to us
Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?
Contact: 03301 001 014