Children In Mediation
Your mediators at London Family Mediation are able to conduct direct work with children.
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Mediation can help parents make arrangements for their child following separation or divorce. These future decisions about how co-parenting is going to work, requires you to place your child’s interests first. The courts expect parents, as the ones who know their child best, to do so.
When children are caught up in family disputes, brought about by divorce or separation, they often find it difficult to understand what is going on and what is going to happen to them. This can lead to them becoming distressed and confused which can affect their schooling and general well being. Many children can feel caught having divided loyalties, and seek ways to avoid upsetting either parent. This places unreasonable pressure on the child. As part of the mediation process, if you both agree, your mediator can make arrangements to see your child and gain their views on contact and living arrangements. The purpose is to give them the opportunity to talk to someone independently, allowing them a voice, whilst the decision remains your responsibility. They decide, with the support of the mediator on what they want to say to you.
When parents can’t agree on how they are going to share their parenting, the needs, views and opinions of their child can get lost, especially if the parents are finding it difficult to communicate. A direct consultation meeting with your child can help you both focus on how to make arrangements that are in your child’s best interest by hearing from their perspective.
The mediator will not be asking your child to take sides, or make decisions about what they want or who they may wish to live with. This is for you as parents to decide. However, it does give the child the chance to communicate any worries, views or thoughts they may have on what is being planned for their future.
You will need to give your permission and jointly agree to allow the mediator to see your child. The mediator will contact your child directly to make an appointment. If the child decides they do not want to see the mediator they can say no. Both parents will be told when the appointment is but will not be present.
The meeting with the child is confidential. At the end of the meeting, the child and the mediator will agree on what is shared with the parents. The mediator will talk to the child about the limits of confidentiality i.e. issues of safeguarding and wellbeing which are the same for parents in the mediation process. If there are brothers and sisters, they can be seen together or separately.
Sometimes what children have to say is hard for the parents to hear. Your mediator will try and prepare you for this and there will be a chance to talk about this either together or separately.