What is Child Inclusive Mediation?
Child Inclusive Mediation involves a trained family mediator talking to a child or children as part of mediation where arrangements are being made for them.
Our family lawyers believe that childcare agreements should be reached in a conflict-free environment and without court proceedings, where possible. So how does child mediation work and what are the benefits?
How does child mediation work?
A trained child mediator will first talk to both parents, who will also need to agree that they are happy for the child or children to be involved in the mediation process.
Children can meet with the mediator to talk about what they would like to happen with regards to who they spend time with or to discuss arrangements that they are struggling with, now that their parents have separated. Children will not be asked by the mediator to choose between their parents and the meeting is designed to be a safe space for children to share their thoughts and feelings. The children are also in control of what information will be relayed to the parents.
The child can either meet with the parents’ mediator or with a different one. Direct consultations with children usually last around 45 minutes, and siblings can either have the session together or separately.
How old do children need to be to take part in mediation?
The age of child involvement depends on their capacity to understand. The Government has suggested that children aged 10 years and above should generally have access to a mediator, however, it’s up to the individual mediator to decide whether the child has the emotional maturity to be able to take part in mediation meetings.
Members of the Family Mediators Association attend specialist courses to equip them with the skills needed to consider whether direct consultation with a child is appropriate. You can find a mediator near you here.
Children will not be forced to take part in mediation.
Why is Child Inclusive Mediation beneficial?
When parents separate or divorce, child arrangements are often the most contested element. When parents cannot agree on arrangements for their children, mediation provides a conflict-free environment for families to talk about their wishes with a trained mediator on hand to keep the conversation focused and constructive.
Child Inclusive Mediation, in particular, is beneficial because:
- It gives parents more control over childcare arrangements; once the matter goes to the family court to be decided, it is out of the parents’ hands.
- It opens up and improves communication; children have the chance to open up about their own feelings and wishes.
- It provides a quicker and cheaper way of resolving disputes around childcare arrangements; court proceedings can be expensive, lengthy and stressful.
If you are going through the process of separation and are struggling to decide on child arrangements, or if the childcare arrangements you previously agreed on are no longer working, mediation could be beneficial to you.
For advice on child arrangements after separation, call us on 0117 325 2929 or fill out our online enquiry form. Although we no longer offer mediation at Barcan+Kirby, our family lawyers work with experienced mediators who can assist you as part of your divorce or separation.