Child-focused mediation helps parents and other family members explore and decide the arrangements they want to make for children, and how in future they will make decisions and support the children practically and emotionally as they grow. Whilst the Court can impose a timetable for when and how children will spend time, the effectiveness of a Court order tends to be short-lived as children’s needs and family circumstances change. Mediation can do so much more, sessions can be used to discuss pretty much everything a child needs from their family, including planning transitions for parents living together to living apart, decisions about maintenance, education, creating a parenting plan and how to communicate in ways that don’t revive any previous conflicts. In mediation parents and carers come together to decide what is in the best interests of the children, because they are best placed to know what their children need. Differences of opinion can be discussed and solutions found that put children’s needs first.
Mediation has been shown to be effective in resolving both practical and communication issues between parents, and studies show that parents who reach agreement in mediation are more able to co-operate and resolve disagreements in the longer term, than parents who only used the Courts.
Discussions are confidential and decisions are not legally binding but can be made into Court orders if that is what both parents want.
Children Can Have a Voice
When parents separate it can be hard for children to say what might make things feel better for them as they worry about upsetting Mum or Dad, and so their hurt and confusion may show in other ways that add to the stress and worry parents naturally feel about the impact of their decision to part. Child Inclusive Mediation, where appropriate, can give children a voice about the things that matter to them, and help parents to a clearer understanding of how the world looks to their children. Knowing how your children feel can help strengthen the resolve of parents to make things better.
The first step is to book a MIAM to discuss the background to the situation and the mediation process and whether it is a safe and suitable way in which to make decisions that affect you and the children.