Mediators are perfectly placed to provide this service. Already in divorces, civil partnership dissolutions and unmarried separations, mediators provide impartial and independent advice to fairly and equally represent the interests of both parties. As an extension of this, family mediators can also incorporate the views of other family members. Where there are minors or dependants involved, this can help them to speak up about issues they might not feel comfortable about raising directly with their parents. The result is a more positive process for all involved. Young people feel more engaged and that their happiness has been taken into account, making it less stressful for them when their parents separate, while for parents it provides important peace of mind too.
Why include children in mediation?
Children are often overlooked during separation. This is nobody’s fault – it’s easy to focus on other issues such as money, property and so on.
When children’s issues are included, it is often on a very practical level, such as deciding how much child support each partner will pay, where the children will live in the future and how much time they will spend with each parent.
But for young people seeing their parents separate can be challenging on a much deeper emotional level, especially if the separation is not entirely amicable or if there is a dispute over future living arrangements.
Family mediation is about resolving any such disputes in a way that represents all parties. Mediators can work with both parents to find an amicable route forwards and to overcome any initial impasses before they can become major obstacles.
Crucially though, child inclusive mediation recognises the importance of putting children first – or at least on a level footing with the adults – and can actually make progress faster and more positively by allowing the children’s voices to guide the adults where appropriate.
See the Family Mediators Association’s video on child inclusive mediation below.
Where young people are involved, there may also be good reasons to include extended family in mediation, such as grandparents, step-parents and anyone with responsibility for the children.
That could range from carers and legal guardians, to individuals with informal responsibility, such as aunts and uncles who are closely involved with looking after the children and who you want to remain a part of your children’s lives once your separation is finalised.
Again, family mediation is uniquely capable of listening to the individual voices of everyone who has a stake in the process, and of finding solutions that suit all involved as much as possible.
This contrasts with the option of going directly to court, which is often much more combative, leading to unnecessary conflict, delay, stress and financial cost.
But it still achieves a long-term arrangement and your mediator will draw up documents that show all of the terms you have agreed, which can then be ratified by a judge to ensure all parties are legally bound to stick to the terms of your agreement.
Why choose Marcia Mediation?
At Marcia Mediation we have a long and positive track record of providing child inclusive mediation services.
Our team of family mediators work with young people of all ages, and we recognise the unique challenges of talking to very young children, school-age dependants and older teens who have not yet left home.
Each age group presents a different challenge, from childcare arrangements, to which school they will attend if you live apart after your separation, and we understand what it takes to make those negotiations with your child’s best interests in mind.
At all times we also work in the best interests of all adult parties too, to bring the process to a faster, less stressful conclusion and make positive plans that should make it easier to enjoy future family occasions like birthdays and Christmas.
While we can’t guarantee that separating won’t be upsetting, we are here to help you maintain dignity in divorce and look ahead to happier times, not only for yourself but for your children too.
A pioneer for mediation since commencing legal practice as a family solicitor some seventeen years ago, Marcia has worked exclusively as an independent mediator since 2004, focussing initially on family mediation, and latterly on work place mediation.
Marcia’s accreditations include Family Mediation and she is a qualified child consultant practitioner. Her associations include the Professional Mediators Association and Resolution.