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Divorce law blog

Direct consultation with children in mediation

05/01/2012   By: Alison Bull

Alison Bull recently qualified to provide direct consultation with children in mediation, adding to the array of services Mills & Reeve's dedicated family lawyers can provide their clients. Very few mediators currently hold the qualification.

Direct consultation with children involves a family mediator, who is trained to offer that service, talking with a child or children as a result of issues raised in mediation regarding children’s arrangements. Instructing a mediator who is trained in direct consultation will ensure children are provided with the opportunity to be heard. It is important that parents are able to hear and understand the views and wishes of their children and involving them in the mediation process is one way of doing this. It is important though that they and their parents understand that decisions need to be made by the parents rather than the children.

Preparation with parents before involving children in mediation is very important, and different considerations may apply according the age and maturity of the child. The child/ren talk face to face with the mediator separately and usually in complete confidentiality from anyone else including their parents. Normally children wish some of their views to be fed back into the decision-making process, and the mediator will be able to facilitate this with their permission.

The child consultation may be undertaken by a separate mediator or the same mediator as the person dealing with the parents. There is no age limit for the children who may be seen in mediation, and this is one factor which the mediator will address with parents before a decision is taken about whether to invite the child/ren to meet separately with the mediator.

If you would like more information about direct consultation with children in mediation, please contact Alison Bull on 0161 235 5431 or alison.bull@mills-reeve.com.

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