Direct consultation with children
(Aged 7 years upwards)
During mediation concerning decisions being made for children and young people, parents are encouraged to consider the implications of the arrangements they propose to make. This isn’t always easy; when parents disagree about how to share their parenting, the voice of the child may not always be heard very clearly, as adults become preoccupied with their own issues. As such the perspective of the people about whom decisions are being made can be important in helping in parents with their decision making.
As part of the mediation process, we can offer your children the opportunity to talk to someone independent through what we call direct consultation.
Mediators don’t ask children to make decisions about what they want, or who they may wish to live with. This is for parents to decide. However, direct consultation allows children to give their views on the proposals and arrangements being discussed in mediation so their voice can become part of the process, as well as enabling them to voice any worries, views or thoughts they might have.
Our mediators will only see children with the permission of both parents and we’ll contact the children to offer an appointment. If they don’t want to see the mediator, they can say no and if there are brothers and/or sisters, they can be seen together or separately.
The mediator will talk to both parents in advance of this meeting to help prepare them and the children accordingly. Children shouldn’t feel they need to take sides, especially if there is a difference of opinion between parents. It’s also important parents don’t try to influence a child’s view before the meeting, nor express any disagreement or disappointment with children afterwards.
As with all mediation sessions, meetings with children are confidential (with the exception of safeguarding, or other serious concerns) but following the direct consultation, the children and mediators will agree what will be fed back to the parents and whether this will be done by them, the mediator or both. Feedback may also be given separately to each parent.