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Family Mediation Week 2024: An introduction to Child Inclusive Mediation

15/07/2024

Michelle Bettell, a Senior Associate in our Family team and an accredited mediator, specialising in Child Inclusive Mediation, gives her thoughts and advice on children’s involvement in family mediation

As Family Mediation Week 2024 continues, Michelle shines a light on the opportunities and benefits of including children in the family mediation process.

Child Inclusive Mediation

“When parents separate, their first concern is almost always to consider the needs and feelings of their children.  Many children like to be involved in the mediation process, they want to be given information and they will often have a view that should be heard, regardless of their age.

“In my experience, children often like to be invited to see and talk to the mediator, without feeling that they have to make any decisions. Sometimes children need their own arena and their own voice, they want to be heard in the process. Child Inclusive Mediation can help parents to listen more to their children, and to each other, and to make good decisions for all.

“The mediator can arrange a confidential, friendly and informal meeting with children, where neither parent is present.  Depending on the age of the child, this could be in their home, at school, at a café or somewhere else that they feel comfortable.  The child then decides with the mediator what, if anything, they want fed back to their parents.

“Children will have a chance to put their point of view about their family situation and changes with those views being respected.  As mediators, we will never ask children to make decisions, but their input can be very valuable when it comes to decision-making by their parents, supported by a mediator.”

Next steps

To find out more about Child Inclusive Mediation, please contact Michelle on 01202 436 026, [email protected].

There’s also more information available from the Family Mediation Council and a great animation The Rights Idea? Children’s rights when parents separate:  Tom’s story to help explain the mediation process to children.

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