Family mediation is when your parents try to sort out the future by talking with each other, rather than fighting through lawyers. They do this with the help of a skilled person called a family mediator.
The family mediator controls the discussion, so that your parents make progress even when things are really difficult for them. The mediator helps your parents communicate with each other and makes sure each has their say.
Mediation really helps reduce the issues between your parents and calms everyone’s stress levels.
What does family mediation cover?
Mediation can be about how to share any money and property. It can also be about how to organise your care (if you are aged 10 to 15 years old) or your relationship (if you are over 16 years old) after the separation.
These are some of the topics concerning you that may be discussed in mediation:
- How to respond to your needs and feelings
- How to organise things so that you see both of your parents regularly
- How to organise summer holidays, Christmas, birthdays and other special occasions
- How to organise the rules in two different homes
- How to share information about your care
- How to organise your school activities – things like parents’ evenings, watching you perform or play sport, schools trips and so on
- How to organise your activities outside of school – sport, hobbies, and more
- How to share the cost of your care
- If you are a religious family, how to organise weekly worship and special religious events
- How to introduce to any new partners your parents may meet and step families.
- How to organise things so that you still see your pets.
These are all important issues and the family mediator will help your parents agree to a plan for your care.
Can I share my voice?
If your parents agree, you can be involved in this discussion.
There is a special form of mediation called child inclusive mediation, where you get a say about all the issues. A specially trained child inclusive mediator meets with you directly.
This process makes sure your voice is heard directly. You can tell the child inclusive mediator what you are really thinking and feeling. It’s important you don’t just say what you think your parents want to hear.
Child inclusive mediation means you can give your opinion on all kinds of issues – whatever it is that you are concerned about. Sometimes, you will have ideas for solutions that your parents cannot see.
However, your parents are still responsible for making arrangements, not you. The family inclusive mediator makes sure your parents understand this.
Normally, what you tell a child inclusive mediator is confidential. That means the mediator will not tell your parents anything you say unless you give permission. When your parents choose child inclusive mediation, they have to agree to this and both have to sign a document to confirm it.
There is one exception to confidentiality. If the mediator thinks someone is in danger, they must, by law, take action.
Your parents also agree that they will not try to tell you what to say before mediation meetings, or question you during the mediation, or tell you off afterwards for anything you said.
You can read more about confidentiality here.
Can I ask for child inclusive mediation?
Yes. If you want child inclusive mediation, you should tell your parents about it.
They can read about it on-line and find a child inclusive mediator online. They must both agree to this. Unfortunately, if one of them does not agree, the child inclusive mediator cannot talk with you directly.
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