What is Child Inclusive Mediation ?

Child-inclusive mediation is a form of family law / separating couples mediation that involves including children in the mediation process to some extent. The primary goal is to give children a voice and consider their perspectives when parents are making decisions about their future, particularly in the context of divorce or separation. The idea is to focus on the best interests of the children and ensure that their needs and feelings are taken into account in the mediation process.

Here are key points to understand about child-inclusive mediation:

  1. Child-Centred Approach: Child-inclusive mediation places a strong emphasis on the well-being and best interests of the children involved. The process recognizes that children can be significantly affected by the decisions made during a divorce or separation, and their input can be valuable in creating arrangements that suit their needs.
  2. Trained Professionals: Child-inclusive mediation is typically facilitated by trained professionals, such as family mediators or child consultants, who have experience working with children. These professionals use age-appropriate methods to gather information from the children and convey their perspectives to the parents.
  3. Interviews with Children: One common method in child-inclusive mediation involves conducting confidential interviews with the children involved. During these interviews, the mediator talks to the children to understand their feelings, concerns, and preferences. The information obtained is then shared, with the children’s consent, in a way that respects their privacy.
  4. Children’s Views in Mediation: The mediator incorporates the children’s views into the mediation process, helping parents consider these perspectives when making decisions about issues such as custody, access schedules, and other parenting arrangements. However, the mediator does not delegate decision-making authority to the children.
  5. Respecting Children’s Boundaries: Child-inclusive mediation places a high value on respecting the children’s boundaries and ensuring that they feel comfortable expressing their views. The process is designed to be supportive and not create additional stress or pressure on the children.
  6. Parental Involvement: While children are included in the process, the main focus remains on the parents reaching agreements that serve the best interests of the children. Child-inclusive mediation aims to enhance communication between parents and help them develop parenting plans that consider the unique needs of their children.

Child-inclusive mediation can be an effective way to address the emotional and practical needs of children during a challenging time. The decision to include them should be made carefully, taking into account their age, maturity, and the specific circumstances of the family. If you think this may be a fit for you as you navigate your separation or divorce simply contact brian@changes.ie to schedule a consultation.

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