At SFMS we take the children’s needs just as seriously as we take the parents. We offer the opportunity for children to have a voice in their parents’ divorce or separation; but what does this mean? We have put together a list of questions that we often get asked by children. This we hope will give you a clearer understanding what Child Consultation or Child Inclusive Mediation is.
Q. Do my parents sit in on the meeting?
A. No, the meeting is private, between you and your parent’s mediator
Q. What if I want to speak to someone but my parents don’t want me to?
A. The mediator will speak to your parents first to explain the process of you being involved and listened to and that they would hear your feedback through the voice of the independent mediator. By speaking to you it is hoped it will assist your parents to focus upon your needs and help resolve issues that might exist between them. Your parents must give their consent before the mediator will make contact with you directly.
Q. I feel no one is listening to me, how do I know you will?
A. The mediator is there just to listen to you and help you decide what you would like the mediator to tell your parents
Q. Can I attend my meeting with my sister or brother?
A. You can come and see the mediator together, alone or have a bit of both, it’s your session and we want you to feel comfortable.
Q. Can we discuss problems I am having and you will not repeat them to my parents?
A. The mediator will only tell your parents the things you want your parents to know. The only reason that the mediator would break this rule is when you tell her something that that is happening that is harmful to you or your other family members. This is called safeguarding and the mediator may have to take the problem outside of the meeting to support you.
Q. What happens in a meeting?
A. The mediator talks to you about confidentiality, explaining that what you tell her is private unless you want the mediator to tell your parents. The only reason that this privacy would be broken is if you say something that is harmful to you or another family member and then the safeguarding process would be followed. You can talk to the mediator about anything you want. It is your time. You might discuss the arrangements your parents have made for keeping you in touch with both of them, or where and with whom you will be living, about seeing friends when staying with the parent you don’t live with, about keeping in touch with all your grandparents. At the end of the meeting only those things you want your parents to hear will be taken into the feedback meeting.
Q. How long is a meeting?
A. It may vary but typically will be between 45 minutes to an hour
Q. What happens after my meeting?
A. At the end of the session the mediator will agree with you what information you would like your parents to hear. A feedback meeting with your parents will usually take place on another date/time. The mediator will ask you if you would like to attending this further meeting with your parents or you would prefer for the mediator to feedback to your parent without you being present. Your parents will listen to your feedback and discuss a way forward. The mediation process may continue with further meetings with the mediator and your parents to assist them to make informed decisions and agreement on practical arrangements involving your care.
If you have any more questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Family disputes that are resolved through mediation are cheaper, quicker and according to academic research, less acrimonious than those that are settled through the courts."
National Audit Office 2/3/07