Mediation is a process where a neutral third party, called a mediator, helps two or more parties in a dispute reach a mutually acceptable solution. When it comes to family disputes, many parents wonder if they can bring their child/children to mediation meetings. In this article, we’ll explore what you need to know about bringing your child/children to a mediation meeting.
The Role of Children in Mediation
Children have the right to express their views in matters that affect them, including family disputes. The Children Act 1989 states that the child’s welfare is the court’s paramount consideration. As a result, the mediator may invite the child/children to express their views during mediation, particularly in cases involving child custody and visitation.
However, it is important to note that the mediator will only invite the child/children to express their views if it is in their best interest. The mediator will take into account the child’s age, maturity, and understanding of the situation before inviting them to participate.
Can You Bring Your Child/Children to Mediation?
The decision to bring your child/children to mediation meetings is a personal one, and it ultimately depends on the age and maturity of the child/children. In general, it is best to arrange for childcare during the mediation meeting, particularly for younger children. This allows the parents to focus on the discussion and negotiation without distractions.
If you do decide to bring your child/children to mediation, it is important to inform the mediator beforehand. The mediator can then make arrangements to ensure that the child/children are comfortable during the meeting and provide support if needed.
Advantages of Bringing Your Child/Children to Mediation
- It allows the child/children to express their views and concerns about the dispute.
- It can help the child/children feel heard and involved in the process.
- It can help the parents understand the child’s perspective and reach a solution that works for everyone.
Disadvantages of Bringing Your Child/Children to Mediation
- It can be distracting and make it difficult for the parents to focus on the discussion and negotiation.
- It can be overwhelming for the child/children, particularly if they do not fully understand the situation.
- It may not be appropriate in all cases, particularly if the child/children are too young or if there are concerns about the child’s safety or wellbeing.
Bringing your child/children to a mediation meeting is a personal decision that depends on the age and maturity of the child/children. While it can have advantages in certain cases, it is important to consider the potential disadvantages as well. At Family Mediation Choice, we provide a safe and supportive environment for mediation meetings, and we can help you decide whether to bring your child/children to the meeting or arrange for childcare.