When parents separate children often are worried about how the new arrangements are going to work and what will happen to them.

Good practice and, increasingly, the Courts suggest that the views of the child should be carefully considered in making arrangements. Courts have to have in mind that the welfare of children is of their utmost concern.

In the future, making sure the child’s views are considered will be the expected way of working.

This isn’t asking children to make the big decisions about what should happen. It is about making sure as parents you are hearing and thinking about their views separately from your own feelings and wants.

Direct Consultation with Children in mediation or DCC as it is called is, certainly, appropriate for most children over the age of 8 yrs and is often expected if children are over 10yrs. It is possible to see children younger than 8 but this depend on your views, as parents as to their maturity, ability to understand and that it can be done without causing them undue anxiety or distress.


How it works:

Children are seen only if both parents agree.
The mediator ( usually John) will talk about the purposes of a meeting with both parents before seeing the child(ren).
John will agree with you if, where and when to see the children(ren) and how to report back to you.
John will write to your child(ren) asking if they would like to meet him.
if you both agree, you encourage your child(ren) to meet the mediator

If the child(ren) want to meet John he will see them, either together on on their own, but not with mum or dad. Part of the agreement with both parents is how the child(ren) will get to see John- will he come to them, or they to him? — Who will get them there and pick them up?
During the meeting John will ask your child(ren) what they would like him to tell Mum and Dad and what Mum and Dad could do to make things better for them.

Confidentiality

Children are told that the mediator will only tell parents what the child wants them to say but, just like other adults who care about them he will do all he can to keep them safe. Just as in mediation sessions between parents, if a mediator becomes concerned for the safety of any child or adult then others may have to be told about the dangers to help keep them safe.

Reporting Back

The mediator reports back to both parents, at a mediation session. Sometimes children want to come to that session themselves and that is possible to do this.

Both parents can use the information to think about the agreements they are proposing to make.