If you and your partner are separating and have children, conclusions can be harder to achieve. In addition to the information provided about how mediation can help separating couples, arrangements for children can also be made in family mediation.
Again, the family mediator will not make decisions for you or give advice, but they will assist you in reaching conclusions yourself. This will allow you, as a separating couple, to decide on the arrangements for your children.
When conducting family mediation, relating to children, mediators may try to bring the child into the room. Throughout the family mediation process, starting with the Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) appointment, we stress the importance to parents in making child-focused arrangements. We would ask parents what they think their children would say if they were here, and try to understand how they are dealing/coping with things. This will allow the mediator to explore what the parents feel the best outcome would be for the children. We can also directly involve your children in the family mediation process. If conclusions regarding your children are reached in family mediation, we provide a Memorandum of Understanding outlining what has been discussed if proposals have been made and solutions have been reached. This document can then be used by you and your solicitor to prepare a parenting plan for you, your partner and your children.
Because of our experience as family solicitors, we can provide you with legal ‘information’ as part of the family mediation process – but not ‘advice’. The basis of parenting plans, which set out arrangements in respect to their children, can be proposals made in mediation. Unlike Memorandums of Understanding, parenting plans are open documents and so can be disclosed to a court in the event an issue subsequently arises.
We are happy to talk to you about family mediation for separating couples with children and how it could work for you. We also provide family mediation services for:
You may find these resources helpful:
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Other organisations that can support you with marriage counselling, citizens advice, domestic violence and parenting support can be found here.