Using Family Mediation to Agree Children Arrangements
There are a lot of practical issues to untangle when parents decide to end their romantic relationship. One strand is arrangements around their children.
When parents choose to separate or divorce, they are divorcing from one another, and not from their children. Sometimes parents can feel otherwise, as they are unexpectedly forced to grapple with an unimagined future, which involves not living with their children full-time. This is understandably frightening for some parents and children.
Children find it reassuring to know that their parents are working together to decide the best arrangements for them. Children don’t need to have all the answers immediately; however, they do benefit from knowing that their parents are working to find them.
Some ex-couples can discuss and agree practical arrangements for their children with one another, without professional input. However, many benefit hugely from professional guidance, and family mediation is an excellent solution.
If a survey asked, ”What is the best way of resolving an interpersonal conflict?”, what do you imagine people would say? I would hazard a guess that most would suggest talking face to face, being encouraged to listen to one another to understand the other’s perspective, and to exercise compromise where possible.
Family mediation can provide all this and more. It provides a neutral space for parents to talk together to discuss and agree upon the practical arrangements for their children and to reality test options with expert input. Children can speak with the mediator where child inclusive mediation is chosen by the parents. This allows children to have their voices heard during the decision-making process, in a neutral, structured and safe way.
It is hard to overstate the value of a successful mediation for both parents and their children. Children benefit hugely from seeing their parents model healthy and mature conflict resolution: where we have disagreements, and where it is safe to do so, we will sit down and work out what is best together. It is hard to think of a more valuable life lesson.
There are also huge benefits for parents – they each get an opportunity to discuss their hopes for the future with a mediator, who is professionally trained to tease out common ground, provide child-centred advice, and to help parents craft a solution which both of them feel able to subscribe to.
If you would like to find out more about how our award winning team of family mediators can help you to resolve any children issues which you might have, please contact us.
Nicole Phillips is a family mediator at FLiP and a strong proponent of what mediation can offer clients, namely a humane, swift and cost-effective means of resolving family disputes by reducing conflict. Nicole is available to conduct mediations either online or in person, for both children and financial issues.