• Specially trained in consulting
    with children

    We help families make the right decisions

    Kids DrawingThe law states that when parents are making decisions affecting their children, wherever possible the wishes, views and feelings should be heard and taken into account. This does not mean that the children will make the final decisions, or that they have to choose between their parents, but all too often the children’s own thoughts, needs wishes and feelings are ignored or minimised where their parents are in conflict and unable to communicate effectively.

    The Human Rights Act gives age-appropriate children a right to an independent voice in any proceedings where arrangements for their future are being considered. As a 12 year-old once said in one of our Child Consultation sessions, “It’s my life too, but my mum and dad are so busy arguing that they never listen to me”

    In court proceedings if parents cannot agree about arrangements for their children, and the judge has to decide, a CAFCASS report is often ordered. A Court Welfare officer appointed by the court to make a report to the judge, but unfortunately it is often many weeks, or even months, before the final report is filed. This delay only intensifies the uncertainty and insecurity of both parents and children.

    At Laceys Mediation we have consulted with and supported hundreds of children, and nearly all of those children have found the experience helpful and positive.

    Where parents agree in principle to their children having a voice in the mediation process, they first sign a Children’s Agreement, which gives us permission to send the children a letter introducing ourselves, and explaining the process in simple terms.

    Children's Agreement

    If the children agree to come and see us, two mediators will see them. All of our mediators have had special training in child consultation. The children can be seen individually, or with their brothers and sisters, whatever they decide. Appointments generally last from 20 – 45 minutes, depending on how many children we see and how much they have to say. Time is not restricted, and we will spend as much time with your children as is required. The children can come back for a further session if they wish.

    No Pressure

    We do not ask the children for their decision about future parenting arrangements. Neither do we force children to talk about the issues if it is clear that they do not want to. We find out how they are coping with the current situation, and help them to understand all the changes that are taking place in their lives. We reassure your children that in the session with us they will be listened to and understood. We call it child consultation because we never mediate with children.

    Having signed the Children’s Agreement parents understand that in view of the confidential nature of the child consultation process, we will only report back to parents what the children give us permission to disclose.

    We will only breach confidentiality if we feel the children could be at risk as a result of what they have disclosed. This way we retain the children’s trust, and they are more likely to feel confident about talking about their true feelings. For this reason, when parents sign the agreement, they promise that they will not tell the children what to say in the consultation session, and will not reprimand them about anything they may say to the mediators.

    If you think that it might be helpful to give your children an independent voice in the mediation process please complete the Children’s Agreement or contact us to discuss the matter further.