It is important that parents understand the thoughts, needs and feelings of their children when going through a divorce or separation. One way that parents can make better informed decisions is by giving their children a voice in the mediation or collaborative process.
Some of our mediators and collaborative lawyers are qualified to directly meet with children (what is known as "direct consultation with children").
Children like to be informed about what might happen when their parents go through a divorce or separation and often want the opportunity to have their views heard. It is, however, always made clear to a child that, whilst his or her wishes will be fed back to his or her parents (to the extent that the child wishes), children are not responsible for making decisions - these need to be made by their parents.
Careful planning is needed before a family professional qualified to meet with children will speak to a child. Different considerations apply depending on the age and maturity of the child. The child and both parents have to agree to the consultation and the family professional must decide whether child consultation is appropriate.
Direct consultation with a child involves the child talking face to face with the family professional without his or her parents being present. This conversation is confidential between the family professional and the child. However, strictly with the child's permission, the family professional will feed back the children's views into the mediation or collaborative process.