Children

Here at Berkshire Family Mediation, we understand that every parent wants their child to be happy. We are committed to getting everything right for your children.

We can help you work out:
  • The contact and care arrangements.
  • Parental responsibility.
  • Residence.
  • Child maintenance.
  • Holidays.
  • Introducing new partners.
  • Parental communication.
  • How to tell the children.
Child Consultation

Children value the chance to "have their say" about decisions that affect them. Our specially qualified mediators can consult your children to make sure that their wishes and feelings are taken into account.

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Child consultation is a "listening meeting" with a specially trained mediator. Research shows that at the time of separation children often feel as though they no longer have a voice in their future. They have anxieties about how the new arrangements are going to work and how it will impact upon their lives in terms of maintaining friendships, schooling, and relationships with extended family group members, etc.

Berkshire Family Mediation provides the facility for children to be included in the mediation process. If both parents give us permission, we can write to the child or young person inviting them to the meeting. This is followed by a feedback meeting for the parents. It is important to note that:

  • Children will not be asked to make choices or decisions.
  • Parental authority will be respected.
  • Children are seen only with the agreement of both parents.
  • The process and purpose of a "listening meeting" is fully explained before involving children.

Children who have had an opportunity to express their views and wishes about the issues affecting them post separation describe feeling relieved and much less anxious. In addition, the "listening meeting" can help children to:

  • Make sense of the changes in their lives parent and teen.
  • Understand that they are going through a process that many people share.
  • Express the feelings that are common at this time.
  • Develop a way of coping if they are caught in the middle of their parents conflict.
  • Find ways of talking to their parents.

Children decide what information they want their parents to receive at the feedback meeting. For many parents there are no great surprises and they are reassured that they are on the right track in helping their children. Sometimes though an important piece of information comes to light that might have been missed if the child or young person had not had the chance to speak to someone outside the family. Interestingly, the most common piece of feedback is a request for mum and dad to stop arguing and get on better!

Children's Rights

Children have the right to a proper relationship with both parents, provided of course that this does not put them at any kind of risk.

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The welfare of the child is of utmost importance to the court. If parents cannot agree about the upbringing of their child a judge would consider the matter alongside the Welfare Checklist which is found in section one (1) of The Children Act, 1989. The wording of the Welfare Checklist is as follows:

  • The ascertainable wishes and feelings of the child concerned. (considered in light of his age and understanding)
  • His physical, emotional and/or educational needs.
  • The likely effect on him of any change in his circumstances.
  • His age, sex, background and any characteristics of his, which the court considers relevant.
  • Any harm which he has suffered or is at risk of suffering.
  • How capable each of his parents and any other person in relation to whom the court considers the question to be relevant, is of meeting his needs.
Parent Planning

When parents separate, emotions often run high. Whatever your feelings, it's important to put your child's needs first and avoid them being caught up in conflicts and arguments. This Parent Planning guide helps you to work out the best possible arrangements.