Family mediation is here to stay. But how does it work? What actually happens? How can you make sure the settlements reached are fair, and what do couples who mediate have to do? The purpose of this 12-part series is to attempt to answer those questions specifically – at least as it applies for those who choose New Landscape Mediation to help them create their solutions. Whether we are working with clients from our main offices near Stansted airport in Essex, our offices in central London, or in Cambridge, this series of blogs will better help you to understand how we go about saving our clients up to £20,000 each over a more traditional, solicitor led settlement solution.
Here in part 11 of this series, I will discuss the Direct Child Consultation.
Every divorcing couple has their own views on why things have come to the point they have, and of how things should be going forward. When it comes to matters regarding children, this difference in perception and the conflict that stem from it result in a tremendous amount of damage and emotional fall-out for children. Mediators never work harder than when we are trying to stop the damage that some parents strive so diligently to inflict upon each other raining down upon blameless children.
Often, when the gap in perception about what is “best” for the children isn’t too great, mediators are able to simply sit down with parents and help them work through things. Other times however this gap is so great, or things have deteriorated to such a great degree between parents that they are quite simply unable to find any commonality at all. In still other cases, the direct involvement of either parent is actually detrimental to the children in some way and the children don’t want to spend time with them. The usual outcome in such situations is to find those parents blaming the other for poisoning the children’s minds against them.
In these difficult situations the best way to break the stalemate is to seed directly from children what they want from their parents going forward. This ranges from how to set up contact arrangements, to helping mum and dad understand the impact of the adult conflict on them, as their children who love them both very much. This information is sought through something called a Direct Child Consultation (DCC). In a DCC children sit with a suitably qualified mediator such as Johnathan Pease or Carolyn Hanes and are able to have a confidential discussion about what is important to them. Children are generally honoured know their parents are putting their feelings and wishes first as they make decisions about their future. The Direct Child Consultation involves considered forethought and is not entered into willy-nilly. For more information on this process, please see the download on Direct Child Consultations in our resources section on the website.
The next blog in this series will discuss the outcomes of mediation and what you can expect following a settlement. If you would like more information about any aspect of this series, please contact our offices on 01279 211 657 or send us an email for a fully confidential discussion of your needs.