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Child Consultation in Mediation

By 14th February 2022 No Comments

Child Consultation in Mediation

Sometimes when a dispute involving a child gets so bad, we are eternally grateful for those forward thinking members of the judiciary who refer a matter to mediation…

Meet Mr and Mrs P.They had been successfully co-parenting their eleven year old daughter for over eight years, until they found themselves in court proceedings with no resolution in sight.

Mr and Mrs P live 400 miles apart because of Mr P’s job in the military.Their daughter spent one weekend per month with Mr P plus lots of extra time in the holidays.In the summer of 2020 their daughter ‘G’ was enjoying her time with her father so much, he asked her if she wanted to stay for longer and, without thinking about the wider ramifications, she simply said yes.Later that evening she heard her parents arguing on the phone. Her mother had made plans for thelast week of the holidays and wanted her back.‘G’ was now anxious her mother would be angry with her so she told her father she was worried about going home.In fact she was so upset, her father asked her if she wanted to live with him and she said……yes.

Thereafter a court application ensued and ‘G’ overheard some of the telephone court hearing and her anxiety increased again.A decision was made to return ‘G’ home to her mother in the interim, until a longer term decision could be made.Once back at her mother’s, ‘G’ realised she wasn’t angry with her and quickly settled back into life with her half siblings and school friends.However, she now felt anxious about upsetting her father, who called daily to check she was ok.She had also overheard her father and his wife arguing about the costs of court and she didn’t want to be in trouble for letting him down and changing her mind.…

And how do I know this is what ‘G’ was thinking? Because I had the pleasure of meeting with her in mediation when the judge dealing with her case had the foresight to refer the matter to Crowther Mediation.I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to present this young girl with a much needed ‘life line’.

Having described her desire to please all the people she loved, alongside an overwhelming feeling of matters escalating out of her control, she agreed to let me be the person to explain all of this to her parents.Unsurprisingly,her mother and father were incredibly relieved to hear their daughter was happy, content and thriving in the routine they had in place for her.

Her father commented: “I’m just so relieved to hear she’s happy”and court proceedings were withdrawn.

So what’s the moral of the story?  Good communication BETWEEN BOTH PARENTS is the key to successful co-parenting.