Jane Robey, Chief Executive Officer of National Family Mediation (NFM), has warmly welcomed the involvement of children in courts and in the mediation process. Last year, Justice Minister Simon Hughes caused a stir when he pledged to involve children in the court room to allow their voices to be heard in family disputes which involve them.
Some mediators have argued that involving children is challenging and complex. They believe the mediation process is difficult enough trying to make settlements regarding property, finance and children between warring couples.
Jane Robey believes involving children in the mediation process enables the child to have a say in shaping his or her own future when their family life breaks down. Jane argues that if children don’t have a say they can feel their views and opinions have not been taken into consideration which can have a negative impact on the child for many years to come.
National Family Mediation have stated that when a child is involved in the mediation process, parents focus more on the needs of the child rather than any anger and bitterness they have against each other. This ultimately leads to a better outcome for all parties as the parents focus on doing what is right for the child rather than their own feelings.
Involving children in helping to determine their future after a family breakdown such as a divorce or separation isn’t easy but evidence has shown this approach can be life-changing in a positive way for all involved.