Typically, children do not participate in mediation. In some situations, parents may want their children to have a voice in the process. This may be based on the age of the child or some other factor that makes the child’s perspective important to the process. For example, parents may want a sixteen or seventeen year old child to have more of a say in custody/parenting-time arrangements than a younger child.
Child Inclusive Mediation allows the children to be involved in the process without them actually joining the mediation session with the parents. Instead, each parent will have a separate interview with a child consultant/child psychologist and then each child will spend time separately with the child consultant/child psychologist. Both parents will then attend the mediation with the mediator and the child consultant/child psychologist provides the parents and the mediator feedback and input during the mediation session based on the child’s perspective.
Child Inclusive Mediation can be a helpful tool for some situations. This process allows the children to voice their own perspective during the mediation process without actively participating in negotiations/disputes. In some cases, child inclusive mediation can help parents approach custody/parenting-time disputes more cooperatively. However, there are some cases where a child inclusive approach may not be the right decision. For example, child inclusive mediation may not be the right approach if there has been parental alienation, the child is too young, etc.