Creating better outcomes for children through mediation

For parents going through a divorce/separation is one of the most difficult times of their lives, but, of course, it doesn’t just affect them, it has much wider implications, not least for any children of the family.

The negative consequences of a high conflict separation on children can be significant and long lasting.

Research studies show that these consequences include:

  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Increased stress levels
  • Feelings of insecurity
  • A change of behaviours – they may become more withdrawn or start acting out.
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships.
  • Better outcomes

    Where children can see that their parents are still working together, communicating positively and supportive of the child’s relationship with their other parent, the outcomes for the child become much more positive.

    A mediator can help separating parents focus on the needs of the children and support and encourage discussions on new ways of communicating and working together, that works for them. They can create a parenting plan that meets the needs of their children in a constructive way to give them the best possible chance of being able to continue to work together as co-parents, for the sake of their children.

    Why does mediation achieve better outcomes?

    • Child focused – the mediator will always bring discussions back to putting the needs of the individual child at the centre of the discussions. In appropriate circumstances the mediator can speak to the child and bring their feedback into the mediation meetings, so that their voice is heard.
      • Improving communication – co-parenting cannot work without good communication. The mediator encourages constructive communication within the mediation meetings and will also support parents to help them appreciate the importance of positive communication and agree a plan for how they are going to communicate with each other outside of the mediation meetings.
        • Arrangements that work – in mediation it is the parents that work together to agree on the arrangements that work for them, rather than having the arrangement imposed on them by a court. Where parents work together to agree the arrangements for their children, it is much less likely that those arrangement will be stuck to.
          • Reduces conflict – mediation encourages parents to work together whereas court proceedings are adversarial in nature, resulting in conflict.
            • A written Parenting Plan – a mediator can help parents create a bespoke Parenting Plan. This plan can include details of the agreed arrangements for the children, the funding of childcare/activities, communication and how future decisions will be made. It is a flexible document that can be much more far reaching than any court order. It helps provide detail and clarity for the parents that can be referred to whenever needed.
              • Speed – no one likes living with uncertainty and children are no different. Court proceedings regularly last for 9-12 months (sometimes longer). If children are living with uncertainty during that time, it is going to affect them. Mediation can be arranged far quicker and resolutions reached far sooner when compared to court proceedings.
              • There are many benefits of mediation for parents and just as many for their children. The responsibility parents have to work together for the best interests of their children does not end when they separate. Their responsibility will inevitably become more difficult and will need managing in a different way and this is where mediation can help.

                The MOJ Voucher scheme also provides a financial incentive for parents to try mediation. This scheme offers a voucher of £500 for each couple to supplement the costs of mediation. All the parents need to do is sign a consent form and the mediator will do the rest.



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