Children should not be involved in the divorce and child custody mediation process unless both parents consent and unless the child’s court representative believes it is in the best interests of the child. Although younger children and children lacking emotional maturity may not benefit (or even be harmed) by being included in the mediation process, older children may add to and benefit from the process.
Before children are asked to participate in the mediation process, the mediator will discuss how and to what extent the child will participate—as well as how this participation will benefit the final outcome and parenting plan. As in all parts of the process, the mediator will take a neutral position on the subject, but present both the pros and cons of child participation in your case specifically. In addition, the mediator will review the different ways that a child can participate in the process, from actual participation in a session to a written or taped statement from the child, and share the pros and cons of each of those ways.
If you are using mediation to discuss child custody and form a working parenting plan, you may wish to have the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced family lawyer on your side. This lawyer can help you know your rights, better understand the mediation process, and ensure that you get the outcome you and your children deserve. To speak with a Bellevue family law attorney at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny, call 425-460-0550. to schedule an appointment.