This month we have been discussing child custody mediation and the situations in which it is beneficial to have your child or children participate in the process. As you might guess, whether or not your child should give his or her input into the discussion depends heavily on your individual case and your individual child. Let’s take a closer look at the general pros and cons of child involvement in mediation:
The Pros of Child Participation in Mediation
If a child is old enough, he or she may have vital input on child custody, visitation schedules, and parenting plans. A mature and emotionally stable child can give valuable insight into his or her best interests, needs, and wants. A child can answer big, important questions like where he or she would like to primarily live and attend school. At the same time, he or she can let simple preferences be known—such as, “I want to have Christmas with Grandma each year.”
In addition, a child can share general thoughts and feelings: “It hurts me when my parents argue in front of me,” or “I don’t like when I don’t have a set schedule.”
The Cons of Child Participation in Mediation
All children are generally hurt during divorce and child custody decisions—and many are not emotionally ready to be involved in the process. In fact, some children may be harmed by being asked who they want to live with or what outcome they want. Being involved in the process can mean feelings of guilt, confusion, and even anger. More importantly, some children simply may not know what is in their best interests—they may make decisions based on simple desires over long-term benefits.
Get Help From Our Seattle Mediation Attorneys
Having your child participate in your mediation session is a big and important decision, and one that you can make with the help of your spouse, your mediator, and your Seattle mediation attorney. A mediation attorney can help guide you through the mediation process, make decisions regarding mediation, and make sure the outcome is fair and just. To learn more about how a mediation lawyer can help you—and to speak with an experienced family lawyer—call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today: 425-460-0550.