If your parents split up, you have the right to have a say in the arrangements they make for you. It’s in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (article 12).
Some parents work things out by talking with their children and agreeing things together, but it’s much more difficult for you when parents disagree or can’t speak to each other.
Many family mediators are trained and experienced in meeting with young people and children, as well as mediating between parents.
Talking with a family mediator – what is it like?
Usually the young person has a conversation on their own with the mediator, without parents present.
Young people are not asked to make choices or take responsibility for decisions and the conversation is confidential – the mediator does not make reports to the court like a social worker and only passes on the messages, wishes or suggestions to parents that the young person asks them to.
Normally, the parents need to be taking part in mediation and they need to give their consent to the mediator having a separate, confidential conversation with their child or children.
Feedback from young people shows they found it very helpful to meet with the mediator who knows both their parents and who can help explain things to parents. Young people are in the middle and so is the mediator! Parents say they found it very helpful to understand better how their children feel and what would help to make things work better for them. Often, parents take their children’s ideas on board and things get settled by agreement without court proceedings, or if court proceedings are already going on, they may be brought to an end by consent.
This video shows an interesting example of one way that mediation involving young people can work. The two girls (who are actors, in fact) said they wanted to talk with their parents with the mediator’s help. More often the mediator passes on a young person’s message or proposal to parents without the young person being present. The parents have already agreed that they will not press the young person to tell them more about what they said to the mediator, nor get angry with them about it. Usually, thankfully, it is the opposite – the whole family say they are communicating more easily and that everyone is feeling relieved.
Family mediators accedited with the Family Mediation Council with qualifications and experience in meeting with young people and children
Here is a list of family mediators who offer to meet with young people (generally aged 10 and over) whose parents are taking part in mediation or who could be encouraged to go to mediation. The mediators on this list can provide further information about the services they offer.
BATH & BRISTOL
Bristol: Frances Place, Progressive Mediation, 07889 039393
Bristol: Lisa Parkinson, ABW Family Mediation, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0117 950 0140
BIRMINGHAM & WEST MIDLANDS, CHESHIRE
Macclesfield: Liz Mathews, Cheshire Mediation, 07909 540368
CLEVELAND & NORTH WEST ENGLAND
Middlesbrough: Alison Pybus, email@example.com, 07857 613770
Derbyshire, Alison Tremeer, Peak Mediation, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dorset: Bella Holliday, Mediation Yeovil, 07979 526 401
Dorset: John Hind, The Compass Resolution Network, email@example.com, 01392 842482
Poole and Bournemouth: Gemma Burden, Kenneth Clarke, Becky Vallory, Michelle Bettell, firstname.lastname@example.org, 01202 721822
Southampton: Louisa Dickson, Southern Family Mediation, 07478 320010 / 03333 660057
Southampton, Whiteley: Theresa Le Bas, Mediation Matters, email@example.com, 07866 242766
Southampton: Laceys Mediation, firstname.lastname@example.org, 02380715432
Milton Keynes: Mary Banham-Hall and team, Focus Mediation, 01908410508
Blackburn: Tony Wood, Hardman Wood Family Mediation, email@example.com, 01254 295540
Carlisle, Kendal, Lancaster, Merseyside, Workington: Judy Park, National Family Mediation, firstname.lastname@example.org
Philippa Johnson & Sheila Turner, Turner Johnson Mediation, email@example.com
Bromley: Katherine Stylianou & Marian Roberts, South East London Family Mediation Bureau, 020 8315 7460
MANCHESTER, MERSEYSIDE, THE WIRRAL
Liverpool: Tracy Winstanley, Heaney Watson, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Manchester: Jenny Cragg, Manchester Family Mediation Solutions Ltd, 0161 820 8267
Stockport: Jacqueline Gregory, email@example.com, 01614 568125
Northampton: Adrian Wright, Focus Mediation, 01908 410508
Oxfordshire: Roger Cullen and team, Oxfordshire Family Mediation, 0844 8476658
Somerset: Frances Place, The Compass Resolution Network, firstname.lastname@example.org, 01392 842482
Sunderland: Jackie Norton, Impact Family Services, JackieNorton@nfm.org.uk, 07811 218586
Redhill (for Victoria, Clapham, Croydon, Sutton, Redhill, East Grinstead): Mumtaz King, Mike Stepan & Shomini Whiting, Divorce and Separation Centre, email@example.com, 01737 772333
Warwickshire: Jane Cromack, Stratford Mediation and More, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0800 779 7600
Kidderminster: Mandy Nardiello, Mediation and More, email@example.com, 0800 779 7600
Photos: Tarik Browne. Creative Commons.