Child Advocacy & Separating Families

Child Advocacy & Separating Families

Child Inclusive Practice

Children do not generally attend FDR mediation sessions with their parents. However, your children will always be in the forefront of our FDR practitioners minds as we work within Child Inclusive Practice guidelines.

What this means is, we'll essentially put your children's needs first and advocate for your child throughout the mediation process.

Child Advocacy

Psychological studies and social science research has shown that separation and divorce can have a devastating impact on children where there is high conflict between family members

It is therefore important that parents engaged in high conflict separations stop to consider their children's perspective of the conflict and attempt the best they can to minimise harm.

When negotiating arrangements for children, parents also need to consider their children's needs over their own and come to arrangments that are in the best interests of their children.

We ask parents to attend their mediation sessions with these things in mind.  The Family Court will also have the same expectation of parents, whether a Parenting Plan devised at mediation is to be converted into a Parenting Order or if the matter subsequently proceeds to the Family Court.

So What Does the Family Court Expect from Parents after Separation?

The following general guidelines apply to all children and all parents. It's a mistake to think your or a loved one's case is any exception.

* As parents, you share responsibility for your child with there being a general presumption of equal shared parental responsibility regardless of time under family law legislation. You therefore have a duty to talk to one another and make every effort to agree about how you will bring your child up, even after separation. If talking to each other is difficult, ask for help. Trained mediators with experience in family law can help you talk to each other and find solutions, even when things appear too hard.

* If you cannot agree between yourselves, the court will decide for you. The law says that the court must always put the welfare of your child first and regardless of what you want or think is best for your child it may not actually be the best thing or be viewed by the court as the best thing for you child. The court has to put your child first, however hard that is for the adults.

* The court therefore expects of you as parents, in doing what is best for your child, to continue collaborating as co-parents even after separation which includes: 

- encouraging your child to have a good relationship with both of you (it is only in unusual cases that courts will deny or limit a parent's access to their child); and

- trying to have a good enough relationship with one other as parents even though you are no longer together as a couple.

* Experience suggests that court-imposed parenting orders work less well than parenting agreements made between you as the parents, after all don't you as parents know your child better than anyone else.

For further information on how to achieve a successful out of court parenting agreement, please do not hesitate to speak to one of our experienced and caring family mediators at PMCC.

 "Look at things through your child’s eyes....they don’t lie"