Are children or supportive friends permitted to attend mediation sessions?

Additional Information:

May a child who is the subject of mediation attend the mediation session?  Furthermore, are other supportive friends or family members permitted to attend?

ANSWER:

Depending of the circumstances, if both parents and the mediator agree, a child may attend and be a part of a mediation session.  It is crucial for the parents and mediator to determine whether being a part of the mediation process would be beneficial or detrimental to the child.  Perhaps the child’s therapist may be called upon to make a recommendation.  It is rather uncommon for a child to attend a mediation session and the older the child the more likely that it would make sense. Since the mediation process is between the two spouses, it is not recommended that supportive friends or family members attend the mediation sessions.

Can mediation assist divorced parents address changing circumstances?

ANSWER:

As quickly as one to two years after a divorce, often issues related to the children may arise.  As children get older, parenting plans may need to be revised, schools may need to be changed or college decisions need to be made.  Mediation can provide a safe, secure and comfortable forum for parents to discuss the changes that have occurred in the lives of their children and changes in the financial arrangements that may have been made at the time of divorce.  Ultimately, if changes are agreed upon, a written modification agreement can be prepared.  By addressing the issues as they come up, before they turn into a conflict, parents can short circuit the types of difficulties that may occur when parents do not have opportunities for good communication.