Helping you and your family through separation
If you’re splitting up, divorcing, or you’ve been separated for a while you might find that sorting out the practicalities can feel overwhelming, especially if you have children. But there are tools and information which can help you and your family through separation. They include:
Family mediation is where an independent, professionally trained mediator helps you and your ex work out an agreement about issues such as:
Arrangements for children after you break up (sometimes called residence or contact)
Child maintenance payments
Finances (for example, what to do with your house, savings, pension, debts)
Many people find that mediation is quicker, less stressful and less expensive than going to court. (And if you do want to go to court, the judge will usually ask you to consider mediation first).
Our qualified independent mediator can help you and the other parent manage separation amicably, with the focus on your child's needs, well-being and future. We will not tell you what to do and we will not take sides. Instead, we can help you and the other parent meet and talk about the things that are important to you as parents, and help you agree on arrangements for looking after your child or children.
Step-parents, Grandparents and other family members wanting to resolve a family dispute, may benefit from mediation too.
Divorce is a process in which children have no choice but to participate. It is not a single event but a complex set of transitions both within the child and between the child and his or her external world; their immediate family, extended family, peer group, school and sometimes the legal professionals.
Separation starts with escalating distress in the marriage. The stress often escalates around the legal process. This is followed by a number of years of change and the rebuilding of a new relatively stable existence. What children are told and, more significantly, the consideration given to their emotional as well as physical needs, has a very important impact on their recovery and psychological development.
It is important to remember that most children can make a good recovery from the stress of the separation.
If the separation is handled sensitively, they can successfully manage all of the changes quite competently, gaining their own inner balance and perspective.
They can learn to become exceptionally skillful at managing complex transitions in life.
"1.Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.
2.For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial or administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly or through an appropriate body,
in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law."
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child)
Child Inclusive Mediation
Children over 10 years old and their parents may be able to benefit from the Child Inclusive Mediation model.
The typical types of questions shown below and all other aspects of the process are discussed and agreed with both parents before any child is invited to be involved in family mediation:
How does it work and how to make the most out of it?
What is it for and what is different about it?
Would it be safe and suitable for our children?
How would it benefit them?
Would it be a positive experience for them?
It is important to remember that children cannot take part in mediation sessions with parents nor can they be expected to make difficult choices and decisions.
However, in most cases they can be provided a safe, positive and empowering opportunity to express their views about the matters that are important to them. You may then be better able to support them at a difficult time of separation.
All 'child inclusive' mediations at JRFM are conducted most sensitively and confidentially by Jen Rumble,
a fully qualified child consultant with more than 5 years of practical experience in this type of mediation, and prior experience in counselling children, young people and parents.
The Parenting Plan
A Parenting Plan helps you and your ex work out arrangements for your child after you separate – even though you may be in dispute about other things. It helps you to put the best interests of your child first and to set out a shared commitment to your children.
Your Plan will help you work out the practical decisions about children’s care in areas such as communication, living arrangements, money, religion, education, health care, and emotional well-being.
The Parenting Plan is available online.
Separated Parents Information Programme
This is a course which helps you understand how to put your children first while you are separating, even though you may be in dispute with your child’s other parent. The course helps parents learn the fundamental principles of how to manage conflict and difficulties.
You will not attend the same session as your ex. In some areas it is free to attend – you can contact your local provider for more information.