You’re getting a divorce, and you know that it changes the relationships in your family. You and your spouse decided that mediation would be a good option, but you have questions: Should you invite your children to participate as well? Lisa does not believe children should be included in mediation sessions. However, would it be beneficial to them to be a part of the discussions in between mediation sessions, so that they know what’s happening and why?
It may be beneficial to include your children in mediation topics discussed in some cases, but that’s not always the best choice. Here are some issues to consider if you may want to include your children in the discussion.
Your children’s ages
The first thing you have to think about is how old your children are. It may be a good idea to include teens in a discussion about their custody arrangements, but the same may not be true for a five or six-year-old child. When deciding if they should be involved, consider their maturity levels and if this will actually help them have their voices heard or if they will feel placed in the middle of your conflict.
The subject matter of the discussion
Another factor that you need to weigh when deciding whether to involve your children in mediation discussions is the topic. While it may make sense to include children in discussions about custody, it does not make sense to include them in talks about alimony or property division.
Your children’s preferences
You may have one child who wants to know what’s happening and another who is happy to move forward without knowing the nitty-gritty details. Consider asking your children if they’d like to be involved. Don’t assume one might want to take part in such discussions even if the other does.
These are three issues that you should consider when deciding if you want to involve your children to take part in your divorce mediation. It could be helpful, but it’s up to you as parents to determine if it’s for the best and you need to discuss the idea with your mediator.