Lucinda Connell, North East’s best Specialist Family Female Lawyer of Major Family Law, specialist divorce and children solicitors states The Voice of the Child Advisory Group has recently published its final report which includes the recommendation that children be included in family mediation sessions.
The Advisory Group, which was convened by Simon Hughes, the Minister for Justice considered how children and young people could be involved in a number of dispute resolution processes but focused primarily on family mediation in order to develop an effective, coherent blueprint for the future which could be adapted for use by other dispute resolution practitioners. The report endorses the principle of child inclusive practice and recommends the adoption of a non-legal presumption that all children and young people aged 10 and above should be offered the opportunity to have their voices heard directly during dispute resolution processes, including mediation, if they wish.
Resolution, the specialist family lawyer’s organisation which has long campaigned to make divorce and separation more child-focused, welcomes the recommendations. Resolution has urged the Government to consider the report’s request for funding for child inclusive mediation as an ongoing process during a divorce, rather than a one-off event for the child or young person. The organisation considers inclusion of children’s rights and wishes throughout the separation process to play a crucial role in helping separating families move on with their lives.
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