Going through Separation? Should You Bring the Kids into Any Discussion?

Posted on: 3 December 2018

In an ideal world, a separation would be completely amicable, easy to sort out and swift. It wouldn't involve any ill will, bad temper or raised voices, and it certainly wouldn't cause the kids any consternation. However, despite the best intentions of the adults, this is rarely the case and most well-meaning individuals will try and avoid the negative effects as they pertain to the children. Consequently, they may often conduct these negotiations far away from the children to try and protect them, but this is not necessarily the best approach. Why should you reconsider if you're in this position?

Elephant in the Room

Unfortunately, a separation is going to have a negative effect, like it or not, and it's best to adopt a damage control approach from the beginning to try and mitigate this. Certainly, the kids will know what's going on and the parents may be worried about trauma as it is, but it may still be better to bring them into the discussion rather than to exclude them. Solicitors have a term for this in the field of family law, and it is known as 'child-inclusive mediation'.

Initial Assessment

Experts say that it is better to vocalise thoughts and feelings rather than to repress, as this can have a more negative effect in the future. Consequently, this process will begin with an assessment to determine where the adults are and whether the child-inclusive mediation approach should be implemented. This initial assessment is done by trained consultants who have widespread experience in these situations and are best placed to advise.

Separate Talks

If everybody agrees to go forward with this approach, the parents will need to agree to this in writing before detailed talks are held with the child or children. Much will depend on age when it comes to the type of approach, and younger kids may be encouraged to communicate through playing, drawing and other media in addition to talking. These discussions take place away from the parents, and the information given will not be communicated to the adults unless the child agrees.


The final step is to integrate any of the children's needs, wishes or desires into the master plan and try to come up with a scenario that is beneficial to all concerned. This will help to craft a far healthier plan for the long term and give the children a feeling that they are more involved as well.

The Path Forward

Check with your family law consultant to talk about child-inclusive mediation, to see if it is the right approach for you.


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