The concept of kid inclusive mediation, which was originally known as direct child consultation, is not new to the field of family mediation; nonetheless, it has acquired considerable traction over the course of the last several years.
At Rhino Family Mediation, we have seen an uptick in the number of inquiries concerning children inclusive mediation (also known as CIM) originating from lawyers, the Family Division, and stakeholders in the mediation process. Before we get started with the process, we want to clear up some common misunderstandings regarding CIM as well as answer some of the often-asked concerns that we get about the procedure.
The purpose of this blog is to offer clarification on just what CIM is and is not, answer some common questions, debunk some myths, and dispel some common misconceptions about CIM in the hopes that it will assist those who are considering CIM in determining whether or not it is an appropriate process for what they are hoping to accomplish.
Participation in CIM is entirely optional for all parties.
Everyone who is participating in the CIM process does so voluntarily, which is one of the most essential principles of the CIM, if not the most significant concept. This indicates that the following persons must be open to the idea of a kid being seen by a competent CIM mediator in order for this to take place:
- The grownups who are taking part in the mediation process (often the parents);
- The youngster or children who are the focus of attention;
- The role of the mediator
CIM will take place only if each of the aforementioned parties is willing to provide their permission for the kid to be seen by the mediator.
The Court does not have the authority to issue CIM orders.
Because CIM is a voluntary process, it is important to remember that the law could indeed mandate that it occur. However, the court can encourage parties involved in Kids Act Deliberations to take into account whether CIM is an appropriate process for their case. While the court can encourage parties to consider whether CIM is a requirements analysis for their case, the court cannot order CIM to take place. Even if the matter is already in procedures, participation in CIM is still entirely optional for all parties concerned.
There is not a report in written form.
One of the most prevalent misunderstandings about CIM is the idea that after the mediator has met with the kid, he or she will write a written report of the conversations with the child, which would then be made accessible to the parents, attorneys, and/or the Court. This is a widespread mistake.
I just do not have the space here to express how emphatically this is not the case. There is no record in writing of the conversations that took place between the youngster and the mediator. Any talks that the kid desires the mediator to communicate to the parents are kept secret throughout the mediation process, and only verbal feedback is given to the parents about what was discussed.
A written report from the mediator cannot be forced to be produced, and any mediator who did generate such a report would be in direct violation of the Family Mediation Council Professional Standards and Self-Regulatory Framework.
The Mediator does not provide any suggestions in an official capacity.
A kid will be given the chance to communicate how they feel about their own circumstances as well as any suggestions that they may want to share with their parents using the Child Intervention Method (CIM), which is designed to offer children a voice inside the mediation process. It is possible that the parents will be provided insight into the perspectives of the kid if this information is sent to them with the child’s agreement. The parents will then be able to examine how these effects their decision making regardless of whether it is related to mediation or not.
It is not the responsibility of the mediator to advise the parents on how they should proceed with the information that they have obtained from the kid. The mediator will encourage the participants to find a resolution and will facilitate discussions with the parents after feeding back the child’s perspectives. The mediator may investigate any relevant signposting services and will encourage the participants to find a resolution; however, the mediator will not make any formal recommendations.
The kid is the focus of CIM.
Those who are sending children to CIM need to have a clear understanding that the fundamental objective of the procedure is to provide a kid with a voice. It is intended that the process of the kid communicating with the mediator would have advantages for the child, some of which include the following possibilities:
- the availability of a conversation partner other than one’s parents;
- Experiencing a sense of relief as a result of having their emotions acknowledged and validated;
- the assurance that their parents would be informed of their perspectives by a third party;
- Having the experience of being heard;
- Not having the impression that they are being ignored or that their opinions do not matter;
- Having a more optimistic outlook on their current circumstances and/or their future.
Although it is possible that one of the side outcomes of CIM will be for the parents to acquire insight into the perspectives of their kid and incorporate this into their decision making, this is not the main objective of CIM. As was just discussed, the major objective is to ensure that the kid feels as if the procedure was beneficial to them, rather than the parents.
CIM should not be pursued for the purpose of serving the parent’s personal interests in any capacity, including serving as evidence to support the parent’s position in any contentious procedures.
Please get in touch with our mediation team if you have any questions about the CIM procedure or if you would want to make a referral.
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