3 Benefits to Family Mediation for Separating Parents

When a parent takes their child to another country without the permission of the other parent, we refer to this as an international child abduction.

In Europe, international child abductions account for ¼ of the missing children cases reported to the European missing children hotlines.

On the third week of November, Missing Children Europe raises awareness of mediation, particularly on the importance of family mediation in international child abductions.

What is Family Mediation?

Family mediation refers to the process in which a professionally trained mediator helps families to work out best arrangements for the participants, particularly for children, following separation.

Family conflicts are difficult for all participants, not only for the parents facing separation but also for those who are not party at court, like the children. And for family conflicts that end up in court, parents are at risk of high financial expenses and stressful court proceedings. As a result, there is a high emotional toll on all parties. If you are a parent who is facing separation you might want to consider mediation to work out family arrangements and to resolve any conflict.

Here are 3 benefits to using mediation for parents during separation:

1. A safe space to express your needs

During court proceedings, there is no space for matters that may be important to you but are not relevant to the case.

The handling of your case rests in the hands of the lawyers and the final decision lies with the judge, whose decision can differ from both partners expectations.

And both parties can be left feeling disappointed.

With mediation, both parents are given the chance to express their needs and there is the freedom to decide on what topics to address, which would not be considered during the court process.

In international cases, this is particularly important in the context of child placement and custody because mediation gives parents the chance to agree on a solution that works for everyone. And more importantly for those most affected by the separation – the child.

2. It’s fast and cheap

When parents experience a family conflict, they usually think of resolving their issues through the courts. This results in an expensive and lengthy procedure that can drag on for years and consumes vast financial resources.

Conflicted partners rarely think of an alternative solution.

Mediation is a more cost-effective and quicker way to end the conflict. By setting the agenda, choosing the number of sessions, and determining other important matters, both parties have much more control over the process than when they are part of court proceedings.

Also, mediation sessions can be arranged for a time and place convenient to both parents.

And it is the parents that can choose the length of time between – meaning that you won’t have to wait weeks or even months for the next date!

3. It’s sustainable

Winning in court does not necessarily mean that the conflict is over.

And court proceedings rarely result in a win-win situation where both parents are satisfied.

It is more likely that one partner feels aggrieved or both parties are left disappointed. This can provide grounds for appeals and for prolonging the process to many months or years – even avoiding the enforcement of the court’s decision.

When a decision is made together in mediation, it is much more likely that both parents will be content with the decision and stick to it.

The positive outcomes of mediation include:

  • Good communication between both parents which helps future decisions in relation to the care of the child.
  • Agreements on issues of importance to both parents such as child support, parenting time and decision making for minor children (and in international cases, the child’s country of residence).


If you would like to know more about family mediation and how it can help your case, please contact Aagje Ieven at info@missingchildreneurope.eu

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