Why would our family need child-inclusive mediation?

Do you and the other parent disagree on what parenting time would be in the best interests of your children?

Are your children being impacted by your separation?

Do you want your children’s voices to be heard when you negotiate a parenting plan?

Do you have children with special needs?

Do you have older children with strong views about their parenting arrangements?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, Child Inclusive Mediation may be what your family needs.

What is Child Inclusive Mediation?

Child inclusive mediation is a process to bring your children's voices and needs into the mediation - without them having to be present.

Each parent and the children are interviewed by an experienced Family and Child Consultant, Leanne Bamford, who assesses the children's attachments, needs and views (if appropriate) and provides feedback to the parents and mediator during mediation.

Leanne Bamford
Leanne Bamford | Social Worker | Family and Child Consultant
Jennifer Hetherington Mediator
Jennifer Hetherington | Mediator | Registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner

Leanne holds a Bachelor of Social Work. She is a Family Consultant who previously worked for the Family Court of Australia. Leanne is now a private Family Report Writer and has been meeting with children and parents in that role for over 20 years. She is also a Parenting Coordinator trained under the AFCC Guidelines, and a Family Therapist.
Leanne has undertaken mediation training with the College of Law Nationally Accredited Mediator Training Program, and the Children Beyond Dispute Child Inclusive Mediation and Counselling Training Program.
Leanne takes a trauma-informed approach to her work and has presented in Australia and internationally on this topic to lawyers and medical professionals.

Jennifer Hetherington is a Registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and authorised by the Attorney-General’s Department to issue s60I Certificates.  She is an Accredited Family Law Specialist and has worked as a family lawyer for over 24 years. She holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Graduate Diploma in Family Dispute Resolution Practice.
Jennifer is a Parenting Coordinator trained under the AFCC Guidelines. She has undertaken hundreds of hours of Mediation and Collaborative Practice training and professional development and has completed coursework towards a Masters in Dispute Resolution.
Jennifer has presented at many conferences in Australia and internationally about family law and, in particular, minimising conflict.

What are the benefits of Child Inclusive Mediation?

Child inclusive mediation provides a safe space for your child or teenager to talk about how they are feeling.  What upsets them?  What do they like about the current parenting arrangements?

The Child Consultant works with your teen or child to ensure they do not feel the burden of having to make a decision about parenting arrangements.

It provides some of the key benefits of a Family Report – without the cost (which can range from $7000 to $18,000).


Does this mean the children get to decide?

No.  The goal of child inclusive mediation is to relieve your child or teen of the burden of feeling they have to choose between their parents.

The Child Consultant will use techniques from decades of experience working with separated families, to help your children talk about what is important to them.

However, she will also make it clear that their parents will be making the decision; this discussion is to help their parents decide and they want to make sure their thoughts and feelings are considered.


Child Inclusive Mediation young child interview using drawing with crayons

Will everything my child says be shared with us in the Child Inclusive Mediation?

It’s very important that your teen or child can trust the Child Consultant. 

Our Child Consultant, Leanne Bamford, has more than 20 years’ experience interviewing children and families as a family consultant, first with the Family Court and since, in private practice. 

She is skilled in interviewing children in an age-appropriate way (which may include play or drawing based activities) and making recommendations for families.  An important part of that is gaining the trust of a child that nothing will be disclosed in the child inclusive mediation session about what they said, without their permission.

How old does my child need to be for Child Inclusive Mediation?

Generally, our Child Consultant will interview children aged 4 years and over.

If you have children over 4 and some under, the Child Consultant will usually only interview those aged 4 or over.

There are some exceptions, which we can discuss with you if you have a younger child.

How much does Child Inclusive Mediation cost?

We don't believe in making you phone or email us to find out our fees. If you are in dispute about parenting arrangements, you don't need more stress.
We don't quote for a Mediation and tell you the Child Consultant will be extra (but not how much).
We are committed to fixed fees and transparency, so you can make a decision. We include the GST, so our pricing is very clear.

A Child Inclusive Mediation Package with up to two children interviewed is $3,175 per parent (inc GST - a total of $6,350 inc GST per family).

For each additional child to be interviewed, there is a further $137.50 per parent (inc GST - total of $275 inc GST per family).

Room hire is charged at cost (approx $100 per party).

What does the Child Inclusive Mediation package include?

  • Parent Preparation sessions with Jennifer Hetherington, Mediator (Registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner) and Leanne Bamford (Child Consultant) for each parent
  • Interviews with the Child Consultant for children aged 4 years or over
  • 5 hours of mediation, including both the Mediator and Child Consultant for the duration of the mediation sessions 
  • A Child Consultant and Mediator (Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner) who are also both trained Parenting Coordinators
  • If required, the issue of a s.60I Certificate and Genuine Steps Certificate (but we hope you won’t need this)

Additionally, unlike other services, the Untying the Knot Child Inclusive Mediation package includes the Our Family In Two Homes Workbook, a specialist tool used by a select group of mediators globally, committed to assisting parents to better prepare for mediation resulting in better outcomes. 
This is the Untying the Knot difference.

Child-Inclusive Mediation is available in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Sydney and Melbourne and remotely via Microsoft Teams

Read our testimonials page to hear from families we have helped.

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