Bermuda Will Change Legislation to Require Mediation for Co-parenting Orders
Wednesday, November, 13, 2013
Bermuda’s government is in the process of changing existing legislation and requiring that parents in custody disputes utilize mediation as a way to resolve that dispute before going to court. In a speech known as the “Throne Speech,” members of the One Bermuda Alliance Government showed their support for working to make mediation between feuding parents a legal first step.
The changes to Bermuda’s current legislation will require that the Children Act of 1998 be amended. According to Governor George Fergusson, “The Children Act will therefore be amended to require courts to order mediation before co-parenting orders are issued and also to consider mediation in child custody and access disputes. Provisions for co-parenting orders that recognise the importance of both parents in children’s lives will be introduced into the Children Act 1998. In addition, the Ministry will spearhead efforts to use mediation in ways that shift the consequences for failing to pay child maintenance from prison to more creative solutions that take account of the possible harm to children.”
Sheelagh Cooper, chairwoman of the Coalition for the Protection of Children, expressed her approval of the news. “We are so very pleased to see that this Government recognises the value of mediation in coming to grips with what is in the best interests of children,” she said. “This is especially important when there is a breakdown in the family structure. The most important outcome of the use of mediation is the reduction of harm to the children who are involved and the likelihood that the kinds of plans that are made will be in their best interests