Minister of Community, Culture and Sports Pat Gordon-Pamplin announced the members of the Co-Parenting Mediation Council today [July 27] saying she is confident they will carry out the purpose of the Council very well and “this will help lead to better outcomes for those children who are affected by parental disputes.”
The Minister said, “Members of the public may recall that the November 2013 Speech from the Throne committed the Government to amending the Children Act 1998 to incorporate a family mediation component that recognizes the importance of both parents in children’s lives.
“Accordingly, the Children Amendment Act 2014, which was passed by the Legislature in December 2014, introduced the concept of co-parenting and expanded the use of mediation to provide parties with the option to mediate instead of taking the court route. The amendment Act also gives the court the legal authority to offer mediation during any stage of child custody or access matters.”
Left to right: Miriam Shaya-King; Desmond-Tetlow; Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin; Susan Moore-Williams; and Kathy Lightbourne-Simmons [Chair]. Missing is Dr. Eloise Pitts Crick
The Minister continued, “The Children Amendment Act 2014 provides for the establishment of a Co-Parenting Mediation Council. Today I have the pleasure to announce the formation of a newly appointed Co-Parenting Mediation Council that will take effect from August 1st 2015.
“The legislative framework embodied in the Children Amendment Act 2014 enables parties to reach their own solutions to child custody or access issues with the assistance of a “co-parenting mediator” who must be registered with the Co-Parenting Mediation Council.
“It is of great importance that persons providing mediation services of this nature are regulated and the purpose of the Council is to provide regulatory oversight for co-parenting mediation.
“The Co-Parenting Mediation Council will be responsible for assisting the Minister with the development of Co-Parenting Mediation Regulations under the Children Act 1998, and for developing a Co-Parenting Mediation Code of Practice that all registered co-parenting mediators must adhere to.
“Members of the Co-Parenting Mediation Council, who are being appointed for a period of three years in the first instance, are Kathy Lightbourne-Simmons who will sit as the Council Chair; Dr. Eloise Pitts Crick, Honor Desmond-Tetlow, Susan Moore-Williams and Miriam Shaya-King.
“It may appear at the outset that the prerequisite to be a Member of this Council is to be female and have a double barrel last name; but in fact these Members have a combined background in law, psychology, social work and mediation; they also have a wealth of experience dealing with children, families, and disputed matters arising out of conflicts within families.
“I also wish to point out that part of the mandate of the Council will be to undertake reviews and client surveys of co-parenting mediation in Bermuda, and to prepare an annual report for the Minister on the practice of co-parenting mediation in Bermuda. This will allow for the monitoring of the success of co-parenting mediation.
“I am confident that these Members will carry out the purpose of the Council very well and will provide an appropriate level of regulatory oversight, and that this will help lead to better outcomes for those children who are affected by parental disputes.”