The child has the right to express their own views in all matters concerning them. Their views must be taken into appropriate consideration, depending on their age and level of maturity.

  • Have you received a letter from Umpod about meeting with an Umpod employee?
  • Does a judge want to talk to you? Would you like to know what to expect?
  • Are you supposed to take part in a mediation? Would you like to know what to expect?
  • Are you supposed to meet with an Umpod employee?

Do you have any of these questions?

Then we might help. Every case is different, so we’d like to know more about you and your family.

Contact us and we will write back and tell you what we can do for you.

Adam's story (age 10)

In the courts, Adam’s parents are dealing with the question of who will take care of Adam, how often Adam will see his mum, and how often his mum will travel to visit Adam in the Czech Republic. Umpod contacted Adam to find out what he thought about all of this. Adam also knows, through Umpod, that a judge dealing with the matter would like to see him, too.[…]

It’s pretty complicated; until recently, all three of them were living in the Czech Republic, but then Adam’s mum suddenly moved to Spain, and now she would like to have Adam with her there. His dad, however, thinks it would be better if Adam stayed in the Czech Republic.

That’s why Adam and his dad went to Brno for an appointment with Umpod. There, they were welcomed by a psychologist and a lawyer, whose task is to find out what would be best for Adam. They talked to each other in the hallway for a moment, and then they showed Adam to a special room filled with toys, where they talked to him for a while. They talked about friends, games, school, the Czech Republic and Spain. They asked Adam to imagine whether he might like it in Spain, or not.

First, Adam said that he wants all three of them to be together. But if that isn’t possible, he would rather live in the Czech Republic, where he feels at home, and he wants his mum to come visit him and call him regularly. Mainly, he doesn’t want his parents to argue in front of him.

Umpod passed Adam’s wishes on to his parents and the court. The judge also talked to Adam; the interview went well. And Adam thought it was interesting to see what the court looked like. Everyone remembered Adam’s three wishes. Later, Adam learned from a letter sent by Umpod that the final court decision was slightly different from his wishes. He called Umpod to find out whether it was possible to make any changes.

Why should I talk about how I feel?

In cases involving children, the child’s opinion on the situation needs to be heard. That’s why it’s best if the child meets with a psychologist. It is important to know what the child thinks, so that those who decide what happens to the child can make the best decisions.

The child has the opportunity to send a message to their parents or the judges about what they really want. The judge does not make their decision based only on the child’s wish, but they take it into consideration, and after hearing the opinions of all other parties, they decide what is best for the child. The child’s opinion is also sometimes important for any family mediation which they might participate in.

The child also has the right to refuse an interview with a psychologist, but then they would not have the opportunity to express their opinion and thus influence what happens to them.

Every case is a bit different. If you’re wondering what might happen in your case, the best thing to do is contact us directly.

Are you and your family going to mediation?

Mediation is a place where everyone can safely talk about what worries them at the moment.

Mediation is when two people who are unable to agree on something very important meet with an expert called a mediator, who can help them come to a decision. For example, when two parents go to mediation, it could be because they need to agree on where their children will live, how the children will see their dad or mum, or how the parents will divide their property in a divorce.

Watch two videos about how children see mediation
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Who is a mediator?

A mediator is an expert who helps these people talk to each other, understand each other properly (not just argue), and then come to an agreement. Hopefully, the mediation results in a solution, so that the two people don’t have to go to court to solve their problems.

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Who can ask for mediation?

Either of the two parents or their children may ask for mediation, or it may be ordered by the court. At Umpod, we offer mediation to all parents, because we think that it is always better to make an agreement that way.

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Who attends mediation?

In the case of family mediation, both parents are present, along with two mediators – one man and one woman.

Children over 6 years of age may go with their parents to the mediation session. They can say what they wish there, or they may tell it to a psychologist, who speaks for them at the mediation. Every child has a guide (psychologist or social worker) in the mediation to help them handle the meeting.

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What happens at a mediation session?

Family mediation can take different forms. Sometimes everyone comes to one place (for example, here at Umpod in Brno) and sits together at one table. Sometimes they connect online from home (for example, via Skype or Zoom).

Everyone who comes to mediation has a chance to talk, and everyone tries to listen to what the others are saying. The mediators sometimes repeat the most important things that have been said. The mediators also repeat what the child has said, whether child says it directly to the group or through their psychologist or social worker. The mediators also remind the group of what the child has said before the session.

A mediation session can last up to 3 hours. It’s up to the parents whether any record is kept. Sometimes they ask that there be a written record of the meeting, but sometimes they prefer if there isn’t. Anyone can stop the mediation or ask for a break.

Sometimes one mediation session is not enough for the family to agree on what they need. In that case, they can have more sessions.

Sometimes mediation does not end in an agreement, and the court has to decide about the problem. But sometimes mediation helps the parents come to agreement and draft a deal. This agreement will either be valid immediately, or will have to be approved by the court.

Are you and your family going to take part in the court proceedings?

Courts are here to decide on the best solution for children.

The court must sometimes be involved in decisions about a child – for example, when two parents break up and can’t agree on which country the child will live in. In this case it is up to the court to decide where the child will live. When the court is dealing with a child, it always tries to make the best choice for the child. But this is not so easy, because the courts must also make a decision which is fair for the adults.

Everyone (adults and children) must follow the court’s decision, even if they don’t like it.

Watch a video on what it might be like for children at the court
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How does the court decide what is best for a child, and at the same time decide fairly?

There is always a judge at the court. The judge has to find out a lot of information, and therefore invites a lot of important people to the hearing at the court building. The most important people are usually the parents or other people the child lives with. The child’s representative is always invited too.

The child’s representative is called the “guardian”. The guardian tries to argue for the best solution for the child, even if it is not fair to the adults. The guardian often presents to the court the opinion of the child who he or she represents.

The judge hears all the people at the court one by one in order to find out their opinions. It often happens that people have different opinions. Some situations may be very complicated, and sometimes it takes a long time for a judge to find out everything he or she needs. Finally, the judge carefully thinks and decides. Then he or she writes to everyone what he or she has decided, and why.

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Do children also attend court hearings?

Sometimes, yes, if a child wishes to attend, or if the judge invites them. When children attend the court hearing, they meet the judge directly. The meeting usually takes about as long as one lesson at school.

The child’s guardian is often at this meeting.

The judge is interested in whether the child is happy in the family where he or she lives. The judge is also interested in what the child would like to change in the family. The child can also ask the judge any questions they have.

The judge makes a record of the meeting with the child, and then thinks about it. The judge also thinks about what the child wants, and whether or not it would be possible to do what the child wants.

Eventually, the judge decides on the right solution and explains to the parents and the children why he or she decided that way.

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If I don’t go to the court hearing, how will the judge know my opinion?

The judge can also find out a child’s opinion through someone else. Sometimes they ask a social worker to meet with the child and find out how he or she is doing in the family, and what he or she wants. The social worker arranges a meeting with the child, which can take place at home, at school, or at an office. The social worker then sends a written report to the judge which includes everything the social worker found out, or the social worker tells it to the judge in person at the court.

Are you going for an interview with an Umpod psychologist?

A child’s opinion on their own situation needs to be heard, and that’s why the child meets with a psychologist.

The interview may take place at Umpod in Brno, or the psychologist may come to meet the child, to some pleasant place for the child, his home or school, or wherever we agree to meet in.

The interview usually takes about an hour, and there are rules which must be followed.

The child is first told how the interview will work, and about his or her rights (for example, the child is informed that they don’t have to speak if they don’t want to; nobody can force them). The course of the interview depends on the child’s age. With a younger child, the psychologist might bring toys or dolls for the child to play with, or they might give the child pictures to look at, or they might give the child art materials and invite them to draw or paint. They will talk with the child while the child is playing or drawing. The psychologist is interested in what it’s like for the child when they are with their mum or dad, or when they are being transferred from one parent to the other. Toys and pictures help the child express difficult situations that are hard to express in words.

In the case of older children (teenagers), their opinion is determined primarily through an interview. Sometimes the interview can take place online – usually through Skype or Zoom. During the interview, the psychologist writes notes, which he or she reads back to the child at the end. They agree on what information the child wishes to pass on to the parents or the judge. The psychologist normally doesn’t put anything in the interview report that the child doesn’t agree with. The only exception to this is when the psychologist finds out that someone is hurting the child. The law requires the psychologist to report this – but even then, the psychologist always agrees with the child about how to proceed so that it is pleasant for the child.

Watch two videos about how children see a meeting with the psychologist