Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog site we sum up the mediation procedure and, as thought about in our historical blogs, examine the crucial advantages of mediation and other approaches of dispute resolution as a method of solving the practical arrangements following separation.
The family mediation procedure
mediation generally begins with the mediator having a short initial call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to talk to the parties about the mediation procedure and consider individually with them whether there are any concerns which would suggest that mediation is not proper.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a conference with each celebration separately (this is often called a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM)) to talk about the background briefly and explain a little more about the mediation process. The preliminary meetings are private and so the material will not be discussed with the other celebration.
First joint meeting
following the private meetings, if the parties want to proceed with mediation, they will set up a joint session with the mediator. The first conference is used to go through the Agreement to Moderate type, handle any interim or pressing concerns and to set the program for future sessions.
More joint conferences
the focus of future conferences will depend on the problems the parties want to cover however this will generally include discussion around the arrangements for the children followed by a review of the parties’ monetary disclosure and an expedition of possible financial settlement.
In case an agreement is reached, the mediator can tape-record the appropriate info and choices in a number of files called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ financial info as set out in the monetary disclosure offered. This is an open rather than without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the discussions in mediation and the general choices reached. This is a without prejudice document and can not be divulged in any court procedures.
- Parenting Strategy
this records the arrangements for the children and any other matters parents wish to document in respect of the everyday care of their children.
Any agreement reached in mediation is not lawfully binding up until the parties have had independent legal guidance on it. As soon as this has taken place, one of the celebration’s lawyers will normally turn the Memorandum of Understanding into an order which can be lodged at court for approval by a judge.
The benefits of family mediation
There are a number of advantages to the mediation procedure, a few of which are set out below. Mediation is wrong for everyone and the mediator and a party’s own solicitor will think about any concerns which might make mediation inappropriate or difficult. The advantages include:
- The mediator will motivate the parties to set the agenda and confirm what they want to cover in mediation. You can address matters essential to your own family and those which may not otherwise matter in a court procedure.
- Mediation sessions can be arranged for a time and location hassle-free to you and the mediator. You pick the length of time in between sessions and manage its pace. You will not need to wait months for the next date as can happen in a court procedure, and equally you can guarantee you each have adequate time to collate financial disclosure and assess recommendations made.
- Choices reached in mediation can be customized to fit your family. This is in contrast to court imposed choices where the judge may not have the power to enforce comparable arrangements or has disliked the subtlety of why a particular recommendation might be much better.
a mediator’s role is to facilitate a discussion between the parties and encourage tips about the result. When a decision is made together in mediation, it is most likely that parties will be content with and stick to it. Mediation is created to promote communication and an ongoing co-parenting relationship. This is especially important for parents who are going to have a relationship for the rest of their children’s lives.
mediation is a private and confidential process which means that parties are motivated to be open about alternatives they wish to consider. This normally leads to parties making suggestions they would hesitate to make in court procedures. For high profile customers, it is also a way of keeping information of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Costs and speed
if successful, mediation can be cheaper and quicker than court proceedings. By setting the program and choosing the number of sessions you have, parties have much more control over the procedure than when they become part of court proceedings. If it is ineffective or making matters worse, the mediator will likewise guarantee and manage the process that mediation does not continue.
Family mediation has been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in proper cases it can offer an invaluable method of dealing with family disagreements effectively and amicably and it must be something that is encouraged all year.