Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog we sum up the mediation procedure and, as thought about in our historical blogs, take a look at the essential benefits of mediation and other methods of dispute resolution as a way of solving the practical plans following separation.
The family mediation procedure
Very first call
mediation typically begins with the mediator having a brief preliminary call with each of the parties. The function of this call is to talk to the parties about the mediation procedure and think about separately with them whether there are any concerns which would suggest that mediation is not suitable.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a conference with each party separately (this is typically called a Mediation Details Assessment Meeting (MIAM)) to discuss the background briefly and explain a little bit more about the mediation process. The initial meetings are personal therefore the material will not be gone over with the other party.
First joint meeting
following the specific meetings, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will set up a joint session with the mediator. The first conference is used to go through the Contract to Moderate kind, deal with any interim or pushing issues and to set the agenda for future sessions.
More joint conferences
the focus of future conferences will depend upon the problems the parties wish to cover but this will typically include conversation around the arrangements for the children followed by a review of the parties’ monetary disclosure and an exploration of possible monetary settlement.
In the event that an arrangement is reached, the mediator can tape-record the pertinent information and choices in a number of files called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ financial information as set out in the monetary disclosure offered. This is an open rather than without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Comprehending
this records the conversations in mediation and the total decisions reached. This is a without prejudice document and can not be disclosed in any court procedures.
- Parenting Strategy
this records the plans for the children and any other matters parents want to document in respect of the day to day care of their children.
Any agreement reached in mediation is not legally binding till the parties have actually had independent legal guidance on it. When this has actually occurred, among the party’s attorneys will normally turn the Memorandum of Comprehending into an order which can be lodged at court for approval by a judge.
The advantages of family mediation
There are a number of benefits to the mediation process, some of which are set out below. Mediation is not right for everyone and the mediator and a celebration’s own lawyer will consider any issues which may make mediation inappropriate or difficult. The benefits include:
Family mediation is a member of the ADR or alternative dispute resolution family. It forms one of the core pillars of mediation services provided globally.
Historically, it is not clear geographically where family mediation first evolved. However, family mediation has been present in various forms in various cultures world-wide for thousands of years.
The system is focused on providing a dispute resolution mechanism to families who are in dispute. Divorce mediation forms part of the family mediation tree of services.
Modern day family mediation is divided into two main fields namely mediation and comediation. In the former of the two fields a single mediator works with the family in dispute. In the latter of the two fields, two or more mediators work with a family in dispute. Mediations are completed by the use of either joint or single caucuses. In single caucuses the mediator/s caucus one party at a time. In joint caucuses the mediator/s work with all sides to the dispute present in the same session. The majority of family disputes have two sides however in family disputes between siblings it is not uncommon for several parties to be involved.
- The mediator will motivate the parties to set the agenda and validate what they wish to cover in mediation. You can deal with matters crucial to your own family and those which may not otherwise be relevant in a court process.
- Mediation sessions can be scheduled a time and place hassle-free to you and the mediator. You choose the length of time in between sessions and manage its speed. You won’t need to wait months for the next date as can happen in a court process, and equally you can ensure you each have sufficient time to collect financial disclosure and reflect on suggestions made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be customized to fit your family. This remains in contrast to court imposed decisions where the judge might not have the power to enforce comparable arrangements or has disliked the subtlety of why a particular tip may be much better.
When a choice is made together in mediation, it is more likely that parties will be content with and stick to it. Mediation is created to promote communication and a continuous co-parenting relationship.
mediation is a private and private process which means that parties are motivated to be open about alternatives they want to consider. This usually leads to parties making recommendations they would be reluctant to make in court proceedings. For high profile clients, it is likewise a way of keeping information of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Expenses and speed
if effective, mediation can be more affordable and quicker than court procedures. By setting the agenda and choosing the variety of sessions you have, parties have much more control over the procedure than when they are part of court procedures. If it is ineffective or making matters worse, the mediator will likewise guarantee and handle the process that mediation does not continue.
Although family mediation has been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in appropriate cases it can provide a vital way of solving family disagreements successfully and agreeably and it need to be something that is encouraged all year.