Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation procedure and, as thought about in our historical blogs, take a look at the key benefits of mediation and other approaches of conflict resolution as a way of resolving the useful plans following separation.
The family mediation process
mediation generally starts with the mediator having a brief initial call with each of the parties. The function of this call is to speak with the parties about the mediation process and consider separately with them whether there are any concerns which would suggest that mediation is not appropriate.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a conference with each party independently (this is often called a Mediation Info Evaluation Satisfying (MIAM)) to go over the background briefly and explain a little more about the mediation process. The preliminary meetings are private and so the content will not be discussed with the other celebration.
First joint conference
following the specific meetings, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will arrange a joint session with the mediator. The very first conference is utilized to go through the Agreement to Mediate type, deal with any interim or pushing issues and to set the program for future sessions.
Further joint conferences
the focus of future conferences will depend on the concerns the parties wish to cover however this will normally include conversation around the plans for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ monetary disclosure and an expedition of possible financial settlement.
In case an arrangement is reached, the mediator can record the pertinent info and choices in a variety of files called:
- Open Financial Statement
this records the parties’ monetary details as set out in the monetary disclosure supplied. This is an open rather than without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the conversations in mediation and the total choices reached. This is a without prejudice file and can not be disclosed in any court proceedings.
- Parenting Plan
this records the plans for the children and any other matters parents want to record in respect of the everyday care of their children.
Any agreement reached in mediation is not lawfully binding up until the parties have actually had independent legal advice on it. As soon as this has taken place, one of the party’s lawyers will usually turn the Memorandum of Comprehending into an order which can be lodged at court for approval by a judge.
The benefits of family mediation
There are a variety of advantages to the mediation procedure, some of which are set out listed below. Mediation is not right for everyone and a party and the mediator’s own lawyer will think about any issues which might make mediation inappropriate or hard. The advantages 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 encourage the parties to set the agenda and verify what they wish to cover in mediation. You can resolve 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 convenient to you and the mediator. You pick the length of time in between sessions and manage its rate. You will not need to wait months for the next date as can take place in a court procedure, and similarly you can ensure you each have adequate time to look at monetary disclosure and review ideas made.
- Decisions reached in mediation can be customized to suit your family. This is in contrast to court imposed decisions where the judge might not have the power to impose comparable arrangements or has disliked the subtlety of why a specific suggestion might be much better.
When a decision is made together in mediation, it is more likely that parties will be content with and stick to it. Mediation is developed to promote communication and an ongoing co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a private and personal process which means that parties are encouraged to be open about alternatives they want to consider. This typically results in parties making tips they would hesitate to make in court procedures. For high profile customers, it is also a method of keeping details of your relationship out of the public eye.
- Costs and speed
if successful, mediation can be more affordable and quicker than court proceedings. By setting the agenda and choosing the variety of sessions you have, parties have much more control over the process than when they belong to court proceedings. The mediator will also ensure and manage the process that mediation does not continue if it is ineffective or making matters worse.
Family mediation has actually been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in appropriate cases it can supply an important method of resolving family disputes effectively and amicably and it must be something that is motivated all year.