Today marks the end of family mediation week. In this blog site we summarise the mediation procedure and, as thought about in our historical blogs, take a look at the essential advantages of mediation and other approaches of dispute resolution as a method of fixing the practical arrangements following separation.
The family mediation procedure
mediation usually begins with the mediator having a short preliminary call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to talk to the parties about the mediation process and think about separately with them whether there are any problems which would suggest that mediation is not proper.
following the initial calls, the mediator will have a conference with each celebration independently (this is often called a Mediation Information Evaluation Meeting (MIAM)) to discuss the background briefly and describe a little more about the mediation procedure. The preliminary conferences are confidential and so the material will not be talked about with the other celebration.
First joint meeting
following the private meetings, if the parties want to proceed with mediation, they will arrange a joint session with the mediator. The very first conference is used to go through the Arrangement to Mediate kind, deal with any interim or pushing issues and to set the agenda for future sessions.
Further joint conferences
the focus of future conferences will depend on the problems the parties want to cover but this will normally include discussion around the arrangements for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ monetary disclosure and an expedition of possible monetary settlement.
In the event that an arrangement is reached, the mediator can record the relevant information and choices in a variety of documents called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ monetary info as set out in the monetary disclosure provided. This is an open rather than without prejudice document.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the conversations in mediation and the general decisions 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 moms and dads want to document in respect of the day to day care of their children.
Any arrangement reached in mediation is not lawfully binding until the parties have had independent legal suggestions on it. When this has actually occurred, one of the party’s lawyers will usually turn the Memorandum of Understanding 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 procedure, some of which are set out listed below. Mediation is not right for everybody and a party and the mediator’s own lawyer will consider any problems which might make mediation difficult or unsuitable. The benefits consist of:
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 program and validate what they want to cover in mediation. You can address matters crucial to your own family and those which might not otherwise matter in a court procedure.
- Mediation sessions can be scheduled a time and place practical to you and the mediator. You choose the length of time in between sessions and handle its rate. You won’t need to wait months for the next date as can take place in a court procedure, and similarly you can guarantee you each have adequate time to collate financial disclosure and reflect on tips made.
- Choices reached in mediation can be tailored to match your family. This is in contrast to court enforced choices where the judge might not have the power to impose comparable arrangements or has disliked the subtlety of why a particular idea might be better.
When a choice is made together in mediation, it is more most likely that parties will be content with and stick to it. Mediation is designed to promote communication and an ongoing co-parenting relationship.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a private and private process which means that parties are motivated to be open about choices they want to consider. This generally results in parties making recommendations they would be reluctant to make in court procedures. For high profile clients, it is likewise a way of keeping information of your relationship out of the general public eye.
- Costs and speed
Mediation can be cheaper and quicker than court proceedings if effective. By setting the agenda and selecting the variety of sessions you have, parties have a lot more control over the procedure than when they become part of court proceedings. If it is ineffective or making matters worse, the mediator will also guarantee and manage the procedure that mediation does not continue.
Family mediation has actually been in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in proper cases it can offer a vital method of fixing family disputes successfully and amicably and it should be something that is motivated all year.