Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog we summarise the mediation procedure and, as thought about in our historic blog sites, examine the crucial benefits of mediation and other approaches of dispute resolution as a way of resolving the practical arrangements following separation.
The family mediation procedure
Very first call
mediation normally begins with the mediator having a short initial call with each of the parties. The function of this call is to speak with the parties about the mediation procedure and consider independently with them whether there are any problems which would mean that mediation is not suitable.
following the initial calls, the mediator will have a conference with each party separately (this is frequently called a Mediation Details Evaluation Meeting (MIAM)) to talk about the background briefly and describe a little more about the mediation procedure. The preliminary conferences are personal and so the material will not be talked about with the other celebration.
First joint conference
following the private conferences, if the parties want to proceed with mediation, they will organize a joint session with the mediator. The very first meeting is used to go through the Arrangement to Mediate kind, deal with any interim or pressing concerns and to set the agenda for future sessions.
More joint meetings
the focus of future conferences will depend upon the concerns the parties wish to cover however this will generally involve discussion around the arrangements for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ financial disclosure and an exploration of possible monetary settlement.
On the occasion that a contract is reached, the mediator can tape the appropriate information and decisions in a number of files called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ financial details as set out in the monetary disclosure provided. This is an open rather than without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Understanding
this records the discussions in mediation and the overall decisions reached. This is a without prejudice file and can not be disclosed in any court proceedings.
- Parenting Strategy
this records the plans for the children and any other matters moms and dads want to document in regard of the everyday care of their children.
Any contract reached in mediation is not legally binding till the parties have actually had independent legal guidance on it. Once this has actually taken place, among the party’s legal representatives will typically 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 variety of benefits to the mediation procedure, a few of which are set out below. Mediation is wrong for everyone and a party and the mediator’s own lawyer will consider any concerns which might make mediation tough or unsuitable. 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 validate what they want to cover in mediation. You can address matters important to your own family and those which may not otherwise be relevant in a court procedure.
- Mediation sessions can be arranged for a time and location practical to you and the mediator. You select the length of time between sessions and manage its pace. You won’t have to wait months for the next date as can take place in a court procedure, and similarly you can ensure you each have sufficient time to collate financial disclosure and assess suggestions made.
- Choices reached in mediation can be tailored to match your family. This remains in contrast to court enforced choices where the judge may not have the power to impose similar arrangements or has disliked the subtlety of why a particular recommendation might be much better.
a mediator’s function is to facilitate a discussion between the parties and encourage recommendations about the outcome. When a choice is made together in mediation, it is more likely that parties will be content with and adhere to it. Mediation is developed to promote interaction and an ongoing co-parenting relationship. This is particularly essential for parents who are going to have a relationship for the rest of their children’s lives.
- Personal privacy
mediation is a private and private procedure which implies that parties are encouraged to be open about choices they wish to think about. This typically leads to parties making recommendations 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 general public eye.
- Expenses and speed
if effective, mediation can be more affordable and quicker than court proceedings. By setting the agenda and choosing the number of sessions you have, parties have far more control over the process than when they are part of court proceedings. If it is ineffective or making matters worse, the mediator will also guarantee and manage the process that mediation does not continue.
Although family mediation has actually remained in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in proper cases it can provide an indispensable method of solving family disputes successfully and amicably and it must be something that is encouraged all year.