Today marks completion of family mediation week. In this blog we sum up the mediation process and, as considered in our historical blogs, analyze the crucial advantages of mediation and other approaches of dispute resolution as a method of dealing with the practical plans following separation.
The family mediation procedure
mediation typically begins with the mediator having a brief preliminary call with each of the parties. The purpose of this call is to talk with the parties about the mediation process and think about individually with them whether there are any concerns which would suggest that mediation is not suitable.
following the preliminary calls, the mediator will have a meeting with each celebration separately (this is typically called a Mediation Info Assessment Fulfilling (MIAM)) to talk about the background briefly and describe a little bit more about the mediation process. The preliminary meetings are private therefore the material will not be talked about with the other party.
following the specific conferences, if the parties wish to proceed with mediation, they will set up a joint session with the mediator. The first meeting is used to go through the Agreement to Mediate type, deal with any interim or pressing problems and to set the agenda for future sessions.
Further joint conferences
the focus of future meetings will depend on the problems the parties want to cover but this will generally include discussion around the plans for the children followed by an evaluation of the parties’ financial disclosure and an exploration of possible financial settlement.
On the occasion that an agreement is reached, the mediator can tape the relevant information and decisions in a number of documents called:
- Open Financial Declaration
this records the parties’ financial information as set out in the financial disclosure offered. This is an open rather than without prejudice file.
- Memorandum of Comprehending
this records the discussions in mediation and the general decisions reached. This is a without prejudice document and can not be disclosed in any court proceedings.
- Parenting Strategy
this records the plans for the children and any other matters parents want to record in respect of the daily care of their children.
Any agreement reached in mediation is not lawfully binding till the parties have actually had independent legal suggestions on it. Once this has taken place, one of the celebration’s legal representatives 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 variety of advantages to the mediation process, some of which are set out below. Mediation is not right for everyone and the mediator and a party’s own lawyer will consider any problems which may make mediation difficult or unsuitable. The advantages 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 motivate the parties to set the agenda and verify what they want to cover in mediation. You can resolve matters important to your own family and those which might not otherwise matter in a court process.
- Mediation sessions can be scheduled a time and location convenient to you and the mediator. You select the length of time between sessions and handle its speed. You won’t have to wait months for the next date as can occur in a court procedure, and similarly you can ensure you each have enough time to look at financial disclosure and assess suggestions 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 enforce comparable plans or has not appreciated the subtlety of why a particular recommendation may 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 personal and private process which suggests that parties are encouraged to be open about choices they want to think about. This typically leads to parties making ideas they would hesitate to make in court proceedings. For high profile customers, it is likewise 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 picking the variety of sessions you have, parties have much more control over the process than when they become part of court proceedings. The mediator will also handle the process and guarantee that mediation does not continue if it is ineffective or making matters worse.
Although family mediation has remained in focus this week with #FamilyMediationweek, in proper cases it can supply an important method of resolving family disagreements efficiently and agreeably and it need to be something that is motivated all year.